- Associated Press - Monday, December 5, 2016

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - A San Francisco Bay Area district attorney and a former Riverside County mayor have each agreed to pay tens of thousands of dollars in fines for violating campaign finance laws that bar officials from using campaign money for personal spending, the state’s campaign finance watchdog reported Monday.

Contra Costa District Attorney Mark Peterson has agreed to $45,000 in fines for nine violations of California’s Political Reform Act, and Menifee Mayor Scott Mann has agreed to $60,000 in fines for 12 violations, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Peterson, the county’s top law enforcement official, was accused of misusing $66,000 in campaign funds over a five-year period from 2011 to 2015, spending donors’ money on things including restaurant meals, clothing and hotel rooms and transferring campaign money to his personal bank account, according to the FPPC.

His campaign statements never reflected any of the 600 illegal expenditures, the agency reported, but his attorney reached out to the FPPC to acknowledge the illegal transfers before an audit, lessening the fines, and he eventually repaid the funds from personal accounts.

In a written statement, Peterson said he considered the money a loan and kept track of the expenses at all times. He said he had been acting as his own treasurer at the time.

“I am humbled and embarrassed by my mistakes, for which I take full responsibility, and I apologize for my regrettable errors,” he wrote.

Mann, the former mayor of the Riverside County city of Menifee, was accused of making 147 withdrawals totaling nearly $45,000 from his campaign committee over a five-year period for expenses including vacations, vehicle repairs and traveling to a family wedding in Malibu, the FPPC reported.

He acknowledged the spending before the November election and lost his re-election bid. The Associated Press could not immediately locate a working telephone number for Mann Monday.

The agreements will be considered at a Dec. 15 meeting of the commission. That day’s agenda also includes:

- A proposed $12,000 fine against Carson City Councilman Albert Robles, who failed to timely disclose contributions, expenditures and other required reports for that office and a position on the Water Replenishment District of Southern California in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

- A proposed $6,500 fine against eBay Inc. for failing to timely file lobbyist employer reports and campaign contributions during the 2015-16 legislative session.

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