By Andrew Sheeler, SACRAMENTO BEE - CAPITOL ALERT

June 1, 2022

https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article26…

California’s election watchdog is investigating Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara and four political committees: Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner 2022, LGBT Caucus Leadership Fund, Equality California Political Action Committee and Californians Supporting Ricardo Lara for Insurance Commissioner 2022.

This investigation first was reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission has not confirmed the nature of the investigation. It was initiated at the request of Consumer Watchdog’s Carmen Balber, wrote in a letter to the FPPC that, “Lara and his coordinated IE committees are violating one of the most serious provisions of the Political Reform Act (‘Act’) by laundering campaign funds without disclosing the true source of the contributors.”

Lara, a Democrat, is locked in a heated campaign for reelection. His most outspoken opponent is Democratic Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County.

Levine’s campaign released a statement following news of the FPPC investigation:

“Sadly, there seems to be no end to Ricardo Lara’s scandals, and today we learn of a new one. Ricardo Lara has been under a cloud of corruption since almost his first day in office for directly accepting insurance money and then doing the bidding of his insurance donors.”

Robin Swanson, spokeswoman for the Lara campaign, said: “If anyone should be investigated, it’s Marc Levine, the candidate who put a dark money lobbyist on state payroll, and who has actually been fined twice by the FPPC for misleading voters.”