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Conservative PAC is back in action

A political action committee that became an influential and surprise source of money in the heated 2002 Nevada County Supervisorial race has re-emerged – to the benefit of District 3 candidate John Spencer.

Nevada County Citizens for Responsible Government put $28,258 toward Drew Bedwell’s campaign in 2002, and the vocal conservative went on to beat the liberal-leaning incumbent Bruce Conklin by 19 votes after a recount.

This year, the group put up $5,409 for the campaign to elect Spencer – Bedwell’s appointee to the Nevada County Planning Commission – in the form of campaign mailings, according to Spencer’s campaign finance reports released Friday.



The CRG’s money again is working against Conklin, who is trying to regain his seat on the Board of Supervisors in a race against Spencer and Grass Valley City Councilwoman Linda Stevens. Bedwell’s seat became vacant earlier this year, when a Hodgkin’s disease diagnosis sparked his resignation.

The most recent CRG donations, all made on Oct. 15 and one day before the end of the filing period, were reported by Spencer. The PAC, however, failed to file a report at all for the same filing period. The last time CRG filed a report was Sept. 30, and there was no record of a contribution to Spencer.




Robert Ingram, the CRG’s treasurer and Spencer’s brother-in-law, could not be reached for comment Friday because he was on vacation.

Conklin said he remembered being surprised in 2002 when the PAC donated money to Bedwell, saying it was a mystery exactly where the money came from.

“It just came out of the blue,” Conklin recalled Friday.

District 2 Supervisor Sue Horne said she remembered it differently, however.

“It was an amount of money that had been sitting in an account, a PAC, for quite a long time and was given to CRG,” she said.

The money was originally earmarked to go toward an effort to by Chicago Park residents to fight a scenic highway designation for Highway 174. After that PAC shut down 12 or 15 years ago, the money had no place to go until the CRG formed.

Horne and Supervisor Robin Sutherland have also received money from CRG. On May 28, the PAC gave $500 to Horne, which she said was “to help pay some of my remaining expenditures from the campaign.”

Horne went on to easily win re-election in the March primary.

Horne described CRG as citizens who believe in “being accountable and being responsible to the citizens of Nevada County” by holding fund-raisers and contributing to the campaigns they believe in.

Horne said she remembered attending a CRG function in the spring she described as “a fund-raiser for John Spencer” at the Holbrooke Hotel in Grass Valley.

CRG’s filings do report a payment made to the Holbrooke Hotel for “fund-raising events” in the amount of $1,726 some time between Jan. 1 and June 30.

Spencer could not be reached for comment Friday for this story.


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