California is spending $35 million on ads now airing to tell state voters that mail-in voting is “simple, safe” and “secure” during the coronavirus pandemic.
Although voters are seeing the ads, the contract has yet to be seen by key state departments or the public. It also appears Padilla’s office failed to secure the necessary authority to spend the money.
The contract was awarded by Secretary of State Alex Padilla to a public affairs firm that touts itself as on “Team Biden,” prompting questions about the bipartisan nature of the effort.
Now Republican leaders are raising concerns, telling county supervisors Padilla used money that would be better spent by individual counties.
California’s budget says the money in question is to be “provided to the counties” to help them prepare for the November election in light of the coronavirus. It says the money could be used to cover such costs as ballot printing, mailing and postage, equipment needs, additional staffing, communication and outreach.
Secretary of State officials told the state Controller’s Office that they were spending the money on the ad campaign on the counties’ behalf, according to an email obtained by The Sacramento Bee.
“Entering into the contract on behalf of all 58 counties was essential to maximize statewide reach and consistent messaging across all media markets for all Californians,” Lizette Mata, deputy secretary of state for operations, wrote in the email. “We have contacted counties who expressed an inability to administer funds directly, lacking resources and expertise to coordinate outreach and education funds.”
The state can use money provided to the counties to support the election effort, said H.D. Palmer, deputy director for external affairs for the state Department of Finance. But he said the budget requires the finance department to approve it and notify the Legislature, which it has not done.
“Finance has not authorized a transfer of funds under this provision,” he said.
Read the rest at: Dems stealing again