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Ventura County Ethics Commission dismisses complaint filed by Steve Bennett against County Clerk

Steve Bennett

Ventura – Today the Ventura County Campaign Finance Ethics Commission unanimously dismissed the last of five alleged violations contained in a complaint filed on November 15, 2012, against County Clerk Recorder/Registrar of Voters Mark A. Lunn by Steve Bennett. As a result, the complaint filed by Steve Bennett against the County Clerk has been dismissed in its entirety.

Bennett was a candidate in the First Supervisorial District race in the November 6, 2012 Presidential General Election. After Bennett narrowly defeated Bob Roper in this hotly-contested election, Bennett filed an unprecedented attack, alleging that the County Clerk had, personally, failed to fulfill his duties to administer the County’s Campaign Finance Reform Ordinance. After two outside attorneys reported to the Commission that there were no facts supporting Bennett’s claims, Bennett argued that it was the County Clerk’s Office, not Lunn, who was at fault.

In January 2013, the Commission, by unanimous vote, dismissed Bennett’s first four alleged violations as being without any merit. At the January meeting, the Commission questioned whether it even had jurisdiction over the Clerk. The Commission then asked its outside counsel to advise it if the Commission could even hear complaints against the County Clerk. Today, the independent attorney who provided an opinion to the Commission agreed with the Clerk’s attorney that the Commission had no authority to hear complaints against the County Clerk. The Commission agreed, and its decision today handed Bennett a complete defeat by confirming that all of his allegations against the County Clerk were improper. In sum, none of the violations alleged against Mr. Lunn have been found to have any merit.

Lunn stated, “Although my staff feels vindicated by the Commission’s dismissal of all these baseless allegations, this five-month attack on our office has taken a tremendous toll on their morale and has come at an unprecedented expense to the taxpayers.” Lunn explained, “The taxpayer cost to respond to all these allegations has exceeded $100,000. To waste this amount of tax dollars in a time when many of our citizens cannot find jobs or provide for their families is deplorable.”
Lunn added, “At this point, I feel strongly that Mr. Bennett owes our hard-working taxpayers and their employees a sincere apology. Under these circumstances, it would be the least he should do.”

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