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By Casey Christie / The Californian
BY JAMES BURGER Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Democrat Leticia Perez's state Senate campaign filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission Friday against a political action committee supporting her opponent, Republican Andy Vidak.
Douglas Kessler, Region 8 director of the California Democratic Party, alleged to the state's campaign finance watchdog agency that the committee failed to file required financial reports with the California Secretary of State's office.
The PAC, Delano-based Adelante, has purchased at least two newspaper advertisements supporting Vidak -- one in the Wasco paper and one published in Friday's Californian.
Adelante official Angel Diaz also paid former 16th District primary candidate Francisco Ramirez to host a website for the group, Ramirez told The Californian Friday.
"I'm just supporting them any way I can," he said.
Ramirez called Monday to say he is a volunteer for the group and the payment he received from Diaz was only the cost of the website hosting. He did not make any money on the deal.
The advertisements -- which read "Vote Andy Vidak, Viva Vidak" -- feature a photo of a grinning Vidak flanked by Adelante principal Angel Diaz and Ramirez.
Under state law, political action committees must report, within 24 hours, the receipt of contributions of more than $1,000 or the spending of more than that amount.
Additionally, independent expenditure committees that received or spent more than $1,000 this calendar year were required to file a report by Thursday indicating the amount and source of the funds as well as what they were spent on.
Kessler's complaint alleges Adelante spent more than $1,000 on the advertisements in violation of those state reporting laws. The Californian was unable to verify, Friday, the amount spent on the ads.
Angel Diaz contacted The Californian Saturday and said that, he believes, his committee has received more than $1,000 in contributions and spent more than that amount.
He said the people handling the committee finances for him will be filing a report on Monday.
He said most of the contributions have been small amounts under the $100 individual reporting limit. But there are probably one or two contributors who gave a reportable amount.
“We’ve hit from Bakersfield to Fresno,” he said.
He said he got involved because Perez doesn’t represent the people.
“You can go ahead and tell Leticia she can cry some place else, because she is going to lose,” Diaz said. “They’re going to lose their (explicative), and you can quote me on that.”
According to the California Secretary of State's office, as of Friday morning Adelante had not filed any reports since May 30 -- when it indicated it was not operating as a state committee.
Vidak campaign manager Tim Orman said Friday that Vidak's campaign was not aware of any of Adelante's activities.
Ramirez said he wasn't aware of where the money used for the advertisements or his services came from.
"It's outrageous that a group would be anonymously engaging in this campaign," said Perez campaign manager Trent Hager. "We call on the authorities to investigate."