California League and Rep. Miller Debate Campaign Contributions
Just how much the California Credit Union League donated to failed congressional candidate Pete Aguilar is a matter of debate between the CCUL and Rep. Gary Miller (R-Calif.).
Miller, who told NAFCU’s Congressional Caucus audience Thursday he was hurt by the contribution and questioned his future support of the CCUL, said the league donated $250,000 to Aguilar in the race for California’s 31st District.
Not so, says the CCUL. Public Affairs Specialist Tina Ramos-Ingold said the league’s Super PAC, Restoring our Community, was funded with $250,000 in seed money, plus a $75,000 donation from the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, a Highland, Calif.-based tribe that operates a casino in the district.
That information is confirmed by the Federal Election Commission, which reported the contributions were made in May and June 2012. According to FEC reports, the Super PAC supported just one candidate, Aguilar, a former credit union executive who received 292 payouts worth $201,253 from the fund from May 8 through June 11.
CCUL’s Bob Arnould said only $135,000 of that total came from the league, with $75,000 coming from the San Manuel tribe. The remaining balance remains in the PAC coffers, he said.
Miller disagreed with Arnould’s $135,000 figure, saying the league was lying about the donations, and challenged Arnould to “look at the check” written to Aguilar. Restoring Our Community is the league’s PAC, and the league’s name is on the check.
The CCUL did cut a check for $250,000, but it was the seed money Ramos-Ingold referred to that funded the PAC, not a direct payout to Aguilar, according to the FEC.
Miller said he was visited Thursday by “five or six” credit unions as part of the NAFCU Caucus’ advocacy activities. The credit unions were “very apologetic” about the donation to Aguilar, and some said they would take up the issue with the league, Miller said.
FEC documents show the California League’s regular PAC contributed the maximum $5,000 on April 23 to Aguilar. Four large credit unions in the region also contributed to Aguilar’s campaign: Wescom CU, SchoolsFirst FCU, Kinecta FCU and California Coast CU.
Miller received a $5,000 contribution from CUNA’s PAC in 2010 and $1,000 in 2011, but no donations are on record with the FEC for 2012. NAFCU’s PAC donated $2,500 to Miller in 2012. Arnould said the CCUL donated to Miller’s campaign recently, as he advances to the general election, but the FEC does not have record of it at this time.