Political Commission Closes Investigation on Marne Foster

An agency that oversees campaign finance laws has ended its investigation into San Diego Unified School Board President Marne Foster, finding she has not broken any campaign rules.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) was looking into several conflict of interest accusations brought against Foster by community activist Sally Smith.

Smith alleged Foster had violated rules about “mass mailings” because a link on the SDUSD website led visitors to Foster’s biography and her 2016 re-election campaign birthday party.

After investigating the complaint, the commission said the link did not constitute a mass mailing at public expense because “a link a person can visit voluntarily is not a mass mailing.”

The FPPC also found that two legitimate scholarships awarded to her sons by the YMCA would not be considered reportable income.

“I appreciate the FPPC’s decision in this matter and will continue to respect the process,” Foster said in a statement.

Smith gave this response to NBC 7: "It wasn't the outcome that I would hope for, but certainly it documented her activites and the use of district resources for her campaign activities."

The commission’s investigation did not delve into accusations that Foster used her influence to cause administrative changes at the School of Creative and Performing Arts, where her son received a negative college evaluation.

School district Superintended Cindy Marten released personnel documents last month to dispute the claims.

Foster is also accused of orchestrating a complaint filed against the district by her son’s father, claiming the family was entitled to $250,000 because of the college bad evaluation.

Those topics will be taken up by an independent investigation commissioned by the SDUSD Board of Trustees.

In early September, Foster apologized for holding a private fundraiser for her sons’ college tuitions and inviting contractors who deal with the district and who presented a conflict of interest.

Contact Us