Congressman Jared Huffman posted comments on his Facebook page, alleging improprieties in the campaign against SMART. He might carefully consider his own pro-SMART campaign position where the issues he alleges of developer's "dark money" are actually applicable.
Huffman's post alleges that the campaign opposing SMART / Measure I is...
"Right out of the Koch/Adelson/Citizens United playbook, a conservative developer is spending over $500k to defeat the quarter-cent sales tax needed to keep operating and building out the SMART rail and trail transit system...spread the word about this dark money stunt... and stay tuned for how you can help." (emphasis added)
The "No on Measure I" campaign has declared all of its expenditures - the money is hardly a "dark money stunt". Huffman might carefully reflect on his statement "a conservative developer". The developer in question, Molly Gallaher Flater, is a lifelong Democrat as is her father.
While Huffman is quick to condemn sources of funding for the No on I campaign, he neglects to mention:
- Money, raised through SMART's sales tax has been used to promote SMART to voters via SMART's public relations team and its' website.
- This diversion of funds to support the measure (directly and indirectly) has not been declared and is not transparent. It could be described as "dark money". This activity represents using our own taxes against us to get us to raise more taxes.
- The Yes on I campaign received $10,000 from Hanson Bridgett, a thinly disguised developer's lobbying company presenting itself as a law firm. The originating developers funding the Hanson Bridgett donation are not disclosed, they are as you might put it, "dark".
Hanson Bridgett describes itself on its' website as:
"Our real estate section provides comprehensive legal services to a wide array of real estate clients. We have substantial expertise in all areas of real estate transactional and litigation work. We represent investors, developers, buyers, sellers, owners, managers, landlords and tenants both locally and nationally."
- The yes on I campaign received $25,000 in funding from Stacy & Witbeck, the principal contractor involved in building SMART which awarded $206 million in contracts.
- SMART's yes on measure I campaign is led by lobbyist Darius Anderson.
According to this report in the Bohemian:
"After a two-month arbitration trial ended last November, three retired state judges declared that Anderson and his partners in Kenwood Investments No. 2 LLC (“Kenwood No. 2”) defrauded a Sonoma County Indian tribe between 2002–03. They ordered Anderson’s investment firm to pay $725,000 to the tribe to cover its lawyer’s fees and arbitration costs."
Huffman needs to respond - his Facebook post is disingenuous and intellectually dishonest.
Those who Huffman represents deserve an explanation both of his allegations and the questions arising about the campaign for Measure I that he himself endorses.