Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern’s re-election campaign has made very few expenditures this spring. For the most part, because he’s running unopposed this June. But last week, his campaign contributed $50,000 to an unknown Independent Expenditure Committee supporting Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s tough re-election campaign against Oakland civil rights attorney Pamela Price.

An IE named “Forward Alameda in support of Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley 2018” received Ahern’s contribution on May 23 , but no other information about the group exists.

O'Malley Ahern contribution
An Independent Expenditure group named Forward Alameda received $50,000 from Alameda County Sheriff Ahern last Wednesday to support DA Nancy O’Malley’s bid for re-election

Activity involving the IE and the flow of large amounts of money in support of O’Malley coincides with another IE created on May 21, this one in opposition of Price, and backed by police unions from San Jose and Los Angeles.

As of Friday, “Californians United for Safe Neighborhoods and Schools opposing Pamela Price for District Attorney 2018” raised just $14,500 in contributions, but reported nearly $140,000 in expenditures, according to finance reports, for polling and two mailers.

The discrepancy in the IEs ledger raises questions of transparency, and potentially, the specter of dark money entering this race with just nine days before Election Day in a campaign that has grown even more contentious in recent weeks.

The addition of Ahern to the race is also certain to inflame supporters of Price, who have often conflated the sheriff, perceived by progressives to be cozy with ICE, with O’Malley over the course of the campaign.

Through the most recent finance reports, Ahern’s re-election campaign listed $241,842 in cash reserves with no fundraising activity reported this year. Before last week’s large $50,000 contribution, the Ahern campaign had spent just $4,702 in various small expenditures, mostly to local philanthropic groups.