Don Perata does it again, to the tune of $400,000

Apparently my report earlier this month which broke news of Don Perata’s day-after-the-election transfer of $1.5 million from his Leadership California committee — a candidate-controlled ballot measure committee for which he raised money this year ostensibly to recall state Sen. Jeff Denham and to defeat Proposition 11, the legislative redistricting reform measure — into the legal defense fund he’s using to fend off a years-long FBI corruption probe didn’t faze him a bit.

The Sacramento Bee today reports he’s done it again, draining another $400,000 from Leadership California into his legal defense fund.

It’s not illegal, but in many people’s book, raising money for one cause and then using it for another — especially another that seems to be so self-specific and self-serving — seems like a dishonest bait-and-switch. I can only guess he made the second transfer this month in order to beat the deadline on a new regulation the Fair Political Practices Commission considered this month and might enact in January to bar such transfers.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Lars Ulno

    Perata knows that the California FPPC could care less about corruption by Democrats, and most media outlets won’t cover it anyway. Even if they put a new regulation in, the AG won’t prosecute Democrats. Blago will walk, even with all the problems in Illinois. Franken will steal an election. (Readers, look at this ballot in Minnesota: http://senaterecount.startribune.com/ballots/index.php?review_date=2008-12-18&index=171
    and realize that the state canvassing board said this was clearly a vote for Franken. Look at the other ballots that were found magically a few weeks after the election. Amazing!)

    How can corruption like this be tolerated?

  • Josh Richman

    A few things, Lars:
    1.) As I noted in this post and earlier articles, Perata’s fund transfers aren’t illegal, though many might find them distasteful or dishonest. I’d be cautious about overstating Perata’s transgression, and even moreso about imputing his actions to the Democratic Party as a whole – there are plenty of California Democrats angry at Perata – or to any Democrat involved in any sort of kerfuffle right now.
    2.) The only way I can see Blago walk is if his lawyers find a way to get the wiretap evidence excluded. As I’ve noted earlier, the transcripts are a rip-roarin’ good read.
    3.) As for that ballot you linked to, it looks like the canvassing board called that one for Coleman, not Franken (unless I’m reading the STrib’s grid wrong). But here’s a good explanation of why/how the Franken campaign is challenging certain ballots that lack duplicates: http://www.fivethirtyeight.com/2008/12/franken-to-coleman-wheres-beef.html

  • Lars Ulno

    Canvassing board called that for Franken. Double-check that site.

  • Josh Richman

    Well, I see there’s an “x” indicating Franken filed the challenge to this ballot, but doesn’t the “x” in the “Canvassing Board” row under Coleman’s name mean they called it for Coleman?