Anaheim Insider here.
Last week, the Orange County Register reported that the California Fair Political Practices Commission is fining trash hauler George Briggeman Jr. $15,000 for money laundering in connection with his 2012 contributions to the Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods political action committee. This PAC paid for mail supporting then-council candidates Lucille Kring and John Leos and attacking Jordan Brandman. As we know, Brandman was the top vote-getter, Kring was elected to the council for the third time, and public employee union activist Leos lost his second consecutive council race.
Briggeman ran afoul of the law by giving $13,200 to this PAC as “Green & Clean LLC” of Cheyenne, Wyoming, instead of under his own name. If he’d done the latter, he’d be in the clear. According to the FPPC:
Briggeman created and fully funded Green and Clean LLC, which is located in Cheyenne, Wyoming, for the purpose of making political contributions in California to conceal himself as the true source of the contributions.
Briggeman violated the Act’s provisions against making contributions in a name other than one’s legal name and failing to identify himself as the true source of funds contributed, in violation of the Political Reform Act1 (“the Act”).
But the Register failed to note the larger context: Mayor Tom Tait’s first attempt to secure a council majority through a candidate slate. Tait pulled his endorsement of Steve Lodge and reneged on a long-promised endorsement for Jordan Brandman. Instead, he endorsed Kring and Leos, who became the “Tait Slate.” Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods was the primary vehicle for promoting the Tait Slate to the voters. The anti-Brandman mailer sent by Taxpayers was the most vicious hit on him of the entire campaign.
The other funders of the Tait Slate’s mail were The Tait Family Trust and Carolyn Young, mother of Brandman-hater Jason Young. The mail consultant was Chris Jones, who has also been Tait’s campaign mail consultant for many years.
The FPPC notes that Briggeman created Green and Clean LLC for the purpose of giving to political campaigns. But why in Cheyenne, Wyoming, of all places? Briggeman’s various businesses are all incorporated in California. True, there are tax advantages, but according to the FPPC, Green and Clean LLC was a shell that existed to funnel campaign dollars, not function as an actual business.
Tait does have strong ties to Cheyenne. His wife’s family have lived in Cheyenne for several generations, and have been leading citizens for decades. Last year, Mayor Tait’s brother-in-law was elected Wyoming’s Secretary of State. There are fewer than 600,000 people in the entire state, and only 62,000 in Cheyenne. It isn’t evidence of a direct connection to Briggeman’s funding of the 2012 Tait Slate, but it is quite a coincidence. CATER lawsuits and Cynthia Ward/Greg Diamond conspiracy theories have been based on less.