Darrell Issa Calls GOP Governor Candidate Tim Donnelly “Stupid,” “Unfit for Any Office”

See Update No. 2 at the end of Page 3 on U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Dana Point) blasting the “stupidty” of Tim Donnelly and saying the GOP candidate for governor is “unfit for any office.” Update No. 1 is on Donnelly's foe Neel Kashkari swearing he's not pushing for Sharia law.

ORIGINAL POST, MAY 7, 7:32 A.M.: Tim Donnelly, the Tea Party favorite for governor of California, apparently noticed that his primary election opponent, Irvine's Neel Kashkari, picked up endorsements from such nationally known “moderate” Republicans as Mitt Romney, Jeb Bush and Pete Wilson. It might explain why Donnelly, a member of the state Assembly out of Hesperia, is now playing the “Sharia” card.


Donnelly posted on Facebook Monday:

BREAKING: Neel Kashkari supported the United States submitting to the Islamic, Shariah banking code in 2008 when he ran TARP.

Shariah is “the seditious religio-political-legal code authoritative Islam seeks to impose worldwide under a global theocracy.”

This revelation is spreading fast, as people like Anita Gunn refer to Mr. Kashkari's support of Shariah an “October Surprise.”

Donnelly includes links to a tweet by Gunn and a 2008 Washington Times column where conservative critic Frank Gaffney went off on Kashkari's presumed role at a U.S. Department of Treasury seminar titled “Islamic Finance 101.”

Kashkari, whose parents immigrated from India and who was raised Hindu, was a Treasury official under George W. Bush, and the gubernatorial candidate's website notes, “Neel is best known for spearheading the country's response to the 2008 financial crisis …” He came out west for an executive post at Broadcom then left the Irvine computer chip maker to run for governor.

Harmeet Dhillon, vice chair of the California Republican Party, told the Los Angeles Times the Donnelly post was an attempt “to trade on bigotry, racism, hatred of the other, hysteria.”

Kashkari has not said anything publicly about the post.

“Neel is focused on his own campaign and educating voters about who Tim Donnelly really is, which is underscored today,” Kashkari's senior advisor Aaron McLear told the Times. “It's yet another reminder that he is our very own Todd Akin, and will similarly destroy the Republican Party in California.”

Akin is the unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate candidate in Missouri who opined women who are victims of “legitimate rape” rarely become pregnant.

Donnelly's Facebook post also caught the attention of the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), which Tuesday afternoon called on “Republican leaders to repudiate the anti-Muslim Facebook posting of a California assemblyman and gubernatorial candidate.”

“It is a shame that an elected official uses xenophobic and anti-Muslim rhetoric to discredit a member of his own party,” states CAIR-CA in an email. “Mr. Donnelly not only demonized his opponent, but also alienated the entire Muslim electorate. We urge responsible leaders of the Republican Party to repudiate Mr. Donnelly's smear campaign and to marginalize any member of their party who uses such divisive and hateful discourse.”

CAIR, America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization, and the Southern Poverty Law Center have had past problems with Gaffney.

He is named in a CAIR Islamophobia report as a member of the “inner core” of those promoting anti-Muslim bigotry,” “one of the country's leading anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists” and “a key promoter of the bizarre conspiracy theory that Muslims in public service are infiltrating the government on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

A Southern Poverty Law Center profile suggests Gaffney is “the anti-Muslim movement's most paranoid propagandist,” who has called Islam “communism with a God” and suggested that President Obama is a practicing Muslim.

The rebukes from human rights watchdogs had not deterred Donnelly as of Tuesday afternoon, when he followed up on his Facebook page with the “Islamic Finance 101” seminar agenda's first page, which lists Kashkari as a participant (see next page).

Donnelly, who is scheduled to face off against Kashkari in a debate May 15, writes this above the seminar page photo: “Given the recent stories and protests about the outrage of the discriminatory nature of Sharia law, we're horrified that Kashkari would support Sharia anything.”

UPDATE NO. 1, MAY 7, 9:12 A.M.: Aaron McLear, the Neel Kashkari campaign's senior adviser, noticed my original post mentioned the GOP candidate for governor was mum yesterday on foe Tim Donnelly's suggestion Kashkari might be pushing Sharia law. So McLear pointed me to an update by the LA Times' Seema Mehta:

Kashkari, a former Treasury official, called the attack “absurd on its face.”

“To accuse me of trying to promote sharia law in America is absurd, literally the exact opposite of the purpose of the conference, which was to show how American free-market principles could be brought into Islamic countries,” he said.

“Once again, it demonstrates he doesn't understand the most basic elements of what he's talking about,” he said [of Donnelly].

The Islamic Finance 101 forum was sponsored by the Treasury Department under President George W. Bush's tenure and by Harvard Law School's Islamic Finance Project. Kashkari, then an assistant treasury secretary, delivered opening remarks at the event on Nov. 6, 2008.

The forum included academics, policy makers and bankers and focused on “understanding how you can still have free market principles and open economies even in Islamic countries,” he said.

Mehta's piece goes on to include counter-spin against Donnelly, including a letter GOP activist Eli Rubenstein of San Diego apparently sent to the Donnelly campaign: “I'd say it was a thinly veiled racist attack, but the fact is, it's more than that. … Anybody with brains knows that you're using the fact that Neel has darker skin and a name that sounds like it could be middle-eastern to scare uninformed voters and rally your base. I'm a proud Republican, and if you're the nominee, I will be enthusiastically supporting [Democratic Gov.] Jerry Brown for re-election.”

The Times reporter fails to note Rubenstein has been in the bag for Kashkari for governor since at least January. But props for mentioning Donnelly cast the lone vote against an Assembly bill that would bar the sale of the Confederate flag on state property and resurrecting this quote by the Tea Party favorite: “If I am a racist, I'm not a very good one. … I married a woman with dark skin.”

Donnelly's wife is from the Philippines.

UPDATE NO. 2, MAY 9, 12:48 P.M.: U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Dana Point) has repudiated an anti-Muslim Facebook posting by California Assemblyman and GOP gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly (R-Hesperia).

“As far as I'm concerned, this type of stupidity disqualifies Tim Donnelly from being fit to hold any office, anywhere,” Issa wrote in a prepared statement.

It's worth noting that Issa was among the nationally known Republicans who publicly endorsed Irvine's Neel Kashkari, Donnelly's opponent for the GOP nomination for governor, before the Sharia Facebook posting.

Issa's stand was applauded today by the California chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-CA), which earlier this week called on GOP leaders to rebuke Donnelly.

“There is nothing more un-American than a candidate for high public office resorting to inciting xenophobia to gain political points,” said Safaa Ibrahim, chairwoman of CAIR-California, in an email. “We thank Congressman Issa for rejecting Assemblyman Donnelly's Islamophobia, and setting an example of positive leadership for his party to follow.”

Email: mc****@oc******.com. Twitter: @MatthewTCoker. Follow OC Weekly on Twitter @ocweekly or on Facebook!

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