Most GOPers silent now on Brown tape case

Our print deadlines required me to do a quick, short take yesterday on the Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley’s finding that state Attorney General Jerry Brown’s office broke no laws when a now-former employee secretly taped telephone conversations between officials and reporters.

Today – amid covering other stories – I figured I’d seek some Republican reactions, given Brown’s status as the only Democrat apparently running for governor and all the hullabaloo various GOPers raised as the incident came to light last fall. But the reactions were few today.

California Republican Lawyers Association Chairman Steven Baric, an Irvine attorney who also serves on the state GOP’s executive committee, had sent letters to Brown and O’Malley last November demanding such an investigation. A CRLA spokesman didn’t respond to an e-mail I sent last night, and Baric didn’t return my call this afternoon.

State Sen. George Runner, R-Antelope Valley, and Assemblyman Ted Gaines, R-Roseville, had sent a similar letter to Brown in November. Runner spokeswoman Jana Saastad told me this morning that she’d discuss the matter with her boss this afternoon and get back to me, but then about two hours later told me Runner would be unavailable all day. Gaines’ office didn’t return my e-mail at all.

Although the state GOP had sent the lawmakers’ letter out to reporters Nov. 3, it’s not archived among the news releases on the state GOP’s Web site, Runner’s, or Gaines’. (The state GOP’s site does, however, still have a link to the “Brown’s Tapegate” video it posted Nov. 12.)

California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring, speaking this morning from Nashville where he was teaching seminars at the National Tea Party Convention, called O’Malley’s conclusions “fishy.”

“The Alameda County District Attorney seems to have invented an exemption from the state wiretap law that denies reporters the same level of protection from the rest of us,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to make much sense. … If the Legislature had intended to create that carve-out, they could’ve done so – legislative bodies create carve-outs all the time.”

Nehring said he’d need to review O’Malley’s findings in more detail before commenting on whether the state GOP intends to continue making an issue of the matter.

The campaign of Republican gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, who’d stayed mum on the issue when it was breaking back in October and November, didn’t respond to my e-mail. Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman’s campaign did respond, only to say they’d take a pass on commenting.

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.

  • Ralph Hoffmann

    Are Ron Nehring and Tom Del Baccaro Chair & vice Chair of the Grand Old Party or of the New Tea Party? This sounds as fishy as fishing in Boston harbor.