The State Worker

Prison officers’ union PAC collects $8.2 million from members

A prison officer stands the the east gate of San Quentin Prison, before the execution of Michael Angelo Morales in 2006.
A prison officer stands the the east gate of San Quentin Prison, before the execution of Michael Angelo Morales in 2006. Sacramento Bee Staff Photo

At 11,459 pages, the political action committee finance statement filed by the California Correctional Peace Officers Association Monday night is a hefty tome and quite possible a record-setter for the largest disclosure ever filed by a PAC.

More importantly, the $8.2 million the document reports that the association collected the last six months of 2015 indicates the union is ready to play in California’s election-year politics.

The committee, California Correctional Peace Officers Association Truth in American Government Fund, itemized nearly 28,000 identical contributions of $287.08 from its members from July through December. It was unusual, but complied with a law that requires PACs to divulge the names and other information of contributors who give more than $100 in a calendar year.

28,721Number of CCPOA members’ donations listed on the California Correctional Peace Officers Association Truth in American Government Fund’s latest campaign finance statement.

In years past, CCPOA has split members’ contributions among a half-dozen or more PACS, which kept contributions to each committee below the itemizing threshold and allowed each to submit contribution totals instead.

CCPOA spokeswoman Nicole Gomez-Pryde said she did not know why the PAC decided to put contributions into one account last year. CCPOA attorney Wayne Ordos, who is the PAC’s treasurer, did not return a call seeking an explanation.

The filing shows, however, that the union is in “position to react to any political issue that affects our members,” Gomez-Pryde said, including two death penalty measures aiming for the November ballot.

One proposal would speed up the legal process to hasten executions. The other would ask California voters to end the death penalty in favor of life sentences with no possibility of parole.

CCPOA has traditionally supported the death penalty as a deterrent to inmate attacks on correctional officers.

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