Democratic Rep. Ami Bera, whose father was sentenced to a year in prison for election fraud, says the family is trying to move on from what was a “grave mistake” while ensuring that his 82-year-old mother is cared for.
In an interview, Bera would not say whether he thinks prosecutors should release the names of the donors his father reimbursed and the amounts attributed to them, information that could support his statements that he knew nothing about the crimes.
“All I can say is anything they’ve asked for that we’ve had, we’ve fully cooperated with them,” Bera said when asked if the names should be released. “This has been an ongoing investigation, so I don’t know what they are going to do at this juncture.”
Bera again pointed to May statements from the U.S. attorney in which he said there was no evidence Bera or his campaign were aware of the donation scheme. Bera’s 83-year-old father, Babulal, will likely serve 10 months of the yearlong sentence for election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee.
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Bera is running for re-election against Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones, who has continued to insist that Bera must have known about his father’s actions.
On Friday, Bera suggested that the Republican, whose sheriff’s department is appealing a multimillion-dollar retaliation lawsuit brought by four female employees, is trying to distract from his “issues with women” and “the total disregard he has for the women that work for him.”
He called on Jones to release internal documents that show how the department responded to the plaintiffs when they first alleged retaliation and sexual favoritism. “Jones ought to show what their human resources department found,” Bera said. “I mean, can we really trust Scott Jones to be transparent on this?”
“Jones is the guy who is investigating himself ... The Board of Supervisors ought to have an outside investigator (for) this pattern of repeated disrespect for women under Scott Jones’ leadership. Maybe the attorney general ought to come in and do an investigation of the department that has been racked with lawsuits.”
Sacramento County officials announced in a prepared statement Thursday that they are appealing the retaliation verdict, and Jones said in a May news conference that he remains committed to moving the department forward.
“Rather than attacking the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department, Congressman Bera should be apologizing to his constituents and especially to his family for shamefully allowing his elderly father to take the fall for an illegal fundraising scheme that only Ami Bera himself could have conceived,” Jones consultant Dave Gilliard said in a statement.