By the Numbers: $106,173
A couple years ago, then-San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed got into some hot water when his pension reform committee shuffled $100,000 to another group that helped re-elect Rose Herrera to the City Council.
The Fair Political Practices Commission deemed the transfer illegal and levied a fine after a months-long investigation in 2013. But the penalty was largely symbolic—only $1—because the commission decided that Reed acted unintentionally.
However, with much more than a dollar at stake, Reed appealed the ruling in a bid to recoup legal fees, clear his name and revise campaign finance rules.
Fast-forward to this year: Reed won the appeal, which earned him the right to negotiate a settlement. Now, according to the Sacramento Bee, the FPPC has to cover the cost of his attorney fees, which amounted to $106,173.50.
That’s quite a price to pay for just a dollar.
Reed's critics called on him to decline the payout. Californians for Retirement Security—a 1.6 million member coalition of government retirees—said his years-long campaign to rein in public employee pensions has already cost California taxpayers millions of dollars.
In 2014, Reed sued state Attorney General Kamala Harris over the title and summary of a failed statewide pension reform measure, which cost the state hundreds of thousands of dollars. Meanwhile, pension reforms championed by Reed and approved by voters in San Jose spurred a years-long legal bout with unions that has cost the city somewhere around $5 million.
“Once again, taxpayers are on the hook for Reed’s political agenda, this time with six-figure payment,"said the group’s chairman, Dave Low. "If he was sincere about saving taxpayer money, he wouldn’t be continually trying to squeeze taxpayers for additional dollars for him and his lawyers.”
This article has been updated.