By Besha Rodell
By Patrick Range McDonald
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
The Weekly engaged in an amusing e-mail exchange with Russo, who finally refused to answer when asked why Simon was not suing Deloitte for failing to red-flag Hindelang‘s criminal past in its report.
It’s all part of the endless game of pick the pea from under the pod of Simon‘s finances. During Simon’s disastrous appearance last month before the statewide political press corps at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon, the Weekly pressed Simon on the question of his offshore tax shelter, news of which had just been plastered on the front page of The Wall Street Journal. What was it, and was it on his public statement of economic interest, which Simon had just finished touting as evidence of his ”remarkable overdisclosure“ of his finances?
Simon said the investment was listed on his disclosure form, but wouldn‘t say where it was. ”You’ll have to find it,“ he said. The Weekly persisted, and Simon finally admitted that this most famous (though still unnamed) of his investments was not in fact listed on his ballyhooed disclosure form. ”What else isn‘t on your disclosure form?“ asked the Weekly. As the laughter subsided, we pressed Simon on the secretive and vaguely titled partnerships that crowd the back end of his financial disclosure. Simon agreed to have his campaign answer questions about the partnerships. No answers have been forthcoming.
The campaign struggles with its credibility in other areas as well. Informed Republican sources tell the Weekly that Simon campaign chairman John Herrington, Reagan’s former energy secretary and ex--state Republican chairman, has been tossed to the side in the wake of increasingly bad relations between Simon and the White House, which Herrington reportedly handled. Herrington has not returned repeated calls to his office and home. Informed Republicans also say that media consultant Larry McCarthy -- best known for creating the notorious ”Willie Horton ad,“ which, using images of a scary-looking black man, flayed 1988 Democratic presidential nominee Michael Dukakis for allowing Horton to murder while on a prison furlough, a policy also allowed by Reagan -- will join the Simon campaign. McCarthy has not returned phone calls, but Russo confirms that he is onboard.
Then there are questions about current operations. TV ad buys have been touted as ”big“ but have been seen by few Californians. The ambitious program of a dozen Simon policy summits -- four or five of them to occur in July and August, affirmed just last month -- actually seems to have come to an end after the first one. That was his agricultural summit in Lodi, during which Simon came off as a somewhat interested bystander and after which, under questioning, the candidate changed his position on the global-warming bill from opposition to neutrality and acknowledged that he neither knew how much the state‘s agriculture budget was nor had a policy on farm-labor issues.
No wonder Republicans increasingly fear a Democratic broom come November.
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