Statement by Steven E. Presberg
Ethics Commission, City of Los Angeles
Thursday, August 9, 2012
Honorable Members of the City Ethics Commission:
I am a candidate for City Council in the Third District. I am here
today to call upon you to take swift action, and prevent a complete
fraud from being perpetrated upon our local election system here in Los
Angeles – specifically, in the Third Council District.
The person committing the fraud is Bob Blumenfield, a State Assemblyman
running for re-election, and who last week filed with your Department to
run at the very same time for City Council in the Third District. This
raises some very serious questions and issues for your honorable Board
and staff to consider, if open and honest campaigns are to prevail in
the City of Los Angeles, and if Mr. Blumenfield is to be prevented from
making a complete mockery of the well considered rules adopted by your
Board, especially relating to campaign contribution and expenditure
According to state campaign financial reports, Mr. Blumenfield’s
opponent in the June 2012 Assembly Primary Election spent exactly 0
dollars. Yet, Mr. Blumenfield has apparently spent nearly $400,000 – so
far - in a non-competitive race, in a district that is almost
completely subsumed within the Third Council District.
I am urging this honorable Board to take the following actions:
• First, in the cause of good government, adopt a rule that would
apply immediately and retroactively to candidates in the 2013 election,
to reject any person’s filing for an elected City office, if he or she
is at the same time a candidate for another elective office.
• If Mr. Blumenfield is to continue as a City Council candidate,
individuals and organizations that have already contributed $700 or more
to Mr. Blumenfield’s Assembly Campaign Committee must be barred from
any further contributions to his City Council campaign.
• Mr. Blumenthal must be deemed to have violated the City’s
contribution limits, unless he immediately refunds all contributions
that exceed the $700 limit. Note that the contribution limit in his
Assembly Campaign is $3,900.
• The Ethics Commission must deem the overwhelming majority of his
expenditures to-date in his Assembly Campaign to count towards the City
expenditure limit in the City Council election, inasmuch as he has had
no real Assembly opposition, and virtually all of his expenditures have
been made with a plan to run for City Council all along.
• With an opponent spending no money, Mr. Blumenfield nevertheless
spent over $250,000 on campaign consultants in the current election
cycle. Has he simply pre-paid these people for work to be done in his
City Council campaign? There certainly doesn’t appear to have been a
lot for him to “consult” about with an opponent spending no money
against him. These consultants should be barred from performing any
work – paid or volunteer – in Mr. Blumenfield’s City Council campaign.
To allow otherwise would be to allow these individuals to have
participated in perpetrating this fraud, and then to profit by it.
• At least two of Mr. Blumenfield’s Assembly Campaign expenditures
are illegal under the City’s rules. These include his campaign’s
contribution of $32,500 to the California Democratic Party, and his
campaign’s contribution of $1,000 to a foundation run by his wife.
These expenditures – or more appropriately, gifts, are obviously not in
compliance with the Ethics Commission’s rule that all expenditures must
be clearly related to a campaign purpose – not the spreading of largess
supplied by other contributors. Your rules also prohibit the making of
contributions from a City Campaign account to another political
committee, in our non-partisan system.
As recently as Tuesday of this week, on Mr. Blumenfield’s Assembly
campaign website, he stated how “excited” he was to be “seeking
re-election in the newly drawn 45th Assembly District.” He further
stated that he looked “forward to (his) final term in the Assembly.”
It is now apparent that this was a ruse. Mr. Blumenfield knew all along
that he was going to run for City Council, where the term limits
applicable to state offices would not affect him. Hence, he chose to
raise and spend almost the entire Council race spending limit, before
even formally getting into the race. We have now seen the obvious
deception that has been perpetrated.
I call upon you to immediately initiate a detailed audit of Mr.
Blumenfield’s Assembly campaign financial reports, to determine the
benefit that should apply to his Council race. I urge you to continue
to scrutinize Mr. Blumenfield’s Assembly campaign contributions and
expenditures, as that committee could be used to evade the rules set
forth by your honorable Board. I call upon you to subpoena, and require
testimony under oath, of Mr. Blumenfield, and his campaign Treasurer
and consultants, to determine what has in fact been arranged and/or
promised in return for payments already made.
I trust you will act swiftly and strongly in order that a fair election
campaign may be had, with a level playing field in the Third District
and throughout the city in campaigns under your jurisdiction.
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