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Uh, Issa's Breaking The Law Too

by: David Dayen

Thu Nov 01, 2007 at 16:52:45 PM PDT

Bill Cavala knows what he's talking about.

In a story printed in today's Sacramento Bee, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa is said to be "sending out letters to the same voters who signed the recall position in 2003".

But that's against the law. California Elections Code 18650 states clearly that, "No one shall knowingly or willfully permit the list of signatures on an initiative, referendum, or recall petition to be used for ANY PURPOSE other than qualification of the initiative, referendum or recall". [Emphasis added] Violation of this section is a misdemeanor.

That's pretty clear, isn't it? Wouldn't you expect a Member of Congress to know the law? Well, maybe we can't expect a Republican Member of Congress to obey the law??

Somebody alert Jerry Brown.  Darrell Issa is breaking the law, and look what the result could be:

While the violation involving the use of the data is only a misdemeanor, providing the signatures, database, and anything else owned by the Recall Committee is an "in kind contribution"-- an unreported contribution. The Recall committee needs to approve it in order to provide this asset to the "California Counts" committee that is trying to qualify the Electoral College scheme on the ballot. Such a use could be in violation of the trust provisions that govern ballot measure expenditures (felonies). And the unreported contribution and the person controlling the committee could be prosecuted under the criminal misdemeanor provisions of the political reform act. (Where the penalty is loss of office) (emphasis mine)

I don't think that you could remove someone from federal office at the state level, right?  But dare to dream.  Would that be some sweet justice for the architect of the California recall, or what?

David Dayen :: Uh, Issa's Breaking The Law Too
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Wow (0.00 / 0)
That was something that sounded fishy to me yesterday but I'm no Cavala.  I'm glad we've got this now- time to get tenacious.

Damn (0.00 / 0)
The question is how did Issa get these names?  Did he simply copy them from the petitions?  Or are they a normal campaign list?  The wording of the Bee's article indicates the former.  If so, it sounds like he has been using this for multiple purposes for years.  And that is big time trouble.

My guess (0.00 / 0)
Is that Issa will quickly backtrack and say that what he meant was the mailing lists, email lists, donor lists, etc. of the Recall petition. He's too slick to be taken down by something like this.

I think?

[ Parent ]
Probably (0.00 / 0)
From the Press Enterprise yesterday:

"The wealthy congressman...said Tuesday he has agreed to support the measure both financially and by providing access to his own fundraising network, including his substantial e-mail lists."

Could mean anything.

[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
and knowing Lehane, he probably will push for a formal investigation.

[ Parent ]
Losing his Seat (0.00 / 0)
Only the House can remove a House member from office.  It requires that formal charges in the form of a resolution be brought up. 

However, a serious prosecution would likely make it a moot point, since very few people (Jim Traficant) remain in office while going to trial. But I agree with other commenters, he seems likely to weasel his way out of this. 

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