FPPC: No problem with Perata’s campaign loan

There’s no evidence that Don Perata violated the state’s campaign finance laws when he loaned money from his company to his Oakland mayoral campaign, the state’s political watchdog agency says.

Don PerataCalifornia’s Fair Political Practices Commission notified the former state Senate President Pro Tem in an Oct. 14 letter that it had “initiated an investigation of allegations that you may have violated the Political Reform Act when you made a loan of funds from Perata Consulting LLC to finance your mayoral campaign.”

But 12 days later, it sent him another letter saying that based on the FPPC’s review of his campaign finance reports, “we are closing this case with no further action.”

Because no sworn complaint was ever received, the FPPC won’t disclose the source of the allegations that sparked its investigation.

Perata Consulting – run by Perata and his son, Nick Perata – loaned Perata’s mayoral campaign $50,000 on June 30 of this year. The consulting firm’s major client over the past two years has been the California Correctional Peace Officers Association; the prison guards’ union’s committees have paid Perata Consulting a total of at least $468,893.81. CCPOA committees also have paid at least $57,548.75 to Liquid Logistics, a company run by Nick Perata.

Despite Perata’s record spending in this campaign, the Oakland mayoral race remains too close to call as the Alameda County voter registrar continues counting last-minute vote-by-mail and provisional ballots. This was Oakland’s first outing with ranked-choice voting, and although Perata led his competitors in a preliminary first-choice count, a subsequent, unofficial tally of second- and third-choice votes showed City Councilwoman Jean Quan in the lead.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    I can’t believe that The Don lost to a woman who completely outsmarted him politically.

    With a campaign slogan like NEVER BEEN INDICTED, how could he lose?

  • ted ford

    I think Perata has a good point on the unfairness of the Oakland voting system. It must sting to win a landslide election and then somehow lose it to the obscurities of this system.

    Of course, nothing will ever sting like the 2000 Presidential election. I will never in my life think anything other than that Al Gore won that election.

  • hilltopper

    Re #2: Perata never won a landslide victory. He never even had a majority of voters supporting him.

    For as long as I recall, Oakland has required more than 50% of the vote to win. In the past, there would be a second election (a run-off) if no candidate got more than 50%. Voter then approved “instant run-off” and the secretary of state’s office approved of its use this year. It allowed voters to choose their second and third choices immediately instead of the taxpayers paying for, and the candidates spending on, a second election.

    What “instant run-off” voting also accomplishes is to alter the campaigning as candidates need to be careful not to anger voters who prefer a different candidate, as the candidate needs to be the second choice of those same voters.

    What the voting of second and third choices showed was that Perata had a solid core of first place supporters but nobody else liked him much. Indeed, he skipped almost every candidate forum and, as most media pointed out, was woefully uninformed about the issues.

  • Josh Richman

    re #3: “What the voting of second and third choices showed was that Perata had a solid core of first place supporters but nobody else liked him much.”

    Right you are, Hilltopper, and I think that was his opponents’ ace in the hole all along – that people either love Don Perata or hate him, with few in between. It may be worth noting that Perata remained in the lead up until the final round; Kaplan’s elimination brought a flood of votes for Quan, leapfrogging her over Perata to victory.

  • ted ford

    you got a point. Don’s pissed, though. As I think about it, Quan will probably be just fine. I was always concerned Perata was too much in the pocket of the public sector unions.