Humboldt’s HCDCC 497

We received $25,000 from the Political Action for Classified Employees of California School Employees Small Contributor Committee.

That’s it.  That’s the public announcement that people worked hard to avoid announcing online.  We received it on 1/6/15(edit 1/6/16).  Turns out due to a special election that was recently announced for 4/5/16 the 24 hour reporting deadline began on 1/7/16.  Again, we received this money 1/6/16.  Someone knows what they are doing.

My feelings on this are increasingly jaundiced and the reasons are these.

  1. This is undemocratic.  Although I support the reasons for doing this (trying to fight fire (money) with fire (money)), it is ultimately a losing game for us and we are much better off focusing on little “d” democracy.  If this is not dark money, this money is in the shadows and it is something the HCDCC would rather not talk about.
  2. It feeds the right-wing anti-union meme that there is no difference between left and right when money is concerned.
  3. If it was to work, which I hope to look into in future days, weeks and months and share the results here, it works helping statewide candidacies.  Not that these do not ultimately come back to help us here, but it does so indirectly.  Directly these hurt us by adding a sliver of credence to right-wing nonsense-talk.

In short, high local risk, very low local reward.  We don’t need to do this, and we are better off locally not doing it.  Let’s let other county DCCs do the work for a while.


A 497 is the report the $25,000 we received on 1/6/16 would have been reported on if received 1/7/16.  The HCDCC has received this money and it is theirs to keep and spend as it likes (in theory).  Turns out, each year we receive this money we also happen to feel very generous and spend money in the most competitive statewide races.  In the end, we generally don’t spend approximately 7% of what we received in these donations.

That’s from my experience.  I’ve never been privy to these conversations even as Treasurer for the last year plus so I don’t know how the decisions are made expect that they include members of the Executive Committee without the Treasurer.


In November there will be a highly contested State Assembly or State Senate race when the HCDCC will begin to send money to the Democratic candidate.  Will this help push the candidate over the edge?  Maybe, it didn’t in 2014.

This endeavor starts off at best as a lose-win.  I’d wager more often than not it’s a lose-lose as the candidates we mean to monetarily support lose.  I’d argue that even when they win, we all lose on the left b/c this darn argument is one that fuels the increasingly tenuous right-wing narratives of equivalency.  “Sure we got a ton of money from ____, what about unions and the barely legal games they play?”

Here is a great quote from commenter Local when I asked in a post “Are Arkley Political Donations the Same Thing as HCDCC Political Donations?”

No, they are not the same, considering the source(s), purpose and accountability of the funds. They are as different as Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are from Hillary Clinton and Howard Dean. The credibility deficit is, however, about the same.


In a world where we are losing voters and HCDCC volunteers year after year, the credibility deficit is something we in the HCDCC need to address.



Money in Politics. Is There Ethical High Ground?

Are Arkley Political Donations the Same Thing as HCDCC Political Donations?

The Stories 460s Tell: HCDCC Edition

John Hrabe’s Word Map of HCDCC Donations


Resources and Elsewhere:

HCDCC financial records based on FPPC reports

A legal use of power:  Partis funnel millions to California candidates.





5 thoughts on “Humboldt’s HCDCC 497

  1. jtimmons88 says:

    Guess I disagree with you on this. When the HAR and Arkleys stop contributing , then the HCCDC will have the luxury of refusing contributions. I too used to be disturbed that we had to do this but in retrospect the outrage was over the way it was handled- as if there were something to be ashamed of- that caused the problem.

    1. Julie, what if, because I don’t disagree with the sentiment, what if we refuse the approximately 7% overhead or better yet, give it all to Food for People or another non-profit and non-political organization?

      We need to prove to the people and ourselves that we will not benefit from this crappy work-around law and thus attempt to bridge the credibility gap.

      What do you think Kim (bad example?) needed more in her race against Mike Newman? The $500 we contributed or, say 3 volunteers and a few extra individuals willing to contribute to her campaign?

      One more thing, we are down by huge margins * in the race between business (corporate) and union. We need to be winning different arguments than the one that allows unions (and businesses) to do something that does approach “laundering” money through political organizations to ultimately land on the one or two statewide races that are deemed to be contested.

      Isn’t “laundering” way, way to easy to use in describing this phenomena. If not technically laundering, it is in the ballpark isn’t it. Even if for a cause we both believe in?

      We can do better and I believe it’s by maximizing the participation of people and minimizing the participation of money. Maybe if we do that, we can pass laws that understand that union money is different than business money and has a built-in disadvantage that needs laws to level the playing field.


      * The ration begins at 3 to 1 and can get as bad as 15 to 1 depending on the darkness of the money. These are not winning ratios for us which is why we need to focus on our strength – people. In order to help people understand the real and consequential political decisions we need to increase our credibility with them b/c the right wing is doing a great job of simply saying we are asshole elites who at best are out for ourselves and at worst are unAmerican “others”.

  2. Anonymous says:

    whoa, LMOB, you are goring the sacred ox or whatever here. as wacky as you may be, hats off to your principled position. you’re ratio’s there forget to mention that business is giving 41% of the time to democrats.

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