Tag Archives: FPPC

What is a “PAC”?

13 Apr

People have actually asked me, if I’m so crazy about local politics, why don’t I run for office? One read through the Fair Political Practices manual ought to give you your answer – there’s a million damn rules, and nailing candidates for rules is the how the FPPC pays their pensions and benefits. Failure to name a donor who was connected to a discussion Larry Wahl had as a city planning commissioner cost him about $12,000. They’re just waiting for you to put your foot in their trap, then they gotcha!

There’s all kinds of “political action committees”, and the rules and definitions  are confusing. First you better read everything about 20 times, and then you might want to talk it over with a lawyer. For example:

“A general purpose committee is a type of recipient committee – an individual or group that receives contributions totaling $1,000 or more during the calendar year for the purpose of supporting or opposing one or more state or local candidate or ballot measure(s).”   Including “two or more individuals or entities that make separate expenditures for a single product or service (for example a newspaper advertisement)”  

Right away, I notice, you have to decide, what are you forming your committee for? Will you oppose or support a candidate or an issue? There’s all kinds of different rules. You have to decide how much money you think you’ll spend –  the good news is, until you spend $1,000 on one campaign issue, you’re under the wire. The Chico Taxpayers Association is NOT a PAC or any kind of committee. We only spent about $330 on Measure J, so we were not required to file anything anywhere.  

But geez we were lucky – the idiots who wrote and supported Measure J, led by Ann Schwab, Scott Gruendl and Mary Goloff, were too cocky to think anybody would oppose them, so they never mounted ANY campaign.  We won’t get that lucky again. If we mount a Recall against any member or members of the school board, for example, they’re going to fight us. CARD is going to have a war chest too, but I’m not sure what money they will be allowed to use. And, if Lando comes forward with that sales tax increase proposal, he’ll have money and plans. I want to fight, and that’s going to take money. I’m going to spend the next few weeks studying up the situation, I’ll keep you all posted.

Here are some articles from the FPPC site:   http://www.fppc.ca.gov/serp.html?q=+rules+for+political+action+committees&cx=001779225245372747843%3A_7mfpc-fxyk&cof=FORID%3A10&ie=UTF-8&submit.x=12&submit.y=8

Sure, it gets tricky: “If more than 70% of a committee’s contributions and expenditures on candidates or measures are on a single candidate, single measure, a group of specific candidattes in the same local election or two or more measure being voted upon in the same state or local election, the committee is designated as a primarily formed committee rather than a general purpose committee.” Furthermore, “For purposes of determining whether the committee is general purpose or a primarily formed committee, the treasurer must count contributions and expenditures made to support or oppose candidates or measures during: The current two year period, beginning January 1 of the current or previous oddnumbered year and ending with December 31 of the following even-number year; or The immediate preceding 24 months. The committee must use the time period that most accurately reflects its current and upcoming activities.” 

Well, like my dad used to say, sounds like sticking your dick in a noose, but if that’s what we have to do to get our town back, I’m willing to take a shot at it.