By Robert Haugh
We’re not following the Mayor’s race closely. Sorry, but we just don’t think it’ll be a close race. Mayor Lisa Gillmor will cruise to victory. She’s done some great things to turn Santa Clara around. Mission City voters will reward her for it.
Her campaign doesn’t need much help. But she’s getting it anyway from the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Anthony Becker campaign.
It’s like an epic match where James Ellsworth kept making stupid mistakes against the superior AJ Styles. It ended up being a big smackdown. And Styles didn’t really need any extra help to win.
But yesterday, the Chamber PAC filed a report that showed that they contributed $1,000 to Becker for Mayor campaign. Okay, what’s the big deal? They endorsed him.
Well, there’s this funny thing called contribution limits. They’ve existed for decades. It’s clearly spelled out on the City’s website. In Santa Clara, it’s $590 per person, or per PAC. Yup. That’s a lot less than $1,000. So the contribution is illegal and will have to be returned. D‘oh!
We don’t think the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) will investigate this action. They have more important and serious Chamber investigations to do.
But this was a mistake the Becker campaign should have caught. (Note to Team Becker: there’s a reason no one else is writing checks for more than $590 to you!)
Kudos to the Becker campaign for catching the Chamber’s mistake. According to campaign manager Markus Bracamonte, the campaign did not deposit the check. (See comments). So if there is a fine, the Chamber is the only organization that’s on the hook.
We’ll look for an explanation next week in the Santa Clara Weekly. Maybe PAC Treasurer Dave Tobkin can justify the $1,000. Maybe Tobkin will come up with an interesting explanation just like he justified not filing campaign reports with the city for four years, from 2010 to 2014.
In a story written by Weekly reporter Carolyn Schuk, Tobkin says that then-City Clerk Rod Diridon, Jr. told him not to file reports with the City. But Schuk never asked a basic and obvious follow-up question: then why did you file reports with the City before 2010 and after 2014? We bet in an investigation, the City or the FPPC will ask the obvious.
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This story was updated to reflect the Becker campaign’s return of the Chamber PAC donation.