Gavin Newsom Pays For Endorsement in Bogus 'Voter Information Guide'

Categories: Politics
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How much more official could it look -- there's an eagle on its cover, isn't there? But the "Voter Information Guide For Democrats" landing in San Francisco mailboxes has nothing to do with the state Democratic Party and is merely a paid political mailer funded by the candidates and propositions endorsed within. Among those candidates: Mayor Gavin Newsom.

The fine print reveals the "Voter Information Guide" is "Not an official political party organization." In fact, it's a mailer emanating from a political consultant named Larry Levine's Sherman Oaks office. Levine has not yet returned SF Weekly's calls. Pointing out that the folks shelling out for an endorsement in Levine's official-looking mailer do not jibe with the actual candidates and positions endorsed by the Democratic Party is getting to be something of a California tradition. 

An asterisk designates Lieutenant Governor candidate Newsom, would-be Attorney General Alberto Torrico, and Insurance Commissioner candidate Dave Jones as having paid to receive the endorsement. Same goes for Propositions 16 and 17. With the exception of Jones, none of these candidates or ballot measures is backed by the California Democratic Party.

The state Democratic Party has not made any endorsement yet for lieutenant governor or AG. And it has roundly condemned both Prop. 16 -- the PG&E-backed measure mandating a two-thirds approval by voters in municipalities hoping to establish their own utilities -- and Prop. 17 -- a tweak to the state's auto insurance laws bankrolled by tens of millions from Mercury Insurance.

California Democrats are also in favor of Prop. 15, which Levine's slate opposes -- though there's no asterisk, so no money ostensibly changed hands. You can read the California Democratic Party's official slate here.

Our calls to the Newsom, Jones and Torrico campaigns to query how much this endorsement cost them have not yet been returned.

Update, 9:40: According to forms filed with the Secretary of State, Newsom has paid $116,000 to the "Voter Information Guide" since January in two installments of $58,000 each on April 28 and May 19. Torrico has paid $120,000, and Jones kicked in $54,250.

Californians to Protect Our Right to Vote payed $15,000 for a Yes on Prop. 16 endorsement, while Californians for Fair Auto Insurance Rates threw down $67,500 toward Prop. 17.

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