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Sen. Gaines calls for investigation into Cal Fire

Hidden $3.6 million leads to letter to state attorney general
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In response to recent reports saying the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) hid $3.6 million with the California District Attorneys Association instead of depositing it into the state’s general fund, Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Rocklin, is asking California Attorney General Kamala Harris to open an investigation.

“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,” Gaines said in a statement Tuesday after sending a letter to Harris. “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 after the California Department of Parks and Recreation was found to be concealing $20 million in a secret account last year. After an investigation, 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?” Gaines said. “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.”

Sen. Gaines is also supporting 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,” he said. “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.”