Developer: Bylaws ban endorsing
A developer and member of the Nevada County Contractors Association says the group is violating its bylaws by endorsing political candidates.
Stung by a candidate’s ad this week that took a shot at his Loma Rica Ranch project, Phil Carville said the association is violating its bylaws by endorsing candidates and giving dues money to the association’s political action committee.
“This whole scenario is definitely in violation of the bylaws,” said Carville, who said he is a member of the contractors association.
Barbara Bashall, NCCA executive director, declined comment.
A prepared statement provided by Bashall said the NCCA’s PAC, or political action committee, is a separate organization from the NCCA. Each entity is governed by separate laws, maintains separate books, and has separate funding. No bylaws have been violated, said the association.
While the association operates under the laws of the Secretary of State and Internal Revenue Service, the PAC operates under the Fair Political Practices Commission, according to the statement.
“We have made no attempt to hide who we are and all our ads have clearly identified who paid for the ad,” according to the statement. “Every association and organization that wants to be involved in the political process will form a PAC. The NCCA simply took a page from the Sierra Club, not only in forming their PAC but their approach to political action.”
An ad in the Oct. 16 edition of The Union says the NCCA supports new leadership in Nevada County, endorsing Drew Bedwell and Robin Sutherland for county supervisors. The ad says it was paid for by the Nevada County Contractors Association, Political Action Committee.
Though the PAC paid for the ads, Carville said the endorsement of candidates is expressly prohibited in the association’s bylaws.
He points to a section in the NCCA bylaws stating that “Endorsement of candidates for any public office by the membership, Board of Directors, or any person acting on behalf of the association is expressly prohibited.”
Carville also claims the $10,000 donation by the contractors association to its PAC is from dues.
“It boils down to this,” said Carville. “A few guys got together some night with some beers and decided to take money from the contractors association to put it in the PAC. They decided to use our moneys to support their candidates, and it is prohibited by the bylaws.”
This week, Carville had a running feud with one of the candidates supported by the contractors PAC. In a radio ad, Bedwell links the Loma Rica project to his political opponents – an ad that contains inaccuracies, Carville said. The ad was not paid for by the contractors PAC.
Carville took out his own radio ad to contest Bedwell’s ad.
The irony that the PAC’s $5,000 cash contributions to Bedwell may have been helped finance an ad attack on his project was not lost on Carville.
“Bedwell turned around and attacked me,” he said “That started to tick me off a little bit.”
Bedwell defended his ad in a letter to radio station KNCO, saying his logic is correct. He said his ad is accurate.
Carville has also been a political donor, donating $1,000 to Supervisor Elizabeth Martin’s campaign.
Part of the NCCA statement took a dig at Supervisors Bruce Conklin and Martin.
“The charges made concerning the Nevada County Contractors Association are bogus and quite frankly nothing more than a smokescreen created by the supporters of both Mr. Conklin and Ms. Martin,” the statement said.
NCCA board members Jim Crowley and Kevin Casey did not return phone calls requesting comment.
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