In September, Garden Grove Mayor Bao Nguyen called my business line and asked me for a contribution to his congressional campaign. I have a general rule not to make contributions to those I can’t personally vote for, but there are exceptions, and only one regret (I wrote a check to Paul Lucas once long before I realized there’s something “off” there). I told Bao I’d sign up for $99 but realized later that his campaign contributions are being handled by Tami McIntyre’s firm, which I’ve since discovered is called McIntyre & Barcelona, LLC. The “Barcelona” part of the team is OJ Blogger Greg Diamond’s stepdaughter and the address for making the contribution was, wait for it, Diamond’s apartment in Brea.
Since I don’t want my credit card number or my checking account number anywhere Mr. Diamond has the opportunity to see it (he operates his solo law practice from the Brea address where Barcelona also works), I had to find a new way to keep my promise to Nguyen. So I did some digging on the Federal Elections Commission website and found this:
An individual may give a maximum of:
- $2,700 per election to a Federal candidate or the candidate’s campaign committee.2 Notice that the limit applies separately to each election. Primaries, runoffs and general elections are considered separate elections.
- $5,000 per calendar year to a PAC. This limit applies to a PAC (political action committee) that supports Federal candidates. (PACs are neither party committees nor candidate committees. Some PACs are sponsored by corporations and unions–trade, industry and labor PACs. Other PACs, often ideological, do not have a corporate or labor sponsor and are therefore called nonconnected PACs.) PACs use your contributions to make their own contributions to Federal candidates and to fund other election-related activities.
- $10,000 per calendar year to a State or local party committee. A State party committee shares its limits with local party committees in that state unless a local committee’s independence can be demonstrated.
- $33,400 per calendar year to a national party committee. This limit applies separately to a party’s national committee, House campaign committee and Senate campaign committee.
- $100 in currency (cash) to any political committee. (Anonymous cash contributions may not exceed $50.) Contributions exceeding $100 must be made by check, ****money order*** or other written instrument.
So it appears a money order was my ticket. It’s easy to get and according to the site, accepted by candidates. A quick trip to the Bank and I had my money order for Bao Nguyen for Congress (disclosure: I have made a contribution to the Jordan Brandman for Congress committee and Lou Correa has asked for a contribution which I will make as well; Joe Dunn’s campaign hasn’t asked for one and Dunn did not during a meeting I had with him a couple of weeks ago).
Additionally, I downloaded and printed the contribution forms that ask for identity information and enclosed that form/information along with my money order and sent it to the Brea apartment address in the email follow up. I also got a money order for Sharon Quirk Silva’s campaign in the same amount and have since learned, it needed to be one dollar less. State campaigns are different from Federal ones so I will need to get a new order for the right amount. Quirk-Silva also uses McIntyre & Barcelona, so any contributions to that campaign that I make will go the money order route as well.
I got back from a weekend trip to Las Vegas with a letter from the Bao Nguyen for Congress campaign; I thought it was a standard “thanks for the dough” note political candidates often send. What I got was a lovely letter from Ms. Barcelona returning my money order citing FEC rules making the campaign unable to accept my contribution. And she spelled my last name wrong too (a “Y” instead of an “I” on the last letter…an uncommon error in a last name often misspelled) — sweet. And she asked me to make an online contribution to Nguyen’s website — something I’m not going to do.
I reached out to a couple of other political campaign treasurers — one from each major party — who assured me a money order in the amount of $100 for a Congressional political race was perfectly fine. So I emailed Bao a “WTF” note.
I got a quick note back from Bao acknowledging a mistake and asking me to send the money order back; he copied Ms. Barcelona on the note who apologized and asked for the money order as well. I confess, there’s a part of me that says, nah. I’m keeping it. But I keep my promises and I’ll be sending it back today. So I’m rewarding sloppy work by the campaign by spending an extra stamp.
I wonder if Lou Correa’s campaign will have any problem taking a money order?