Tuesday, October 29, 2013

2013 Oct. 29 Campaign Contributions

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Update 11/5/2013: The campaign contributions have now been broken out into independent expenditures and direct contributions to the candidate's campaign.  Those making indirect expenditures in support of a candidate are legally required to disclose the candidate they are in support of and how much they spend on that candidate's behalf.  A correction to Larsson's self-contribution is made.  C.f. Tim Risch's analysis of independent expenditures at:

(Update 10/30/2013 - The official sources for the large ($71K) donations from the NAR are here:
https://www.specialinterestwatch.org/FPPC%20Reports/Campaign%20Forms/NARF/NARFForm465_10252013_2.pdf )

It appears at this time that it was PAC money that was spent on the candidate's behalf but not donated directly to the candidates and so they don't have to report it themselves.  This relates to the recent Supreme Court decision on the Citizen's United case which essentially allowed PACs to spend as much as they like.  There are judges on the Supreme Court who would like to reverse that decision but as of now, it is the law of the land.

It is highly unusual for national bodies like the NAR to spend so much on a local campaign, so there is some speculation that the NAR was used as a pass-through where a local interest donated money to the PAC and expressed a desire that it aid candidates Larsson and Hendricks.

Update 10/31/2013.  The NAR spokeperson said it was the local Silicon Valley branch which requested the donation - so it would appear to be one or more local donors working through the national PAC.

Seat 1:
Andy Frazer: $10,154
Indirect Expenditures: $0
Frazer Details at: http://specialinterestwatch.org/Andy%20Frazer.aspx
Largest donor: Andy Frazer = $6,000

Gustav Larsson:  $53,528.25
Indirect Expenditures: $104,220.47
Grand Total: $157,748.72
Largest donation/expenditure: National Association of Realtors Fund (NAR) = $70,580.00

Seat 2:
Steve Hoffman: $2,301.70
Largest donor: Steve Hoffman = $1,450

Glenn Hendricks:  $57,331.81
Indirect Expenditures: $103,113.60
Grand Total: $160,445.41
Largest donation/expenditure: National Association of Realtors Fund = $70,580.00

Gustavo Magaña: Total = less than $1,000
The 3rd Candidate, Gustavo Magana, cannot spend more than $1,000 because he elected not to form a campaign committee and therefore is limited by law in what he can spend.

Seat 3:
Jim Griffith: $57,845.51
Indirect Expenditures: $12,747.60
Grand Total: $70,593.11
Griffith contributor details at: http://specialinterestwatch.org/Jim%20GriffithC.aspx
Largest donation/expenditure: Jim Griffith = $47,714.97

Tap Merrick:  Total = $14,224               
Largest donor: Tap Merrick = $11,724.31

The indirect expenditures make a big difference in terms of providing polling data, and distributing campaign literature which is indistinguisable from that which a candidate would provide, including photos of the candidate.  Sunnyvale has never seen so much money in indirect expenditures.

The total amounts for Hendricks and Larsson set new records for Sunnyvale.  Four years ago, Seat 1 incumbent Tony Spitaleri raised $117,722 (which was then the highest ever raised), Seat 2 incumbent Chris Moylan raised $41,902.  Martin -Milius won with $27,666, Meyering won with $11,000,  For more details, see: http://specialinterestwatch.org/Default.aspx

If this were a CA state Senate or Assembly election there would be limits to individual and PAC campaign contributions of $4,100 - see:

If this were a US Senate or House election there would be limits to individual and PAC campaign contributions of $2,600 - see:

There do not appear to be local election limits set by Sunnyvale although the city certainly could.  Such limits have been upheld by the US Supreme Court numerous times.  See the NY Times at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/opinion/politicians-for-sale.html?hp&_r=1&


  1. The large "donations" are in fact independent expenditures by PACs. These expenditures are not subject to spending limits. They are also not controlled by political candidates. (If you look at the fine print in the mailers you will see that they are "not authorized or controlled by the candidate") The candidate could "support" the PAC's work, or the candidate could find the PAC detrimental to the campaign. The candidate has about as much control as with a newspaper editorial. (They can provide information and hope for the best, but the PAC is going to do what it wants to do regardless of what the candidate says.)
    Comparison to prior years is also problematic because the figures in the specialinterestwatch site did not attempt to include these in prior years. (And I know I have seen a lot of these 3rd party mailers go out in past years.)
    And just to add to the comparison details, there are some simple tabulation errors on the specialinterestwatch site that make the total contributions inaccurate.

  2. Gustav Larsson: Total = $169,510
    Largest donor: National Association of Realtors Fund (NAR) = $70,580.00
    The $70,580. was not a donation. It was Not a campaign contribution. Why does this group continually misrepresent these independent expenditures as 'donation'. The candidate could not have said NO because they were not responsible for the decision to spend this money. It was some other entities money.

    1. The distinction has been made. It is a distinction without a difference. The campaign literature and polling directly benefit the candidate.