Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Report: Weiss Lost Financial Advantage in City Attorney Election
By a MetNews Staff Writer
As the city attorney race drew to a close, reports indicate that then-Los Angeles City Councilman Jack Weiss managed to surpass his opponent in fundraising but failed to regain the financial advantage he had enjoyed in the primary election due to his rejection of matching funds.
Early in the race, Weiss had been favored by many as the likely successor to then-City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo, who was barred by term limits from running again.
Weiss amassed a $1.8 million war chest before the March primary election in which he finished first out of a field of five, but less than one month later, then-Long Beach attorney Carmen “Nuch” Trutanich reported that his campaign coffers had surpassed those of his runoff opponent.
Trutanich was unable to hold on to that lead through contributions alone in the waning days of his campaign, according to post-election reports filed with the City Ethics Commission made public Friday. However, he still won the May 19 run-off and took office July 1.
Since the primary election, Trutanich reported raising $944,921, receiving $134,702 during the period from May 14 to June 30. During that same period Weiss claimed $146,849 in contributions, for a total of $1,076,702 raised since the March primary.
But Trutanich also received $420,000 in matching funds during the general election race, leaving him with over $1.3 million at his disposal. He said his total campaign expenditures were over $2.7 million during the run-off. Weiss, who rejected matching funds, reported spending more than $2.9 million on the general election.
Much of Weiss’ support came from lawyers at several large or mid-size law firms. Nine of the 51 attorneys who gave to Weiss’ campaign were from Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP, and five were from Best Best & Krieger.
Weiss also received $100 from campaign consultant Alan Randall Steinberg of SJA Strategies, who was indicted last month along with partner Evelyn Jerome Alexander and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Harvey Silberman, on charges of attempting to bribe Silberman’s opponent, Deputy District Attorney Serena Murillo, to drop out of last year’s judicial primary election.
Although Weiss is the son of former Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Jacqueline Levit Weisberg and Los Angeles attorney Walter S. Weiss, he reaped no financial support from members of the bench during his campaign.
In contrast, over 70 judicial officers, attorneys and law firms lent their support to Trutanich, including O’Melveny and Myers, which gave the maximum contribution of $1,000. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito gave $500, and Judge William Pounders and Commissioner Steven L. Berman each gave $100.
Oil-giant ConocoPhillips also contributed $1,000 to Trutanich, as did actor Steven Seagal.
Trutanich and Weiss emerged as the top two vote-getters in the March primary election, receiving 27.44 percent and 36.24 percent of the vote, respectively.
Deputy City Attorney Michael Amerian finished third in the primary with just over17 percent of the votes, followed by Deputy City Attorney David Berger, who carried almost 14 percent of the voters, and Marina Del Rey attorney Noel Weiss, who received 5 percent.
In the May general election, Trutanich secured just over 55 percent of the votes, garnering 131,777 votes to Jack Weiss’s 104,622.
Copyright 2009, Metropolitan News Company