Financial disclosure statements are one of the most important aspects of any campaign.
They offer black-and-white information about who is supporting any particular candidate, to whom the candidate might be beholden, whether they have broad-based support or rely on a handful of wealthy people.
The first disclosures in the Rancho Mirage City Council election were released this week. Depending on who was releasing the information, the amounts seemed to vary. Some reported candidates’ total contributions while others reported only monetary contributions to indicate who might have raised more.
There is clearly significant interest in how much money is being given to the candidates, from whom it is coming and more. Who is self-funding his or her campaign? How much has each candidate loaned himself or herself? Has each followed the rules and regulations of the California Fair Political Practices Commission? Are their math errors?
Disclosure of money raised spent in elections has been the bedrock of our political system for many years, usually supported by all political parties, according to the Campaign Legal Center. Voters deserve to know who is funding political communications in order to evaluate the full context of the message. Citizens need to know who has spent money to elect or defeat officials in order to hold those officeholders accountable and prevent corruption.
Justice Kennedy, in the only portion of the 2010 Citizens United opinion that had the support of eight of the nine Justices, noted the importance of disclosing the sources of campaign spending. He wrote that disclosure “provide[s] the electorate with information,” makes sure “that voters are fully informed about the person or group who is speaking,” and ensures people are “able to evaluate the arguments to which they are being subjected.”
That is true whether it is a local, state or federal campaign.
To that end, Uken Report is making all of the Financial Disclosure Statements available so you can see for yourself where candidate are getting their money. Decide for yourself if anyone is buying influence.
To see each candidate’s Financial Disclosure Statement, simply click on his or her name. The candidates are: G. Dana Hobart, Iris Smotrich, Charles Townsend Vinci, Katherine “Kate” Spates , Robert “”Bob” Mueller, and Michael Harrington.