FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 23, 1994
Contact: Rob Lapsley
Jones Blasts Political Dirty Tricks by Democratic
Party Chairman Bill Press
Initiates FPPC Investigation, Introduces Legislation To Halt Unethical
Bill Jones (R-Fresno), Republican nominee for California Secretary of
State, today unveiled evidence of Elections Code and Political Reform Act
violations committed by Democratic Party operatives in a covert campaign
to keep the Green Party from nominating a candidate for governor. On the
basis of the evidence uncovered, Jones initiated an investigation by the
Fair Political Practices Commission and is calling for an investigation
by the Secretary of State.
The allegations center on what Jones called "political dirty tricks"
openly acknowledged in a recent Sacramento Bee editorial by Democratic
Chairman Bill Press. A "Friends of Nobody" Committee was formed by
Democratic political operatives to keep the Green Party from fielding a
gubernatorial candidate in the November election. The Committee, backed
by money funneled to it by Democratic Party contributors, funded a "None
of the Above" campaign in the Green Party primary.
The stealth campaign was run to keep the fledgling minor party from
offering voters a Green Party candidate for governor because that
candidate might pull votes away from Democratic nominee Kathleen Brown,
according to comments Press made to the Sacramento Bee.
According to late contribution reports, at least $11,500 was funneled
to the campaign, which was run by Press, to keep Green Party
gubernatorial hopefuls from being chosen by Green voters.
"Beyond the obviously distasteful spectacle of a major party directly
subverting the nomination of a minor party candidate, the evidence
clearly points to blatant violations of elections law," Jones said. "The
identity of the sponsors of this campaign was kept secret, contributions
were concealed, and the required campaign statements were not filed for
the election period ending June 30th.
"All these provisions are a part of the Political Reform Act, which
was put in place to ensure fair and open elections. The law was
violated, and the Fair Political Practices Commission and the Secretary
of State both need to investigate."
A review of the late contribution reports raises some troubling
questions, Jones said. The "independent expenditure" committee had its
headquarters in Hopland, but all the printing for the campaign mailers
was done in Hayward and Chico, hundreds of miles away, according to reports.
"This certainly does not appear to be the undirected action of a less
sophisticated, grass-roots committee," Jones said. "It looks like a
highly sophisticated, well-orchestrated effort to influence an election
without being detected."
Jones said he was concerned that, despite the fact that details of
these political dirty tricks were reported by the Bee on its editorial
page, no investigation into the ordeal had been undertaken by the
Secretary of State.
"That's really troubling to me," Jones said, "because the first
contribution received by the 'Friends of Nobody' Committee is Acting
Secretary of State Tony Miller's second largest campaign contributor
--James Hormel. Hormel has already donated $50,000 to the
Democratic Party and $14,000 to Tony Miller. I hope that Miller is
objective enough to do the right thing. But he's got a spotty record on
While he worked as Secretary of State March Fong Eu's Chief Deputy,
Miller also served as her campaign treasurer, according to campaign
records. He represented Eu in front of the Franchise Tax Board when it
audited her committee. And, as the person responsible for acting on
waiver requests on late filing penalties, Miller waived a late filing fee
for one of Eu's major donors. The fine of more than $14,000 was reduced
to $50; an FPPC fine of $1,500 levied against the donor was personally
paid by Miller instead, who was later reimbursed by the Eu campaign.
Jones also unveiled legislation today that he plans to sponsor that
will prevent undercover campaigns from secretly influencing an election.
The proposed law, entitled the "Dirty Tricks Statute," will provide for
full disclosure of the origin of contributions and the identity of the
sponsors of a campaign. Violation of the act carries stiff penalties,
including jail time and a $20,000 fine, and disqualification from the ballot.
"The Political Reform Act was passed 20 years ago," Jones said. "I
authored ACR 102 this year, which was strongly supported by Common Cause,
but not by Tony Miller. The legislation would have created a bipartisan
committee to review the Political Reform Act, and update its provisions.
If the bill had not been blocked by Democrats in the Legislature, the
bipartisan committee could be reviewing situations like this right now,
and suggesting administrative changes to address them. As it is, we will
have to wait until next year, when this legislation can be introduced,
before we can correct this problem."
(For background materials documenting all issues raised in this press
release, please contact: Chris Reynolds, Issue Director, Bill Jones for
Secretary of State: (916) 449-2940.)
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