Who would have thought that the expense section of an FEC report could read like a Russian novel? Well, leave it to Richard Pombo.
Remember, back in June, when the Pombo campaign was soliciting for paid canvassers? Of course, after the media picked up on the email being circulated at UOP, Pombo’s campaign denied having anything to do with the scheme.
Subsequently, in August, the Pombo campaign held its big volunteer precinct-walking kickoff. You remember. The one where nobody showed up.
Well, now the Pombo campaign has a new canvassing narrative. Last week, in his endorsement interview with the editorial staff of the Contra Costa Times, Richard Pombo was dutiful about repeating his latest campaign theme about the busloads of “liberals from Berkeley” who are coming into CA-11 to canvass for Jerry McNerney.
In fact, he said, he's signing up campaign volunteers who got mad when his opponents began shipping busloads of Bay Area precinct walkers into the Central Valley. More than half the district is in San Joaquin County, while the remaining portion stretches from Danville to Morgan Hill.Um-hum. Probably people like Frederick Krueger, Gale Fedora, Tiffany Walton and Patricia O’Brien. All four of them are Pombo precinct walkers. According to Pombo’s FEC report, his campaign paid Mr. Krueger, Ms. Fedora and Ms. Walton each $1,080.65 for precinct walking. Ms. O’Brien must have gotten a late start; she only received $629.03. But the most amusing aspect to this is that according to the FEC statement, Ms. O’Brien lives in Modesto, well outside the boundary of CA-11.
"We're getting a lot of calls from folks who want to know who those people on the bus are," Pombo said, "and when they find out, they want to know what they can do to help."
We’re still waiting to find out whether she arrived by bus.
Meanwhile, here are a few more tidbits from Pombo’s expense report:
- Pombo’s wife, Annette, is still on the payroll, having received $9,000 during the reporting period.
- Some of you may remember reading about Steven Ding earlier this year when his dual political roles stirred up a controversy. Ding serves as the House Resources Committee Chief of Staff, for which the taxpayers pay him an annual salary of $150,000; simultaneously, Ding serves Richard Pombo’s Congressional Chief of Staff, where he is paid a nominal fee of $100/month plus travel expenses. The only problem is that Ding holds down these two high-profile Washington jobs (putting in 80-90 hour work weeks) while living in Stockton. He has spent the last three years commuting to DC at taxpayer expense ($87,000 over and above his base salary during the last three years).
Well, Ding must be one helluva multi-tasker because while doing all that, Pombo also just paid him $20,000 over a 30-day period for “political consulting.” Oh, and he threw down another $2,643.32 to Ding’s wife Shannon for travel and fundraising expenses. But, hey, that’s what friends are for, right?
- Finally, there’s the little matter of the push polling conducted on behalf of the Pombo campaign last month. When I wrote about it at the time, I noted that the American Association of Political Consultants, whose president is another Pombo political consultant, Wayne Johnson, strongly condemns the unethical practice of push polling:
The AAPC's Ethics Committee addressed this issue in December of 1995, agreeing unanimously that so-called "push-polls" violate the AAPC's stricture against "any activity which would corrupt or degrade the practice of political campaigning." To the extent that practitioners of the "push-poll" ruse convey inaccurate information about an election opponent, they also violate the AAPC's stricture against false and misleading attacks.You can read the full post to see if you think the survey that was done meets the criteria for push polling. But I think Pombo’s FEC statement makes it clear who was behind the effort. My post was dated September 22. On September 22, Pombo cut a check to Wayne Johnson in the amount of $116,682.34 for “Radio advertising polling.”