Calif. political watchdog dismisses complaint against Fresno DA Smittcamp

The FPPC will not take up a complaint submitted by Miguel Arias to investigate Lisa Smittcamp’s involvement in an initiative that would repeal Proposition 47.

The Fair Political Practices Commission has told Fresno City Councilman Miguel Arias that his complaint about Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp’s involvement in repealing Proposition 47 is not under its jurisdiction. 

Smittcamp had a more simple way of explaining the FPPC’s response, telling KMJ last week that the FPPC told Arias “to pound sand.” 


The backstory: Smittcamp has supported the Homelessness, Drug Addiction, and Theft Reduction Act, which would repeal part of Proposition 47 to allow felony charges for possessing certain drugs and for thefts under $950 in certain circumstances. 

  • Petition backers submitted over 900,000 signatures to the state last month, needing around 550,000 to be verified. 
  • Smittcamp partnered with KMJ to host a signature gathering drive for the effort on March 1. 

Driving the news: On April 12 Arias sent a letter to the FPPC accusing Smittcamp of using public tax dollars to campaign for the Proposition 47 repeal. 

  • “Your office is charged with investigating those who hold government positions who misuse public funds,” Arias wrote. “To that end, I am referring to you, Fresno County District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, who has been for months, using public tax dollars to fund her anti-Proposition 47 ballot initiatives in violation of California Government Code section 83124.” 

The big picture: James Lindsey, Chief of the FPPC’s Enforcement Division, wrote back to Arias that his complaint will not be handled by the FPPC. 

  • “The actions by the public official listed in your complaint are not governed by the Act,” Lindsay wrote. “The complaint failed to establish any violations of the Act; therefore, we will not pursue the matter further.” 

Go deeper: Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz, who used to work as a prosecutor for Smittcamp, sent a Public Records Act request to Smittcamp’s office, asking for any documents related to Smittcamp and her staff’s involvement in the initiative. 

  • “I suppose Mr. Janz’s letter was his second attempt to swing at me after the Fair Political Practices Commission told him to pound sand,” Smittcamp told KMJ.
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