Brown Spokesman Placed on Leave Over Interview-Taping Incident

California Attorney General Jerry Brown's spokesman has been placed on leave following revelations that he secretly tape-recorded conversations with reporters, the attorney general's office said today.

In a statement sent to SF Weekly in response to questions about the incident, Brown staffer Christine Gasparac said the spokesman, Scott Gerber, "has been put on administrative leave and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken." The San Francisco Chronicle reported today that Gerber had recorded a conference call with Chronicle political reporter Carla Marinucci without informing her beforehand.

"Mr. Gerber's recording of certain telephone conversations was done without Attorney General Brown's knowledge and in direct violation of explicit directions regarding office policy," Gasparac wrote. "These conversations were on the record and in no sense confidential. Nevertheless, the explicit agreement of all parties should have been obtained."

Brown's swift decision to isolate Gerber doesn't bode well for the spokesman, who joined the attorney general's camp about a year ago after serving as press secretary for Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Observers said at the time that the move was likely intended to fortify Brown's candidacy in the 2010 governor's race.

While it's doubtful Gerber's surreptitious recording of conversations with reporters was illegal, the flap over his actions isn't exactly a PR triumph for Brown. Then again, the road to the governor's seat just got a lot easier with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's announcement today that he was pulling out of the race.

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