A press release from District Attorney Vern Pierson and deputy district attorney James Clinchard announced that civil charges were filed Friday against Dan Dellinger and Christopher Alarcon on suspicion of “fraudulently obtaining taxpayer financed contracts with the Pioneer Fire Protection District (PFPD) related to illegal campaign activity to expressly advocate a position in favor of the passage of a tax increase (Ballot Measure F) which voters approved in November, 2011.”
The pair, who operated under the business of Dan Dellinger Consulting, are being charged with one count of an illegal public gift, two counts of negligent and unlawful use of public resources for campaign activity, one count of illegal acts of expenditure of local agency funds to support the approval of a ballot measure and one count of of unlawful business practices, “for their illegal taxpayer funded express advocacy in support of a tax increase.”
The press release stated that, in May 2011, PFPD had been debating on hiring a campaign consultant in order to assist them with a “parcel tax measure.” An El Dorado County supervisor suggested Dan Dellinger Consulting to a PFPD board member, relating a long list of past clients, many former politicians of the county. A later list cited nine specific politicians, among them Judge Steven Bailey, Supervisor Ray Nutting, Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, Senator Rico Oller and Sheriff John D’Agostini. The impressive list helped the PFPD board in their decision to hire the pair for nearly $30,000.
The terms of the contract allegedly said in no uncertain terms that taxpayer money would be used to hire and pay the duo. According to the press release, “The impermissible, tax payer funded, express advocacy of Defendants included the following: an ‘Outline for Successful Passage’ of the measure to raise taxes; a ‘win bonus’ of $12,000 if the measure passed; ‘coaching’ the PFPD to generate positive news stories; creation of a ‘Parcel Tax Passage Plan’; a plan for ‘neighbor to neighbor … sales persuasion’ for passage of the measure to raise taxes; a plan to have at least three ‘push polls’ (a political tactic used to surreptitiously sway voters toward the position of the poll taker); creation of the “Argument in Favor” language to be supplied to voters in the election, which was signed by five other people as if they wrote it; creation of the campaign committee ‘Save Pioneer Fire — Yes on Measure F’; and preparation and dissemination of flyers for a BBQ ‘Yes on Measure F Fundraiser.’”
The El Dorado County Grand Jury ordered the District Attorney’s Office to file civil charges in June 2011. Judge Suzanne Kingsbury subsequently authorized an order releasing the evidence found by the Grand Jury, the press release stated.
The restitution requested, according to the press release, is as follows: For counts 1 and 4, $10,00; for counts 2 and 3, $1,000 per day of the violation, plus three times the value of public resources that were unlawfully used; for count 5, a civil penalty of $2,500 per day of violation for unlawful and unfair business practices related to the contracts.