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Norwalk Council Incumbent Cheri Kelley Receives $17,000 in Donations From Real Estate PAC’s

UPDATE: LCCN received another “late contribution” document for Ms. Kelley for $5,500 from the NAR, increasing the total amount from the two real estate PAC’s to $22,500, $15,000 from the NAR.
 

By Brian Hews

Campaign contribution documents obtained by Los Cerritos Community News show Norwalk candidate Cheri Kelley received a staggering total of $17,000 from two real estate political action committees; $9,500 from the National Association of Realtors and the $7,500 from the California Real Estate PAC (CREPAC).

See PDF of campaign documents here.

According to their website, the California Association of Realtors (CAR) operates the CREPAC for state elections and the Board of Realtors Political Action Committee (BORPAC) is a fund that is set up to allow contributions to local candidates. The literature goes on to say that the CREPAC and BORPAC are there to help support “real estate-friendly candidates” to public office.

When told about the donations, Norwalk council candidate Enrique Aranda told LCCN, “fundraising is not easy, I am proud that I had a broad base of funding for my campaign and not just funding from one source. Cheri Kelley is beholden to one special interest, that is now obvious. Kelley has lost sight of what is good for Norwalk. With all the money given to her, there has to be strings attached, what is she going to do in return?

CREPAC and local BORPAC accounts are funded through direct contributions on the realtor/broker dues billing, contributions made online or at CAR, or local association meetings.

Some local realtors were extremely angry that campaign donations went to Kelley. One local Norwalk realtor who did not want to be identified said, “ I do not agree with Cheri Kelley, and I am angry my donations went to her campaign, who makes these decisions”?

When told that the CREPAC is made up of 15 trustees who make decisions on the state level and the BORPAC has trustees who make the decision on the local level, the realtor snapped back, “so if you have a trustee or trustees as friends, you can steer donations to your campaign and steer away from another, that’s not right.”

As evidence of possible trustee collusion, one council candidate for the city of Cudahy who is a member of the Rancho Southeast Association of Realtors (RSAOR) told candidate Aranda that Cheri Kelley said to him, “you will not see any money from CREPAC or BORPAC because you endorsed Enrique Aranda.”

The NAR donation of $9,500 was apparently used for three Kelley mailers. According to documents, the NAR check went TargteSmart Communications based out of Washington D.C., who then paid CSI Printing, a Virginia based company, to print and postmark the mailers for delivery in Norwalk.

Emails and calls into Ms. Kelley went unanswered. Messages were left for NAR treasurer Karen Paschal. CREPAC would not identify the state trustees due to board policy, and emails into RSAOR were unreturned at the time of publication.

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