FPPC Biased Against the Little Guy

More in more in Alameda, it’s beginning to look like the California Fair Political Practices Commission is the enforcement arm of the various taxing agencies, rather than an organization intended to level the playing field for all participants and ensure transparency in political discourse.

Consider these Alameda cases over the past few years.

File No. 14-1165
Benjamin T. Reyes II of Alameda filed campaign statements for an AUSD tax bond measure with the County Registrar of Voters, when he should have been filing them with the City Clerk in the city of Alameda. He then also used the name “Committee to Revitalize Our School” and did include “Yes on I” in accordance with the law. Then, the campaign sent out mailers with the wrong name on them, so nobody could identify where the money was coming from. The campaign raised tens of thousands of dollars from organizations outside of Alameda.

The FPPC did nothing.

File No. 11-185

An investigator on this complaint noted that, if the allegations of the complaint were true, there was probably no violation because the statute in question does not apply to calls made by committee volunteers.

Nonetheless, the FPPC decided to open an investigation as a fishing expedition – “I recommend opening this as a case to see…and proceed from there” – persecuting a small campaign that dared – dared! – to speak out against a school parcel tax.

Read the memo that shows how this was really a fishing expedition.

Read the entire file.

File No. 10-589

Despite clear and compelling evidence that the Alameda Unified School District violated the law by spending some $14,000 of taxpayer funds on what were clearly campaign mailers urging voters to support an AUSD parcel tax, the FPPC dropped the matter, with a yellow sticky note moving explanation out of the written record and into the spoken realm, presumably with no record kept.

Read the memo that buried the investigation.

Read the entire file.

File No. 11-001
The FPPC refused to take action on a complaint against Dr. Robert Deutsch of the Alameda Health Care District Board of Directors, regarding conflict-of-interest, until it received a barrage of complaints about the matter.

Read the entire file.

File No. 06-856
FPPC conducts only a cursory interest into allegations of conflict-of-interest against a City of Alameda Transportation Commission member who also cozies up to developers, and works for a transit advocacy organization that receives funding from developers.

Read the entire file.

File No. 12-495
Rob Bonta for State Assembly campaign failed to properly cross-file campaign finance statements. No action taken by the FPPC.

Read the entire file.