A mailer from Pleasanton Families for Supervisor
Nate Miley, an IE supporting his re-election.
ALCO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS | DISTRICT 4 |
Earlier this month, a mysterious independent expenditures committee named “Pleasanton Families for Supervisor Nate Miley” surfaced without much funding or activity. However, campaign finance reports for the Independent Expenditure Committee, not yet easily accessible to the public, show a troubling connection, possibly coordination, between Miley’s official re-election campaign and Pleasanton Families for Supervisor Nate Miley.
In the case with Pleasanton Families for Supervisor Nate Miley, new evidence indicates a direct line between Miley’s re-election campaign and the independent expenditure committee, formed May 6 by 94-year-old Mary Warren, also a member of the Oakland Coliseum Joint Powers Authority. Miley also sits on the JPA. In addition, a smoking gun linking the possibility of coordination exists in an email from Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty to potential donors just two weeks ago.
An email from Alameda County Supervisor Scott
Haggerty in mid-May advertises a May 25 fundraiser
for Miley’s re-election campaign., but it also suggests
coordination between it and the IE, see below.
Independent Expenditure Committees, known as IEs, are political groups that can raise unlimited amounts of money for candidates and causes–for and against them–but without any coordination with the official campaign. Such coordination would run afoul of state election laws. If wrongdoing is proven, the state Fair Political Practices Commission could potentially levy large fines.
The East Bay Citizen has obtained evidence that Miley’s re-election campaign and Pleasanton Families for Supervisor Nate Miley are not entirely separate entities, but, helping each other draw contributions from the same well of donors.
Last May 17, Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty notified, through an email, a fundraiser for Miley’s campaign to be held last Wednesday at McGrail Vineyards in Livermore. The owner, Jim McGrail, is a former Alameda County sheriffs deputy with ties to Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern. Miley and Ahern both attracted criticism for receiving substantial campaign contributions over the years from Corizon, the county contractor which has consistently received no-bid contracts for inmate health care services.
Haggerty’s email, for the most part, contains standard boilerplate for eliciting campaign contributions.
“The race for County Supervisor is close and Supervisor Nate Miley needs our supports,” wrote Haggerty. The suggested donation is $100 per person, it continues, and notes any check made payable to Miley’s re-election campaign.
However, the next sentence clearly links Miley’s campaign to the Pleasanton Families IE. “If you would like to donate to the Pleasanton Families for Nate Miley please let me know and I can email you that Tax ID,” wrote Haggerty.
What the public knew about the IE supporting Miley is this: It was formed May 6 and as of last Friday contained just $5,500 in the form of three contributions—all donors to Miley’s re-election campaign. No other finance records are readily available to the public. For instance, the IE’s Form 460 document showing contributions and expenditures is unavailable online even though it was due last Wednesday. For the time being, the only way an enterprising resident could view this document and others is if they took the time to travel to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters in Oakland and peruse its files.
In fact, Pleasanton Families for Supervisor Nate Miley is actually a misnomer, since not a single Pleasanton family has contributed to the IE. In addition, it has actually raised $24,500 through the final pre-primary reporting period ending May 21. The IE has also spent nearly $15,000 for a campaign mailer supporting Miley, a robocall, and a not-yet-seen door hanger piece. Required documentation of either large expenditure does not exist. Through May 21, the IE maintains a cash reserve of $14,772.
Exactly why the public is unaware of the IEs activity is not be illegal, but strongly suggests an intention to evade notice until closer to Election Day or after. Alameda County does not require that campaigns file finance reports online, but most do. Miley’s re-election campaign, like most, filed both online and in paper form. The latter method takes longer to show up online because it requires county registrar staff to scan the finance report into its system.
Over the weekend, the first fruits of the IE’s campaign reached Pleasanton voters in the form of a mailer highlighting Miley’s support from the entire Pleasanton City Council. A knowledgeable voter in Pleasanton who tried to access the county’s campaign finance portal would find no information about the mailer and its cost.
What they would have found is telling, and includes a listing of donors to the IE that is almost an exact match to those who have also contributed to Miley’s re-election campaign. In some cases, the IEs donors are also entities who are also large county contractors, including Paramedics Plus and Alecto Healthcare Services, LLC. In addition, the International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 55 PAC contributed $5,000 to the IE. The entry is notable since the firefighters’ union contract is due to be reopened this year.
Curiously, 8 of the 10 donors to the IE supporting Miley could have just contributed more money to Miley’s re-election fund (See chart below).That’s because none of the IE’s contributors have come close to reaching the county’s very-high $20,000 maximum for campaign donations. In additional contributor to the IE–Grove Way Investments–did not give to Miley’s re-election but are controlled by Castro Valley contractor Marc Crawford, whose aggregate total of contributions through various entities, make him Miley’s largest donor.
The inclusion of so many contributors eschewing donations to the campaign proper, coupled with the lax reporting of the IEs finance reports, suggest a kind of shadow campaign running parallel to the official campaign. Critics of IEs often scoff at the illusion that they are truly independent of the main campaign. However, proving such crossover or blurring of the lines is often difficult.
PLEASANTON FAMILIES FOR SUPERVISOR NATE MILEY DONORS
CONTRIBUTOR IE $ MILEY*
Falcon Point Associates $5,000 $1,262
IAAF Local 55 $5,000 $500
Black Tie Transportation LLC $2,500 $ 0
Grove Way Investments** $2,500 —
Top Team Management, LLC $2,500 $5,000
Alecto Healthcare Services $1,500 $2,064
Gray, Greer, Shelby & Vaughn $1,500 $ 750
The McConnell Group $1,500 $1,000
Paramedics Plus $1,500 $4,189
John Wong, Mission Peak Co $1,000 $ 0
*Note: Alameda County maximum contribution is $20,000 per election cycle
**Affiliated with Miley donor Marc Crawford.