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As Shriver Caps Spending, Another Super Pac Steps In

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By Daniel Larios
Staff Writer

July 3, 2014 – In his bid for County Supervisor, former Santa Monica Mayor Bobby Shriver has agreed to a $1.4 million spending cap, but will count of the support of a newly created Super Pac.

By accepting the voluntary spending limit heading into the November General Election, Shriver can now raise $1,500 per donor instead of the $300 he was limited to in the primary after opting out of the spending cap.

During the primary, Shriver raised $1.9 million – half of it his own money – for the June Primary election and finished second to former state senator Sheila Kuehl, who spent $1.2 million.

“When Bobby started to run, he didn’t really have a big fundraising donor base,” said Bill Carrick, Shriver’s chief campaign strategist.  “She [Kuehl] had a one year head start and we didn’t know how we were doing fundraising at the time.

“So we decided to explore our options and went with the spending cap and him being able to put his own money in there if necessary.”

Carrick says that the decision to accept larger donations will allow Shriver to spend more time with voters and less time fundraising.

“It’s a lot less time consuming,” Carrick said. “We raised almost $1 million with the $300 donation cap. Now we know we have a pool of donors.”

“It just makes sense for us to accept the spending limit,” he added.

Parke Skelton, Kuehl’s campaign strategist, thinks the change in strategy is politically driven.

“He [Shriver] realized it was a huge political issue, evading the voluntary spending cap, which the voters want,” Skelton said.  “It was not a very politically popular decision, so they must have decided to change their strategy.”

Kuehl herself declined to comment on Shriver’s decision to abide by the spending limit.

In addition to the $1.4 million currently being raised by the campaign, a third Independent Expenditure Committee (IEs), also known as Super PACs, filed documents with the California Secretary of State in June to support Shriver’s bid for County Supervisor.

Neighborhood Alliance for Safe & Healthy Families Supporting Bobby Shriver, which is run by longtime Democratic campaign strategist John Shallman, joins two other IEs in their support for Shriver in November.

“Friends of Bobby Shriver” and “Citizen’s Committee to Elect Bobby Shriver for LA County Supervisor 2014” spent nearly $250,000 on mail and TV ads to support Shriver during the primary season.

Unlike candidates, independent expenditure committees can raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, but are prohibited from coordinating their efforts with the candidate.

“You never know what IEs will do,” Carrick told the Lookout. “We have no control over what they’re doing. People want to be more helpful, they decide to do it on their own.”

Kuehl currently does not have any independent expenditure committees raising and spending money on her behalf.

“Clearly Shriver won’t be spending his own money, so now he’s depending on these IEs,” said Skelton. “A lot of it was downtown business money, and I expect that they’ll keep on putting money in them.

“Sometimes they harm you,” he added.  “The problem is, in theory, you can’t coordinate with them, so who knows what they’ll do.  I’ve seen IEs harm their own candidates.”

Shriver and Kuehl are competing to replace Zev Yaroslovsky as supervisor of the Third District, which stretches from Hollywood to Santa Monica and includes the entire San Fernando Valley.

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