Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Attorney: Report of Chief Justice’s Political Contributions False
By a MetNews Staff Writer
An attorney for California Chief Justice Ronald M. George said yesterday the jurist has apparently been given credit for political contributions from another individual sharing his name.
Apparent misinformation on the Federal Election Commission’s website indicates that an individual named Ronald George gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, nearly five times the limit on political contributions imposed by the Code of Judicial Ethics.
The FEC website identifies the campaign donor as a “Ronald George,” employed by the State of California, with the job title of “Chief Justice,” residing at 200 Brannan Street in San Francisco.
However, an individual named Ronald F. George resides at the 191-unit loft complex at that address, located about 2.2 miles from where the chief justice presides, according to a search of Internet website whitepages.com. The phone number for that residence is unlisted.
The website also shows over 100 entries for “Ronald George,” 45 of whom reside in California and at least two others in San Francisco.
Beth Jay, principal attorney to the chief justice, said there were “no ifs, ands or buts about it…, the Ronald George on Brannan Street is not our Ronald George.”
Jay said the chief justice said “unequivocally, with no reservation, no hesitation…that ‘I have not made any contributions,’ ” when she contacted him yesterday about the mix-up.
She said the chief justice told her he thought the last time had made any sort of political contribution “was $100 to Pete Wilson.”
Jay explained that the FEC website’s information was garnered from reports filed by the Clinton campaign, although she did not know how the mix-up in identities had occurred.
“We’re asking the campaign to file an amended report,” she said.
The Clinton campaign did not return an e-mail seeking comment and the FEC could not be reached for comment.
Jon Fleischman, the founder and publisher of FlashReport.org, posted a piece on his blog yesterday calling attention to the reported donations.
He remarked that the “whole thing is very bizarre,” and “I feel bad for Ron George if he was the victim of a drive-by association, I guess we can call it.”
The question now, Fleischman posited, was “did the Clinton campaign make an assumption, or did someone actually impersonate the chief justice?”
Fleischman, as an officer of the California Republican Party, joked that it would be “defamation” to falsely report that someone was a donor to the Clinton campaign.
“I’d sue if somebody tried to say I gave her money,” he added.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company