2018 Independent Expenditures
Over the next several months, The Coalition of Labor, Agricultural, and Business (COLAB) will provide a series of articles on issues its membership believes important to the economic viability of Imperial Valley. We thank the Desert Review for its support and interest in publishing these articles. Please note that our articles do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Desert Review, its owners, or staff. The opinions expressed are that of the COLAB board.
Last year we provided information on the donations and expenses in the 2017 IID Special Election. While an out-of-town media covered some of the donations by a special interest Political Action Committee this year, that new agency was not aware of other donations and expenses reported in other counties, and therefore off the normal grid. The campaign is over for all but two races fo IID and Supervisorial candidates, but we do believe the public needs to know the full extent of campaign contribution.
Some basics of the many California Fair Political Practice Commission’s forms are repeated herein from the last story. In California, as well as other states, a candidate who receives more than $2,000 per year for political purposes must report those funds based on set schedules for each election cycle. The form the candidate is required to complete is called form 460. This form details monies received by the candidates and their expenditures. The final filing for the Supervisors and IID primary election of June 5, 2018 was July 31, 2018. Those candidates who filed a form 470 (yes, I know it is a lot of forms) declared that they will neither receive nor spend $1000 or more during the campaign cycle are not required to file the Form 460. The reported income and expenditures the IID candidates for the three divisions and the four candidates for Supervisorial District 1 are listed below. Ray Castillo was unopposed for Supervisorial District 5
County Supervisor (District 1)
Imperial Irrigation District
The IID candidates also received benefits from another type of donation, the Independent Expenditure, from various Political Action Committees. This expenditure is legal and does not have to be reported by the candidate who is the beneficiary of the donation, if the donation is NOT made in consultation, cooperation, or coordination with the candidate, such as providing a campaign manager who is in direct contact with the candidate. This filing is also completed on a form 460. Two such PAC’s were active in this election cycle. The first is one that had success in 2012 with the IID election unseating two incumbent candidates. Based on the July 31, 2018 requisite filing submitted July 18, 2018, that PAC named IV First, the donations totaled $68,000 and the expenses were $90,754.
The second Independent Expenditure filing was from outside the County of Imperial, but did include an IID candidate. The PAC was the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association in Riverside, CA. This PAC raised funds for candidates for Indian Wells City Council, County of San Bernardino’s District Attorney, San Bernardino’s Board of Supervisors-District 2 & District 4, Yorba Linda City Council, and IID Division 1, as well as for two other PAC’s -- San Bernardino County Republican Central Committee and Orange County Taxpayers Association. The total amount raised for all the candidates and two other PAC’s was $166,752 with $316,020 spent. The amount spent in support of the IID candidate was $14,780. While it is difficult to extrapolate to an absolute, we can identify the following donors as likely parties to fund this local candidate:
8minutenergy Renewables, LLC $2,000
Don Barioni $500
Christian Jackson $2,000
Kelomar, Inc. $500
Jared Ries $750
Juana N. Salas $2,500
Again, these donations—as independent expenditures—are legal as long as reported in the prescribed time frame and not done in consultation, cooperation, or coordination with the candidate. While we did not request under the Freedom of Information Act, the Inland Empire Taxpayers Association document, a concerned Imperial County citizen did and forwarded to us. We again ask the responsible media, also report these donations to the voting public in each election cycle.
2017 Independent Expenditures
This article will cover two related topics. Our first topic deals with the recent Special Election for the Imperial Irrigation District, Division One race. Local news agencies have aired brief stories on contributions made in support of the candidates, however, large and significant donations were not revealed until after June 6th. This delay denied the public true picture of campaign contributions.
In California, as well as other states, a candidate who receives more than $2,000 per year for political purposes must report those funds based on set schedules for each election cycle. The form the candidate is required to complete is called Form 460. This form details monies received by the candidates and their expenditures. The final filing for the IID Special Election of June 6th was on July 31, 2017. Chart A lists the reported income and expenditures of all four candidates for Division One.
Another type of donation, that many are unaware of including it appears some of the local media, is the Independent Expenditure donations from, for example, a Political Action Committee, of $1,000 or more per year. This expenditure is legal and does not have to be reported by the candidate who is the beneficiary of the investment, if the investment is NOT made in consultation, cooperation, or coordination with the candidate, such as providing a campaign manager who is in direct contact with the candidate. This filing is done with Forms 496 and 497. The amount reported on forms 496 and 497 for the special election increased one candidate funding by $74,615.83. Only one candidate, as noted in the Chart B, received the benefit of this Independent Expenditure donation. The total funding for that candidate was actually $80,865.83, 20% greater than the total raised by the other three candidates.
The second topic is donations to political campaigns here over the last three elections cycles. In researching these Independent Expenditure forms we found that during the 2015, 2016 and 2017 election cycles, commitments for local donations have total $447,696.47. These investments range from school boards, the I.I.D. and the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. These donations, the only ones reported as required to the Imperial County Election Department are noted in Chart B. Unless otherwise noted all the donation are reported by the “Imperial Valley Works Sponsored by San Diego & Imperial Counties Labor Council-AFL-CIO”. Only one Form 497 was filed by a businessman from Beverly Hills involved with the development of Gran Plaza in Calexico. The specific organizations for the Imperial Valley Works Sponsored by San Diego & Imperial Labor Council -AFL-CIO is noted in the last column.
Again, these donations—as independent expenditures—are legal as long as reported in the prescribed time frame and not done in consultation, cooperation, or coordination with the candidate. At the local, State and Federal levels, most of us are aware of contributions made to candidates’ campaigns, and those are reported by the candidates’ committee. These independent expenditures from Form 496 and Form 497are also reported but often fly under the radar. Now that we know that these additional expenditures in support of candidates have been occurring here for several years, we ask that the responsible media also report these donations to the voting public in each election cycle.