The California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) has imposed a $3,500 fine on Santa Francisco PAC BluPAC for failing to file nine Independent Expenditure reports within 24 hours of making the outlays in the 2016 Santa Clara City Council election. The action will be ratified at the FPPC’s July meeting.
Headed by Santa Francisco politico and attorney Douglas Chan, BluPAC — since renamed Response Analytics Research — reported spending $49,000 on ham-fisted campaign mailers attacking Lisa Gillmor-endorsed candidates in 2016. At the time, some said that the mailers were more likely to injure the candidates they purported to endorse.
“The reports were filed,” Chan said, “but not within 24 hours of the initial expenditures, so we decided to end it and pay the fine. There was nothing wrong in the reports.”
In February 2017 then-Santa Clara City Clerk Rod Diridon Jr. fined the PAC under City law for the same reporting violations. The $9,340 fine has been paid.
The PAC had never been involved in Santa Clara politics previously and hasn’t been active in the city since.
As a 501(c)(4) non-profit, BluPAC doesn’t have to report its donors if its spending doesn’t reach $50,000 and Chan has consistently refused to identify the group’s donors. San Francisco campaign reports show that that city’s police union PAC donated $10,000 to BluPAC in 2016.
A business and technology law specialist, Chan has been a figure on the San Francisco political scene since the 1980s. He’s served on San Francisco’s Civil Service, Human Rights and Police Commission commissions; Permit Appeals, Rent Stabilization and Arbitration Boards; and the Mayor’s Chinatown Economic Development Group.
He’s also the principal author of “Asian Americans and the Presidency of the United States” and a founding member of the Chinese American Voter Association.