FPPC Complaint Filed Against Andy PugnoRick Jacobs

Rick Jacobs, Chair of the Courage Campaign, has filed complaints with the California Fair Political Practices Commission and the Attorney General's office against Andy Pugno, General Counsel to the organization Protect Marriage and Republican candidate for State Assembly.

"The new and troubling disclosures appear to demonstrate willful disrespect for the laws and rules governing the conduct of public servants," Jacobs said in a released statement. "If he broke California law, how can he expect to be elected to office to make California law?"

 

The complaint, filed January 29, alleges Pugno misused public funds in violation of the state Political Reform Act while a staffer for State Senator Pete Knight in support of a ballot initiative to ban same-sex marriage, which was eventually approved at the November 2000 election as Proposition 22.

“Andy Pugno needs to be investigated and any appropriate consequences levied for his actions,” said Jacobs.
Pugno was a key figure in the recent Proposition 8 trial that took place in the San Francisco courtroom of federal Judge Vaughn Walker, where he was part of the legal team defending the marriage ban.

According to Jacobs, documents revealed at the trial allege a clear pattern of collaboration between Pugno's client, Protect Marriage, and the leadership of the LDS and Catholic Churches in the planning and management of the campaign to pass Proposition 8.

The complaint Jacobs filed indicates that this collaboration dates back to at least 1998, and may have violated state law. The complaint refers to a report published by investigative journalist Robert Salladay and published at the independent California Watch journalism website in which evidence was presented showing that Pugno used public resources, including State Senate stationery, phone, and fax lines, to solicit advice from a Brigham Young University law professor, Lynn Wardle, on how to write language for the so-called "Knight Initiative.”

In a letter dated February 26, 1998 written to Wardle on State Senate letterhead, Pugno asked advice on how to word the initiative in a way that would win the most votes, a clear act of campaign planning while working for the taxpayers, according to Jacobs.

The article also indicated that Pugno traveled to Arizona for campaign-related purposes, but it was not clear at whose expense. Full disclosure is needed, said Jacobs.

The complaint against Pugno filed by Jacobs asserts that  "Andrew Pugno's actions on February 26, 1998 are a straightforward example of using public funds for campaign purposes, in this case to plan the campaign for what became Proposition 22."

Jacobs also wrote a letter to Secretary of the Senate Greg Schmidt requesting public release of important information relating to Pugno's alleged violation of state law.

The complaint letter to the FPPC and letters to the Attorney General and Secretary of the Senate can be viewed at www.couragecampaign.org

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