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Hidden funds: Sen. Gaines wants AG to look at Cal Fire

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From page A1 | February 01, 2013 | 17 Comments

SACRAMENTO – Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, has sent a letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris requesting an investigation into the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection following recent reports revealing the agency hid $3.6 million with the California District Attorneys Association instead of depositing it into the state’s General Fund.

“This is a very serious and disturbing matter that calls for a thorough investigation by the attorney general to determine whether there are any related criminal charges that should be brought,” said Gaines. “Hiding funds outside the state system with an organization that is profiting from the account simply reeks of wrongdoing and demands to be looked into.”

This news comes on the heels of the California Department of Parks and Recreation concealing $20 million in a hidden account last year. Following that revelation, auditors found more than $200 million that other state agencies had stashed away.

“How can the state get away with charging rural Californians a $150 illegal fire fee specifically to support Cal Fire operations, and at the same time Cal Fire is hiding millions in a secret fund?” said Gaines. “It’s no wonder there is such a high level of distrust between the government and its citizens. We deserve to know the truth behind what took place and why.”

Gaines also strongly supports the efforts of the joint Assembly and Senate committee hearings into whether there are millions more hiding completely off the grid.

“Unfortunately, our oversized government makes it far too easy for state agencies to get away with this kind of activity and have it go unnoticed for years,” said Gaines. “I welcome the joint committee hearings and commit to working with my colleagues to determine necessary reforms to put a stop to this unethical behavior and return any funds where they belong – with California’s taxpayers.”

Senator Ted Gaines represents the 1st Senate District, which includes all or parts of Alpine, El Dorado, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Shasta, Sierra and Siskiyou counties.

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Discussion | 17 comments

  • R.J. CarterJanuary 31, 2013 - 2:00 pm

    Now It's confirmed!!...Cal Fire was rat-hole'in away millions in a secret fund and at the same time taxing/charging homeowners twice for the same service..Remember all those sheep who defended this so-called fire-tax and condemned the folks who were bright enough to stand up against it??...Thank you Senator Gaines..

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 31, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    nice!!! someone really looking into things--could it be true...this one Ill watch.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 31, 2013 - 2:32 pm

    The people of California deserve to know how their money is spent. (http://cssrc.us/) This includes how donations are spent.

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 3:37 pm

    There are approx. 500 Calif. state government entities. Within the state there are nearly 90,000 local (county, municipal, special district, enterprise) government entities. EACH entity annually produces a Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). (These are distinct from the annual Budgets presented to the public.) Consider CAFRs to be the Investment Accounts, for that is what they are. These are where each agency/entity hides undisclosed surplus funds, often HUGE amounts. 13 years ago it was estimated that Federal, State & Local Governments controlled investments totaling $60 TRILLION.

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 6:19 pm

    "California Government Hides Billions From Taxpayers" - HERE - What if I could show you over $577 billion in investment fund balances that aren’t being reported by the California State Government on its budget report?

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 6:22 pm

    "State, school budget cuts: 100% funding if CAFR billions, trillions disclosed" - HERE - This $8 trillion data-sampled estimate of California’s total taxpayer asset surpluses means that each of California’s ~12 million households has ~$650,000 in government-held surplus accounts.

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 6:23 pm

    From the above: "Importantly, I am unaware of anyone who has even attempted to refute the existence of the colossal funds revealed in CAFRs."

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  • DB SmithJanuary 31, 2013 - 6:44 pm

    Evelyn, the CAFR information is disturbing and alarming. But I am just at the point that nothing, absolutely nothing surprises me anymore. The people need to wake up and get involved if they ever want to make a difference.

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  • DeeJanuary 31, 2013 - 6:51 pm

    ALL government agencies find ways to sock away additional funds. After all, accounting is nothing but moving money. The one that drives me crazy is keeping unfilled positions on the books then transfering the money to "necessities".

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 7:04 pm

    DB Smith & Dee: We absolutely must drive home to everyone we know that when ANY government agency presents its Budget that they are only showing us their check book -- so to speak. Hidden away are the savings books and investment accounts. Those are what we need to see and understand. So far, the hidden surpluses of only 2 Calif. govt entities have come to light. That is because nobody is digging into and exposing all the others.

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  • francescaduchamp@att.netJanuary 31, 2013 - 7:13 pm

    And to think I did it the opposite way-- when I was on the FOL board as treasurer--I just showed everyone the real bank statements (when asked about money) along with receipts and pictures (with every check referenced and accounted for by number)..lololol...no wonder every one was confused. I guess I should have got my notebooks and pretended to hide them. I brought them to every event and meeting I went to...even if no one asked.

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  • EvelynJanuary 31, 2013 - 7:25 pm

    Totally revolutionary Concept, Fran!

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  • Rita SinclairFebruary 01, 2013 - 7:22 pm

    Gaines writes another article about himself, jumping on the bandwagon to drum up a little popularity. What a tool.

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  • REALLYFebruary 01, 2013 - 9:11 pm

    Really! This is what you are concerned about? Our Government is spending Billions on other programs that we can't afford and you want heads because of a few million dollars in a different account? Get real people. We are spending billions on people that should not be here in this Country. We are spending billions on a high speed train that goes to nowhere in the middle of farming area that doesn't even need the service. We are spending billions to people on assistance that don't need it because they are to "lazy" to get up from their X-box to get a job and support themselves. Don't get me wrong these "side" accounts are wrong to have, but I never see anything about the wasted billions in programs that we spend year after year and get nothing in return for this money. As for Cal Fire and the SRA fee. Look at the books.....this was brought in by the Governor not Cal Fire. Like other Departments through-out the State Cal Fire budget was reduced in size. The "fire fee" was a way the Government "chose" to get the monies returned to Cal Fire.

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  • cookie65February 02, 2013 - 8:03 am

    State agencies ratholing money is not new. They have been doing it for years. Mr. Gaines makes no mention of the primary cause. The state and the fed uses what they call Base Line Budgeting. It requires agencies to spend all their annual budget in order to get the next years. If they have not spent it, they hide it so they can get their next years taxpayer funds. If Gaines had any sincerity and not just a member of the club he would have discussed it in this letter in order to educate the low information types and would at least try and change it. He is just another example of the government vs the people.

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  • Ken SteersFebruary 02, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Reallym the Calfire fee was introduced marketed and passed by the democrat socialists. It was presented as one of the Alpha site models of how to institute tax revenues for the state general fund utilizing a Red Hearing entity. The fire tax does not go, nor where they ever planned to go to Calfire. The democrat socialist purposefully singled out the rural communities who just so happen to vote (R) for this unfair tax. Expect this to be the future for bench mark taxes. We must all remember who is responsible for this illegal process. Thank you democrat socialist for stealing from us. Here in Eldorado County we can all thank the 5 people who run the Eldorado County democrat central committee, by the way John Garon is one of them, for defending their parties unfair tax on all of us. This process that they have enacted and forcibly supported explains why their Central Committee doesn't list the members or have elections. So if you are upset regarding the process and want to talk to someone responsible who lives in our neighborhoods I suggest attending the DCC meetings. Meet the people who support the socialist take over of our socialist. Meet the people who call our county racists and ignorant. It might just be eye opening who you see there.

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  • Sid DelgatoFebruary 03, 2013 - 9:48 pm

    See you at the meeting Ken. Don't forget to wear your brown shirt.

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