This morning, the Voice of OC published a story by Brandon Pho bemoaning the volume of ballots already cast before more voters have had a chance to read the latest round of candidate campaign finance disclosures.
The article’s premise illustrates the VOC’s view that these reports are Rosetta Stones for deciphering candidates, while simultaneously overlooking the reality that – outside of hard core political activists – few people read them.
It also curious that for all its hand-wringing over campaign finance disclosure filing schedules, the Voice of OC fails to report that District 4 council candidate Annemarie Randle-Trejo has failed to file her Form 460 disclosing her donors and expenditures between July 1 and September 19.
Randle-Trejo was required by law to file this report nearly a month ago, and still has not done so.
At the same time as the above story, the Voice of OC also published an article by Pho and Spencer Custodio on the Anaheim City Council races. The story follows the standard VOC narrative. It also completely ignores Randle-Trejo’s violation of campaign finance law.
They reported that Randle-Trejo – a political ally of Councilman Jose F. Moreno – raised only $1,500. That’s because they didn’t examine Randle-Trejo’s campaign finance report (known as a Form 460) very closely.
On the Form 460 in question, Randle-Trejo is supposed to detail every donor who has contributed an aggregate of at least $100 to her campaign between July 1 and September 19 – and was due on September 24.
Randle-Trejo, however filed her Form 460 covering July 1-September 19 too early – on August 24, a full month early:.
So, while the public could examine who donated to her opponents, Avelino Valencia and Jeannine Robbins, they were denied the same opportunity to see all of Randle-Trejo’s donors during that period.
Keep in mind, Randle-Trejo regularly talks about the importance of transparency (usually while criticizing the Anaheim City Council majority).
If Custodio and Pho had looked at the date/time stamp on Randle-Trejo’s Form 460 while writing their article, the would have noticed she was effectively concealing donors from the public:
Her low fundraising total should have raised questions: Randle-Trejo is a long-time Anaheim Union High School District Trustee, which has some built-in fundraising power.
Instead, they wrote:
She fundraised just over $1,500 for her campaign, with donations coming from progressive activist and past Orange County Board of Education and former 39th Congressional District candidate Andy Thorburn, according to the reports she’s filed.
Basic arithmetic and reporting deadlines should have raised more red flags for the VOC. Thorburn and his wife donated a combined $4,000 on September 3. Firstly, $4,000 plus $1,500 is $5,500 – significantly more than the “just over $1,500 for her campaign.” Furthermore, the Thorburn donations fell within the July 1-Sept. 19 reporting period – all of which leads back to Randle-Trejo’s failure to file a report covering that period.
The upshot is that for nearly a month, Randle-Trejo has failed to properly disclose donors to her city council campaign. If she were a candidate backed by Resort business, the Voice of OC would all over the story lie a cheap suit, publishing multiple articles with alarming headlines. When it comes to progressive Democrat candidates allied with Councilman Moreno and his political agenda, incuriosity prevails.
“There is no accountability without transparency,” Randle-Trejo is quoted in the Voice of OC article on the council races. In her case, there’s no transparency and no accountability – at least from the Voice of OC.