The Citizens for Yes on Measure B, the committee that has filed in support of the half-cent road tax that will be on the November ballot, has reported a large sum of contributions, however were delayed in their reporting.
Measure B is a half-cent sales tax that is intended to benefit Turlock roads. The road tax is estimated to generate approximately $5.6 million per year, and $39.2 million over the seven-year life of the tax.
On Sept. 19, the committee, which names Kevin Berger as Treasurer, reported receiving six new contributions of $1,000 or more, between Aug. 11 and Sept. 19, totaling $15,500.
Per Fair Political Practices Commission requirements, political candidates and committees are required to report any contributions of $1,000 or more within 24 hours.
Four of the six contributions, which were received between Aug. 11 and 22, were reported late. The contributions are as follows:
- $2,500 from A. Teichert & Son, Inc., out of Sacramento, on Aug. 11
- $1,000 from Northern California District Council of Laborers Issues PAC, out of Sacramento, on Aug. 15
- $1,000 from Turlock Walnut Company on Aug. 22
- $1,000 from Turlock Scavenger Co. on Aug. 25
- $5,000 from Realtors Alliance for Proper Planning, out of Lathrop, on Sept. 18
- $5,000 from Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues KPAC, out of Oakland, on Sept. 19
Citizens for Yes on Measure B Committee Chairman and Head of the Steering Committee Jim Theis attributes the late reporting to the committee having outdated reporting requirements.
“The reporting delay was a result of our volunteer committee having outdated reporting instructions,” said Theis. “When the Turlock City News article appeared on reporting deadlines, the City was contacted and updated guidelines were obtained and the necessary forms were filed. Reporting is now current.”
On Sept. 19, TurlockCityNews.com published an article informing the public of the 24 hours contribution reporting period, that went into effect Jan. 1, 2013, and donations received by Mayoral candidate Gary Soiseth and City Council incumber Forrest White.
The Citizens for Yes on Measure B reported their contributions on the same day that the TurlockCityNews.com article was published.
However, the Citizens for Yes on Measure B are not the only ones to fall victim to the FPPC regulations this election season. On Sept. 23, Mayoral candidate Mike Brem reported eight contributions, each $1,000 or more, totalling $17,000, each of which failed to be reported within the required 24 hours.
Brem also said that the failure to report the contributions per FPPC requirements were due to having outdated information.
Per FPPC regulations, late contribution reports can result in a penalty of anything from a warning letter to the maximum $5,000 fine for each late report.
“Of course, it all depends on the facts and specifics of each case,” FPPC spokesperson Jay Wierenga previously said.
The Supporters for a Better San Clemente and Jeanne O’Grady were fined a total of $2,500 for failing to report a contribution of $2,111 to the City Clerk within 24 hours in October 2010, according to the FPPC website.
According to Turlock City Clerk Kellie Weaver, the late reporting could be an honest oversight for a committee or Political Action Committee, as the FPPC website can be confusing.
Candidates filing to run for Council or Mayor meet for approximately an hour with Weaver to go over documents, forms, requirements, etc. when they pull papers to run, however committees, PACs, and treasurers do not.
“It would be different for me if it was one of the candidates,” said Weaver. “If it were one of the candidates that acted as their own treasurer, I would say, ‘Hold on, I gave you that information.’”
The FPPC website still has an older version of the of the manual that states contributions received or made of $1,000 or more must be reported within 24 hours during the 16 days before the election. The website does however have a section detailing changes made to the manual, which includes the change in 24-hour reporting from 16 days within the election to within 90 days of the election.
“I honestly can see how someone who didn’t come in for training with me could just be looking at the manual,” said Weaver. “… To me there’s a little bit of grey area there, there’s a little bit of confusion.”
Weaver added that she provides the candidates with a large binder of information that includes the FPPC forms as they are, as she cannot change the forms, but does also include the form with the changes.
Due to the recent late reporting by some groups, Weaver said she sent a reminder to all candidates and committees of the reporting requirements.
“I wanted to make sure everyone had that correct, updated information, so I did send this form out to all of them last week,” said Weaver.
Of the six contributions reported by the Citizens for Yes on Measure B, only two were from Turlock companies or committees.
Listed under the contributions is a $2,500 donation from Teichert Construction, Inc., who has done several repaving projects in Turlock recently. They were awarded the Monte Vista Avenue repaving project in September 2013, as well as several other repaving projects.
According to the Teichert Construction, Inc. website, the company is a “general contractor that builds the infrastructure most people use every day, including hundreds of thousands of miles of roads, sidewalks, freeways, curbs, utility trenches, and gutters.”
FOX40 News Video: Some Turlock Residents Say City is Trying to Tell them How to Vote