Lawmakers order Reiner campaign audit

first_img Reiner, who until recently had been viewed as a potential Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has temporarily stepped down as chairman of the commission. First Five commission director Kris Perry appeared at the legislative hearing Wednesday but refused to answer questions. Perry said she has been instructed not to comment until the commission finds legal counsel. The state attorney general has cited a conflict in representing the panel. Other authorities – including Sacramento County prosecutors and the state Fair Political Practices Commission – have indicated they also might investigate. Steve Geissinger, (916) 447-9302 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant Cox said he also wants the audit to look into what he called a lack of competitive bidding in hiring of consultants and unusually high payments to them. Cox compared the situation to scandals involving use of public funds for political purposes that led to the downfall of former Republican Insurance Commissioner Chuck Quackenbush and former Democratic Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. Frommer said he supports Reiner but that “it is very important for us to make sure this commission is properly spending its money, that it’s accounted for, that there are proper ethics being observed in contracting practices and there is no collusion between a state agency and a political campaign for purposes of passing an initiative.” In a letter to lawmakers Wednesday, Reiner denied any wrongdoing and urged them to conduct the investigation. The First Five Commission was created with tobacco tax revenue from Reiner-supported Proposition 10, approved by voters in 1998. It allocates money for programs such as anti-smoking efforts, health care and child care. SACRAMENTO – Legislators ordered the state Auditor’s Office on Wednesday to investigate whether Hollywood figure and political activist Rob Reiner improperly used millions of dollars in taxpayer funds to promote his proposed preschool initiative. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee, acting on behalf of the Democrat-dominated Legislature, voted 11-0 to instruct the independent auditor to probe Reiner’s performance as chairman of a state commission that allocates tobacco tax revenue for various uses. The auditor will focus on whether the First Five Commission’s $23 million ad campaign promoting preschool constituted an improper use of public funds for political purposes. The ads ran as Reiner worked to qualify a universal preschool initiative on the June ballot. Sen. David Cox, R-Roseville, who called for the audit along with Assembly Majority Leader Dario Frommer, D-Glendale, said the committee’s expenditure represents “a clear conflict of interest” and “violates the spirit, if not the letter of the law.” last_img

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