Help Track the Dark Money Behind Irvine Political Mailers and Campaign Hit Pieces

Not for sale

Are you receiving political mail from Political Action Committees (PACs)?

Irvine Watchdog will keep track of political mailers circulated in our city as we head into the November 8, 2022 election. If you receive a political mailer for or against a candidate running for Irvine Mayor or City Council, please take a picture of it front and back and send it to the Irvine Watchdog for investigation and reporting. Let’s help clean up our city from dirty politics together!

Dark Money and Special Interests

An independent expenditure (IE) is an expense for political communication (i.e., mailer, social media ads, lawn signs, commercials) made by a political action committee (PAC) that urges voters to support or oppose a particular candidate. The PACs paying for the communications are not allowed by law to coordinate with any candidate or their campaign committees. Independent expenditure reports are filed on a rolling basis with the City Clerk’s office.

This candidate campaign filing (Form 460) does not include any “dark money” funds that may have been spent for and against the local election candidates. Dark money is money spent to influence the outcome of an election from undisclosed donors. The origin of this money is purposely very difficult to track because a huge source of dark money is from politically active nonprofit organizations and anonymous corporate entities.

Hide and Seek

Irvine has a long history of special interests spending hundreds of thousands of dollars or more to influence our local elections. One example is the complex web of special interest money spent in the 2016 elections.

Here is an example of the hide-the-money effort by special interests in the 2018 election cycle:


According to the Voice of OC, “Developers Five Point Communities and The Irvine Co. continue to be the dominant spenders in Irvine elections,” pumping over $400,000 dollars into groups supporting candidates in the last election.

Tracking these shadowy groups and following the money is not an easy task. Luckily, we have years of experience and great sources to help. Most important is capturing all the political mail from these sometimes innocent-sounding Political Action Committees.  That is where you come in.

Help Promote Disclosure

Irvine Watchdog will again “follow the money” as a public service for maximum transparency to Irvine voters. If you receive an anonymous political mailer, please take a picture of it front and back and send it to the Irvine Watchdog for investigation and reporting.

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