Election funds debate rages
The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association is demanding full public disclosure prior to election day of the source of campaign contributions made to the Drew Bedwell and Robin Sutherland supervisorial campaigns.
The demand was made as the Nevada County Citizens for Responsible Government Political Action Committee reported spending an additional $10,000 on literature for each campaign from Oct. 1 through Oct. 19.
To date, Citizens for Responsible Government has made expenditures to Bedwell and Sutherland totaling just over $40,000 for campaign signs, literature and brochures.
Last week, the Taxpayers Association filed a complaint with the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission against Citizens for Responsible Government and the Bedwell and Sutherland campaigns, alleging flagrant violations of the Political Reform Act of 1974.
The complaint alleges that Citizens for Responsible Government violated the election code by failing to report the true source of a $28,258.25 contribution.
The contribution was made to the Citizens for Responsible Government on Sept. 11 by NCCRG, Inc., an unknown entity that lists a Nevada City post office box, said Gary Parsons, president of the Taxpayers Association.
Parsons said the public has a right to know who wrote the $28,000 check, and the information should be disclosed before election day.
“Once we know who these interests are, we’ll have an idea of what they want for their money,” said Parsons, a carpenter who acknowledged that he supports incumbent Elizabeth Martin in District 4.
“But that doesn’t change the fact of the matter in regard to misleading campaign disclosures,” said Parsons of his support for Martin.
Last week, Kelly Lawler, assistant treasurer of Citizens for Responsible Government, said the political action committee would file an amendment for the $28,000 contribution within 70 days from the date it was received, as required by election code.
Parsons objected Tuesday, saying such a time line could put the disclosure well after the election.
“I’ll be filing an amendment as soon as it’s ready,” Lawler said Tuesday when told of the Taxpayers Association’s demand for immediate disclosure.
An amendment revealing the source of the $28,000 contribution “will be filed legally and at the appropriate time,” said Citizens for Responsible Government treasurer Robert Ingram Tuesday.
The San Juan Ridge Taxpayers Association “is a special interest that sees their one-sided power base at the supervisors’ level in jeopardy,” said Ingram. “They fear a return of balanced government and a return to a board that listens to all constituents.”
FPPC Spokesman John Simcolek said Tuesday that a “swamped” agency staff is still looking into the Taxpayers Association complaint filed last week.
Bedwell and Sutherland denied any wrongdoing when the complaint was filed and maintained they report all contributions required by law.
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