With the election just four days away, a local nonprofit group says its organization was improperly added on a “No On Measure G” campaign flier, but the campaign claims it received the endorsement by one of the nonprofit’s employees.
Stand Strong, formerly known as the Women’s Shelter, provides domestic violence services in the area. It does not support political campaigns. On Friday, it asked the “No On Measure G” campaign to stop using its name.
“There is a lot that we do here, and none of it has to do with Measure G,” said Kirsten Rambo, executive director.
Rambo was alerted this week of a flier indicating Stand Strong supports voting ‘No’ on Measure G.
“My phone started blowing up, people got to their mailbox and all of a sudden I’m getting texts from supporters saying ‘Wow, stand strong is saying no Measure G, that’s really surprising,'” Rambo recalled.
Stand Strong does not endorse one way or the other. The problem goes beyond just having a name on the flier. Nonprofits are not allowed to engage in “political campaign activity” or they risk their tax-exempt status.
“If we go afoul of those rules, then we are jeopardizing our funding. And our grant funding is about 70 percent of our budget here,” she said.
Communications Director Matthew Cunningham for the campaign responded to KSBY’s request for comment.
“The No on Measure G campaign is a broad coalition of hundreds of organizations, businesses, unions, and concerned citizens. Each organization and individual on a recent mailer filled out an endorsement card for our campaign. In late September, Antonia Winters, the Director of Latina Services for Stand Strong, filled out an endorsement card on behalf of her organization. It now appears there was an internal miscommunication within Stand Strong regarding authorizing endorsements, and our campaign will not use their organization’s name in future voter communication.
We’re in conversation with Stand Strong on how to rectify this situation, and it goes without saying we applaud the much-needed service Stand Strong provides the community.”
Cunningham did not respond to a request for proof of the endorsement card. Stand Strong is looking into the matter further.
Our interview with Rambo took place before the campaign’s response about the endorsement card. There are questions as to how the endorsement card was presented to Winters at an event she attended.
The No on G campaign says it is working to rectify the situation with Stand Strong.
Stand Strong, together with its sister-organization Rise, have provided services to nearly 2,000 people across San Luis Obispo County for domestic violence and child abuse.