California’s Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, is currently investigating the Yes on Measure DD campaign on suspicion of violating the Political Reform Act’s campaign disclosure requirements.
The FPPC sent a letter Wednesday to the Measure DD campaign and its sponsor, the Berkeley Property Owners Association, informing them of the investigation. As first reported by Berkeleyside, the investigation was launched in light of a complaint submitted by the UC Berkeley Progressive Students Association, or PSA, last month alleging that Measure DD listed donors improperly on finance documents and that several advertisements lacked mandatory disclosure requirements.
“At this time, we have not made any determination about the matter,” the FPPC stated in the letter. “We are simply providing you with this information and will be contacting you again … regarding this matter.”
Measure DD is a ballot measure that would raise the business license tax from 1.081 percent to 1.5 percent for those who own three or more units. Competing Measure U1 would raise the tax to 2.88 percent for owners of more than five units. In addition, Measure U1 would provides exemptions for nonprofits that provide affordable housing, as well as new developments for their first 12 years as residential rental units.
The PSA alleged in a press release that the Measure DD campaign listed donations from multiple properties, even though they were owned by the same individual. According to Krista Gulbransen — executive director of the Berkeley Rental Housing Coalition, BPOA’s political and legal arm — her organization is currently in touch with the lead investigator of the case.
“Frivolous FPPC complaints are the oldest trick in the book for campaigns that want to distract voters from the issues,” Gulbransen said in an email. “In this case, they want to distract from the fact that Measure U1 is a regressive giveaway to big developers.”