Arecent Los Angeles Times editorial made the case, inadvertently, that ECA’s Political Action Committee (ECAPAC) serves a greater purpose by focusing voters to support necessary funding for public works projects.
The Times editorial explained that both state and federal law forbid governmental entities, from using public funds or resources to campaign for ballot measures, bond issues or other causes.
These governments “are allowed to share impartial information with voters using normal communication channels,” the paper’s editorial board said. “Acity may post facts on its municipal website about how the proceeds of a proposed bond measure will be used to replace aging water pipes. But if city officials dip into the treasury to produce and mail glossy campaign ads to voters urging their support for the measure in the upcoming election so their taps don’t dry up, that crosses the line into advocacy, which is prohibited.”
California’s political watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), should ostensibly police this local government illegal spending, just like they do regarding candidates for public office.
But no, says the Times, the FPPC “lacks the authority to pursue such unfair political practices. That job goes to the state attorney general or local district attorneys, but they rarely (read never as far as we can find) investigate whether the county’s bond measure mailer was an illegal use of public money.”
Enter the ECA PAC. We are allowed, by the FPPC rules, to spend an “almost unlimited” amount of funds to support local government projects. The only limit we face is the amount of money in the piggy bank…err, PAC Committee accounts.
We have been successful in our fundraising efforts in the recent past, first doubling and then tripling the contributions our members, both contractor and affiliate, have made over the last couple of years. On the debit side of our books, we spent a big chunk of our current PAC funds in support of the effort to defeat Prop. 6 (something around $50K) and we need to replenish, to get ready to help local governments get voter approval for projects and to help elect office holders who will support infrastructure work to help our industry and improve the lives of their citizens.
We will be calling the current Platinum Circle and Gold Key members of our Major Donor Program to renew their support for another year. We will be asking ECA members to join the fight in the next few weeks to get read for the next battle.
By Scott Salandi,ECA PAC Chairman Email: [email protected]