By Robert Haugh
We were tipped off to something that could be a big political story.
We were contacted by Laura Teutschel who said she was handling Dominic Caserta’s campaign for County Supervisor. Huh? We thought Ed McGovern was the campaign’s consultant. He’s a longtime political consultant for Caserta. Last year, many people told us McGovern was handling the campaign. He’s also a lobbyist for the 49ers.
We didn’t really think anything of the news. It’s not that unusual for campaigns to change management. Then recently, a source with some information about the Caserta campaign told us more about what might be happening. It’s interesting.
McGovern left the Caserta campaign, the source said, to work directly or indirectly with controversial political consultant Jay Reed to set up for Caserta an “independent expenditure.” Reed is controversial because he got fired from the Dave Cortese for San Jose Mayor campaign in 2014 for sending out “weird, sexist tweets” like one about how “hot” his child’s female teacher was.
An independent expenditure committee can raise unlimited dollars to help a campaign as long as they don’t coordinate with each other. The County race has an expenditure cap of $250,000 for what the candidates can raise and spend themselves. Caserta reached that cap over a year ago.
Rumor is the 49ers are putting $100,000 into the effort. Wow. That’s a lot of dough that they could better use to sign Jimmy Garoppolo or design the youth soccer fields they promised to build and never did.
We originally asked Teutschel about the independent expenditure rumor. She wrote back: “I’d be happy to talk to you about Dominic’s campaign, his goals for district 4, etc. Can’t speak to what Jay (Reed) or Ed (McGovern) are working on in upcoming cycle.” Interesting.
This makes us wonder. Maybe McGovern and the 49ers will use BluPAC again. That’s the infamous “dark money” group that supported Councilwoman Patty Mahan, Police Chief Mike Sellers, and City Clerk Rod Diridon plus failed candidates Mohammed Nadeem and Ahmad Rafah in the 2016 Santa Clara city elections.
BluPAC claims it can hide its donors. The 49ers would not say — or deny — that they were behind BluPAC when asked by the media. Interesting.
The 49ers did not respond for this story.
McGovern did. He wrote: “Your sources are inaccurate.”
And Reed’s company responded for him: “Wheelhouse Strategy Group, its principals or staff, are not involved in the coordination or managing of ANY Independent Expenditure Committees at the moment.”
But our source says they are accurate. So, if true, why would the 49ers help Caserta so much? For those of you not following Santa Clara politics, Caserta (and Mahan) have been the team’s strongest advocates.
Here are major items where Caserta supported the 49ers in 2017:
- lift the weekday stadium curfew — they lost.
- withhold documents from the city — lawsuit pending.
- employ Landmark Event Staffing over union workers — they won.
Stay tuned because we’ll be watching this story as it unfolds during the course of the campaign.