It’s astonishing to see the ferocity of the effort to turn the tide against JJ Jelincic, the favorite to win the election for the CalPERS retiree board seat. It isn’t just that CalPERS is too obviously trying to fix the election, or that board members and employees are violating anti-corruption laws by using state resources to attack Jelincic and promote his opponent, the incumbent Henry Jones. It is also that this is the first CalPERS board election to feature dark money, and on top of that, it’s coming in at levels that dwarf the spending by the candidates.
It isn’t just insiders who’ve noticed the tidal wave of dark money. Even the retirees whose votes are being sought don’t like what they see. From reader ALM in comments:
I am a CalPERS retiree. Last week, I received my mail ballot on the same day that I received campaign mail bankrolled by “Concerned Retirees for Pension and Healthcare Security” who are even more concerned about secrecy because there is no trace of them on the internet. The envelope used was deliberately designed to give the appearance of official state mail sent to all CalPERS retirees at the direction of Fiona Ma in her capacity as State Treasurer….
I sent an email directly to Mr. Jones to complain about the deceitfulness of the campaign mail supporting him. I also informed Mr. Jones that the campaign mail was reason enough to vote against him. He denied any knowledge of the campaign mail or the dark money group backing him.