Turlock Mayor Gary Soiseth appears to be businessman Matt Swanson’s favorite local target for political contributions, having received $12,000 total in four contributions in less than two years from companies associated with Swanson. But all other City Council members also have benefited from the generosity of Swanson, whose daughter is married to the man hoping to replace Turlock’s nonprofit farmers market with a for-profit venture.
Vice Mayor Amy Bublak received from Swanson’s company, Associated Feed, $4,300 total in four contributions from 2011 to 2014, and Councilman Matthew Jacob received $2,000 in October from Swanson’s Prospector LLC. Councilman Steven Nascimento accepted $1,000 from Associated Feed in 2012.
Councilman Bill DeHart seemed to wrestle with the farmers market issue at the December council meeting, saying he was “a little shocked” that the nonprofit group has a competitor. “Why would we even consider that?” he said before voting to have the city’s staff develop a bidding process. He has taken $3,000 in three donations since 2010 from Associated Feed.
$22,300 Campaign money received by Turlock council candidates from companies associated with Matt Swanson
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Not long before Soiseth’s election in 2014, Nascimento proposed that the Turlock council refrain from voting on matters that could benefit donors of $2,000 or more over the previous three years. The idea was similar to Modesto’s Tin Cup ordinance, which has a $3,000 cap on donations over four years.
Some Turlock council members disagreed with that proposal. The issue was resolved with a compromise featuring posting candidates’ campaign finance forms, which are subject to public review but formerly were hard to find without visiting City Hall, on the city’s website.
Garth Stapley: 209-578-2390