So you all know, and I know that campaign finance reform is not just to limit the amount of money that is spent on elections, but also to improve the disclosure around who is funding who and what. The problem about insisting on more campaign finance reform is that if groups and candidates can’t follow rules that are currently in place and there are no repercussions for not following the rules in place, what’s the point?
But, you’ll be glad to know that last Thursday was the deadline for the second pre-election filing for the June election. Preserve Alameda, the group supporting Measure C the sales tax initiative, duly filed their paperwork by the deadline and that document was up on the City Clerk’s database and attached here. What you’re probably wondering is — like Doug deHaan’s wife — is who are the biggest funders.
Yes, in early May, Gail deHaan sent out this email, which warned people to watch out for this filing date because then then we would all know who was funding the pro Measure C campaign:
Subject: FYI – Doug deHaan’s Stand On Measure C
Date: May 5, 2012 9:29:24 PM PDT
I’ve had questions from friends asking how to vote on Measure C, as they are a bit confused because Doug did vote at the council meeting to put the measure on the ballot, so they feel he is in favor of the measure. I have asked them to please tell their friends that after Doug did some detailed independent research immediately after the council meeting, he is definitely voting NO on Measure C. Feel free to call or email him if you have questions. I went over to tell one neighbor who serves on the museum board that we are putting up a No on Measure C sign. I explained that we feel that the firefighter projects will get the bulk of the sales tax/bond money and who knows what happens after that, as the city is not obligated to any specific project(s). We then went over to explain to our other neighbors who are strong supporters of the library, that a 30 year tax is not necessary to obtain an elevator, e-books and computers for the main library, as this is less than $300,000, and these procurements are normally funded by the general fund. Voters need to pay special attention on May 24th, when the campaign financial reporting is released for YES on Measure C. This should/might answer the question as to whom exactly is footing the bill for the “YES” campaign. Unfortunately, the financial reporting will not come out before absentee ballots arrive next week.
The unwritten is that because the “firefighter projects will get the bulk of the sales tax/bond money” that clearly we can anticipate that Firefighter contributions will be the bulk of the contributions, turns out while they gave a lot, they were not the biggest contributors, below is a bullet list of who gave and how much:
- Alameda Police Managers Association, $3000
- Alameda Police Officers Association, $24,999
- Fire Managers Association, $3000
- Ron Matthews, $1000
- Thomas Schweich, $100
- Northern California Carpenters, $1750
- Alameda Firefighters Association, $15,000
- Construction and Laborers, $850
- IBEW, $500
The Firefighters Association also gave some non-monetary contributions in the form of office space and developing the website, which adds up to less than the amount of Alameda POA contributed.
On the other hand the No on Measure C campaign apparently scrambled yesterday to pull together a filing that they turned in well after the Thursday deadline.
Of course, I guess the No on Measure C campaign didn’t anticipate that they would need an FPPC number, still waiting apparently for their FPPC number to be issued even though you don’t need to wait until you hit the $1000 threshold to request a number from the FPPC. They didn’t file anything with the FPPC when they first printed up their lawn signs, since all their signs do not contain an FPPC number. A search of the FPPC website still does not turn up an FPPC number for the No on Measure C campaign aka Alamedans Against Measure C.
This last minute, late, filing it apparently to cover their collective asses because it’s not because they haven’t spent the $1000, in fact on their website they ask people to send checks because they have spent in excess of the $1000 threshold, and of course the filings show that they have well exceeded the $1000 mark.
So they are required — by election law — to have at least applied for a FFPC number when they hit that $1000 number, that post, by the way, went up last week or the week before, so it’s curious that no one with the campaign thought that they would need to fill out the proper disclosure forms and such in a timely manner.
But probably the most egregious bypassing of spirit of campaign disclosures is the request — like the anti-School Parcel Tax people — for folks to send checks in the amount of $10 – $99. Why is this significant? Because $100 is the threshold for itemizing in campaign contribution filings the names of actual contributors. Anything below $100 would just get placed in a lump sum and wouldn’t necessitate itemization. In fact the bulk of their money was received in increments of less than $100 bypassing the need to itemize the contributors.
So who is funding Alamedans Against Measure C, well only a few individuals gave over the $100 mark to get listed:
- Marilyn Tham
- Gene Oh (improperly listed as the owner of “Park Street Bicycles”)
- Eric Cross
Others have given non-monetary contributions like Janet Gibson, former school Board member who is also acting as the Treasurer for the group (so one would think she would know when the proper filing deadlines are), Denise Lai, and Gretchen Lipow of the Sunshine Task Force who recently came out to take the City Council to task for not moving forward on the campaign reform Council Referral by Doug deHaan. One would think that someone who is asking for more disclosures for campaigns would be a little more prudent about meeting campaign filing deadlines since the disclosure in the Campaign Finance Ordinance is designed to get more information out there, not less. And if someone who is so keen on campaign finance reform can’t even bother to meet current disclosure requirements, how can we expect other campaigns to meet the letter of the law?