Who’s behind the curtain?

Published on

I just got an email that the FPPC is planning to tighten up the rules for disclosure of who’s behind
political committees. It’s interesting timing after a story in
Saturday’s LA Times highlighted how little we know about
who’s running the show at a lot of campaign operations. 

The LA
City Ethics Commission and County District Attorney are investigating
who holds the purse strings at "Citizens for Dependable and Reliable
Leadership" – a committee that made independent expenditures in several
local and statewide races in 2005 and 2006. From the Times:

The Los Angeles County district attorney has opened an investigation
into whether two San Fernando Valley politicians illegally exceeded
election spending limits by raising money through an independent
campaign committee, sources familiar with the matter said.

Prosecutors and investigators with the Los Angeles City Ethics
Commission have spent the last three months asking questions about the
committee and whether it was controlled by two political allies: state
Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Pacoima) and Los Angeles City Councilman Tony

to the committee paperwork just one person, Kinde Durkee, is
responsible for the committee. I’ve seen that same woman listed as the
treasurer for more political committees than I can count. Whether or
not the Senator and Councilman are running the show,
I’m a little doubtful that Durkee’s doing it all on her own. 

That’s where the FPPC’s proposed rules would come in. They would implement a
long-ignored requirement in the Political Reform Act that the principal
officers of a committee must also be named in disclosure documents.
Right now, the treasurer is often the only name reported. But the
person who cuts the checks isn’t always the one
deciding where to spend it, and it’s the man behind the curtain, not
the calculator, that makes a difference. If Cardenas and Padilla are in charge they’re already breaking the law. If it’s anyone else, this new rule would have made that public knowledge from the beginning.

Consumer Watchdog
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