Monday, September 20, 2010
Retired C.A. Justice Files FPPC Complaint in Supervisor Contest
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A retired justice of this district’s Court of Appeal has taken a stance in a local political race, accusing a candidate for supervisor in his adopted county of violating campaign finance rules.
William Masterson, who left Div. One in 2000 and moved to Mendocino the following year, filed the complaint Aug. 26 against former Rep. Dan Hamburg, who is running to represent District 5, in southwestern Mendicino County, on the board. The board staff notified Masterson Sept. 9 that it is investigating and will notify him when a disposition is reached.
Masterson told the MetNews Friday that he became involved at the behest of Hamburg’s opponent, Wendy Roberts. Roberts finished second to Hamburg in the June primary, in which two other candidates were eliminated.
“I think the world of” Roberts, he explained. “She has the political acumen [to serve in office] and is a good citizen, and I have tried to support her in every way that I could.”
Political Reform Act
The complaint alleges that, during the first six months of this year, Hamburg and his campaign violated 13 sections of the Political Reform Act by failing to return contributions from donors who failed to identify their occupations or employers, failing to record non-monetary contributions, failing to specify interest rates and due dates for identified loans, failing to fully itemize expenditures, reimbursing the candidate for expenditures of personal funds, failing to list fundraiser proceeds as contributions, failing to report funds from drink sales at a campaign event, failing to cumulate contributions from a single source, and failing to report a late pre-primary contribution within 24 hours of receipt.
Masterson explained that Roberts had asked him if he had any familiarity with the PRA, and he told her he did because he had twice chaired campaign committees on behalf of himself and his fellow justices involved in retention elections. He then looked at information about Hamburg’s campaign supplied by Roberts, compared it to the Hamburg campaign filings, and concluded that the complained-of violations had occurred.
“It is pretty cut-and-dried,” he said. “If it’s not correct I’m sure someone is going to tell me.”
Hamburg told the MetNews that Masterson’s complaint is “a compilation of picayune matters.” He acknowledged that his volunteer campaign treasurer “made some mistakes,” but said they were “all fixable” and opined that he was targeted by “a campaign of harassment” by “ultraconservatives” who have opposed him in all of his campaigns.
Hamburg, who has ties to Democratic and Green Party activists, represented a Ukiah-area district on the board from 1981 to 1985 and was elected to Congress in 1992, ousting Republican Frank Riggs, who won a rematch two years later. Hamburg ran for governor as the Green Party candidate in 1998, polling less than 2 percent of the vote, and has since campaigned for various causes, including legalization of marijuana.
Roberts, who describes herself on her website as “a Democrat and life-long moderate” with “liberal values,” has the endorsements of the Mendocino County Farm Bureau and other business groups.
Masterson was an attorney at several large firms in Los Angeles from 1958 to 1988, when he was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court by then-Gov. George Deukmejian. He was elevated to the Court of Appeal by then-Gov. Pete Wilson in 1993 and served seven years before retiring.
Wilson, while serving in the U.S. Senate, had recommended Masterson for appointment to the federal bench, but then-President George H.W. Bush did not nominate him.
He noted Friday that he is a Democrat who grew up in New York City “never met a Republican” until his family moved to California in the 1940s.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company