Ridley-Thomas gets union cash

A union committee Tuesday reported gathering $980,000 in the last two months to help state Sen. Mark Ridley-Thomas win the 2nd District seat being vacated by county Supervisor Yvonne B. Burke.

With the June 3 election only a week away, the independent expenditure committee has amassed a total of $4 million to help Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) defeat Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard C. Parks and several minor candidates. The total includes $500,000 that committee officials said they filed paperwork on after the March 18 to May 17 reporting period.

As long as an independent group does not coordinate with the candidate it supports, donors can avoid the $1,000 limit that applies to individuals giving directly to a campaign.

The committee, formed by several union locals and called Alliance for a Stronger Community, also reported spending $2.8 million so far on behalf of Ridley-Thomas. The money was used for phone banks, radio advertisements and direct mail, according to the statements.

Ridley-Thomas' campaign raised $316,000 during the reporting period, bringing his total for the race to $526,000. Parks raised $279,000, bringing his campaign total to $647,000. He also received "independent" support from a group that spent $60,000 for a radio ad.

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