FPPC accuses Mono State Senator of “money laundering”

sactobeeberryhillIn an administrative law hearing in Sacramento, Mono County’s State Senator Tom Berryhill denied assertions that he illegally laundered more than $40,000 in campaign funds to help his brother’s Assembly campaign.

According to the Sacramento Bee, the California Fair Political Practices Commssion claims Senator Berryhill and his brother Bill Berryhill “orchestrated the money shifts in the closing days of the fall 2008 campaign.” The FPPC says the brothers’ plan was to “bypass individual contribution limits of $3,600 per election.” The Bee reported that County committees could give $30,200 to candidates but coordination is prohibited.

The Sacramento Bee reported that Berryhill claims that the fact that more than $40,000 he donated to Republican central committees in Stanislaus and San Joauin counties ended up going to his brother’s race “was a decision he had no role in.” The FPPC contends that the Berryhills orchestrated the donation.

The hearing continues this week. The FPPC attorneys were scheduled to cross-examine Berryhill this week, and former Republican leader Mike Villines was also scheduled to testify.

Bill Berryhill did win the 2008 election but lost a race for state Senate last year. He too is scheduled to testify at the hearing this week.

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Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

This has been going on for a lot longer than you claim. Ol’ Jesse Unruh served in the state Assembly from 1954 and was speaker from 1961 through 1969. Following that he served as State Treasurer from 1975 through 1987. He is credited with the remark way back in 1966 that “money is the mothers milk of politics”. His nick name in the assembly was “Big Daddy”.

Another memorable quote of his is “If you can’t eat their food, drink their booze, screw their women and then vote against them, you have no business being up here.”

If you read Thomas Jefferson and James Madison they warn about the corrosive influence of allowing too much land, the measure of wealth in their day, to accumulate in the hands of too few landowners. They both spoke about how power accrues to wealth, and that if a nation is determined to be self governing then political power and thus wealth have to be broadly spread. It is the argument Jefferson uses against primogeniture (estates being passed in their entirety to the eldest sone) and is one of the arguments used by both Madison and Jefferson for the breaking up of estates when the owner dies and for inheritance taxes.

7 years ago

It doesn’t matter if your a republican or democrat anymore, what matters is you raise more money, by way of sucking up to big donors (industry’s, corporations, SUPER PACS, unions, The rich class, etc…) since the year 2000 all congressional seats were won over 90% of the time by the candidate who raised more money.
And when you follow the money, you can see that it is a investment, they get a return in investment by having new legislation lean in their favor, or have old legislation revised to lean in their favor…. It is legal bribery at it’s best. Yes that’s our current state of politics.
It all started when the supreme court ruled money equals freedom of speech and corporations are people…..
Until we have real campaign finance reform, we are going to continue to watch our country be played for $ signs… But if you want to beat your chest about it being the greatest country in the world, don’t mind if I make attempts to pop your bubble..

The sad thing is there isn’t much we can really do about climate change when we have individuals like the David and Charles Koch who have the abilities to spend billions on our US politics…

Or how are we going to deal with GMO’s in our food when we have huge companies like Monsanto that undermine the FDA and all the entities that are meant to regulate it?

How do we the people fight the lobbyists that work day in and day out to limit our rights as a consumer, citizen and human being?

I don’t know when the idea of a country needs to be ran like a business came up? But no wonder we are left with a bunch of sales men for leaders (with a few exceptions = Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Alan Greyson..) The will of the people will never be a profitable business, something the corporate machines will never understand.


Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago
Reply to  JeremiahJoseph

I will add that if I could write the rules regarding political money, here is the basic rule I would write.

The only money a political candidate could accept would be money donated by individuals who’s voting residence is within the boundries of the political district the candidate would represent were the candidate to win the election.

What this would do is effectively ban all campaing donantions from corporations, unions or any person or organization that is outside the boundries of the district the candidate is running to represent. A candidate for a state wide office such as Governor or Senator could accept donations from any resident of that state, but no money from outside the state. A candidate for Congress, the legislature or city council could only accept personal donations from residents of the congressional, legislative or city counci district the candidate is running for office for.

That simple reform would do wonders for effective representative government in this nation, but it will take a Consitutional Amendment to make it happen.

Desert Tortoise
Desert Tortoise
7 years ago

2008 is an awful long time ago in the political arena. Investigations such as these need to be completed in a more timely fashion to be effective.