Thursday morning, February 17, 2022 at 10 am, the Fair Political Practices Commission is slated to approve a $48,000 fine against Crystal Geyser, its employee Jill Harris, and campaign treasurer Kelly Lawler for disclosure violations in 2016.
Four local citizens who agreed to be part of CG’s fake “Astroturf” committee – Daralyn Reed, Joan Smith Freeman, Dorian Aiello, and John Kennedy – would escape accountability and fines because they played such minor roles. Still, isn’t that a reason they should receive fines?
By setting up this front organization, CG tried to hide its role in funding almost all of the campaign against Measure H. That citizens’ initiative would have applied the same rules for groundwater extraction to the company as apply to everyone else.
The fake campaign committee sent out mailers including blatant lies, which people in the outlying areas believed. The measure passed in Weed and Mt. Shasta but those votes weren’t enough countywide.
As the guy who complained, I appreciate the work of the commission and its staff. Yet the decision comes too late for the citizens’ victory celebrations which have already happened, when they put the plant up for sale.
While a larger than average fine, this amount is a drop in the bucket for Crystal Geyser and unlikely to deter their bad behavior. There’s still time to write the commission, or attend online, maybe hear me give a short speech to them. You can also read the stipulated agreement and my comment letter to the commission.