NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect that the Renteria/Eggman fundraiser was co-hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council's Action Fund PAC, and not the Natural Resources Defense Council. Edwin Chen, senior adviser to the NRDC Action Fund, says as a 501(c)(3), the Natural Resources Defense Council doesn't engage in electioneering activities, including raising money for or contributing to candidates. The NRDC Action Fund PAC is the federal political action committee connected to the NRDC Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization.
A political fundraiser for congressional Democratic Party hopefuls Amanda Renteria and Michael Eggman has caught the eye of Renteria’s opponent — incumbent Hanford Republican David Valadao.
That’s what happens when the fundraiser is co-hosted by the Natural Resources Defense Council's "Action Fund PAC," the advocacy nonprofit of the well-known environmental organization, and the attorney who led the NRDC’s effort to restore the San Joaquin River.
Tal Eslick, Valadao’s chief-of-staff, sent an email to supporters with the fundraiser invitation. He also included some remarks, and even invoked one of Tulare Republican Rep. Devin Nunes’ favorite and oft-repeated terms in describing the fundraiser hosts — “radical environmentalists.”
“Our opponent has enlisted the help of radical environmentalists to get elected,” Eslick wrote. “These are the very folks who sue farmers and the government to send our water to the ocean.”
The fundraiser is being held March 24 at the Maybeck Studio for the Performing Arts in Berkeley.
Attorney Hal Candee, who had represented the NRDC during the long-running battle over restoring the San Joaquin River, is a co-host, as are the NRDC’s Action Fund Political Action Committee and Rep. Barbara Lee, an Oakland Democrat.
But Renteria — a Woodlake native and former U.S. Senate chief-of-staff who moved back to the central San Joaquin Valley to challenge Valadao in the 21st Congressional District — said in an email from her campaign that “David Valadao and the (National Republican Congressional Committee) does fundraisers with politicians who oppose comprehensive immigration reform.”
The email, sent from Renteria campaign manager Emily Nowlin, went on to say that “these kinds of silly releases are designed to distract voters from the real issues facing the Valley. Instead of his divisive tactics, its time to have a leader like Amanda Renteria who will bring people together to solve the real issues in the Valley.”
The invitation says the event is “in support of the Eggman Renteria Victory Fund.” The “suggested contributions” are $1,000 for “guests,” $2000 for “friends” and $5,200 for “co-sponsors.”
Eggman is challenging incumbent Turlock Republican Jeff Denham of Turlock.