More charges fly in Assembly race

Assembly candidate Janet Reilly has accused a Sacramento political action committee of making illegal campaign expenditures on behalf of her opponent in the race for the Democratic nomination for the 12th Assembly District.

Reilly’s campaign said Thursday, it has filed a complaint with the state attorney general, San Francisco district attorney and a state political watchdog commission after a group, “Leaders for an Effective Government”, bought $33,000 worth of cable TV ads supporting Fiona Ma’s campaign.

Under state law, the “independent expenditure,” as it is known, cannot be made in coordination with Ma’s campaign, but the committee was reportedly founded with $1.5 million in funds raised by a Ma campaign co-chairman, former state Sen. John Burton. Ma worked as an aide for Burton for a number of years.

“This doesn’t pass the common sense test,” said Eric Jaye, a Reilly campaign spokesman. “We are asking the question why this dormant political committee is suddenly weighing in on this race. The only plausible explanation is that it is at the behest of John Burton.”

Reilly’s campaign said the committee has been dormant for a number of years.

Ma’s campaign said the charges were a smokescreen.

“If they had evidence of illegal activity they would have gone to a judge to get a temporary restraining order. They are popping some smoke to cover for the IRS thing,” said Tom Hsieh, Ma’s campaign director. “It’s spin, complete spin.”

Hsieh was referring to an electronic tax filing on the IRS Web site that showed Ma served as a campaign treasurer in 2002 for the Republican, anti-abortion governor of South Dakota, Mike Rounds. Reilly’s campaign had circulated the document to various groups, but the IRS reported Thursday it had mistakenly created the document. The Rounds campaign said Wednesday, Ma had never worked for the governor.

After an uneventful start, the Ma-Reilly campaign has heated up in the last week ahead of a critical endorsement by the state Democratic Party this weekend. The party will decide whether to endorse Ma, Reilly or no one in the primary. The primary will take place on June 6. Ma is a city supervisor and a former accountant, while Reilly is a Golden Gate Bridge and Highway District board member and a former TV journalist. They are vying to replace Assemblyman Leland Yee.

jjouvenal@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Anti-eviction demonstrators rally outside San Francisco Superior Court. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Report: Unpaid rent due to COVID-19 could be up to $32.7M per month

A new city report that attempts to quantify how much rent has… Continue reading

Music venues around The City have largely been unable to reopen due to ongoing pandemic health orders. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SF to cut $2.5M in fees to help 300 nightlife venues

San Francisco will cut $2.5 million in fees for hundreds of entertainment… Continue reading

Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett departs the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2020 in Washington, DC. President Donald Trump nominated Barrett to replace Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg after Ginsburg’s death. (Photo by Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images)
GOP senators confirm Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court in partisan vote

By Jennifer Haberkorn Los Angeles Times The Senate on Monday confirmed Judge… Continue reading

Curator Tim Burgard looks over a section of the galleries comprising “The de Young Open,” a huge, varied collection of work by Bay Area artists. (Photo courtesy Gary Sexton/Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Bay Area artists jam-pack vivid ‘de Young Open’

Huge exhibition — with works for sale — showcases diversity, supports community

Most Read