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Gallegly Challenger Begins Ad Campaign Urging FBI Disclosure

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Rep. Elton Gallegly’s challenger in the June primary has launched a radio and newspaper advertising campaign urging the Simi Valley Republican to release the full record of his contacts with the FBI about an investigation of four Los Angeles agents in 1987 and 1988.

“Release your FBI file now!” exhorts a newspaper ad for GOP candidate Sang Korman in bold white letters on a black background. “Sign the release, Elton.”

The ad, which has been running in papers throughout the 21st District since Monday, includes a coupon requesting release of the internal investigation record. Addressed to FBI headquarters in Washington, the coupon is designed to resemble a memo from Gallegly.

Gallegly must formally waive his right to privacy before the FBI can make the full record available. Portions of the record already have been made public under the Freedom of Information Act.

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If Gallegly refuses to respond, Korman said Tuesday, he will run the ads until the June 5 primary and will produce a television spot on the issue.

“If he has nothing to hide, he will sign on the papers,” Korman said. “I believe he has something to hide.” Korman said he did not know what Gallegly allegedly was hiding.

Korman, a Calabasas real estate developer, has seized on disclosures in recently released FBI investigative files in his bid to upset the two-term incumbent.

The documents show that Gallegly repeatedly complained to high-ranking FBI officials that four veteran agents had threatened him and conspired to defeat him in 1988 in violation of a law prohibiting federal employees from working to influence the outcome of an election.

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At the time, and again in interviews last month, Gallegly denied complaining about the agents’ actions. The agents, who live in Gallegly’s district, were investigated by the bureau and eventually cleared of any wrongdoing.

Gallegly could not be reached for comment Tuesday. He repeatedly has sought to dismiss the matter as politically motivated and trivial, maintaining that his support for law enforcement “has never wavered.”

Korman, who was opposing Gallegly in the June, 1988, primary when the FBI issue first became public, said he was seeking to set the record straight.

The radio ad characterizes the FBI imbroglio as “a political mystery story.” It asks: “Who’s telling the truth? What’s behind this strange dispute?”

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The initial campaign will cost $5,000 and continue for a week, Korman said. The ad is appearing in six newspapers and on six radio stations in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. Korman said he will spend an additional $10,000 to $20,000 to continue the campaign for a month if necessary.

Korman said he recently loaned his election campaign $100,000 and expects to provide additional sums in the future. He loaned his campaign $255,000 in 1988. The loan has not been repaid.

Korman said he plans to begin a $55,000 television ad campaign May 8, but he declined to disclose its focus. The ads will start on cable television stations and, beginning in mid-May, air on Los Angeles network affiliates, said Bob Lavoie, Korman’s campaign manager.

Congressional candidates in the Los Angeles area rarely advertise on television because the cost is so high and the ads reach a diffused audience stretching across many districts.

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In his bid to challenge Gallegly’s credentials as a law-enforcement advocate, Korman issued a news release criticizing the incumbent’s vote against a 1989 measure that authorized $127 million for 700 additional police officers and construction of an 800-bed prison for the District of Columbia.

“This is just another case of Mr. Gallegly’s voting record not matching his rhetoric,” Korman said. “Maybe Mr. Gallegly doesn’t feel that the efforts of police officers in Washington, D.C., or FBI agents around the nation are that important.”


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