NewsTeam 10 Investigates


What happens to Nathan Fletcher’s campaign funds?

Supervisor Fletcher announced he was dropping out of the state Senate race and seeking treatment for PTSD and alcohol abuse
Supervisor Nathan Fletcher
Posted at 6:18 PM, Apr 11, 2023
and last updated 2023-04-11 22:18:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)— With the fallout following accusations against Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, questions turn to what happens to all the money from donors he raised for his state Senate campaign.

Fletcher was a front-runner in the race for District 39 in the state Senate.

According to the Secretary of State’s website, he’s raised $460,495.17 for the race. The latest donations were recorded on March 27, totaling $8,000 from the managing partner of an investment firm. This was the day after he announced he was dropping out.

“It is unusual to raise that amount of money and drop out,” said campaign finance expert, Bob Stern.

Stern is the principal co-author of the Political Reform Act, which transformed campaign finance in the state and required accurate disclosures of contributions. He is also a retired former general counsel of the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Stern said when it comes to Fletcher’s donations, “he can’t use it for personal use.”

“He can’t take the trip to Hawaii and go surfing and stay at luxurious hotels and use campaign funds for that, so that’s the main thing he can’t do,” Stern said.

Stern said he can create a legal defense fund, but there are specific new rules in California when it comes to accusations of sexual misconduct.

“Usually, you can use campaign funds to pay for your defense in lawsuits. This case, however, there's an exception to this,” Stern said. “If you lose the case, you have to return the funds to the campaign. In other words, the funds from the campaign will not be allowed to be used for sexual harassment case if you lose.”

This government code explains the parameters of the legal defense fund.

Stern said a political candidate can also give the money back to donors. “It’s not usual, but it happens,” he said.

Raising money for political campaigns is nothing new for the former Republican Assemblymember turned Democratic supervisor. County campaign records show “Nathan Fletcher for Supervisor 2022” raised more than $316,000 in 2022.

It also shows last year, another $51,300 raised for “Nathan Fletcher for Democratic Central Committee 2024.”

There are no county filings for 2023.

There have been no new comments from Fletcher since March 29 when he announced he will leave the Board of Supervisors after his treatment for PTSD and alcohol abuse, which he said he is receiving out-of-state.