Brownrigg might have to prove he didn’t coordinate with mother

Mike Brownrigg

BY EMILY MIBACH
Daily Post Staff Writer

If a state ethics commission begins an investigation into whether a candidate for state Senate and his mother coordinated her spending $460,000 on her son’s campaign, the onus would be on the candidate to prove there was no coordination.

No complaint has been filed against 10-year Burlingame Councilman Michael Brownrigg and his mother, Linda, said Jay Wierenga, communications director for California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC.

The Post broke the news on Tuesday that Brownrigg’s mom had started her own independent expenditure committee and gave the committee $460,000 to assist his campaign for the state Senate seat being vacated by termed-out Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo.

But, according to an FPPC handbook, there is a “rebuttable presumption” that an expenditure is coordinated with or “made at the behest of” a candidate or committee under certain circumstances, such as if the person making the expenditure is started, run or staffed by someone who is an immediate family member of the candidate. That means the Brownriggs will have to prove that there was no coordination between them in creating the independent expenditure committee.

According to filings with the Secretary of State, the $460,000 she has spent on her son’s campaign has gone to polling, ads and a retainer to a political consultant.

If a complaint is filed about the Brownriggs and the FPPC finds them to be in the wrong, the maximum penalty can be $5,000 per issue. On the low end, the Brownriggs could get a warning letter from the FPPC, Wierenga said.

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