The latest campaign and independent expenditure (IE) committee disclosures are being released today, January 24th, but you won’t find anything there from one of the city’s most powerful IE committees, UTLA-PACE.
Why not? It’s because there are two different types of IE committees functioning in city-wide and LAUSD Board races — ‘general purpose committees,’ and ‘primarily formed committees’ — each operating under a different set of disclosure rules.
UTLA-PACE is an example of the ‘general purpose” committee and as a result there’s much less information about its fundraising and who’s supporting its efforts.
A ‘general purpose committee,’ which is an ongoing operation like UTLA-PACE, is required to report about its contributions received twice a year, but beyond that, it must report only when it becomes active in an election, usually triggered by any expenditure.
Another trigger is when an IE committee active in a Board election receives a donation of $1,000 or more. But because UTLA-PACE collects small amounts, usually less than $100, from thousands of teachers, that is a rarity.
In contrast, ‘primarily formed committees,’ such as the Coalition for School Reform, are formed for a specific election, so they must follow a more rigorous disclosure schedule that includes quarterly and semi-annual reporting. See more details at the City Ethics website.
UTLA-PACE is also is able to avoid disclosing donor information on its semi-annual reports because IE committees are only required to provide the information for contributions of $100 or more. So the union Super-PAC, which spent $1.4 million in the last school board race, can play it close to the vest — a tactical advantage.