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Anti-Rodriguez ‘issue’ flyers draw complaints from charter group

LA School Report | April 24, 2015

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anti-Rodriguez flyerThe California Charter Schools Association political action committee says it has filed complaints against the teachers union PAC for not reporting spending on material attacking Ref Rodriguez, the charter school executive who is challenging school board incumbent Bennett Kayser in LA Unified’s District 5 runoff on May 19.

The charter group, which is spending heavily on Rodriguez’s behalf, says it has taken its complaints to the California Fair Political Practices Commission and the Los Angeles Ethics Commission, focusing on mailers and flyers from the UTLA “issue advocacy” committee. UTLA is supporting Kayser.

A spokesman for state commission, Jay Wierenga, confirmed that a complaint was filed, saying, “We have received it and it is under review.” The commission would determine “in a week or two” if it would open an investigation, he added.

A spokesman for the city ethics commission said it routinely does not comment on complaints, including whether they have been filed.

Under state law, spending for so-called “issues” material is not required to be declared as campaign material. In response to a question when the flyers first appeared several weeks ago, the union said, “This is an issues piece. Not political. Not reportable.”

The charter group is contending otherwise.

“Not only is the timing of the distribution of these mailers and flyers – less than a month before the election – suspect, but they are also almost identical in look and content to mailers that were reported by UTLA’s campaign committee in February,” Gary Borden, Executive Director of CCSA Advocates, the political action committee, said in a statement. “In addition, the flyers and mailers single out Dr. Rodriguez but do not mention any other individual or school operator.

He added, ”This is a clear ethics violation.”

The union did not resepond to several messages seeking comment about the complaints.

The flyers at issue can be seen here, here and here.

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