In a testament to the self-replenishing power of auto-deducting political dues from the paychecks of its members, the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs independent expenditure committee (PAC) has amassed a campaign warchest of nearly $1 million.
In its campaign disclosure filing for the period January 1 through April 23, 2016, the AOCDS IE committee reported contributions of $158,652, bringing its cash-on-end to $953,104. The AOCDS collected $591,666 for its IE committee in 2015.
The word “contributions” doesn’t quite capture the sense of the donations; rather than writing checks to the IE committee, the contributions from individual deputies are deducted from their pay. AOCDS campaign disclosures are page after page after page — 160 pages in its most recent filing – listing the exact same amounts from hundreds of deputies. The relentless, automatic nature of the collections is evocative of a farm combine threshing its way through a wheat field.
Indeed, given the union’s rate of collecting political dues, its independent expenditure committee has already passed the $1 million mark. No other political player in the county comes close.
This begs the question of how the AOCDS will put this war chest to use? There is only one November election of direct consequence to it: the November contest between Supervisor Andrew Do and Santa Ana Councilwoman Michele Martinez (who scored, unexpectedly, a narrow June primary lead over Do). The AOCDS has endorsed Do for re-election, but will they use their warchest to support Do with a significant independent expenditure campaign?
The AOCDS went to bat in 2006 for Pat Bates in her 5th District contest with free-spending Laguna Niguel Councilwoman Cassie DeYoung, spending almost $200,000 in pro-Bates direct mail to offset the $3.7 million spent by DeYoung.