Commentary

BJ Atkins | Campaign Cash: Smith in Glass House

Last week I saw an email from Christy Smith attacking Dante Acosta because he received campaign contributions from certain business entities. This made me curious.

After her attacks and a little research, I found out where she receives the money she uses to fuel her campaign efforts. I looked back at her run in 2016 and her current campaign in 2018 to see who supports her.

Based on her protests, I expected to see nothing but small local donors. It turns out her largest supporter by far was and remains the California Democratic Party (CDP). This seems obvious, but the party doesn’t have money of its own — it has to get it from somewhere. It only took a few seconds of digging to realize the CDP raises millions of dollars every year from big labor, corporations, millionaires and billionaires.

Let me be clear. It is not wrong for those organizations to donate as they see fit. What is wrong is for Christy Smith to talk out of both sides of her mouth. She attacks Acosta for being up-front and reporting with precision those who are supporting his campaign; while she chooses to disguise the donations she receives as they get funneled through the California Democratic Party.

Just this week Christy Smith received $100,000 from two Democratic county parties. Again, no big deal if the L.A. County and Ventura County Democratic Party committees send her money; Acosta’s district is housed in both of those counties.

However, the counties with deep concern over the 38th Assembly District, and the source of the $100,000, are the Democratic Party organizations in Yolo and Del Norte counties.

You may recall from geography class both these counties are far north of here; one near Sacramento and the other even further north.

Christy spends a large portion of her time following Katie Hill (the Democratic candidate for Congress) around our community. Katie says she takes no corporate money. Katie’s campaign website states, “From day one, I said I wouldn’t take corporate money — I am running to represent you, not the extremely wealthy or the big businesses they control.”

Katie is funded in the same manner, and Christy stands cheering while her campaign is backed by what amounts to “dark money,” received from six-digit donors to the CDP. Talk about the height of hypocrisy.

Dante Acosta has been an independent representative when it comes to campaign finance. Acosta was key in passing three bills known as the DISCLOSE Act, the Online DISCLOSE Act, and the Petition DISCLOSE Act.

This I found when reading an email blast from the “California Clean Money Campaign” praising Acosta for showing “particular bipartisan leadership for transparency in campaign financing.”

He helped lead the way in getting Republican support for these three bills. Acosta is being praised rightfully for being effective in a bipartisan manner; in an effort to stop the use of dark money donated by “super PACs” in California.

Smith will be using millions of dollars in dark money to convince voters she will be transparent, effective and bipartisan. Sorry Christy, the numbers do not lie, and it won’t work.

I’m tired of hearing double-talk and hypocrisy from Christy Smith. She is no friend “of the people,” and she will never be as independent or focused on local issues as Acosta has proven to be over the last two years. Her entire campaign seems bankrolled by party bosses. It’s easy to lob half-truths from the sidelines, but our community is too smart to be fooled.

Christy Smith was already rejected strongly by voters in 2016. My prediction: This kind of irresponsible and dishonest campaigning will result in Christy Smith being rejected again this November.

BJ Atkins is a Newhall resident and local businessman. He is an elected member of the board of directors for SCV Water. However, this commentary solely represents his own personal opinion.

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