Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Courage Campaign urges vote-trading probe

By Josh Richman Wednesday, February 11th, 2009 The Courage Campaign – a progressive, grassroots online organizing network for California claiming more than 500,000 members – reports it delivered more than 6,000 petition signatures to state Attorney General Jerry Brown today, urging him to investigate whether Republican lawmakers violated California Penal Code section 86 by engaging in vote-trading over the state budget.

I’d first reported on this last week, after the California Labor Federation, the State Building and Construction Trades Council, Sierra Club California and the Planning and Conservation League wrote a letter to Brown urging such a probe. “It’s a serious question and we’re reviewing the matter carefully,” Brown had responded in a statement issued through a spokesperson; GOP legislative leaders called it an unfounded intimidation tactic.

“Illegal is illegal. The California Penal Code explicitly prohibits this kind of vote-trading and the Attorney General is duty-bound to investigate this felonious activity,” Courage Campaign founder and chairman Rick Jacobs said in his news release today. “But Republicans, whose oath to anti-tax extremists supersedes their oath to the constitution, seem to be ignoring the law. If they want to rollback environmental and worker protections — which aren’t connected to the budget — they should do their jobs as legislators and write up a bill and have an honest debate. This should not be tolerated.”

More on grassroots efforts supporting a vote-trading probe, and an example of why you shouldn’t let someone else control your Facebook page, after the jump…

Besides the Courage Campaign’s petition effort, a “Jerry Brown: Investigate GOP Legislators” Facebook group has sprung up, attracting 261 members so far.

Lt. Gov. John Garamendi’s Facebook page (accessable only to Facebook members) indicated he’d joined this group Saturday, and group founder Bob Brigham of San Francisco posted a note thanking him on Sunday. But Garamendi — the only Democrat who has formally declared his gubernatorial candidacy for 2010, although Brown and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are presumed to be in the race too — was gone from the member list by this morning.

“Garamendi needs thicker socks if his feet get cold while standing with labor, environmentalists, and the netroots to defend the rule of law,” Brigham told me today.

But Garamendi spokeswoman Beth Willon said it was all a misunderstanding; he never meant to sign up for the group in the first place.

“This had nothing to do with him, it was inadvertent by somebody else here… He had no idea,” Willon said, adding Garamendi has been too busy with his duties on the University of California Board of Regents, the State Lands Commission and elsewhere to spend much time monitoring his Facebook page.

I’m betting that faint whistling-and-snapping noise we’re hearing in the background is the whipping being applied to some unfortunate intern in the lieutenant governor’s office…

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