Rules? Where we’re going we don’t need rules.

Carl J. Petersen
4 min readSep 23, 2017

According to the Felony Complaint against Refugio (Ref) Rodriguez, he and his cousin allegedly conspired in a scheme that hid the source of almost $25,000 in campaign donations from the public. While a lawyer involved in the case maintains that this is “a small amount of money”, the amount donated by each of the listed donors has raised suspicion since the time of the original filing. As noted by KPCC in an article dated February 5, 2015, “Rodriguez collected $21,000 in campaign donations from employees of his charter school network, Partnerships to Uplift Communities” including “a handful of his workers — a janitor, maintenance worker, tutor — [who] are donating at or near the contribution limit, $1,100.” Rodriguez insisted at the time that “the employee contributions weren’t coerced and will not be reimbursed”, but the District Attorney charged both the Board member and his cousin with “25 counts of ‘assumed name contribution’” for allegedly using Rodriguez’s own funds to pay back the donors. While it is not illegal to lie to the press, lying on a campaign contribution report will subject you to a felony charge of perjury.

If convicted of the charges, Rodriguez will have earned a place in the Stupid Criminal Hall of Fame. As his lawyer notes, “candidates fund their own campaigns often” and the law provides no limit to the amount a candidate can donate or loan to his or her own campaign. Therefore, the alleged tactics of money laundering were not needed to circumvent campaign donation limits. Instead, they allowed the candidate to claim a level of community support that did not exist: “I know for many of them this is a tremendous sacrifice,” he told KPCC. “It’s just been sort of an outpouring of folks belief in me and what we are trying to do for the city.” The only problem is that there was no “we”. All of the money is alleged to have flowed through Rodriguez’s mother’s checking account, originating with the former Board President’s personal funds.

It is interesting to note that in responding to the charges against him, Rodriguez has avoided any claim that he did not engage in the alleged activity. His press release refers to the charges as “issues” that says that he hopes they “will be resolved expeditiously and fairly.”…

Carl J. Petersen

Parent, special education advocate and former LAUSD School Board candidate. Still fighting for the children.