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Powerpac.org logoAs I reported on Thursday, contributions from unions and left-wing political groups to the Yes on Measure L campaign now total more than $200,000. It could be more: we don’t know how much the campaign received during July, prior to the beginning of 24-hour reporting of contributions of a $1,000 or more.

However, the contributions paint a very clear picture that shifting Anaheim City Council elections from an at-large to by-district basis is very important to these outside special interest groups.

One of those left-wing interest groups is San Francisco-based PowerPAC.org, which is one of the largest donors to the Measure L campaign, kicking in $45,000. I posted some background on this left-wing donor aggregator last month. The group describes itself this way in the San Francisco Bay Area Progressive Directory:

“PowerPAC directs financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and other campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics. We identify priority areas for investment and help donors achieve maximum political impact with their political giving.”

Who are those donors? Nobody but PowerPAC.org and its donors know the answer to that question. The $45,000 donation to Measure L came from the PowerPAC.org Voter Fund, and according to the California Secretary of State, that $45,000 came from PowerPAC.org. 

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powerpac no transparencyLast week I called PowerPac.org, the progressive “issues advocacy” group from San Francisco that has provided nearly half the funding ($45,000) for the Yes on Measure L campaign. I was hoping to connect with a spokesperson who could explain why PowerPac.org was so interested in changing how Anaheim elects its city council, and where the $45,000 came from. The person I spoke to said she’d pass my request on to their vice president, who would have someone call me with a response.

A week later and nothing.

In the interim, I called the Los Angeles office listed on PowerPac.org’s website and get a “This is not a working number” message. Same thing when I call PowerPac.org’s Washington DC office. I called the San Francisco office again and got an answering machine.

So, this morning I call the San Francisco office again. The same lady I spoke to last week answers the phone. I explain, again, who I am and that I’m calling about a donation PowerPac.org made to Anaheim initiative campaign; she responds as though she’s never talked to me before.

“I can pass on your request,” she tells me.

I explain that she had told me the same thing when I called the week before, and I’d never received a response.  She repeated that all she could do was pass on my request.

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Powerpac.org logoAs I reported last week, of the $101,100 reported by the campaign to convince Anaheim voters to adopt by-district council districts, not a penny comes from Anaheim.

93% of the “Committee for District Elections” funding is “dark money” – meaning its true sources are undisclosed. Half of that is from a liberal issues advocacy group from San Francisco – PowerPac.org.

The obvious question is why does a political interest group from the San Francisco Bay Area think changing the why far-away Anaheim elects its council is so important that it plows $45,000 into the effort?

PowerPac.org describes its mission as:

“direct[ing] financial and human resources to strategic local and state legislative fights, ballot initiatives, and other campaigns by organizing donors who are committed to social justice politics. We identify priority areas for investment and help donors achieve maximum political impact with their political giving.

Our process includes conducting research and analysis on the political landscape, identifying critical social justice issues to bring more voters – particularly voters of color – into the political process.

PowerPAC believes that the most effective way to build political power for historically underrepresented constituencies is to invest in long-term political infrastructure that can be mobilized for short-term victories.” [Emphasis added]

“Social justice politics” is left-wing jargon that translates into bigger government, redistributive taxation, and intensive regulation of the marketplace.

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dark-money-graphicTake a gander at the campaign finance report filed by the campaign to carve Anaheim into single-member council districts. Two things jump out beside the $101,100 in contributions: 93% of that total is the “dark money” hated by the progressives running this campaign  and not a penny of it comes from Anaheim – most is from Northern California.

The biggest single contributor to the Committee for District Elections is OCCORD  – to the tune of $49,000.  OCCORD is a left-wing non-profit political advocacy group headquartered in a Garden Grove office building owned by the militant union UNITE-HERE.  [OCCORD’s professed mission is to reverse the polarity of Orange County politics and shift it as far to the Left as possible.]

That’s a neat trick. OCCORD Executive Director Eric Altman announces his resignation to go run the Committee for District Elections. $49,000 is diverted from OCCORD on June 26 to the committee Altman is heading up (it’s unclear exactly when Altman left OCCORD, but his replacement as executive director wasn’t announced until mid-July.

Since OCCORD is a 501(c)4, it only has to file annual financials with the IRS and refuses to disclose its donors. In other words, by the time any figures out where that $49,000 came from, the November election will be long over. Is it from traditional OCCORD donors like the California Endowment and the James Irvine Foundation? Wells Fargo? If so, did they understand their money would be going to fund a ballot initiative? We know at least some of that money comes from UNITE-HERE, which cuts OCCORD a $5,000 check every month.

Mind you, OCCORD founder and leader Eric Altman (now the director of the Committee for District Elections — is an advocate of transparency… at least for others. I encourage the Voice of OC and the OC Register to ask OCCORD where the $49,000 came from, and see if they get an answer. I once tried, and was rebuffed.

The second biggest donor is PowerPac.org Voter Fund, a San Francisco-based political action committee that on May 30 donated $45,000 for a campaign to re-structure how Anaheim is governed.  Hmmm…why would a PAC from liberal San Francisco care how Anaheim elects its city council?

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