Dem operative accuses Whitman campaign of lying to police

Nick Velasquez, still fuming over the Whitman campaign’s treatment of his campaign tracker, Jeremy Thompson, earlier this month in Orange County, is accusing the campaign of lying to police.

Velasquez, of the anti-Whitman opposition research group California Accountability Project, got his hands on the Santa Ana police department’s report on the incident in which Thompson was ejected from a Whitman campaign event on March 10. In it, Thompson was referred to as an uninvited guest who was “causing problem (sic) and refusing to leave.”

Thompson, indeed, had e-mailed the campaign for tickets and was provided a ticket when he arrived at the event, Velasquez said. But when Sarah Pompei, spokesman for Whitman, recognized Thompson from previous events that he’d taped on his digital recorder — which is what trackers do for campaigns in the service of catching potentially embarrassing YouTube moments, a la the infamous macaca moment that ruined ex-Sen George Allen’s political career — she asked him to leave.

And for good measure, the building’s security team physically escorted Thompson out of the building, though he was willing to leave peacefully, Velasquez said.

“They knew he had a ticket, and still called the cops on him, claiming he did not, lying in the process,” Velasquez said. “Clearly it was an overreaction on their part, and overkill to try to have someone arrested for going to their event.”

Pompei said it was perfectly reasonable to ask someone who’s working for the opposition to leave a private political event. The Whitman campaign was taping a staged townhall meeting to be used in a 30-minute infomercial.

“While he may have received an e-mail about the event, he certainly wasn’t an invited guest,” Pompei said. “We don’t make a habit of inviting rival campaign workers to our private events when we’re filming for an informercial for the campaign’s use.”

Pompei continued to deny that the campaign called police, even though the building operator said he hadn’t called police.

“Our campaign did not call the police,” she said.

Velasquez noted that Pompei, only days earlier, had wrongly claimed that officials at the Union Pacific Railroad facility asked that the press not be invited on a tour of the intermodal facility that Whitman took. A spokesman for the railroad said that wasn’t the case.

“Her credibility is suspect, given she was caught lying,” Velasquez said. “It’s an issue of overkill and their credibility.”

Since then, Thompson, the tracker, has not had much luck getting into Whitman events.

Last night at an open Whitman event in Redondo Beach, Thompson was told that the crowd was at capacity and refused entry.

“I was sitting there as they allowed other folks in,” Thompson said. “If they’re so afraid that she’ll say something unpalatable, then it’s all the more reason somebody other than a friendly crowd should be watching.”

Steven Harmon