Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Keene campaign finance oddity? - a Watts offshoot

Updates, not terribly interesting:
On Mon. the 14th, Keene campaign consultant Cliff Wagner reported that "This [failure to report the Keene for Senate's Chico campaign office in-kind contribution] was an oversight and we are presently filing an amendment to our report with the FPPC"; delays ensued; now on Thurs. the 24th, the information has emerged that it was an in-kind donation by (landlord) Don Rogers Jr., valued at $950/month for two months.
That is all...

Original post:
(Caveats -
I'm a campaign finance research novice, and am posting this in part with the hope that someone more skilled will point out what I've overlooked. And the timing of this post is suboptimal, since the election was yesterday and Mr. Keene did not win (link).)

It turns out that the same Chico strip-mall-type building that houses Anthony Watts's electric car business ZEV2Go also houses the "Rick Keene For Senate 2010" campaign office. But the Keene campaign office occupancy can't be discerned - by me at least - from the committee's campaign finance reports, in either the expenditures or the nonmonetary contributions.

The campaign's expenditures (ElectionTrack link) have a lot of entries for "Office Expenses", but no mention of an office rental. So earlier today I phoned the Keene for Senate office, reaching campaign consultant Cliff Wagner, and asked which expenditure(s) was for the office rental. He said he believed it was a donated, in-kind contribution, he wasn't sure by whom, but would get back to me with this information.

While waiting, I checked the records for nonmonetary contributions, from the CA Secretary of State records for the Keene 2010 committee; but the only such contributions I saw (link) were two from Robin Cayton-Sutherland (former Nevada County Supervisor Robin Sutherland), for $200 and $500; it doesn't say what they were for.

So for the moment we're left with a mystery.
Haven't gotten a callback yet, so I just now called again & left a msg, asking when they first occupied the office and who the in-kind donor was, and what was the value of the donation - and suggested that they either phone with the answers or else add them in comments to this post.


Steve Bloom said...

Is the consultant also the treasurer? The latter is legally responsible, and her/his contact info is on the filings. In-kind contributions get listed the same as any others, and if it's not there to to be found there would appear to be a problem. The next step would be to make a formal inquiry of the treasurer, although I'd give the consultant a few days to come up with something. Failing satisfaction there, it's off to the FPPC (the enforcement agency).

Did you look through all of the contribution filings? It does seem like a pretty major lapse to not show a donation for the office.

You can esily find out who owns the strip mall via the assessor's records and then cross-check for any contributions from the owner(s).

Re the electric vehicle operation, is it incorporated? If so, the SoS will have records on them that you can check on-line. Locally, you can also look at the dba notice (at the county clerk's office).

Anna Haynes said...

Thanks Steve.

I've now looked through the SoS's "electronic filings" (i.e., pdf images of the forms that the Keene committee submitted) but saw no mention of office rental. Lots of "office supplies" though, for whatever that's worth.

But since I also saw no mention of office rental in a cursory review of some "Yes on [anti-gay-marriage] Prop 8" filings, I suspect I may be overlooking the info for both campaigns.
(fwiw, I didn't try looking for office rental for any other campaign committees' filings)

I did call the committee treasurer yesterday, who said I should be talking to the consultant, not to her. They're looking into it.

And I didn't see any mention of the strip mall owners, among the contributors.

ZEV2Go is incorporated, in Calif. and in Nevada. (sadly, CA is most unhelpful, in terms of the amt of info available online)

Thanks for the suggestions - especially the PDF filings which I hadn't thought to check.

J Bowers said...

With Zev2Go LLC, the CA SoS website has the same person as the Agent for Service of Process for Zev2Go as the contact for Intelliweather HERE.

Was one of the addresses for Zev2Go that you went to THIS ADDRESS?

Anna Haynes said...

Yup, thank you J. She might be the one who answered the phone, when I called there some months back.

One thing I'm curious about - I think the ZEV2Go FBN was registered (link) in two successive years (6 months apart), first to the 3008 C. and then to the 2540 Z. address; do you know if it's a requirement to reregister if the business address changes?
(since I don't know whether to interpret FBN#2 as a follow-the-rules act or a cover-your-tracks one)

I meant to call the county and ask, this week, but spent too much time in the de-besmirching process & got distracted.

J Bowers said...

I've no idea how that works in the US, Anna. I'm a Johnny Foreigner in Blighty, and wouldn't like to speculate ;)

Andrew Hobbs said...

I have also been looking at the ZEV2Go company and came across the following web page which appears to be a factual summary of public information on imports by the company. (You can pay to get the entire report). However it appears to show that ZEV2GO.LLC has only imported a very few cars over the previous 3 years. (1 shipment of 4800 kg) If he is using one himself, the company doesn't seem to be doing much for whatever money has been invested in it.
The information needs checking which is difficult from where I live.

Steve Bloom said...

Anna, what makes you think Zev2Go is incorporated in CA? It looks to me to be Nevada-only. IIRC a CA corp should be showing information about the ownership/board of directors.

Steve Bloom said...

Also, re the Keene filings, it's not uncommon for campaigns to screw up on in-kind contributions, intentionally or not.

Anna Haynes said...

Hi Steve and Andrew, thanks.

re Andrew's findings - that's very interesting. I'll see what I can find out.

Steve, in Calif, ZEV2Go is an LLC, entity #200827510019 - search here, checking the "LLC" radiobutton -

But like I said, they don't provide much info online; and for ordering copies, the delays are kind of horrific (40+ days)

NV appears to be more distant-user-friendly, although I'll have to pay some.

A little more re the Keene office & in-kind contributions -
it definitely wasn't Robin S., since her contributions came earlier and at least 1 of them was specifically a different item.
(from the PDFs of the filings, which give more info than the "summary" tables)

On Monday I'll try calling the campaign consultant again.

Steve Bloom said...

Hmm, it looks as if they decided to provide less info on-line than was the case a few years ago. It used to be that you could see info about the officers/owners. I don't recall all the details, but probably this was in the form of the required (usually annual) statements. Of course it would have cost something extra to put that info on-line, so presumably this is yet another consequence of the widespread and ongoing budget cuts. In any case, it does sound like you're in for a bit of a wait for the documentation. Hopefully Nevada will have something useful.