A contentious race for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors District 1 seat continues to heat up as both candidates file complaints against the other with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).
Candidates David Haubert and Vinnie Bacon issued grievances through the FPPC in late August and early October, respectively.
Rick Taylor, Haubert’s campaign manager, cited a failure on the part of Bacon to report expenses. He alleged improper use of personal funds for campaign purposes.
“We filed a series of complaints against Mr. Bacon,” said Taylor. “Vinnie (Bacon) has a history of not following the rules as it pertains to Fair Political Practices.”
Haubert’s camp claims that Bacon underreported and failed to report expenses; did not properly claim money that he loaned his campaign; used personal funds to pay for campaign expenses; and was late to report campaign contributions. The FPPC confirmed the case is open but cannot comment on an ongoing investigation.
Because of the pending investigation, Bacon declined to go into detail on some of the allegations pending the investigation, but did acknowledge that he used his private credit card to pay for television ads when the card attached to his campaign fund did not work. He also acknowledged that he failed to update his Facebook page that said funding was coming from his previous city council campaign account. However, he noted the funds were properly reported.
“I would describe them all as filing errors, clerical errors,” Bacon said, adding that the complaints are nothing more than mudslinging tactics by his opponent.
Taylor however, says the filing has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the law.
“I’m doing my professional duty as a campaign consultant,” said Taylor. “The public should know he is not following the rules … I believe he knowingly violated the law.”
On Oct. 16, Bacon filed a complaint against Haubert with the FPPC, alleging Haubert failed to report 38 contributions during the July to September filing period — a sum totaling nearly $100,000. According to Bacon, none of the donations had the required 497 forms, which are required to be submitted within 24 hours for donations of $1,000 or more from a single contributor. The FPPC acknowledged the case is open and under investigation.
Haubert calls the allegations baseless.
“All reports were filed in time with Alameda County as required,” he said. “(Bacon) is making baseless accusations as a poor attempt to deflect from his clear violations.”
In 2016, charges were filed against Bacon during his run for the Fremont City Council for failing to file late reports and report nonmonetary contributions. The FPPC ruled there was no evidence of intent to conceal and fined him $2,381. Bacon explained that he was his own treasurer during the 2016 campaign and admitted he did a poor job of keeping track of deadlines and forms.
When asked why he did not hire a treasurer this time around to avoid previous mistakes, Bacon stated that he probably should have.
“In retrospect, I should have hired someone to take care of these things,” said Bacon. “I am a grassroots organization, but I should have hired a treasurer (this time).”
Bacon said despite the contentious tone of the campaign, he is hopeful residents will see beyond the rhetoric and get out the vote.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Bacon. “But I do think the big question here that will be answered is, ‘Does all the negative campaigning work?’ I guess we will find out.”
Bacon and Haubert are competing for longtime Supervisor Scott Haggerty’s seat who announced this year that he would not seek reelection. Bacon and Haubert were in a dead heat after the primaries in March with Bacon garnering 27% of the vote and Haubert 26%.