As of Thursday, complaints have been filed against Nichole Gardner, candidate for District 3 Antioch City Council and Lamar Thorpe, candidate for Mayor of Antioch, for their failure to follow the law when it comes to their respective campaigns.
Gardner, Director of Facing Homelessness in Antioch, is accused of using her 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization to promote and raise money for her political campaign for City Council. Numerous screen shots of Gardner’s nonprofit Facebook posts have been forwarded in a formal complaint to the California Attorney General’s Office for review of these actions–those screenshots are listed below. There is also concern of possible “co-mingling” of funds between the nonprofit organization Gardner runs and her political campaign.
In a statement Thursday, Antioch resident Nicole Cedano stated she had concerns.
“Ms. Gardner knows the rules and the law specifically states that charity 501(C)(3) organizations are prohibited from being involved in political campaigns of any kind,” said Cedano. “I can appreciate her desire to help the homeless, but what she’s doing is jeopardizing her ability to continue the nonprofit’s work,” Cedano added.
Cedano explained the official complaint to the Attorney General also asks that office to investigate the use of the nonprofit’s automobile paid for with donations from citizens – to make certain it is not being used in campaign activities and door to door canvassing for Gardner’s campaign.
Gardner declined the accusations.
“What are you talking about? We have not been contacted by the FPPC and nothing you are saying is accurate. Have a good rest of your day,” said Gardner.
A complaint was filed with the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), the organization that monitors whether a candidate or campaign is following required State regulations. The complaint against Thorpe is specific to the brochure he is leaving on voters’ doorsteps entitled “Leadership that Listens.” The campaign brochure does not have the legal identification required by the FPPC of who “Paid for” the design, printing and distribution of the piece.
“Mr. Thorpe apparently doesn’t ‘listen’ like his brochure claims – at least he doesn’t listen to what is required by law – because we have no idea who actually paid for his promotional material,” Cedano said. “I’m sure the FPPC will review and get to the bottom of this.”
“For the time being, I suggest Mr. Thorpe ceases all distribution of this legally questionable brochure – so as to NOT deceive voters and to keep within campaign rules and regulations,” Cedano concluded.
Thorpe explained Thursday that he did include a disclosure and that was included, however, the photograph being used intentionally left it off–he has already replied to the FPPC. Thorpe then provided an image of the brochure which included the disclosure which said “Paid for by Lamar Thorpe for Antioch Mayor 2020 FPPC Pending”.
“These are political games that I am not entertaining them,” said Thorpe.
He continued and said the brochure was created prior to receiving his disclosure information. As of Thursday, Thorpe still has not received his disclosure information which is similar to many other candidates across the state.