On Monday, Governor Jerry Brown vetoed a bill by Assemblyman Jim Frazier (D-Discovery Bay) which would have assessed a financial penalty on candidates who lie on ballot statements when seeking political office.
AB 894 would have imposed a fine of up to $5,000 if a candidate includes knowingly false information on statements they submit for inclusion on election ballots. The fine can be multiplied if an offender is convicted on associated criminal charges.
The Governors Veto Message stated:
“I am not convinced this is a widespread problem in California elections or that this bill would be much of a deterrent. The conventional response to resume puffing is exposure by the press or political attack by the opposition.”
Frazier authored AB 894 after it was determined that Jeff Belle, a candidate elected to represent East County on the Contra Costa County Board of Education in 2014, lied about his past experience, qualifications and criminal record after he submitted his ballot statement.
Belle ultimately received 20-hours of community service versus a jury trial over the filing of the false statement during the 2014 election.