Crews working with Caltrans were caught on video stopping traffic to distribute campaign fliers opposed to the Prop 6 Gas Tax Repeal Initiative.
California state law expressly prohibits the use of taxpayer money to engage in a political campaign, but that’s what happened on a busy California highway this week when a Caltrans work crew being paid taxpayer funds to work on a road project decided to use the project traffic calming process to hand out “No on Prop 6” campaign fliers.
Photos, video, and witness testimony of the incident was released at a news conference Wednesday along with a Criminal Complaint alleging violation of numerous state and local laws. The campaign flier passed out clearly contains prohibited “express advocacy” language such as “Vote NO on Prop 6” and the Caltrans work crew member is caught on video admitting he was “working with Caltrans” and “They just told me to hand it out.”
“There is absolutely no grey area here, Caltrans is caught in blatant violation of California law that prohibits the use of taxpayer funds for campaign activities or advocacy,” declared Carl DeMaio, Chairman of Yes on Prop 6 Gas Tax Repeal Initiative. “This proves once again that Caltrans simply cannot be trusted to do what is right with our gas tax funds – they literally are using gas tax funds to support the distribution of campaign materials to raise the gas tax on working families,” DeMaio noted.
The incident occurred along State Route 78 in San Diego County between Julian and Ramona on Tuesday, August 28, 2018 between 7am and 3pm. Caltrans contract and task order records confirm that a road project was scheduled for that very stretch of highway. A Caltrans contractor assigned to the project was photographed at this site along with a Caltrans vehicle and supervisor. California state law prohibits the use of private contractors paid for by taxpayer funds for any political purpose.
“We demand an immediate investigation into this incident, we demand prosecution of the individuals involved, and we insist that the Governor instruct Caltrans to immediately cease any activities that could be interpreted as campaign activities,” DeMaio concluded.
The Criminal Complaint was submitted to the San Diego County District Attorney, California Highway Patrol, and the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC).