Page One

George Beier Addresses Reporting Delinquencies

By Judith Scherr
Friday September 15, 2006

California law requires candidates periodically to report in detail where they get their campaign cash and what debts they’ve incurred. And Berkeley election law says candidates must make public copies of all election materials sent by mail to more than 200 Berkeley residents. 

District 7 candidate George Beier has been delinquent on both counts, a fact he now acknowledges. 

In June, Beier had an opinion poll conducted, but no record of the poll showed up on Beier’s Jan. 1-June 30 expenditure statement, filed, as required, on July 31. While he has acknowledged the oversight, Beier has not yet filed an addendum to his July 31 statement. 

And Beier mailed out three different campaign pieces to more than 200 people —one on crime issues, an invitation to a fundraiser and a post card directed to people in the Bateman neighborhood. The candidate filed copies of these mailings with the city clerk only after the Daily Planet raised the issue with him. 

The Berkeley Elections Reform Act defines a mass mailing as “two hundred or more identical or nearly identical pieces of mail” and says: “A copy of every mass mailing in support of or in opposition to a candidate or measure shall be sent to the (Fair Political Campaign Practices) commission. Such copies sent to the commission shall be public record.” 

“In my mind, a ‘mass mailing’ is a bulk mailing—I didn’t equate (mass mailing) with an invitation to a party,” Beier told the Planet. 

While he has run for office before and Beier said that although City Clerk Sherry Kelly must have explained the regulations, her counsel “went in one ear and out the other.”  

While declining to comment on the specific case, Pat O’Donnell, who serves on the city’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission, spoke to the need for campaign disclosure regulations. If they know where candidates get and spend their campaign funds, “voters are better informed and make better decisions,” he said. 

Addressing the question of unpaid bills, California Fair Political Practices Commission spokesperson Whitney Barazoto said, “If goods or services are received by a committee, they should be reported.” 

Not wanting to comment on a specific case, Barazoto referred the Planet to Chapter 7 of the FPPC’s Campaign Manual 1 which says: “An expenditure is ‘made’ on the date the payment is made or the date the committee receives the goods or services, whichever is earlier.”  

Beier was apologetic, but downplayed the importance of the lapses. “I think that rather than dotting every ‘i’ and crossing every ‘t,’ it is more important to come in with ideas on what to do with the district,” he said.  

Councilmember Kriss Worthington, who is being challenged by Beier for his council seat, said he has no plans to file a complaint with the city’s Fair Campaign Practices Commission or with the state over the matter. 

“I’m simply pointing out that these are illustrations of the kind of candidate he is, playing fast and loose with the rules, and the kind of councilmember he would make,” Worthington said. 

Candidates’ mass mailing filings and expenditure forms are posted on the city clerk’s web site at: