Dan Morain, one of the true jewels of mainstream journalism in California, has tied a key campaign adviser to Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, Congressman Ed Royce and state Assemblyman Jim Silva to a "shady" effort to smear Sen. Barbara Boxer in the 2010 election.
Veteran political consultant Dave Gilliard took the largest single payment from Taxpayer Network, a corporation that secretly raised $840,500 to produce a TV attack ad that falsely accused Boxer of voting against military veteran benefits and favoring Viagra treatments for federal prisoners, according to an Oct. 7 Sacramento Bee post by Morain.
The company caught Morain's ire because it raised and spent a significant amount of money to influence a federal election but did not publicly disclose its contributors or expenses at the Federal Election Commission.
It also failed to adhere to the legal mandate to release its income tax return. Morain reports that he figured out the operation only after the IRS gave him basic information.
In addition to a corporate lobbyist and Gilliard, wealthy Orange County couple Bruce Hughes and Lisa Hughes, a former Republican congressional candidate, were also involved in the operation, according to Morain.
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Why should you care? Though just a "blip," the scheme "is emblematic of the secrecy that increasingly shrouds political campaigns," wrote Morain. "Campaigns ought to be conducted in the open."
He labeled the group "shady."
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly