By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
By Charles Lam
Edgar's troubles don't end there. In late January, armed with a camera, I covered the annual Tet festival parade in Little Saigon. The event featured marching bands, colorful floats, gorgeous beauty queens, ex-South Vietnamese soldiers and, of course, candidates.
That day, the natty, smiling, congressional candidate sat in the back of a rented convertible that lurched down Bolsa Avenue. He waved to the passing crowd, ignorant that among the masses was me. Along the route, people politely clapped or waved back. His staff, I witnessed, handed out 500 campaign fans.
According to an invoice obtained by the Weekly, the fans cost $900. But—as with the mysterious brochure—the expense never appeared on FEC reports. For that matter, Edgar didn't disclose the rental-car cost even though the vehicle carried large side-door magnets with his name, title and congressional-campaign logo.
If a future prosecutor deems the spending illegal and the disclosure omissions were intentional, the potential crimes aren't earth-shattering. Nobody died or got bloodied. Yet the conduct still might tell us something important about Edgar.
Here's the peculiarity of the situation: The candidate could have easily paid the expenses and reported that he'd done so. He's wealthy and, according to election law, was entitled to spend unlimited amounts of his own money on the congressional campaign. This puzzling mess is reminiscent of millionaire Hollywood actress Lindsay Lohan stealing a bracelet she could have afforded to buy.
I doubt Edgar's problem is drugs or booze, so what was his motivation in misleading the public? Powers—who says he became disillusioned with the candidate, left the campaign and hopes Allen is victorious—thinks he knows the answer: petty political calculation.
"Troy wanted to mislead the public about his spending because he didn't want anyone to know he's a self-funder who has a hard time raising money," said Powers. "Paying campaign expenses off the books hid the fact that his only real donor was himself. He struggles with the truth."
This column appeared in print as "'You're Grasping At Straws': Records reveal that state Assembly candidate Troy Edgar hasn't been honest about campaign spending."