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Supervisor candidate accidently self-funds campaign

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Wednesday, May 28th, 2008 at 12:01 pm in 2008 June primary, campaign finance, Contra Costa politics.

UPDATE 5:03 P.M. Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen has determined that Contra Costa County supervisor candidate Erik Nunn is a self-funded candidate and as a result, his opponents qualify to collect $5,000 per person rather than $1,675.

Contra Costa County supervisor candidate Erik Nunn of Oakley and his relatives have contributed or loaned his campaign more than $25,000 and triggered a hike in his opponents’ contribution limits.

Incumbent Supervisor Federal Glover of Pittsburg and challengers Gary Agopian, Mary Rocha and Don Parscal are now permitted under the county’s election law to receive up to $5,000 per person rather than $1,675 for the June 3 election.

But Nunn called it a mistake and said he has refunded the money that pushed him over the limit.

“My family did not know the rules, or how much I had already lent the campaign,” said Nunn, a chief financial office for a general contracting company. “It definitely was something that my treasurer and I missed. … I have already sent the contributions back to my family members and the correction will be made on my next campaign report.”

It may be too late for Nunn change his mind. (It is too late. See update above.)

Glover’s campaign argues that it’s unfair to allow candidates to flip-flop back and forth and put the opponents fund-raising in limbo.

“I think the Glover campaign makes a reasonable argument,” said Deputy District Attorney Steve Bolen. “ I’m going to get the supporting documents, talk to the campaigns and determine whether Nunn can reverse course.”

Glover has also filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Commission and the county District Attorney’s Office, alleging that Nunn violated campaign finance laws related to contributions he received from his mother.

“How can a CFO who says he ‘turned around a million dollar company’ not know he self-funded or violated campaign finance laws?” said Glover campaign manager Mary Jo Rossi.

Nunn received contributions on May 10, 2008, and June 27, 2007, of $1,675 each from Sheila Nunn of Mountain Ranch. Election law limits contributions to $1,675 per person per election cycle.

The District 5 campaign cycle began July 1, 2004, the month after the district’s last supervisor election where Nunn, in his first campaign, lost to Glover.

Intended to help candidates who face wealthy opponents, Contra Costa election law states that people running for county supervisor are considered self-funded if they loan or give their campaigns more than $25,000 in an election cycle and spend at least $25,000. The contribution and loan total includes money from immediate family by blood or marriage, including spouses, children, parents and siblings.

The law is silent on whether a candidate may void the self-funded trigger if he returns the money.

Nunn had received $30,050 in loans or contributions including $25,000 from himself and $5,050 from his brother, sister-in-law and mother as of May 17, the end of the most recent campaign reporting period. Nunn had spent $75,769 on his campaign.

Nunn had collected $69,365 in contributions in addition to loans from himself in the same time period. He had $17,187 in the bank and listed no debts.

Glover netted $44,093 in contributions in the same time period but reported no loans. He had $86,079 cash on hand and no debts. The other three challengers reported:

n Agopian of Antioch: $14,519 in contributions, no loans, $1,178 cash on hand and $3,000 in unpaid bills.

n Parscal of Brentwood: $2,575 in contributions, no loans, $505 cash on hand and $2,615 in debts.

n Rocha of Antioch: $5,486 in contributions, $2,792 in loans, $783 cash on hand and no unpaid bills.

The county’s Election Division provides all candidates with copies of the county election law, a candidate guide and a “Frequently Asked Questions” document that specify the rules, including those related to self-funding. The materials are also posted on-line at www.cocovote.us.

For more details on the candidates, visit the League of Women Voters’ Smart Voter website at http://www.smartvoter.org/2008/06/03/ca/cc/county.html.

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  • Steve Marston

    Big deal. So Nunn’s campaign made a mistake and he corrected it. Glover and his campaign manager are the last ones to complain about it, since Glover violated the county’s incumbent-protecting campaign finance rules in 2004. Besides, the DA’s office has set precedent in the past by allowing candidates who made mistakes to correct them. The DA’s office is biased, anyways, since the DA has endorsed Glover, so the state Attorney General’s office should handle the issue, instead.

  • Steve Marston

    Big deal. So Nunn’s campaign made a mistake and he corrected it. Glover and his campaign manager are the last ones to complain about it, since Glover violated the county’s incumbent-protecting campaign finance rules in 2004. Besides, the DA’s office has set precedent in the past by allowing candidates who made mistakes to correct them. The DA’s office is biased, anyways, since the DA has endorsed Glover, so the state Attorney General’s office should handle the issue, instead.

  • Doug Smith

    What this reveals is the financial strength of just two candidates, Glover and Nunn. Of the four challengers, it appears that only Nunn will be able to keep up with Glover in fundraising in the Fall campaign. It also is interesting to see Nunn has been raising money since last June, which gave him a good headstart over Agopian, Parscal and Rocha. Good luck to all next Tuesday.

  • Doug Smith

    What this reveals is the financial strength of just two candidates, Glover and Nunn. Of the four challengers, it appears that only Nunn will be able to keep up with Glover in fundraising in the Fall campaign. It also is interesting to see Nunn has been raising money since last June, which gave him a good headstart over Agopian, Parscal and Rocha. Good luck to all next Tuesday.

  • Steve Marston

    From a Times article: “In his 2004 re-election campaign, Glover exceeded his voluntary spending limit of $93,942 by spending $103,717. Those who choose to accept a voluntary spending limit face a charge of misdemeanor for violating it. Glover expressed confusion as to the start date of his cycle by saying, ‘It doesn’t make any sense for the period to be three years. I have to get clear on this.’” Contra Costa Times, February 25, 2004

  • Steve Marston

    From a Times article: “In his 2004 re-election campaign, Glover exceeded his voluntary spending limit of $93,942 by spending $103,717. Those who choose to accept a voluntary spending limit face a charge of misdemeanor for violating it. Glover expressed confusion as to the start date of his cycle by saying, ‘It doesn’t make any sense for the period to be three years. I have to get clear on this.’” Contra Costa Times, February 25, 2004

  • http://DonParscal Don Parscal

    I read this Times article and was amused by Eric’s lame
    excuse. This is more typical of Federal. I consider them clones. Do we need another bone head as a Supervisor.
    The question I asking myself do we elect the candidate
    that has the most signs? Lets hope not! Go to my web site
    you mite like what you see. http://WWW.donparscal.com