City Beat

Steinberg moves $1.4 million into Sacramento mayoral account

Sacramento mayoral candidates Angelique Ashby, left, and Darrell Steinberg, greeting each other before a forum in January.
Sacramento mayoral candidates Angelique Ashby, left, and Darrell Steinberg, greeting each other before a forum in January. jvillegas@sacbee.com

Sacramento mayoral candidate Darrell Steinberg has transferred more than $1.4 million into his mayoral campaign account from a statewide committee he established for a potential lieutenant governor run.

A transfer of $1,411,043.14 from Steinberg’s statewide account to his Steinberg for Mayor 2016 account appeared on campaign documents filed last week with the secretary of state. Steinberg, the former state Senate president, has raised an additional $327,000 for his mayoral race since last fall.

An itemized list of the contributions that make up the $1,411,043.14 has not been made public yet. City Clerk Shirley Concolino said her office will look over the contributions to ensure they comply with the city’s individual contribution limits.

“Like everything Darrell does, his campaign finance disclosures are done fully, ethically, and transparently,” Steinberg campaign spokesman Jason Kinney said. “This is no different.”

Steinberg’s chief rival in the June primary – Councilwoman Angelique Ashby – has raised roughly $235,000, the latest filings with the city of Sacramento show.

“This is Steinberg opening up the Hoover Dam to water the petunias in his backyard,” Ashby political strategist Josh Pulliam said. “In doing so, he is obliterating decades of good government reforms and long-standing policy adopted by the city to ensure fair and open elections in Sacramento.”

Last week, Ashby’s campaign sent a letter to City Attorney James Sanchez stating that Steinberg is limited in what he can transfer from his lieutenant governor account. In a letter signed by two Ashby supporters, the campaign cited a provision in the city election code that restricts how much candidates for mayor can raise during what are called “off-election years” – those years when elections are not held. A section of the code says mayoral candidates can raise up to $55,000 in those years.

Steinberg raised money for the lieutenant governor’s account in three years, and Ashby’s campaign said he should therefore only be able to use $165,000 from the account.

Sanchez said last week the code cited in the Ashby campaign letter does not apply because the city contribution date for Steinberg’s transfer is whenever he moves the money from his statewide account into his city account, not when he initially collected the donations. Steinberg’s city contribution date in this instance came last week under Sanchez’s interpretation and does not face the $55,000 limit because it is an election year.

Sanchez formally confirmed his opinion in a letter on April 1.

Sanchez wrote that campaigns moving money from state office accounts must adhere to individual contribution limits, must place those dollars in a new account established for the city race and list the contributions in the order they were received.

Ryan Lillis: 916-321-1085, @Ryan_Lillis

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