The 33-year-old tour guide exposing the absurdity of the California recall

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Tens of millions of dollars were poured into this election, most of it aimed at supporting Newsom and opposing the recall effort. Freed from the usual imperative of raising from small donors – recall targets in California are not subject to the same campaign contribution limits as candidates – Newsom has made tons of money from political action committees and CEOs, including Netflix’s Reed Hastings, who donated $ 3 million. Meanwhile, Republican megadonators, including billionaire LA real estate developer (and nightmare owner) Geoff Palmer and even Cox himself, have spent millions to support the recall. (“Sounds like a rich man’s game,” campaign finance expert said Mother Jones.)

In this context, the start-up costs of an application like Papagan’s are peanuts. “Honestly, if you can’t raise $ 10,000, you’re not a serious candidate in California, period,” Kim Alexander, president of the non-partisan California Voter Foundation, told me. For Papagan, this is precisely the problem.

“If you collect or spend more than $ 2,000, you need to form a political committee,” Papagan said. “You have to open a special bank account, and none of the banks knew how to do it. I went to all these different banks, no one knew. Wells Fargo finally got it.

Discouraged by the prospect of campaigning, Papagan ultimately decided not to form a committee. “I didn’t want to have to fundraise all the time and ask my friends to buy these road signs,” he said. This meant that it would be legally prohibited to raise more than $ 2,000. (Filing fees and nomination reporting fees do not count towards this cap. Asked about the high cost of such declarations, Jenna Dresner, communications manager for the California Secretary of State, wrote in an email that it was well below cost per page for inclusion. ”)

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