Thursday, December 11, 2008

Perata Washes Cash Again

By Chris Thompson
Thu, Dec 11, 2008 at 8:26 AM

Hey, we haven't heard from Don Perata in a while. What's he been doing lately? According to the Oakland Tribune's Josh Richman, he's been quietly transferring money he ostensibly raised to fight the redistricting ballot measure into his personal legal defense fund. According to Richman, Perata shifted a staggering $1.5 million from his Leadership California PAC to the defense fund one day after the election. Perata spokesman Jason Kinney had this to say about it: "The use of any remaining funds for legal defense activities is perfectly legal, appropriate and commonplace." Kinney adds that it's a sad day when good public servants like Perata have to defend themselves against partisan witch hunts like the FBI corruption investigation. Tell it to the judge, Jason. Oh wait, maybe you'll get a chance to do just that!

As Richman's story notes, this ain't the first time Perata's played bait-and-switch with his fundraising; a few years ago, we caught him pretending to run for the Board of Equalizers, raising money under the committee "Taxpayers for Perata," and transferring the cash to his legal defense account. But as Richman notes in his story, most donors don't really care what he does with the money. They pay to get access to powerful people, not because they're so aroused by attempts to reform the redistricting process. Still, Richman suggests, it might explain why Perata stuck around Sacramento so long after he became a lame duck, and Darrell Stenberg was waiting to take over as Senate President. After all, no one wants to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to the former president of the state Senate.

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