The Disneyland Resort’s total contributions to political action committees campaigning to elect two Anaheim City Council candidates have topped $300,000, according to the most recent campaign finance reports.
The resort has made contributions to four PACs that are campaigning for candidates favored by the city’s business community — Steve Chavez Lodge, director of public affairs for Hill International, and Jordan Brandman, an Anaheim Union School District trustee.
The PACs involved are the Orange County Business Council's BIZ PAC, the Orange County Taxpayers Association’s OCTAXPAC, the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce PAC and the Support Our Anaheim Resort Area (SOAR) PAC.
Labor is also spending heavily for its sponsored candidate, former labor leader John Leos. The Orange County Employees Association has contributed $300,000 into a campaign committee working to promote Leos. Labor has contributed a total of $438,000 to the Leos PAC.
While the name of the Leos PAC — Committee to Support John Leos for Anaheim City Council 2013 Sponsored By The Orange County Employees Association — makes the source Leos’ financial support clear, Disney’s contributions have been less transparent.
The PAC names are important because mailers — the most expensive and influential campaign weapons in a local race — are required to have labels disclosing the PACs that financed them.
So while mailers supporting Leos identify the OCEA as the source of financing, sources paying for mailers promoting Chavez Lodge and Brandman are unknown unless PACs’ campaign declarations are consulted.
In another twist, a fifth PAC has emerged. The PAC called Citizens For Anaheim’s Future has sent mailers opposing Leos and former Councilwoman Lucille Kring, the two candidates backed by Mayor Tom Tait. The PAC last week spent $35,271.11 on the mailers.
Citizens For Anaheim’s Future has in the past been chaired by Councilwoman Kris Murray, who is close to Disney and former Mayor Curt Pringle, who is currently listed as its principal officer. It received $24,000 last week from the Orange County Business Council’s BIZ PAC, which has received $100,000 in Disney contributions since last year, according to campaign finance records.
The BIZ PAC has also received contributions from Disney-backed SOAR, the records show.
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray is the current chairwoman of the PAC Citizens for Anaheim's Future.