Independent expenditure committee attacking Elk Grove mayor files disclosure; opposition effort alleges PG&E takeover sought

October 24, 2018 |  

The independent expenditure committee that launched campaign attack ads against Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly recently filed financial disclosure statements with the Elk Grove City Clerk's office.

That committee, the Alliance to Support the Middle Class (ASMC), filed the disclosures on Monday, October 22. The report notes the committee was formed in opposition to Ly. 

The committee has four organizations contributing funds that include PG&E, San Francisco; California Apartment Association (CAA) Political Action Committee, Sacramento; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 340, Sacramento; and California Association of Realtors (CAR), Los Angeles.

As of this disclosure, PG&E and CAA have made two donations totaling $10,000 each; CAA and CAR have made contributions totaling $20,000 each, and the IBEW has made one donation of $30,000. Of the $70,000, the committee reported expenditures of $6,321 for mailers against Ly.

Although the committee launched the attacks on Ly's candidacy on several online platforms last week, the report did not contain information on the cost of those advertisements. The disclosure notes the expenditure for mailers, but as of posting, there have been no reports of mailers targeting Ly have been received by Elk Grove voters.

Ly did not respond to an email seeking comment on the ASMC. While Ly has suffered recent body blows to his campaign by the expenditure, in the past, he has also benefitted from their formation. 

During his 2016 mayoral campaign, on October 27, of the same year an independent expenditure committee called Residents for Responsible Growth with funding of $100,000 from the Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 447, Sacramento, and Sheet Metal Workers International Local 104, San Ramo, formed in support of Ly's candidacy. According to the California Secretary of State, that committee is still active although unfunded as of yesterday.  

In a separate development, an online petition calling itself "Keep PG&E out of Elk Grove" has been posted questioning the involvement of the utility giant in Elk Grove elections. In addition to condemning the ASMC, it also mentions Elk Grove council members Pat Hume and Stephanie Nguyen, who are both on this year's ballot. 

The petition says "PG&E is targeting Elk Grove by funneling funds through dark money SuperPACs and directly to Elk Grove political campaigns" and that "It is imperative that we block PG&E candidates from holding a majority of the city council and SMUD Board."  

As a cause of action, the petition urges Elk Grove Vice Mayor Darren Suen, who is one of two candidates challenging Ly, and council members Hume and Nguyen to return the money to PG&E. 

As a supplement to the petition, a Facebook page also named "Keep PG&E Out of Elk Grove" was started on October 21. Among other things, the page asserts that this PG&E is attempting to oust Sacramento Municipal Utilities District from Elk Grove and urges voters to support Elk Grove Mayor Steve Ly, and Andres Ramos and Orlando Fuentes, who are challenging Hume and Nguyen respectively. 

Along with the Elk Grove city council race, the page also urges support of SMUD Ward 4 candidate Rosanna Herber, who has aligned herself with Ly's so-called Team Elk Grove. Herber along with Mark Graham and Angela Spease are vying for the open seat. 

According to financial disclosures, in recent months Hume and Nguyen have accepted $1,000 from PG&E while Suen received $2,500. For several years PG&E has been an active contributor to Elk Grove city council members. 

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