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Assemblymember David Hadley and Spirit of Democracy shared political consultant in violation of California law

CONTACT: Mike Shimpock, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Al Muratsuchi for Assembly filed a formal complaint against the David Hadley for Assembly 2016 campaign, the Independent Expenditure (IE) group Spirit of Democracy (SDC) and its funder, Charles T. Munger, Jr.

As is laid out in the complaint, California law prohibits any “coordination” between the two parties. In this case, both David Hadley for Assembly 2016 and Spirit of Democracy violated this law by simultaneously employing the same political consultant and strategist, Presson & Associates, at the same time as strategy for both Hadley’s campaign and the SDC “Independent Expenditure” were being developed.

The law is very clear on this, and says that “Coordination between a candidate and a person making campaign communications on his behalf will be presumed when the person making the expenditure retains the services of a person who provides either the candidate or the committee supporting or opposing the ballot measure with professional services related to campaign or fundraising strategy for the current campaign.”

Even more damning, the complaint also points out that Steve Presson of Presson & Associates refunded his fees the very same day that Spirit of Democracy began making expenditures for Hadley, which is an obvious attempt to cover up the coordination between the campaign, the consulting firm and the IE. The complaint goes on to say that, because of this coordination, SDC has far exceeded the limit on contributions the $4,200 limit on campaign contributions to Hadley’s campaign. The SDC spent nearly $300,000 in unregulated contributions for David Hadley in the 2016 primary alone, bringing their two year total to more that $1.5 million.

According to the complaint:

“SDC’s pre-election campaign statement discloses a refund from Presson & Associates for the amount paid by SDC for consulting services disclosed on the same report…that refund was purportedly received on May 16, 2016. Conveniently, that is the same day that SDC reported making its first alleged independent expenditures for Hadley. In any case, the refund of consulting fees cannot undo coordination that already took place. In short, this purported ‘refund’ is nothing more than an ill-conceived attempt to conceal the coordination that occurred the moment SDC retained the services of Hadley’s campaign consultant.”