Friday, August 18, 2006
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Los Angeles Superior Court candidate George Montgomery has hired a campaign treasurer and will file mandatory campaign spending reports soon, a campaign consultant working on the campaign told the MetNews yesterday.
Montgomery’s apparent violations of the Political Reform Act are “a product of trying to be his own campaign treasurer,” Larry Levine said. The situation “is being corrected as we speak.”
Levine said Montgomery, who is running for the seat left open by Judge Marion Johnson’s decision not to seek re-election, had hired Mary Ellen Padilla, one of a number of individuals who specialize in complying with the complex rules governing reporting of campaign contributions and expenditures.
Padilla’s other clients include or have included state Assemblywoman Judy Chu, Superior Court Judge Mildred Escobedo, current Superior Court candidate Daviann Mitchell, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaragoisa, former Assemblyman Willard H. Murray Jr., former state Treasurer Kathleen Brown, and State Board of Equalization member John Chiang.
Political Reform Act
Election officials notified Montgomery in March that he was not in compliance with the Political Reform Act, which requires every candidate to file a detailed statement of contributions and expenditures or a short form announcing an intention not to spend more than $1,000.
Montgomery subsequently filed the short form and has filed nothing since, although the law requires that a candidate who files the short form and later exceeds the $1,000 threshold must give notice within 24 hours and must subsequently file the detailed disclosures.
Montgomery apparently missed two preelection filing dates as well as the July 31 deadline for the filing of semi-annual reports by all candidates with open campaign accounts.
Hal Dash, president of Cerrell Associates, Inc., which is assisting Montgomery’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Hayden Zacky, said Montgomery “must have spent 50 to 70 thousand [dollars],” given the volume of slate mail on which he appeared.
Dash added that the state’s election watchdog, the Fair Political Practices Commission, “may be looking into Mr. Montgomery.” The consultant also said that “it’s really great for a lawyer not to comply with the law.”
An FPPC spokesperson said the commission does not comment on matters that may be in the investigative stage.
In another development, a spokesperson for the county registrar said no action had been taken by that office with regard to Montgomery’s ballot designation. The candidate, who ran as “Trial Lawyer/Teacher” in the primary, has filed the necessary paperwork to be listed as “Criminal Civil Attorney.”
Sources said the new designation could be rejected as misleading. Montgomery is a longtime civil practitioner who told the MetNews in an interview before the primary that he tried three criminal cases early in his career but stopped doing criminal work because he did not like defendants.
The candidate has not returned MetNews phone calls in recent days.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company