Campaign 2010

Oct 07, 2008

The Sacremento Bee - McClintock’s 2010 account still open and active

This summer, GOP congressional candidate Tom McClintock's campaign said he was closing down an open account to run for statewide office in 2010 and donating the funds to charity.

But four weeks before the Nov. 4 election, McClintock's account remains open and active, as the Thousand Oaks lawmaker has doled out thousands of dollars to fellow Republicans in the last week.

McClintock made $3,600 donations, the maximum allowed under state law, to a trio of Republican candidates for the Legislature: Senate candidates Tony Strickland and Greg Aghazarian and Assembly hopeful Jack Sieglock

His Democratic opponent, retired Air Force Lt. Col. Charlie Brown, made hay of McClintock's multiple accounts over the summer, calling him a career politician in search of a job.

"What office are you running for?" Brown said in a July statement.

McClintock's campaign manager, John Feliz, responded in the Auburn Journal, which reported on July 14:

Feliz said McClintock is shutting those campaign funds down and donating the money - which can't be spent in federal campaigns - to charity.

Asked why the accounts remain open nearly three months later, McClintock spokesman Bill George said, "We are doing exactly what they said in that paper."

"It didn't say all of the money is going to charity," George said, "(Feliz) said he's shutting the accounts. There's no timeline here. We've given $51,000 to charity."

George said the campaign had given $25,000 to Acres of Hope, which provides housing for women with children, $20,000 to Cherish California's Children, a pro-life group, and $6,000 to the Capitol Resource Institute, a group that presses socially conservative causes.

Brown spokesman Todd Stenhouse said the McClintock campaign was offering "double-speak."

"I am not going to parse words," Stenhouse said. "The end game is did you close the committees, did you give all the money away? The answer is no. It is two and half months later."

Before McClintock entered the race to replace retiring Rep. John Doolittle, he filed two "statements of intention" to run for either lieutenant governor or the Board of Equalization, the state's tax board, in 2010.

McClintock announced he was running for Congress on March 4, but a trickle of both spending and fundraising in his state account continued for weeks afterward. All donations made after March 4 to the campaign were returned, George said.

At the end of June, McClintock's 2010 account had $119,000 cash on hand and reported no debts.

"The appearance is simply that Tom McClintock is looking to keep his options open," said Stenhouse.

McClintock won't be required to file a full report on the activity in his state-level campaign account until 2009. Strickland, Aghazarian and Sieglock each filed campaign reports listing McClintock's recent donations.