Fair Political Practices Commission bringing government agencies to task over illegal use of taxpayer money to fund revenue measure campaigns

31 Dec

Thanks Bob, for this link:


Over the last several years, this column has exposed multiple instances of government entities using taxpayer dollars for political advocacy, a practice that is illegal under both state and federal law.  Because progress in stopping these violations has been difficult, taxpayers will be pleased to hear that on December 20th, California’s campaign watchdog agency, the Fair Political Practices Commission, conducted a hearing on illegal activity by the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART).

The FPPC stated that BART used public funds to pay for a campaign of “YouTube videos, social media posts, and text messages to promote Measure RR, which authorized BART to issue $3.5 billion in general obligation bonds.” Under California law, spending money on a political campaign to pass the bond measure caused BART to qualify as an “independent expenditure committee” and required it to file campaign finance reports, but the transit agency ignored the requirement.

Sometimes I don’t think anybody takes me too seriously when I talk about this law. They ask, “how else is a government supposed to push a tax measure?” The answer is, they’re not. They can put a measure on the ballot, they can put an “Argument For…” on the ballot, but that’s it. They’re supposed to recruit “civic” organizations to do their campaigning for them. If they can’t, that ought to tell them it’s not going to pass. Instead, like Chico Unified Schools, they break the law, knowing the majority of voters and taxpayers are ignorant of the law.

Read the article and then get ready to watch City of Chico and Chico Area Recreation District use all the same illegal tactics to run their revenue measure campaigns. The school district sent out slick fliers for their last bond measure – who do you think paid for those? 

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