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By Randy Economy and Brian Hews
It appears that the campaign for Los Angeles County Sheriff candidate Jim McDonnell broke California non-profit status laws on Tuesday when it sent out an email announcing the endorsement from the California Contract Cities Association and its president Artesia City Councilman Victor Manalo.
The email had a donation button at the bottom of the announcement that directed readers to “Donate” to the Mc Donnell for Sheriff Campaign. Readers of the email were sent to a page where campaign donations can be made directly to Mc Donnell campaign.
The McDonnell campaign sent Hews Media Group-Community Newspaper as well as other members of the media a copy of the email.
In the email, Manalo states the following: “Fellow Voters, As President of the California Contract Cities Association (CCCA), it is my honor to report that on Wednesday, August 20th, the California Contract Cities Association unanimously voted to endorse Chief Jim McDonnell for Sheriff of Los Angeles County.”
“For 57 years, the CCCA has represented cities that contract their critical services with counties, including the County of Los Angeles. Our organization represents over seven million people across the State of California,” Manalo states.
“The CCCA puts great thought into whom we endorse. Our member cities rely heavily on the services and support of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD); LASD is the primary provider of law enforcement service to 42 contract cities. Our Board of Directors, comprised of Mayors and Councilmembers from across the county, knows that Chief Jim McDonnell is the right person to lead the Sheriff’s Department—our police department—forward.
“I am writing not simply in my capacity as the leader of CCCA, but also as a career social worker, educator and City Councilmember in Artesia, California. Artesia is one of the many cities that contracts with the Sheriff’s Department for public safety support and I know first-hand how important the upcoming election is for our communities. We must restore trust in the Sheriff’s Department’s ability to partner with the community and work with city government to keep our communities safe,” Manalo continues.
“Thank you for joining me and so many other community leaders, advocates for police reform and law enforcement organizations from across the political spectrum in supporting Chief McDonnell for Sheriff. Together, we will ensure that the people of Los Angeles County have a Sheriff’s Department they can trust and be proud of.” The email concludes, “Sincerely, Victor Manalo, President, California Contract Cities Association; Councilmember, City of Artesia.”
Directly under Manalo’s email is the “Donate” button.
On Wednesday, Sam Olivito, the Executive Director of the California Contract Cities Association told HMG-CN that the email “did not in any way seek campaign donations to the McDonnell campaign. To do so would be in violation of our state 501-C (6) non-profit status.”
On Thursday, Olivito backtracked on his original statement in a second interview with HMG-CN.
“The donation solicitation was not in the final draft email that I approved that the McDonnell Campaign sent out. I am trying to talk to the McDonnell campaign to find out how it happened and how to correct the situation,” Olivito said
Becca Doten the former Chief of Staff to convicted felon Richard Alarcon is managing the McDonnell campaign. Calls into Ms. Doten and the McDonnell campaign went unreturned.
Alarcon and his wife were convicted two months ago on voter-fraud and perjury charges brought in a case that accused them of lying about where they lived so he would be qualified to run for his council seat. At the time of the controversy, Doten served as Alarcon’s chief of staff.
“I have been in contact with Becca Doten, and trying to see how this happened, and what our next step is going to be,” Olivito said.
McDonnell is facing former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka in the upcoming November election. Tanaka is the current Mayor of Gardena.
HMG-CN has calls into the California Secretary of State’s Office and the LA County District Attorney’s office for comment.
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