Some of Rep. Brad Sherman's fundraising during this election cycle — he's in a tough fight in the Valley with fellow Democrat Howard Berman — is actually being carried on the books as money raised for his 2014 reelection campaign. Now that's being an optimist. But it's legal. Federal election laws only let an individual donor give so much during one election cycle, but they can contribute to future campaigns, I guess. Any money raised can in theory help a candidates's cash on hand look a little more impressive on the fundraising reports that the media (and perhaps some potential donors) use to gauge relative strength. "It’s a fundraising gimmick—plain and simple," says the Berman camp. "Either Sherman discovered a time machine for using donations to future campaigns, or he is accepting money he can’t use in order to artificially inflate his cash on hand dollar amount."
Sherman's camp replies that it's a routine and proper practice. Spokesman John Schwada [briefly an LA Observed contributor last year] confirmed Sherman has raised about $37,000 for 2014, and reported it that way on his filings. "That $37,000 is a drop in the bucket for Sherman’s cash-on-hand. It’s less than 1 percent of his total of $4 million – an amount that far exceeds Berman’s current situation."
The two sides have been firing barbs over fundraising through much of the campaign. The Berman side's narrative has been that Sherman is running out of contributors and that his pace of fundraising is slowing — while their guy is picking up both big and small donors and momentum. The Sherman side's story, in addition to his larger stake of cash on hand, includes talk of Berman's support from Super PAC's and suggestions that he's getting too much in unofficial in-kind backing from supporters such as Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, Berman's former chief of staff.
This week the two sides also clashed over Berman's endorsement by law enforcement figures, including DA Steve Cooley, and the accuracy of Berman's claim to have helped put thousands of cops on the Valley streets.