Phoenix finds NoDDC in violation of campaign finance disclosure requirements

Smith complaint results in $3K settlement against Alexander

Posted 5/28/20

Phoenix City Attorney Cris Meyer has found both the NoDDC political action committee and its agents --- in particular Scottsdale resident Jason Alexander --- in violation of a handful of campaign …

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Phoenix finds NoDDC in violation of campaign finance disclosure requirements

Smith complaint results in $3K settlement against Alexander

This is a file photo --- from a previous point in time --- of former City Councilman and Treasurer David Smith.
This is a file photo --- from a previous point in time --- of former City Councilman and Treasurer David Smith.
Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey
Posted

Phoenix City Attorney Cris Meyer has found both the NoDDC political action committee and its agents --- in particular Scottsdale resident Jason Alexander --- in violation of a handful of campaign finance disclosure requirements stemming from the Scottsdale-based, Proposition 420 political entanglement.

Penalty for the campaign finance violations: a $3,000 fine.

The original campaign finance violations allegations were filed in summer 2019 at Scottsdale City Hall, 3939 N. Drinkwater Blvd., then referred to the City of Phoenix to avoid conflict-of-interest allegations, Independent archives show.

In June 2019, Scottsdale City Clerk Carolyn Jagger, in a 16-page opinion a part of a more than 150-page document, found reasonable cause to believe the NoDDC organization, its affiliates and agents may have violated Arizona law.

Subsequently, Ms. Jagger sent along her report to then-Scottsdale City Attorney Bruce Washburn --- Mr. Washburn has since resigned into retirement --- in mid-June awaiting a ruling on her legal opinion.

The May 2019 campaign finance complaint was filed on behalf of former City Councilman David Smith, who also served as treasurer of the municipality prior to being elected.

About a year after the original filing, Mr. Meyer found the NoDDC PAC and Mr. Alexander acted outside of the legal bounds of Arizona campaign finance law. The original complaint is separated into three sections:

  • Contributions made to NoDDC; NoDDC Inc.; and NoDDC PAC have been misrepresented and/or not disclosed;
  • Donor information has not been disclosed in accordance with Arizona Statutes governing disclosure of donor information; and
  • Funds donated to and held by NoDDC PAC have been and continue to be converted to personal use.

At the time of the original complaint, Mr. Smith said the issue stemmed from a November 2018 violation settlement, which only spoke to the actions of agents of the NoDDC entity, which failed to register as a political action committee.
NoDDC — officially referred to as NoDDC Inc. — started as an anonymous digital entity in late 2016, aspired to reshape Scottsdale politics and matured into a nonprofit entity. Today, it is registered as a political action committee.

For clarification: The Protect Our Preserve PAC — and now NoDDC PAC — can collect campaign contributions, while the nonprofit Protect Our Preserve entity cannot, which was defined through the outcome of 2018 campaign finance violation filings.

The NoDDC PAC formed Sept. 20, 2016, and dissolved Dec. 13, 2016. The period from Dec. 13, 2016 to Oct. 5, 2018, when Mr. Alexander created a PAC with the City of Scottsdale is essentially a period of dormancy for the group, the complaint states.

A $5,000 fine was levied, and paid by personal check drawn on the Bank of America account of “Jason Alexander and Rebecca Holmes.”

According to Mr. Smith’s complaint, investigation into the initial campaign finance complaint, and a review of NoDDC PAC financial disclosure reports, “lead to the conclusion that the violations of Arizona campaign finance laws by the named entities and the named individuals have been (and continue to be) more pervasive, systemic and serious than identified in the September 17, 2018 complaint.”

At its core, Mr. Smith alleges PayPal contributions were not made to NoDDC Inc., and presumptively, the contributions were instead made to the personal bank account of a NoDDC Inc. director, who is not named.

The PayPal account summaries that were provided to the city covered only a portion of the dormancy period, from March 7, 2018 through Oct. 18, 2018, but disclosed more than 100 individual donations, the complaint states.

The same PayPal report shows four account withdraws, totaling $8,156.24, without giving indication of whether such withdraws were deposited to the account of NoDDC Inc., or the personal bank account of a NoDDC Inc. director.

In his May 19 summary judgment, Mr. Meyer has provided a settlement of $3,000 to Mr. Alexander.

Payment is due Monday, June 1, according to the May 19 letter from the Phoenix City Attorney’s Office.

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