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State senator to pay fines for conflict in last job

January 18, 2011 |  6:06 pm

State Sen. Michael Rubio (D-East Bakersfield) has agreed to pay $3,500 in fines for a conflict of interest violation after the state’s ethics watchdog agency found that he voted as a member of the Kern County Board of Supervisors in 2006 to give his wife’s nonprofit a contract.

Rubio voted to approve $134,000 for Clinica Sierra Vista to provide healthcare services to Kern County, according to a report released Tuesday by the state Fair Political Practices Commission.

At the time, Rubio’s wife,  Dora Escudero, was employed by the nonprofit as a dental hygienist. Rubio agreed to pay the fines for failing to report income from his wife’s salary and for making "a governmental decision in which he had a financial interest."

The commission will meet Jan. 28 to vote on the stipulated agreement with Rubio, who was elected to the state Senate on Nov. 2. "Clearly, I acted in good faith by following the advice of our county’s attorneys,'' Rubio said in a statement, adding "I am also very proud of my wife and her admirable service as a dental hygienist for many of the needy families in the Central Valley."

-- Patrick McGreevy