Anderson must return tainted donations
Saturday, October 3, 2009 at 2 a.m.
The Union-Tribune watchdog report published Thursday cast a horrible light on the judgment and integrity of Assemblyman Joel Anderson, R-La Mesa.
The investigation documented how four Anderson supporters each donated $10,000 to the Fresno County Republican Central Committee, which then in each case contributed $9,500 to Anderson's 2010 campaign fund. The individual limit on contributions to legislative candidates is $3,900; there is no limit on what party committees can provide.
The report also documented how Anderson had transferred a total of nearly $100,000 that was left over from his 2008 Assembly campaign fund to Fresno County, Placer County and Stanislaus County GOP committees, which then sent about the same sum back to his fund for 2010, when he is expected to run for state Senate. This maneuver allows Anderson to receive new donations from the same individuals who gave the maximum to his Assembly campaign in 2008.
These transactions could well prove legal. Nevertheless, they are a plain and brazen assault on the intent of the laws. Not even the most naive person would believe all the transfers were coincidental.
How does Anderson explain or rationalize this sleazy scam? He doesn't, refusing to answer the questions we posed in repeated e-mails or to return our call.
Sorry, Mr. Assemblyman, but this controversy isn't going to quickly blow over. Stall tactics won't work — either with the media or with the state Fair Political Practices Commission, which, we hope, will investigate.
In the meantime, here's the choice the East County Republican faces: He can return the tainted donations and apologize for the scam or he can permanently stain his reputation by trying to get away with it.
So what will it be, Joel Anderson?