Campaign finances continue to undergo examination as postelection statements filed

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Finance committees for the ballot measures of last November’s elections ultimately spent more than $3 million, according to campaign disclosure documents filed this month.

The bulk of that money came from the approximately $2.5 million spent by the campaign against Measure D, a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors of sugar-sweetened beverages. The Yes on D side spent nearly $1 million, receiving a donation of $115,000 from former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg — who ultimately contributed more than $600,000 in support of the tax — in the week leading up to the election.

Feb. 2 marked the deadline for filing postelection statements for the November election. These documents also reveal that Bloomberg provided about $350,000 for television advertising time and production — last year, he paid for an ad supporting Measure D to run during the World Series.

Later contributions to the No on D campaign consisted mostly of ones from the American Beverage Association California PAC, including more than $100,000 received in December.

Nearly $250,000 was spent by the campaign against Measure R, a proposal spearheaded by Councilmember Jesse Arreguin that would have put new environmental and labor regulations on development in Downtown Berkeley.

Overall, much of its contributions came from realtor groups, including a $5,000 contribution from the California Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization PAC received in December. The campaign also spent about $600 on a campaign victory event at the Beta Lounge, a bar in Berkeley.

The Yes on R campaign, in contrast, spent only about $24,000. Its later contributions included donations from various community members. Expenditures also included a $250 contribution to Arreguin, who ran uncontested in District 4.

Now that postelection statements have come in, the city staff is in the process of examining them. Berkeley’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission already was presented with a report last month on mass-mailing certifications and campaign statements filed as of Jan. 15.

According to the report, at least 60 mass mailings were filed by Berkeley committees in the 2014 election cycle, more than 75 percent of which were filed on time. The report noted that although mailing certifications were generally compliant, they did not always properly list “major funding by” information.

City staff checks in with committees throughout the filing process to ensure that errors are being rectified, according to Kristy van Herick, a deputy city attorney and the outgoing staff secretary for the commission,

Herick also noted that 2014 was the first election year in which all committees that raised or spent more than $1,000 were mandated to electronically file campaign statements, as per a Berkeley law adopted in 2013.

Melissa Wen is the executive news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter @melissalwen.