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State GOP questions council mailers

Campaign fliers may not be as 'official' as they claim.

Posted: March 27, 2008 11:51 p.m.
Updated: May 29, 2008 5:03 a.m.
 
The California Republican Party is questioning the legality of a campaign mailer that appears to connect City Council candidates Bob Kellar and Bob Spierer with official Republican Party endorsements, according to a party spokesman.

The mailer, sent out by the Committee for a Safer Santa Clarita, is labeled as the "Santa Clarita City Council Official Republican Voter Guide" and encourages voters to vote for the "Republican Endorsed" candidates. The colorful card lists seven local Republican leaders who have endorsed the two candidates. Kellar and Spierer did not authorize the material before it was printed, according to the mailer.

"The mailer is not the California Republican Party's," said party spokesman Hector Barajas. "The use of the term 'official' in a mailing purporting to be from an official Republican committee or organization in connection appears to violate state law, Elections Code 20007."

The state election code refers to campaign material sent by a candidate or a committee on his or her behalf.

Barajas said the organization's attorney will be looking further into the matter.

Because the mailer was labeled as the Official Republican Voter Guide and did not contain the word "party," it is not in violation of state law, according to James A. Sivesind, treasurer of the Committee for a Safer Santa Clarita. Sivesind is a partner of Reed and Davidson LLP, a Los Angeles law firm specializing in political and election law.

"There's no legal requirement because we're not a slate mailer organization," he said.

Bob Haueter, an elected member of the Republican Party's county central committee, called the mailer "an outrage."  "Once they go so far as to call it official, they've crossed the line," he said.

Haueter said he was speaking as a member of the committee, not as the chief of staff for U.S. Rep Howard "Buck" McKeon, who endorsed both Kellar and candidate Laurie Ender.

Though none of the City Council candidates have officially been endorsed by the Republican Party, Kellar and candidate Ender have been endorsed by the California Republican Assembly, which is chartered by the Republican Party, Haueter said.

Spierer, who was recently the target of a negative mailing paid for by the Friends of Laurie Ender campaign, said he had not authorized this mailer and "does not want to get in the middle of accusations flying back and forth."

Kellar did not return a call from The Signal Thursday.

Spierer, who was recently the target of a negative mailing paid for by the Friends of Laurie Ender campaign, said he had not authorized this mailer and "does not want to get in the middle of accusations flying back and forth."

"It's a shame that the candidates in what started out as a very clean election are now jumping on each other," he said. "I think it's really a shame that it has come to that."


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