Neel Kashkari released a campaign mailer this week promoting himself as a conservative Republican and likening rival Tim Donnelly, a tea party favorite, to Gov. Jerry Brown. Following is text of the portion of the ad attacking Donnelly and analysis by David Siders of The Bee Capitol Bureau.
MAILER: Tim Donnelly & Jerry Brown: A crazy train of irresponsible spending
Thanks to Jerry Brown, Sacramento is wasting even more money. Brown and the career politicians in Sacramento have driven up state spending to record highs with hundreds of billions in liabilities we can’t afford. Now Brown wants to spend another $67 billion on a high-speed train.
Tim Donnelly is a wreck …
He didn’t pay his company’s taxes or his mortgage.
His campaign is $150,000 in debt and his shady campaign finance practices have triggered an investigation by the state’s top corruption watchdog.
Donnelly has spent thousands in campaign dollars on inappropriate things like clothing, jewelry, flowers – and $7,300 to a company called “Love 2 the Moon.”
Donnelly has gamed the system to get more taxpayer dollars than he deserved, including an extra $85,116 in tax-free pay, an extra $21,000 in tax-free mail, and even a new $32,000 car.
And now he wants to lead California?
Tim Donnelly is just another wasteful spender like Jerry Brown.”
ANALYSIS: Kashkari’s effort to yoke Donnelly to Brown’s spending is a lie. Donnelly is one of the Legislature’s most conservative members, while Brown is a third-term Democrat. Donnelly opposed Brown’s ballot initiative in 2012 to raise taxes and has regularly criticized the governor’s budget proposals.
Especially egregious is the ad’s emphasis on high-speed rail, which Brown – but not Donnelly – supports. Donnelly, like Kashkari, opposes the controversial project and has said he will cancel it if elected.
Kashkari’s claim that Donnelly didn’t pay his taxes or mortgage refers to a $2,829 tax lien the state filed against Donnelly’s former business, Donnelly Plastic Equipment Inc., last year. San Bernardino County listed the lien as being released in March. Donnelly owned an investment property in South Carolina that was foreclosed on in 2012.
It is true that Donnelly’s campaign reports outstanding debts exceeding cash on hand, and the Fair Political Practices Commission opened an investigation in April into Donnelly’s California Patriots PAC, a small fund unrelated to the governor’s race that the FPPC said failed for more than a year to file campaign finance statements.
Kashkari’s criticism of Donnelly’s campaign expenses relies on innuendo to suggest improprieties, but the law gives wide latitude for campaign spending.
It is true that Donnelly accepted per-diem payments, used legislative mail and took a state-subsidized lease on a 2011 Ford Edge when the vehicle leasing program for state lawmakers was still in effect. But there’s no evidence to support the idea that he got more “than he deserved.”
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Call David Siders, Bee Capitol Bureau, (916) 321-1215. Follow him on Twitter @davidsiders.