Monday, June 10, 2019

Consultants Pocketed Millions from Dave Regan’s Ballot Initiatives

Tasty earlier reported how SEIU-UHW spent more money in 2018 on ballot initiatives than it did on organizing and representing its own members on the job.

So where did SEIU-UHW spend all of the $37.5 million that went to “political activities and lobbying”?

According to the union’s financial report, six political consultants and ballot initiatives walked away with three-quarters of the total. Here they are.

  • $14.9 million to Waterfront Strategies (Washington DC)
  • $4.6 million to the Fairness Project (Washington DC)
  • $2.5 million to Kimball Petition Management (Thousand Oaks, CA)
  • $2.1 million to Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection (Ohio)
  • $1.2 million to Savvy Communications (Rancho Mirage, CA)
  • $2.2 million to Greenstripe Media, Inc. (Newport Beach, CA)

The biggest winner, Waterfront Strategies, is an advertising purchasing firm that places media tons of media buys for PACs. The firm’s parent company is headed by Jim Margolis, a former media strategist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign.

The Fairness Project is an organization founded by Dave Regan and principally funded by SEIU-UHW to run ballot initiatives in states outside of California. The head of the organization’s board of directors is Steve Trossman, one of Regan’s staffer who was also wrapped up in the Tyrone Freeman scandal.

Kimball Petition Management, or KPM, is a petition drive management firm owned by Fred Kimball, who founded the company in 1984 with his brother, Kelly. Fred Kimball was profiled in a 1998 article, "Collecting Signatures for a Price" in the Washington Post, according to Ballotpedia.

Regan set up Ohioans for Kidney Dialysis Patient Protection to run a 2018 ballot initiative in Ohio. Altogether, Reagan spent $4.1 million on an effort to collect signatures, but forgot to have his signature-gatherers fill out a required state form. As a result, the Ohio Supreme Court voted unanimously to knock Regan’s initiative on the ballot.

Savvy Communications appears to be another name for her Stones’ Phones, a consulting firm specializing in phone strategies for campaigns.

Greenstripe Media, Inc. is an advertising purchasing firm headed by David Takara.

And here’s the punchline: Despite pouring tens of millions of dollars into political spending in political spending, Regan has no victories to show for it as far as winning organizing rights for workers and expanding the union’s membership.