OAKLAND -- The Coalition for a Safer California spent $137,000 in the past three months to help Don Perata in his quest to become Oakland's next mayor, and the former state senator responded by spending more than $593,000 -- a record -- with a month still to go.
The coalition filed its quarterly campaign finance report online Tuesday evening with California's secretary of state, putting to rest the question whether the political committee controlled by Perata's longtime associate Paul Kinney did, as promised in a Sept. 16 letter sent to the Oakland Public Ethics Commission, blow through the spending limit on independent expenditures in the Oakland mayor's race.
According to Oakland's elections code, once a political action committee independently spends more than the $95,000 ceiling set for the mayor's race, the candidates who previously agreed to abide by voluntary spending limits of $379,000 are no longer held to that limit.
Exactly $95,500 was spent between July 6 and Sept. 16 by the coalition, according to the first pre-election filing period that covers July 1 through Sept. 30.
The Sept. 16 date is important because Perata said he waited until that day to launch his own television ads that put him over the voluntary $379,000 spending cap set for candidates in the mayor's race.
But Perata's closest rivals in the race, City Council members Jean Quan and Rebecca Kaplan, have for three weeks accused Perata of working with the committee to exceed the cap. They questioned how he could know in advance of the Oct. 5 campaign finance filing deadline that the committee had actually spent money in the race unless he had insider knowledge.
The coalition reported that it paid Paul Kinney Productions $41,600 on Sept. 30 to produce a mailer supporting Perata, and $55,500 on Sept 16 for a television ad. Three $10,000 consulting fee payments were also made to Paul Kinney Productions on July 8, Aug. 6 and Sept. 1, and a $10,000 payment was made on July 6 to Stephanie Shakofsky for fundraising services related to the independent expenditures on behalf of Perata.
The committee received a $20,000 donation from the San Francisco Police Officers Association PAC, the same group that sent out mailers in June that targeted Oakland City Council members who it said voted to lay off 80 police officers.
The mailer incorrectly stated that Kaplan had voted for the layoffs.
Other contributions to the committee include $25,000 from developer James Falaschi and $10,000 each from Jon Reynolds, founder of Reynolds and Brown, and T. Gary Rogers, former chief executive of Dreyers Ice Cream.
Perata has raised a whopping $662,381 in the race so far, and spent $593,531 -- far surpassing the $379,000 limit he said he held until Sept. 16.
He reported spending $268,346 in the past three months, and by far the biggest single expense was $126,997.48 paid to Whitehurst-Moser Campaign Strategy and Media for television airtime/cable production costs.
The company was also paid $11,600 for postage. Perata is not required to provide the date that he paid those bills, so there is no way of knowing whether he waited until the coalition said it had broken the $95,000 threshold. Perata reported $228,831 in new contributions through Sept. 30, of which $90,000 were loans to himself.
Quan and Kaplan have sworn to stick within the $379,000 voluntary limits and their filings Tuesday proved them right.
Quan raised $116,889 through Sept. 30, including $75,000 loaned to the campaign from herself and husband Floyd Huen, raising her overall total to $318,500. She has spent $193,365 on the race so far with the bulk of it -- $167,550 -- in the past three months.
Kaplan raised $88,531 through Sept. 30, bringing her total to $138,636 for the race, including $22,000 in loans she made to the campaign. Kaplan has spent $124,472 so far, $99,103 since July 1.
Joe Tuman, a distant fourth in the polls, reported $63,936 in contributions, including $13,000 he loaned himself. He has spent $23,077.
The City Council has agreed at its Oct. 19 meeting to hear Quan and Kaplan's request to impose stricter reporting rules on independent expenditure committees that break the city's spending limits.
Contact Cecily Burt at 510-208-6441.