Election spending being probed

The County Counsel’s Office could take up an investigation into alleged election violations by a Superior Court judgeship candidate, after the District Attorney’s Office determined it had a conflict of interest.

Preliminary discussions between the District Attorney’s Office and the County Counsel’s Office indicate no violation occurred, according to the letter sent to the attorney general.

Allegations by Lisa Maguire's campaign surfaced last week when she filed a complaint with the state Fair Political Practices Committee alleging that Deputy District Attorney Susan Etezadi used county funds to send disputed campaign literature through the county's intra-office mail system. The allegations also charged that Etezadi illegally distributed campaign literature to county employees while they were at work.

The county ordinance that prohibits distribution of literature appears to apply only to county employees, not to their campaigns. “She informed [Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe] she was unaware of the mailings because it was done by her campaign committee,” District Attorney Jim Fox said of Etezadi in the letter.

County Counsel Tom Casey said he was unaware of his office's involvement and had not read the letter as of Monday. The District Attorney’s Office found it had a conflict of interest because Etezadi is an employee.

Lisa Maguire and her campaign representative couldn't be reached for comment before deadline.

Etezadi said she felt somewhat vindicated with the preliminary findings and welcomed an investigation, if called for.

ecarpenter@examiner.com

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