Of all the do-gooders at San Francisco City Hall (what few are left), County Assessor-Recorder Phil Ting would be the very last person we'd expect to see caught up in nefarious politicking. We're talking about a man who got upstaged by Lenny the Service Dog, a guy who thinks Long Island Iced Teas are craaaaaazy good.
Still, there are people out there who believe Ting isn't entirely straight-laced, especially when it come to running a clean campaign. Jim Reilly, an active supporter of Ting's opponent, Michael Breyer, is accusing Ting of illegally using taxpayer money to fund his own state Assembly campaign. According to the complaint, filed with the Ethics Commission, Ting funneled monies from his 2011 mayoral campaign to pay for his 2012 Assembly campaign.
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According to the complaint, which is obviously being supported by the Michael Breyer for Assembly 2012 campaign:
Phil Ting solicited $312,000 in public money for his race for mayor, spending more than $10,000 to build a website for the campaign. San Francisco Ethics Commission rules are very clear that assets remaining from a publicly funded campaign for mayor must be returned to taxpayers - they cannot be used for future runs for office. [The] complaint includes website archives and screen shots that clearly show that the Ting campaign built the current website for his Assembly race directly from the website used in his mayoral campaign - paid in part with public funds.
We called Ting to find out how he, a fastidious number-cruncher, could have possibly screwed up so badly. Eric Jaye, Ting's campaign manager, told us that this is nothing more than "a frivolous complaint from a frivolous young man."
Here's Jaye entire response:
First of all, he's wrong on the facts. ResetSF.org was not set up during the mayor's race, it was set up in June of 2010 and no funds from public financing were used to establish it.
Breyer's motivation behind parsing such a definitive phrase is clear. The facts are that Michael Breyer also had a campaign established last year -- and it was his campaign that was investigated by the Ethics Commission for running an illegally coordinated independent expenditure, which is what SuperPACs are called in San Francisco.
And now for a good election-time zinger:
"Frankly, the son of a Supreme Court Justice should know better than to file frivolous legal complaints," Jaye said.
Update: The Breyer campaign responded to Jaye's comments:
"Let's Reset. Maybe the Ting campaign should read the substance of the ethics complaint before spewing falsehoods. The complaint clearly documents that the Ting for Mayor campaign used taxpayer money to pay Eric Jaye's company Storefront Political Media over $10,000 for web services. Storefront paid a subvendor Real Tidings of Austin Texas thousands of dollars to work on the website. No matter when the original site was built, it was clearly expanded and improved using taxpayer dollars. If, as the evidence suggests, when the website was Reset yet again as the Ting for Assembly campaign site, that would be a clear violation of the law.I expect the Ethics Commission will see it that way too."
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