Fourth District Supervisor candidate Lynn Compton is facing criticism this week for failing to disclose a donation on her campaign statements as well as an upcoming fundraiser where guests are encouraged to come in “hobo attire.”
The Oct. 5 fundraiser at the Oceano Train Depot features “hobo stew,” a competition and prizes, with a portion of the proceeds going to the nonprofit Oceano Depot Association.
Kathie Matsuyama, treasurer for Compton’s opponent, Supervisor Caren Ray, sent an email Friday blasting the event.
“Are you appalled, offended, and outraged by this disgusting lack of compassion for a segment of our county’s population which Lynn Compton is supposedly campaigning to represent?” Matsuyama wrote in the email. “Do you want any Supervisor to be elected to the SLO County Board who is this insensitive to the serious issue of homelessness?”
Matsuyama signed off as author of a feasibility study for the nonprofit 5Cities Homeless Coalition. She previously worked as a consultant for the coalition but has not been affiliated with the group in at least two years, Executive Director Janna Nichols said.
Nichols said the organization is prohibited by law from engaging in any partisan political activities and did not have any comment on Compton’s event.
In response, Compton’s campaign issued a statement, describing the fundraiser “as a fun event” where some guests “will dress in overalls and bring knapsacks on a stick.”
Many similar events have been held at the Depot and in the community of Oceano over the years, the statement read.
“This is an historical railroad event and has no bearing whatsoever on the current plight of the homeless in San Luis Obispo County or in the United States,” Compton’s statement continued. “This is a fun event being held in a railroad car in a train depot around Halloween, and my opponent should lighten up.”
Also this week, Compton received a warning letter from the Fair Political Practices Commission, which found she failed to report the value of the use of a vehicle and a trailer from her business that served as a moving billboard for her campaign.
According to the FPPC, Compton failed to report the value as an in-kind donation on her campaign statements, Gary S. Winuk, chief of the agency’s enforcement division, wrote in the Sept. 2 letter. The Political Reform Act requires that the value of goods or services received by a committee at no charge or at a discount must be reported.
Compton immediately amended her campaign statements when contacted by the FPPC, which then closed its file on the issue, Winuk wrote.
In an emailed statement, Compton’s campaign said it fully reported all expenditures and contributions under existing law for each reporting period, including the vehicle wraps. The FPPC had expanded its reporting requirements, the statement continued, which required Compton to report the vehicles used to transport the wraps.
“In the spirit of full transparency, the Lynn Compton campaign provided the information when the request was made for this type of additional information,” the statement read.
FPPC spokesman Jay Wierenga declined to comment on Compton’s statement but said the agency has not changed or expanded its reporting requirements.
“The way we see it, there was no difference for her than for anyone else,” he said. “The warning letter spells out our position and what we felt was a violation of the act.”