REPORT: Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC Failed to File Campaign Reports with City for Four Years

By Robert Haugh

Tonight, the City Council will take the next step in finding someone to manage the Convention Center. They got rid of the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce after an audit showed mismanagement and malfeasance.

City staff also referred the info from the audit to the IRS and California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).

The City may have more stuff to look into.

According to our research, the Chamber failed to file FPPC reports with the City for four years! Yup. From April 2010 to October 2014 there are no reports with the City Clerk. The Chamber may have filed them with other agencies and forgot to file with the City.  Oops.

Here’s what’s publicly available on the City site:

The last time that this type of violation was discovered was 2016. Then, former City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. fined BLUPAC $9,000 for filing their reports late. BLUPAC is the “dark money” group with ties to the 49ers.

Who’s In Charge of the PAC?

Lou Mariani of Mariani’s Inn is still the head of Chamber’s Government Relations Committee, thought we heard he was cutting ties. We heard others have dropped from the PAC, too.

Accountant Dave Tobkin is still the PAC’s Treasurer. He’s had that role since 2010. Tobkin is technically responsible for the reports. Here’s what the FPPC website says:

Campaign treasurers sign campaign disclosure reports under penalty of perjury and are liable in enforcement actions for violations of the Act.  It is important to understand the basic rules and requirements associated with transparent campaign disclosure. No individual should accept the position of a committee treasurer as a mere figurehead. (language in bold on the website)

According to our sources, other PAC members are:

  • Miles Barber Santa Clara Weekly Lobbyist/Publisher
  • Dave DeLozier former Councilman
  • John Mlnarik — attorney for Dominic Caserta and Santa Clara Rotary Club President
  • Andy Ratermann — SCUSD board member

 

According to the Chamber’s FPPC report from September 2018, they have less than $13,000 in the bank. They may need that for fines. And maybe more. If BLUPAC got fined $9,000 for being late, how much will the Chamber get fined for not reporting for four years? We’ll be following this story closely.

4 comments

  1. It’s a good thing that Keystone Cops aren’t running our convention center anymore. In all seriousness, I admire how the Mayor and City Manager are cleaning things up and getting rid of the dead weight.

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