Eighteen months after it began, a probe into the California political operation of extremist Lyndon LaRouche ended Wednesday in criminal charges against a Missouri political consultant hired by the LaRouche organization and two low-level campaign workers.
A top aide to Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner said no other violations could be proven during the 11 months since local authorities took control of the investigation, which was started in June, 1986, by agents for state Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp.
The charges filed Wednesday are for alleged violations that authorities say occurred during the 1986 push by LaRouche followers to place Proposition 64 on the state ballot. The measure, designed in part to help LaRouche's 1988 presidential campaign, sought to force health officials to collect more information on acquired immune deficiency syndrome patients and bar them from some jobs.
Proposition 64 was soundly defeated by voters in November, 1986, after receiving serious support only from LaRouche-affiliated groups and Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton). California voters will get another chance in June to decide the issue, when a nearly identical measure sponsored by LaRouche supporters will appear on the ballot.
Charges of inducing perjury and securing an ineligible person to vote were filed Wednesday against Stanley Irvin Dale, 37, of Kansas City. Prosecutors filed eight felony counts against Dale, a professional petition circulator paid to help gather the signatures needed to put Proposition 64 on the ballot.
The others charged were Andrea Diano, 23, of Leesburg, Va., where LaRouche and his international group of followers make their headquarters, and Bruce E. Kilber, 40, of Seattle.
They were charged with one felony count each of causing an ineligible person to register to vote.
Deputy Dist. Atty. Steven A. Sowders, head of Reiner's special investigations division, said the maximum penalty on any of the charges would be eight years in prison for Dale and three years for the others.
The investigation began in June, 1986, when California authorities learned that seven Missouri men had answered a newspaper ad and had been paid to come west and help circulate Proposition 64 petitions. The tip came from a Missouri prosecutor who knew it was illegal for anyone but California residents to circulate petitions.
In an unusual step that September, a top deputy to Van de Kamp disclosed publicly that the investigation was proceeding and had widened into a probe of the LaRouche companies that provided the money for the Proposition 64 effort.
Then in November, 1986, after the measure was defeated, state and local investigators raided LaRouche offices in Los Angeles and Livermore, Calif. They seized records of several groups, including the LaRouche-backed organization that has sponsored both AIDS initiatives, the Prevent AIDS Now Initiative Committee.
The state completed its probe and turned the file over to Reiner in February, 1987. The district attorney had the choice of filing charges, continuing to investigate or dropping the case.
Critics in the gay community, a frequent target of LaRouche tirades, complained last year that Reiner was stalling on a decision to prosecute. At the end of November, when the new LaRouche AIDS initiative qualified for the ballot, Sowders said a decision would be announced within days, briefly mollifying the critics. But no action was taken until Wednesday.
LaRouche, a fringe candidate for President this year as a Democrat, is on trial in Boston federal court, charged with conspiracy to obstruct a grand jury investigation into allegations of credit card fraud and irregularities in his 1984 presidential campaign.
A number of LaRouche companies, groups and followers have been charged in Boston and Virginia with raising millions through fraudulent use of credit cards, often obtained from people who stop at airport literature tables staffed by LaRouche backers.