Grover Beach Mayor John Shoals is accused of violating campaign finance rules during his last mayoral campaign in a recent complaint filed with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission May 11.
The complaint, authored by SLO County resident Kevin P. Rice, alleges that Shoals failed to report donations to his 2014 campaign for mayor in a timely manner.
“[Shoals] has demonstrated an exceptionally noxious pattern and practice of failing to report required information of campaign reports, filing reports days or weeks late, or not filing at all,” Rice stated in his complaint.
The complaint alleges that roughly 50 percent of the more than $20,712 in contributions to Shoal’s 2014 campaign for mayor of Grover Beach were reported late, with some of those contributions going unreported for anywhere between three and 44 days after they were supposed to be filed. Rice also claimed that five contributions totaling more than $7,200 made within 90 days of the election—which qualify under state elections rules as “late” contributions—were also not reported within time limits set by the state election code.
Shoals did not return New Times’ calls or an email seeking comment.
The complaint against Shoals comes just as his current term as mayor is set to expire. Shoals was elected in 2014 to a two-year term, meaning he is up for re-election this November should he choose to run for another term. According to the city of Grover Beach, candidates can file to run beginning in July.
When asked why he filed complaints related to a 2014 campaign in 2016, Rice told New Times in an email that he wanted to wait until all the finance filings, including those made after the campaigns, had been filed. The timing of the complaint and the upcoming mayor election in Grover Beach wasn’t lost on Rice.
“I’m hoping it will inspire Shoals, and others, to take campaign finance reporting much more seriously this year,” Rice wrote.
FPPC officials confirmed that they received Rice’s complaint. A commission spokesman said that the FPPC does investigation complaints made after the fact, and that violations usually have a statue of limitations of about five years.