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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coalition for Responsible Growth Less Responsible About Reporting Campaign Expenditures

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2009 at 12:01 AM

Injury: Spending $100,000 or more on unsuccessful political campaigns. Insult: Getting dinged for thousands more dollars over delinquent campaign filings.
  • Injury: Spending $100,000 or more on unsuccessful political campaigns. Insult: Getting dinged for thousands more dollars over delinquent campaign filings.
There are more entertaining endeavors than being the bean-counter for the Coalition for Responsible Growth these days. The San Francisco political action committee -- which could be labeled either "anti-progressive" or "pro-moderate" depending on whom you want to get angry at you -- has rallied its troops by urging action in "taking S.F. on a sharp turn to the right." That quest resulted in $100,000 -- and possibly much more -- being poured into the latest swing supervisorial races. And that strategy worked about as effectively as the Maginot Line

In a galling double-indemnity, the CRG has racked up thousands of dollars in fines for failing to disclose those costly and ineffective campaign expenditures in a timely fashion. The group was yesterday sent a second late notice and placed on the Ethics Commission's list of "Non-responsive campaign finance disclosure filers" -- known, more informally, as the "Hall of Shame."

The CRG's most recent filing indicates it spent $98,236.94 through mid-October; pinpointing how much it poured into the frenzied run-up to election day cannot be determined until the delinquent group files its papers.

Shane O'Reilly, the CRG's treasurer, said he could "possibly" complete and submit the delinquent forms today -- though he'd still be more than a month late (they were due Feb. 2). Whenever O'Reilly gets the forms in, he's looking at fines of $35 a day backdated to the beginning of last month. Add those to $1,500 in previously assessed fines the CRG picked up for missing its previous two reporting deadlines.

When asked why the CRG has such trouble with doing its work on time, O'Reilly explained that the city's reporting requirements "are very complicated. It's very hard to explain. You really need to experience it to appreciate the full thing."

Incidentally, O'Reilly is a contractor when he's not a treasurer -- so to rate something as more difficult than maneuvering the legal and bureaucratic obstacle course it takes to get a structure erected in this city is a heavy statement indeed.

And, in fact, CRG is not the only organization that was placed into the city's "Hall of Shame" yesterday, though you could say that the large, moneyed group is heading the class. The other 14 inductees include Eric Mar for DCCC, Jill Wynns for school board, and, somewhat amusingly, Robert E. McCullough for Mayor -- "Captain Democracy."

Now you can call him Captain Delinquent.

Read the whole list here: 2nd NSWN List as of 2.18.09.xls 

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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