Michelle Rhee’s Husband Fined for Ethics Violations in California, is Connecticut next?

12 Comments

The country’s leading public education advocate, Diane Ravitch, has a post on her blog today with the news that Kevin Johnson, the Mayor of Sacramento California, and husband of education reformer Michelle Rhee, has been fined $37,500 by the California Fair Political Practices Commission, for failing to report donations of at least $3.5 million to a number of his personal initiatives, including his Teach for America education reform effort and his “Think Big Arena Task Force”.

Among the unreported donations was $500,000 from the pro-education, ultra-conservative Walton Foundation, operated by the family that owns Wal-Mart.  The Walton Foundation has also provided funds to education reform groups active in Connecticut.

California may not be the only state investigating alleged illegal activities by Mayor Johnson, Michelle Rhee or their related organizations.

Based upon a complaint I filed, Connecticut’s State Election’s Enforcement Commission has opened an official investigation into the alleged campaign finance violations of Residents for a Better Bridgeport, the political action committee that was created to support Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch’s unsuccessful effort to eliminate Bridgeport’s democratically elected Board of Education and replace it with one appointed by himself.

The complaint identified a variety of alleged violations perpetrated by Residents for a Better Bridgeport including failure to reveal donations and expenditures, as required by law.

Last week, I filed two additional complaints, one against Excel Bridgeport and the other against the Great New England Public Schools Alliance, the front group set up by Michelle Rhee’s organization, StudentsFirst.

According to the complaints, neither Excel Bridgeport nor GNEPSA came close to fulfilling its legal obligation to file reports on time or properly account for donations and expenditures related to their campaign activities for Finch and his referendum.

One of the additional issues raised in the complaints relate to who paid for Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson’s trip to Bridgeport where he campaigned with Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch and Superintendent of Schools Paul Vallas on behalf of Finch’s anti-democracy referendum.

Neither Citizens for a Better Bridgeport, Excel Bridgeport or GNEPSA reported any expenses related to Mr. Johnson’s campaign swing through Bridgeport.

The complaints allege multiple violations of Connecticut law.  Each of the three groups could face significant fines should they be found guilty.

You can find Diane Ravitch’s blog post here: Rhee’s Husband Fined for Ethics Violation

  • Sleepless in Bridgeport

    When are the Rhee’s moving to Bridgeport? He could take Cristina Ayala’s spot (after all no one died), and she could help Vallas destroy what remains of Bridgeport Public Schools. A match made in heaven? or the other spot?

  • Magister

    I’m surprised there isn’t a restraining order keeping Johnson a hundred yards away from Bridgeport Public Schools, given his ephebephilic tastes.

    • Linda174
      • msavage

        What a dirtbag this guy is. Like the typical pedophile, he volunteers for a youth organization so that he has easy access to emotionally fragile teens. And bringing God and prayer into it all the time–just absolutely despicable.

        • Linda174

          This is the best the Rheeject could do for a second husband? Oh and they appeared as a couple to speak about ethics…..what a friggin joke..ethics?

          • sharewhut

            Yeah, KJ was always a slippery point guard…quick to dish out an assist so his teammates could score big.. No change there! And…(tongue firmly planted in cheek, so please don’t sic your lawyers on me Ms Rhee)… a steadily scoring in(with?) the teens….

    • Sleepless in Bridgeport

      Restraining order……..try an invitation.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rich-White/100000066062155 Rich White

    California Fair Political Practices Commission investigators said in a report that mayor did not appear to obtain “any personal monetary benefit as a result of the donations in question.”

    “While I appreciate acknowledgment in the FPPC report that this error was an unintentional administrative lapse related to efforts to raise resources for charities and civic causes, I take full responsibility,” the mayor said in a statement. “At my direction, my administration has improved training and tracking procedures to ensure we are fully compliant moving forward.”

  • Suesylvester

    You are pretty brave guy JP..you file complaints and then advertise it on your blog. If you lived in the Hartford area this would be a dangerous thing..I hope you are safe or maybe (like Malloy) can afford to hire body guards and upgrade your security.

    • msavage

      Is it just me or does this sound vaguely threatening?

  • David

    This is their play book … Do it anyway they want until they r caught stealing n cheating the system… When caught with their hands in the cooky jar they apologize or claim they didn’t know any better then they investigate how they got caught so they can find another way of stealing n cheating

    • JMC

      If caught it won’t matter because Malloy installed a flack AG who in the Blumenthal tradition started off by going after…a car wash.