Local developer Greenheart may pay $2,500 for failing to report its non-monetary donation of a telephone survey to the "No on Measure M" committee, according to the state's Fair Political Practices Commission.
The committee was funded exclusively by Greenheart to oppose a measure on the November 2014 ballot that would have restricted development on El Camino Real in Menlo Park.
Representative Bob Burke said the committee immediately filed an amended return upon learning of the possible violation and reviewing the filings. He described it as an "inadvertent overlooking of an expense that was paid for prior to the formation of the Committee for a Vibrant Downtown."
"We made an honest error and corrected as soon as we were made aware of it by the FPPC," Mr. Burke said.
The survey, with an estimated value of $31,030, was conducted by Godbe Corporation in July 2014 and was paid for by Greenheart.
The development company was the sole donor to that committee, chipping in $200,000 and $2,500 in consulting fees, both of which were reported on time, the FPPC report states.
The report also concludes that since Greenheart openly sponsored the "No on M" committee, "it's unlikely that No on M was trying to hide the contribution. Greenheart's support for No on M would have been apparent to any person who viewed either (Greenheart or No on M) campaign filings."
However, since the non-monetary contribution was not disclosed to the public until after the election, the FPPC opted to propose a penalty.
State law requires a committee to file reports disclosing the total amount of contributions and the source of any donations worth at least $100. In Greenheart's case, the "No on M" committee should have included the survey in the pre-election report due Oct. 5, 2014.
The commission is scheduled to decide on May 21 whether to impose the fine.