Is McDonnell Illegally Using Tax Dollars To Campaign?

Confident that voter apathy would assure his reelection on June 5, Sheriff McDonnell has spent the last year feeling that needing to make his case for another four years was beneath him. He has no apparent campaign team or events, no platform (beyond more of the same), he’s blown off all candidate debates, his website remains terrible, and we honestly have not seen a single bumper sticker, yard sign or other evidence of voter enthusiasm for him anywhere, countywide, at-all.

“Incumbent Los Angeles County sheriffs are generally unassailable at reelection time, boasting a clear advantage in name recognition and fundraising prowess,” the LA Times recently wrote. “Yet McDonnell’s challengers have done remarkably well.”

Rocked by Alex Villanueva’s locking up the endorsement of Los Angeles County Democrats and many neighborhood Democratic clubs, and Bob Lindsey’s both beating him in fundraising and supporter enthusiasm, as well as gaining the endorsements of many who backed McDonnell four years ago, McDonnell has begun to panic. After all, a half million dollars per year is on the line!

How else to explain his obviously using LASD resources to campaign in recent weeks and, in particular, over the last several days:

Let’s cut to the chase. Here’s the thing. It’s illegal for the sheriff to use taxpayer resources–including Sheriff’s Information Bureau–to campaign for office. And, as we saw under the last sheriff, it’s illegal for department members to commit crimes on the sheriff’s behalf. It makes no difference if they were told to–just following orders.

LASD.News encourages local media outlets to file public record requests with the LASD regarding the recent increase in the sheriff’s use of county PR resources, including access to the emails of his spinmeister Carol Lin and PIO Nicole Nishida, which might also shed a light into whether the sheriff’s response to the Rolling Hills homicide has been politically motivated. And perhaps while you’re at it, you might also ask for the sheriff’s schedule, a log of which vehicle he used to get to political events, and any records that his campaign reimbursed the county for the political use of taxpayer dollars.

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