Dark Money and San Francisco Bay Area Dollars Sole Financial Support for By-District Elections Campaign

dark-money-graphicTake a gander at the campaign finance report filed by the campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts. Two things jump out beside the $101,100 in contributions: 93% of that total is the “dark money” hated by the progressives running this campaign  and not a penny of it comes from Anaheim – most is from Northern California.

The biggest single contributor to the Committee for District Elections is OCCORD  – to the tune of $49,000.  OCCORD is a left-wing non-profit political advocacy group headquartered in a Garden Grove office building owned by the militant union UNITE-HERE.  [OCCORD’s professed mission is to reverse the polarity of Orange County politics and shift it as far to the Left as possible.]

That’s a neat trick. OCCORD Executive Director Eric Altman announces his resignation to go run the Committee for District Elections. $49,000 is diverted from OCCORD on June 26 to the committee Altman is heading up (it’s unclear exactly when Altman left OCCORD, but his replacement as executive director wasn’t announced until mid-July.

Since OCCORD is a 501(c)4, it only has to file annual financials with the IRS and refuses to disclose its donors. In other words, by the time any figures out where that $49,000 came from, the November election will be long over. Is it from traditional OCCORD donors like the California Endowment and the James Irvine Foundation? Wells Fargo? If so, did they understand their money would be going to fund a ballot initiative? We know at least some of that money comes from UNITE-HERE, which cuts OCCORD a $5,000 check every month.

Mind you, OCCORD founder and leader Eric Altman (now the director of the Committee for District Elections — is an advocate of transparency… at least for others. I encourage the Voice of OC and the OC Register to ask OCCORD where the $49,000 came from, and see if they get an answer. I once tried, and was rebuffed.

The second biggest donor is PowerPac.org Voter Fund, a San Francisco-based political action committee that on May 30 donated $45,000 for a campaign to re-structure how Anaheim is governed.  Hmmm…why would a PAC from liberal San Francisco care how Anaheim elects its city council?

The PowerPac.org Vioter Fund’s most recent campaign finance report shows donations of $5,000 on May 22 and $60,000 on May 27 from PowerPac.org. Three days, the PowerPAC Voter Fund shifted $45,000 of that to the Committee for District Elections. From whom did PowerPac.org received that money? A good question for which there is no answer since PowerPac.org has not filed any campaign reports this year.

According to its website, donations to PowerPac.org “are used for our nonpartisan voter education and mobilization efforts targeting voter participation and turn out in communities of color.” PowerPac.org is a 501 (c) 4; like OCCORD, it is subject only to annual reports filed with the IRS and doesn’t have to disclose its donors. In other words, more of what the lefties like to call “dark money.”

The rest of the money  came from two of the left-wing attorneys who sued the City of Anaheim (with the ACLU) on behalf of possible Anaheim City Council candidate Jose Moreno: Morris Baller ($3,500) and Robert Rubin ($3,600). This money presumably came from the hundreds of thousands of dollars they harvested from Anaheim taxpayers as part of the Moreno v. Anaheim settlement.

After paying expenses – to a Los Angeles law firm and a company in Washington DC — the Committee for District Elections reported having $99,468.36 cash-on-hand.

To summarize:  the ultimate source of 93% of the $101,100 funneled into the by-district elections campaign is a mystery — and not a single cent of the warchest targeted at carving Anaheim into single-member council districts comes from Anaheim. Every cent originates with liberal interest groups from out-of-town…like waaaay out of town. Shouldn’t it say something about the nature of this campaign that the only people motivated to donate to the campaign to dived Anaheim into single-member council districts are people from the San Francisco Bay Area? 

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. The notion that the campaign for by-district council elections is some grass-roots effort to bring city government closer to the people and allow “neighbors to elect neighbors” is a hoax and a farce. This is a political power play and has been from the very beginning. It is about re-structuring Anaheim government in order to ensure Democratic council majorities that will pursue left-of-center policies. Most of those pushing for by-district council elections in Anaheim are versed in and acting on that knowledge; a few others have closed their eyes and apparently convinced themselves this is really, truly about “letting the people decide.”

Will the local guardians of transparency and good government raise a hue and cry about this gusher of dark money flooding into the Anaheim to fund an effort to re-shape how its citizens elect their city council? Or will they go mute in the time-honored tradition of the ends justifying the means?

6 comments

  1. This is a measure run by Tom Tait with 100 percent funding from outside Anaheim. No transparency, no accountability, and will permanently change governance in Anaheim if approved because their funded mail will all state it’s about equal voting rights, which is a total crock. Where’s the kindness in paying outsiders to lie for you Mayor Tait? When our city slides into the decrepit financial straits of LA, San Bernardino and others with districts, Tait will be long gone so I guess he just couldn’t care less about our city’s future.

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