Exploiting a loophole in state election law, unknown interests hostile to Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do have funded a late campaign attack against the first-term supervisor, who is engaged in a hard-fought re-election battle in the 1st District.
Yesterday, an independent expenditure committee called “California Future Fund PAC” reported spending $14,000 on a campaign mailer attacking Do. The money had to come from somewhere new because according to the PAC’s most recent campaign report, it had only $79 in the bank and debt of $26,886.
OC Daily contacted committee treasurer Tom Montgomery of San Rafael in San Marin County. According to Mr. Montgomery, since California Future Fund PAC is a non-party, non-candidate general recipient committee, state law doesn’t require 24-hour disclosure of late contributions. He said the funding would be disclosed in the semi-annual report covering January through June of 2016 and filed at the end of July.
The attack mail hasn’t yet surfaced, but with the election less than a week away, the calendar makes it very difficult for campaigns to respond to a late hit. Lee Neves, principal of the Stockton-based political consulting firm CrossCurrents LLC, is the consultant listed on past campaign reports for California Future Fund PAC; he lists the committee among his clients.
Who is funding the hit against a sitting county supervisor? One of Do’s opponents, Garden Grove Councilman Phat Bui has been paying for attack mailers against Do; trying to hide his role in yet another attack doesn’t make sense. It stands to reason there is a third party or parties who stand to benefit in someway by going after Do.
The question is why?
When contacted about the IE, the Do campaign responded with a statement that it believes this attack is funded by special interests with whom the supervisor has “refused to play ball.”
Do’s campaign cited a reform plan he proposed to “reduce special interest influence over Orange County’s health care provider, CalOptima” in order to reverse changes to CalOptima enacted in 2011.
Andrew Do proposed a reform plan to reduce special interest influence over Orange County’s health care provider – CalOptima. Do’s plan was intended to reverse 2011 changes that gave a larger voice in CalOptima to the health care industry.
“Supervisor Do also expanded eligibility requirements to involve nurses, pharmacists and therapists, and opened up Orange County’s books to shed light on hundreds of millions of dollars in mental health spending – budgets that have for too long been controlled by industry insiders,” according to the campaign statement.
His campaign said “Andrew Do believes that every patient should be in control of their medical decisions – choosing the doctor and treatment options that are best for them” and that was the driving force the OneCare Connect reform to streamline senior health benefits provided under Medicare and Medi-Cal into a single plan and give them greater control over their medical decisions.
The mail piece paid for by the mystery funders hasn’t arrived in voter households yet, but it stands to reason it will parallel the line of attack by Phat Bui, who has been filing ethics complaints against Do and then sending out negative mailers attacking Do claiming he is “under investigation” for the complaints Bui filed.
The Do campaign dismissed any such attacks as “false and desperate,” responding:
“Andrew Do has written the book for open and ethical government. Literally. Last year, Supervisor Andrew Do co-authored a measure to create an Orange County Ethics Commission. Supervisor Do’s proposal incorporated all of the recommendations of the Orange County Ethics Committee, which produced a 245-page report that has received universal praise from ethics watchdogs.”
Few political observers believe this late hit or Bui’s attacks will have significant impact on the June primary results; campaign watchers generally expect Do to come close to the 50% plus 1 threshold necessary to avoid a November run-off or possibly exceed it. As the identity of the funder or funders of the late hit, the answer won’t be known until July 31.
OC Daily Editor Matthew Cunningham assisted with researching this article.