Arrowhead CU Fined For Not Reporting Contributions

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Arrowhead Credit Union has been fined after it failed to report 124 campaign contributions for a total of $104,441.50 it made between January 2000 and June 2004.

Pete Aguilar, Arrowhead's vice president and director of governmental relations, told The Credit Union Journal some contributions during the time period were reported, but others were not. He said the credit union discovered the discrepancy in January and immediately reported it to the California Fair Political Practices Commission.

"Once we found the problem, we fixed it," Aguilar said. "We're going to put it behind us and move on."

Because Arrowhead self-reported its failure to disclose some contributions and demonstrated it was taking steps to correct its internal processes, the CU was allowed to enter the FPPC's Streamlined Enforcement Program, Aguilar explained.

According to documents on the FPPC's website, Arrowhead did not disclose $28,715.50 in 43 contributions made in 2000; 18 contributions totaling $13,250 in 2001; 41 contributions totaling $39,683 in 2002, and 22 contributions for a total of $22,793 in 2003. The contributions ranged from $100 to $3,200.

Fine Of More Than $3,000

The agenda for the FPPC's Sept. 1 meeting states Arrowhead will be fined $3,444.41. ACU said in a statement the fine is "significantly less than what we would have been required to pay had we not been admitted into the Streamlined Enforcement Program." Arrowhead said it has provided the commission with amended filings.

"As a community partner, Arrowhead Credit Union will continue to support candidates and initiatives that we believe will improve the quality of life of our members and of the Inland Empire as a whole. We understand, however, that we must help protect the sanctity of the political process by strictly following campaign contribution reporting laws," the statement said in part.

The statement went on to say Arrowhead has taken two "important steps" to ensure no future reporting errors: it created a new compliance manager position to coordinate compliance with campaign finance laws and other financial institution reporting requirements, and it issued an internal operations policy manual outlining the campaign contribution reporting process as required by the FPPC and how the process will be followed.

"With these measures in place, we commit to our members and to the public that our first reporting violation will be our last," the statement concluded.

Added Aguilar: "It is in our best interest to be politically active and we take that seriously. But, with that comes accountability."

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