$5,400 fine proposed for Rosario Marin

Staffers at California’s Fair Political Practices Commission have proposed a $5,400 penalty for Rosario Marin, who accepted honoraria for speaking engagements while serving as Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Secretary of the State and Consumer Services Agency.

Marin — also a former U.S. Treasurer under President George W. Bush and a 2004 Republican primary candidate for the U.S. Senate — resigned her $175,000-a-year state cabinet post in March, as the Los Angeles Times reported that pharmaceutical companies paid Marin for speeches within months of her agency’s push to reduce oversight of prescription drugs, including $15,000 from Pfizer Inc. and $13,500 from Bristol-Myers Squibb. Financial disclosure forms show Marin was paid at least $50,000 for appearances between April 2004 and the end of 2007.

According to the FPPC staff’s report, Marin received lousy legal advice:

Respondent Marin’s violation of the Act and its regulations involved detrimental reliance upon the assistance and counsel of no fewer than four department and agency attorneys who reviewed her statements of economic interests but did not identify the “predominant activity” standard that separated permissible from impermissible acceptance of honoraria for bona fide business activities that involved speechmaking.

As is the FPPC’s common practice, Marin already has agreed to the fine; the matter is on the agenda for the FPPC’s approval at its meeting June 18 in Sacramento.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RR

    This phony, do-next-to-nothing agency is a waste of taxpayers’ hard-earned dough. Next week, they’ll fine Earl Warren and Goodwin Knight!