TeamIrvine’s Sour Grapes on Fundraising

When you freqent the right wing blogs as much as I do, a persistent theme emerges on Independent Expenditure committees — or IEs — that they exist to provide a avenue for political free speech.  Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle is a political beneficiary of an IE backed by Disney.  State Rep. Chuck DeVore helps an IE dedicated to tearing down Barack Obama and the Democrats.  No outrage from the Right about either of these.

These IEs barely register a peep in the press or on the blogsphere, unless there’s IEs that contribute to progressive candidates and causes in Irvine.  The Register has a story about how many Great Park contractors have contributed to IEs for the Measure R camapign in Irvine.

More after the jump:

From the story:

The Yes on Measure R committee supports a city ballot initiative asking residents to back the current governance and direction of the Great Park. State records show the committee has raised just under $197,000 this year, with the vast majority of its expenditures going toward the Community News and Views slate mailer.

Slate mailer operations such as Community News and Views are unrestricted by the city law limiting campaign contributions. A slate mailer must include at least four candidates or ballot measures.

Reaction to the story in some more right wing blogs and websites call this “money laundering” or “bribes.”  Pretty strong speech and also complete wrong.  IEs are a perfectly legal and legitimate form of political free speech with contributions from people who have a vested interest in continuing their work with the Great Park.  To elect the other ticket, who voted against many of these contractors, doesn’t take a genius to figure out which side your bread is buttered if you’re the one writing a check.

Besides, TeamIrvine candidates do get contributions from places like the Lincoln Club and Republican candidates in safe races who are loaded with cash.  And we don’t call this money laundering or bribery.

There is nothing preventing TeamIrvine from benefiting from IEs themselves.  They’ve just done a piss-poor job of fundraising.  Their lastest TV ad is loaded with self-loathing and gripes about the other side’s fundraising activities.

Take away the IE money for a moment and look at the fundraising that comes in to the KeepIrvineGreat slate from Irvine homeowners.  Contributors to the progressive slate of candidates far outstrips that of Team Irvine.  And frankly, most voters in Irvine are well aware of the political records of the slate of candidates back by Sukhee Kang and the slate of candidates backed by Christina Shea.  A slate mailer isn’t going to chnage anyone’s mind.

Here’s an excerpt from a story in today’s LA Times; the lack of outrage or charges of money laundering or bribery is largely absent.  Why? Pringle is a Republican and IOKIYAR (It’s OK if you’re a Republican).

At the end of September, Disney donated $25,000 to Citizens for Anaheim’s Future, a new group that has gathered hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations from developers, local businesses and others — including $25,000 from California real estate agents.

As someone who recently contributed to an IE for the first time myself, the question before me was pretty simple.  What outcome do I want to see as a result of the election?  And would I spend money to help that cause?  The answer in both cases was not relevant to other people contributing to the IE and some of which I loathe.  But its about the end result.  And the end result for those developers who wrote checks for Measure R, it’s about wanting to continue their work with the same leadership team they’ve been working with.

It’s not illegal.  It’s not immoral.  It’s only an outrage to the slate of candidates the funds don’t benefit. It’s that simple.


  3 comments for “TeamIrvine’s Sour Grapes on Fundraising

  1. RHackett
    October 29, 2008 at 11:37 am

    I remember a pundit saying that a candidate will say that his/her supporters
    believe in the issues. But their opponents are supported by special interests.

  2. October 29, 2008 at 2:12 pm

    Dan, I was wondering what kind of liberal spin you would put on the Agran Political Machine getting caught with their fingers in the cookie jar. Now lets not pretend this kind of stuff hasn’t been going on for at least fifteen years, since Larry regained his power. It has been common knowledge that developers were making contributions to one of Larry’s Independent Committees, or slate mailers and getting their projects approved, or fast tracked. Legal, apparently so. Ethical, not on your life. One such developer, was overheard in a bar in Newport Beach bragging about how he had the Irvine City Council in his pocket, because he paid them off.

    The most recent example of this conduct was on the Maguire Property deal. Maguire in a long time dispute with the City of Irvine over developer fees owed, in 2006 made a $120,000 contribution to Planning 2020, one of your Independent Committees, run by a fomer Agran adviser. Planning 2020 then channeled the money over to our all time favorite, Hometown Voters Guide, who used it in support of Krom and Kang in their election campaign. Then almost overnight, there was a miracle settlement of the Maguire Property dispute, in closed chambers after Shea and Choi refused to participate. The City allegedly would get 10 million dollars in developer fees as a result of this settlement and of course Agran, Krom and Kang were taking their bows. Oh, did I forget to mention there was no review by the Commisions or Public Hearing. My question which has still to be answered is if Maguire settled for 10 million plus a $120,000 sweetner, how much would the City have received if Maguire would have had to pay the same fees as the Irvine Company, or any other reputable developer? No quid pro quo at work here was there Dan? I am sure that it was just Maguire being a civic minded person contributing to a good cause? When the depositions are taken in the pending law suit, we may just discover how many taxpayer dollars were given away? The good news is that the pending lawsuit will invalidate the original agreement and return it to square one.

    So Dan, you can use smoke and mirrors and rationalize Agran’s actions all you want on the Great Park Contractors paying to play in his sand box. No bid contracts and political contributions from the recipients of those contracts pretty much says it all. You can fool some of the people, part of the time; but you can’t fool all of the people, all of the time. One does not have to be a rocket scientist to see what is going on in both the City and the Great Park. Irvine voters are smarter than you give them credit for being and I am confident on Tuesday, November 4, they will send a resounding message to the Agran Machine …………… “You are fired.”

  3. Dan Chmielewski
    October 29, 2008 at 2:58 pm

    Pat — do not lecture me on ethics; you pose for campaign photos wearing your police uniform. Legal, but not ethical. We’re working on a story about Christina’s lobbyist ties, but I’m still nailing down some details and stalking facts like a mountain lion.

    Will you be seeking to have your legal fees reimbursed by Taxpayers? You were put up to the lawsuit Pat. They played you for a patsy.

    Yes, Irvine voters are smart. They see a strong local economy, safe streets, home values that have heldthe line, great schools (and the council candidates who have always supported schools) and they’ll vote to keep this as is.

    So still no answer as to how many contributions you got from former fellow police officers Pat; guess you don’t have the support you say you do.

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