CA AG Brown got over $50K in donations from probe targets

posted at 12:35 pm on June 3, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The Sacramento Bee reports that California’s crusading Attorney General has taken tens of thousands in political donations from sources he’s now investigating for corruption involving New York’s state and city pension funds.  Family members of Darius Anderson and Daniel Weinstein gave Jerry Brown over $52,000 in donations in 2008.  Yet the men find themselves on the business end of a multistate probe headed in part by the man they sponsored:

The contributions from four family members of Sacramento lobbyist Darius Anderson and the company of Los Angeles political fundraiser Daniel Weinstein went to Brown late last year – months before his office reportedly subpoenaed companies run by the two men. They have not been charged in a public pension scandal that has migrated west from New York and resulted in a handful of indictments and two guilty pleas, including one by one of Weinstein’s former employees.

Brown received $48,000 in contributions from the wife, brother and parents of Anderson in late December 2008, state campaign finance records show. That included $12,000 from brother Kirk Anderson, with whom Darius Anderson co-founded Gold Bridge Capital, a “placement agent” that helps money managers secure major investments from public pension funds like the California Public Employees’ Retirement System. Darius Anderson controls 75 per cent of the firm.

As a registered lobbyist, Anderson is prohibited by state law from making contributions himself.

Interestingly, this appears to be the very same probe that involves Barack Obama’s auto czar, Steve Rattner.  The case involves alleged kickbacks for investments in the pension funds, using money to buy power and connections.  The various states have yet to make a major case in court, although they have gotten a few guilty pleas from lower-level participants in the corruption scheme.

I lived through Brown’s disastrous governorship in California and watched him get rehabilitated back into statewide politics.  I’d never vote for Brown, even if I lived in California; he’s still too far left and simply incoherent at times.  However, Brown has never been a machine-politics man.  He was a terrible Governor, but not a corrupt one.  As far as I recall, no one has ever made even a mildly credible and serious allegation of pay-for-play against Brown.  We questioned his judgment and his intelligence, but not his integrity.

And indeed, Brown can easily turn the tables on this story to prove it.  The families of these men gave Brown over $52,000 less than six months ago, and yet Brown apparently has no problem going after their businesses as part of a corruption investigation.  That would speak to independence from contributors, not complicity in a scheme to protect corruption.

Still, Brown needs to return the money or donate it to a charity.  Even with the demonstration of independence, the fact that he still has their money while he probes their actions in regards to the pension funds looks bad — and if California fails to charge the two with any wrongdoing, that appearance of integrity will start unraveling.

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Is that a ‘D’ after his name? OK, non-story.

Vashta.Nerada on June 3, 2009 at 12:37 PM

He also takes money from Indian Gaming Tribes that his office is supposed to oversee. How do you think that is going?

Jerry Brown Sides AGAINST State Regulatory Committee

Not so well for the people of California

originalpechanga on June 3, 2009 at 12:44 PM

Jerry Brown, the original moonbat.

Knucklehead on June 3, 2009 at 12:45 PM

You will croak, you little clown, when you mess with President Brown.

Red Cloud on June 3, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Anyone in California ever heard of a thing called ‘conflict of interest’? Unbelievable.

ProfessorMiao on June 3, 2009 at 12:48 PM

Being from NY, any AG with a D after his/her name is instantly suspect. No benefit of the doubt from me.

Iblis on June 3, 2009 at 1:05 PM

California Attorney General? Don’t make me laugh. We passed Prop 8, and when court challenges were filed against it the Attorney General was duty-bound to defend the voters. But not little Jerry. First he said he would defend the state, then he said he wouldn’t.

Jerry Brown is a liar.

savvydude on June 3, 2009 at 1:21 PM

And at a time when California is doing so well… it’s a shame, really, that this small appearance of impropriety might besmirch an otherwise spotless CA reputation.

mankai on June 3, 2009 at 1:27 PM

Big deal. The 3rd straight Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives was indicted for corruption yesterday. Now that’s corruption.

TheBigOldDog on June 3, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Like most liberals, Brown knows, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that he is incorruptable. Therefore there is no problem with him keeping the money.

On the other hand, everyone else has to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest.

MarkTheGreat on June 3, 2009 at 1:52 PM

TheBigOldDog on June 3, 2009 at 1:34 PM

Name that party?

Oh… the Massachusetts House of Representatives… nevermind.

mankai on June 3, 2009 at 1:55 PM

In comparison, in my lil town, you can’t even run for city council, if you have anything against you. Whether it’s taxes, lawsuits, or on going investigations.

The difference between small town morals, and keeping it above grade, and being a career politician, swimming in the muck of collusion, and corruption.

capejasmine on June 3, 2009 at 2:03 PM

“If you can’t take their money, drink their liquor, f*** their women, and then come in here the next day and vote against them, you don’t belong here.” — Jesse Unruh, speaking of the California legislature in the 60’s.

“If you can’t take their money and then come in here the next day and probe ’em, you don’t belong in the AG’s office.” — Jerry Brown

cthulhu on June 3, 2009 at 2:21 PM

We questioned his judgment and his intelligence, but not his integrity.

You got that right. I also lived thru “Moonbeam” Brown’s administration. Just like Obama, he looked good and sounded good, but his policies were a disaster.

GarandFan on June 3, 2009 at 2:32 PM

I was a deputy police chief in Oakland when Jerry Brown was the mayor and I used to meet with him fairly regularly. I don’t like his politics and never will and I’m certainly not an apologist for him; however, I was pleasantly surprised by my interactions with him. He has a very strong stance on crime issues, in fact the police professionals frequently had to rein him in on some of his crime reduction strategy ideas as being too draconian and likely unconstitutional. He has a brilliant mind whether or not you agree with the directions he sometimes applies it. Sitting in meetings with him was exhausting as ideas flew from him rat-a-tat-tat and he constantly challenged you and wanted your opinion on all sorts of matters. One thing I truly believe is that he is in no way corrupt, or at least wasn’t when I knew him. He is a multi-multi millionaire yet seems to disdain money and lives very simply if not monastically, and I think that his training to be a Jesuit priest has lingered long after he left the seminary.

That said, is he a moonbat sometimes? Absolutely! And don’t go out drinking with him, he’ll put you under the table!

Trafalgar on June 3, 2009 at 2:49 PM

No discussion of Jerry Brown is complete without his wife, Anne. She has as profound effect on his decision making and the way he acts as AG.

TheUnrepentantGeek on June 3, 2009 at 3:58 PM

You’d think a stint as Mayor of Oakland would’ve clued the guy in a little bit on reality, wouldn’t you?

But you’d be wrong.

mojo on June 3, 2009 at 3:59 PM

Is Moonbeam still with fellow leftist Ronstadt?

jgapinoy on June 3, 2009 at 8:36 PM