Ace Smith, Harris' top strategist, called on Cooley to appoint an independent investigator to look into the Gill contributions.
Cooley's campaign strategist, Kevin Spillane, told the San Francisco Chronicle that the statute of limitations has already expired. He also said that Cooley's 2004 re-election account has already been closed out, so it would be impossible to return the contributions.
That prompted Smith to hit the roof: "That's one of the most disgraceful answers I've heard from a law-enforcement person... He's built his career on corruption-bashing.... If he needs to he should write a personal check. Now he's invoking statute of limitations? My goodness, it's pathetic."