Friday, May 8, 2015

Did the Mayor Lie to Us Again About His Political Campaign Contribution?

Mayor Manuel Lozano
Mayor Manuel Lozano appears to be getting caught in his own tangled web of lies, but hey, he was the one who first practiced to deceive. In my last post about the Mayor, we talked about how the Mayor didn't file his disclosure forms and why its such an unethical practice. Manuel Lozano Lies to Us Again

First, it turns out that the Mayor actually didn't file his forms for not just one year, but three. After the Tribune reported on this and the the Director of the Fair Political Process Commission announced it was investigating him, Lozano turned in the fillings.

The filings show a number of discrepancies, which I interpret as deception. For instance, his political consultant Natalie Rodgers, who gave him money, he renamed "Natalie Roders." If this was done intentionally, it suggests that Mayor Lozano doesn't want someone to trace the amount of money Natalie Rodgers gave him. In general, people don't intentionally mis-spell names, unless they are trying to deceive people. In this case, the deception appears financially motivated because he doesn't want people to know how much money Rodgers probably gave him.

Other suspicious activities include that he received $9,121.96 in political campaign contributions that were $100 or less. I mean, is he seriously telling us that he received 91 instances or more of $100 campaign contributions? What it it appears he's trying to do is not disclose the sources of his campaign contribution because larger amounts require disclosing the sources.

The Tribune also caught him failing to disclose that he received funds from Congresswoman Napolitano. The Tribune story can be read here: Baldwin Park mayor files long overdue campaign finance records (published today).

It's also important to note that political campaign contributions can become a sophisticated form of kickbacks. Lozano figures out a way to pay a consultant with city monies. That consultant returns the money back to him in the form of political campaign contributions. Although the law limits the amount a politician can receive, you can get around these rules by having a politicians list out that he received $9,121.96 in $100 increments - without disclosing the source.

The deception never ends with these politicians. Really, it's an attack on the people's right to self-governance. The right to vote includes the right to know. People can only cast their right to vote if they know who they're voting for and abstaining from. When the power of the vote is at its ideal, the people can remove public officials from office; thus, holding them accountable when they commit misconduct.

Here, we can't do so; therefore, the people are losing the power of accountability. Remember, it's this power alone that prevents our democracy from becoming a dictatorship. I am convinced, in this moment in history, local government is facing a democratic crisis. Unless, things change, these public officials, who view us as the dumb masses, will enact the right (whether its official or not) to take from us, in order to enrich themselves.

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