(PR) Governor’s Office Misuses State Office for Political Activity: HJTA Issues PRA Requests after Political e-Mail Surfaces

Illegal activity and misuse of Taxpayer funds is “a violation of the public trust”

Sacramento — The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed three (3) Public Records Act (PRA) requests after learning that Governor Schwarzenegger’s state office has sent Campaign materials from their official State e-mail accounts. The e-mail activity was used to conduct political activity and solicit Endorsements as it relates to their opposition to the California Jobs Initiative ‰ÛÒ the ballot measure to suspend AB 32 which is expected to appear on the November ballot. Utilizing a taxpayer-funded public office to support Political activity is a violation of FPPC rules.

One such e-mail is from one of the Governor’s top staff members Chief Deputy Director Lisa Kalustian who utilized the state government e-mail system as she solicited Political activity in opposition to the California Jobs Initiative. In the e-mail the Governor’s staff provided official campaign literature and an official Endorsement Form from the campaign committee on official Campaign letterhead complete with the political campaign committee’s FPPC I.D. #. (Copies of documents are enclosed with this e-mail; the name of the person who received e-mail has been removed in order to protect the whistleblower’s anonymity.)

“The Governor’s office is misusing taxpayer funds taxpayer-funded staff and potentially other public agencies to undermine a ballot initiative just because he disagrees with it. It is not only illegal it’s a violation of the public trust” said Jon Coupal President of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association. “Nearly one million California voters just signed petitions to put the California Jobs Initiative on the ballot and they deserve an honest campaign ‰ÛÒ not an underground opposition effort generated by the Governor’s state offices and funded by the Taxpayers. Clearly the Governor is more concerned about his ‘legacy’ than doing the right thing.”

To further investigate the matter the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has filed a Public Records Act request with the Governor’s office and has cc’d the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) in this matter.

In fact the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has sent the enclosed letters to the following three (3) State agencies: 1) The Governor’s Administration 2) the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and 3) the California Environmental Protection Agency (Cal-EPA). These letters specifically request the Administration and the Agencies to turn over any communication on public Taxpayer-funded e-mail systems which have been used to promote Political activity as it relates to opposition to the California Jobs Initiative ballot measure.

In addition to the e-mail evidence there are reports that the Governor’s field staff (specifically Charlene Zetel in San Diego) during the normal work day scheduled and then made presentations to business and other organizations directly seeking political opposition to the ballot measure.

There are also reports that the Governor’s senior staff (including David Crane) made appearances during the normal workday on at least one radio program (KPFA Radio) to specifically seek opposition to the California Jobs Initiative ballot measure.

In these cases the Governor’s Office was not merely discussing the Legislation of AB 32; they were specifically discussing their opposition to the California Jobs Initiative ballot measure seeking endorsements and conducting Campaign activity. This is a violation of FPPC regulations.

The Governor’s Office has until this Monday to respond to the PRA request.