Brown says Bell investigation isn’t, as Team Whitman would put it, a ‘campaign stunt’

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Ten television trucks and a crowd of reporters showed up for a news conference Monday where California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown announced that he had issued subpoenas for records as part of his investigation into ‘excessive’ salaries in Bell, but the Democratic gubernatorial nominee insisted he was just doing his day job.

Last week The Times examined Brown’s dual roles as candidate and attorney general -- prompting the campaign of his opponent, Meg Whitman, to request public records detailing Brown’s official travel and the personnel records of his communications staff.

When asked at Monday’s news conference whether he was seeking attention for his campaign, Brown replied, ‘You know, it was just a few weeks ago that some members of the political press were complaining that I don’t campaign enough. I was spending too much time at my job, my day job, which is attorney general,’ he said. ‘So I will continue to uphold my responsibilities, and in this case, there’s nothing more fundamental than holding public officials to account. And when you have an egregious payout like this, it becomes incumbent to act expeditiously, and that’s what I’m doing.’

When pressed on the issue after the news conference, Brown added: ‘Things happen, things happen every day, and the attorney general has that responsibility. So, yes, people are going to judge me, certainly my opponents judge my record, and this will be my record as we go forward.’


Whitman spokeswoman Sarah Pompei called Monday’s news conference ‘nothing more than a campaign stunt paid for by California taxpayers. The fleecing of Bell taxpayers has been going on under his nose ever since becoming the attorney general, yet only since media interest has grown in the last week has Brown shown any interest in the outrage.’

-- Maeve Reston in Los Angeles