City Prosecutor Declines to Prosecute Heidi Shink over Campaign Finance Issues

West Hollywood’s City Prosecutor has determined that there is insufficient evidence to pursue a case against Heidi Shink for violating city campaign contribution laws but has issued a “courtesy reminder” that she must obey the law in disposing of surplus funds in her campaign coffer.

Heidi Shink
Heidi Shink
A letter announcing the decision was sent to Shink’s campaign treasurer on June 18 by James Eckart of Dapeer, Rosenblit & Litvak, the law firm engaged by the city to look into allegations that she was violating city laws in her use of money she raised for a possible run for a City Council seat in the March 3 election. Shink decided not to run in that race but was a candidate in the June 2 special election for a single seat on the City Council. She lost to John Heilman.

City Clerk Yvonne Quarker questioned financial records filed by Shink’s campaign in a letter dated Feb. 12 to David Gould, Shink’s campaign finance manager. In that letter, Quarker noted that the election date on Shink’s Dec. 31, 2014, campaign finance filing for the March 3 general election had been altered to indicate that the $17,214 left in her campaign account would be spent toward the June 2 special election. Diversion of funds raised for a general election campaign for use in a special election campaign is a violation of city law. Questions also were raised by Shink’s payment to herself of $7,800 from the March 3 campaign fund, which is illegal. Some of Shink’s opponents also complained that her campaign materials for the June 2 election contained a number indicating it was being paid for out of funds for the March 3 campaign. The Shink campaign responded with a letter from the state acknowledging that it had erred in not initially giving Shink’s June 2 campaign a new number.

In his letter, Eckart noted that Shink’s last filing for the March 3 race showed $13,061 remaining in her campaign account and a debt of $800, which the filing indicated was owed to Shink herself. Under state law, that money is deemed a surplus fund as of June 30 and can only be spent to cover campaign expenses, as a donation to a non-profit organization, as a contribution to a political party or to pay for campaign-related legal fees. Money not used for those purposes must be returned to the donors.


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Rob Bergstein
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Rob Bergstein

Can we all take a collective deep breathe…and just move on. I did not support Heidi, but I do respect that the City prosecutor has a better understanding of campaign law than I do. It’s been a busy, sometimes nasty & brutal campaign season that really started back in November. I say we all put our differences aside and work with all of our elected officials to continue to make West Hollywood the fabulous city that it is. We can go back to campaign mode in 18 months, but for now….just breathe…..

Truth be told
Guest
Truth be told

Fact is she owes at least 3 of her supporters who have requested their $500 donations back, – (that I know of — because they were supporting Heilman in June) at least 2 of these voters were told prior to the election ‘we will send the check out on monday’ and on another instance ‘your check has been cut’. (More than a month ago but still not yet received) It’s pretty simple to give someone back their check … all you have to do is put ONE minute aside for a supporter, local voter, and respected community member and your… Read more »

Chris Sanger
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Chris Sanger

Ben – perhaps the prosecutor determined 2 things:

1) it wasn’t a slam dunk conviction (though the evidence seems clear)
2) the raising of this clearly hurt her campaign (thx in particular to WehoVille) and the deterrent impact of proecution/conviction has already been achieved.

The 2nd seems most likely.

Heidi Shink gets pardon
Guest
Heidi Shink gets pardon

Shink gets full pardon. Talk about special treatment. Heidi Shink gets to keep her campaign checks that she paid to herself and her girlfriend for nearly $9000. The evidence is on her 460 report. I guess this sets a precedence that anyone can run for office, raise money and then write themselves checks from their own campaigns. So much for campaign finance investigations. Shink’s ethics violations during her campaign are sure to get a free pass as well. Shink’s contributors won’t get a penny back from their contributions. Let’s be happy she lost by a landslide. Shink publicly said, she… Read more »

Ben McCormick
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Ben McCormick

Another punt by the City’s prosecutor, if you ask me! I’m sure his office is busy and must pick and choose which cases to pursue, but what does our City do if its own prosecutor finds “insufficient evidence” to pursue any case? From just the article above, not to mention all other coverage, it seems there were clearly laws broken and someone should be held accountable for that . . . Heidi, her campaign manager, her treasurer, someone! Next time I break a law (not that I ever do, of course!), who do I call to avoid prosecution and get… Read more »