Capitol Alert

Republican won’t be muzzled over video promoting bill to save dogs trapped in cars

Stupid pet trick or misuse of public dollars?

Assemblyman Marc Steinorth, R-Rancho Cucamonga, is at the center of one of the toughest re-election fights in the Legislature, a fur-flying affair against Democrat Abigail Medina of San Bernardino. So please excuse any suggestions that Steinorth’s partisan critics may be barking up the wrong tree.

On Tuesday, a Democratic voter from the district sent a complaint to the Attorney General’s Office charging Steinorth with using public resources for political gain when he posted to his campaign website a video produced this spring by the Assembly Republican Caucus. Steinorth made the video to promote successful legislation allowing Californians under limited circumstances to bust open car windows to release hot dogs.

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The complaint from Daniel Weiser of Rancho Cucamonga also alleges Steinorth illicitly posted to his re-election website government-sponsored photos from the Assembly chamber as well as a replica of the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department star.

“Mr. Steinorth’s misuse of taxpayer’s money and public resources to benefit his campaign for reelection represents an egregious abuse of authority and betrays the public trust,” Weiser wrote.

Matt Rexroad, a strategist for Steinorth, paused when asked about the potential violations, then dismissed the grumbling as the stuff of “silly season.” Rexroad said he didn’t know who took the in-chambers photos and noted the hot car video, an apparent attempt at humor, was covered by news media, including The Sacramento Bee.

He concluded: “If we were going to feature something to promote the (campaign) putting him in a hot car and a sweaty T-shirt wouldn’t exactly be good fodder.”

Christopher Cadelago: 916-326-5538, @ccadelago