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School board candidates could be skirting finance disclosure laws

LA School Report | May 7, 2014

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George McKenna campaign piece finance disclosure*UPDATE

At least two candidates running for the LA Unified school board may be skirting campaign finance laws by sending campaign literature to voters without proper disclosure.

The candidates, George McKenna, a retired administrator, and Rachel Johnson, who serves on the city council of Gardena, are competing in a large field to fill the open school board seat representing South LA (see map here), left vacant by the death of Marguerite LaMotte.

Voters in South LA have reported receiving literature from both those candidates, a source told LA School Report.  (See Rachel Johnson’s flyer here, and George McKenna’s here).

However, neither candidate has yet disclosed any campaign activity to the City Ethics Commission as required by law. According to ethics laws, candidates who send out literature to more than 200 voters must file disclose their activity within 24 hours.

Among the 7 candidates vying for the seat only Alex Johnson, a staff aide to County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, has reported campaign activity so far.  He has filed seven campaign communications, including emails, literature and a “call script” used by the campaign to talk to voters by phone.

Response from McKenna campaign:
Jewett Walker, McKenna’s campaign manager, said he recognized the problem with the two flyers and one mailer sent out last week and the campaign is now rectifying it with the City Ethics Commission.

Response from Rachel Johnson via email:
“This is not a mail piece. It was created by my husband on his laptop. I give them out at various community forums if someone wants to know more. I usually write my phone number or email on the back if they want to talk with me further. I only printed 150 on a color copier!!
Other candidates give out flyers or cards at community forums also. Can you speculate why mine was singled out (in addition to McKenna)?”

 LA School Report could not reach the City Ethics Commission to verify whether distributing flyers or cards at a community forum triggers disclosure laws.


*Update clarifies from McKenna’s and Johnson’s campaign.


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