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Baugh Got $1,000 From Ex-Candidate’s Husband : Election: Assemblyman says in amended report he returned check when donor’s wife, Laurie Campbell, entered campaign for Allen’s seat.

TIMES POLITICAL WRITER

Republican Assemblyman Scott Baugh, who won a special election Tuesday, has admitted receiving a $1,000 contribution from the husband of one-time Democratic challenger Laurie Campbell.

Campbell was removed from the ballot a month before the election amid allegations that she was a “stealth candidate” recruited by GOP leaders seeking to siphon votes from Baugh’s chief Democratic opponent, Linda Moulton-Patterson.

In campaign finance reports filed shortly before the polls closed Tuesday, Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) said he received the money, then returned it several weeks later on the day Campbell filed for the 67th Assembly District race.

Baugh did not disclose the contribution from Rick Campbell in three previous state-required campaign finance reports filed between the time he received the money and Tuesday’s report, in which he wrote that it had been “inadvertently omitted.”

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When questions arose about the candidacy of Campbell--a political unknown and newcomer to Orange County--Baugh initially denied knowing her, then acknowledged that the two had met and attend the same Newport Beach church.

The contribution is the first direct link between the Baugh campaign and the Campbells.

Baugh could not be reached for comment Wednesday. He has repeatedly denied having anything to do with Campbell’s candidacy.

The current amended report is the second time Baugh has changed the report he filed covering the period from Jan. 1 to Oct. 14.

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The Campbells did not return a call from The Times on Wednesday. Laurie Campbell’s three attorneys declined to comment.

Campbell was removed from the ballot in October after a Sacramento judge ruled that her nomination papers had been falsified. She signed under oath that she had gathered nomination signatures. The petitions had actually been circulated by two unidentified men.

The Orange County district attorney is investigating the falsification, which is a felony. Supervising Deputy Dist. Atty. Guy N. Ormes has said the office is also “investigating Baugh’s ties to” candidate Campbell as well as his campaign disclosure statements.

Ormes said Baugh “has promised to come in and talk with us on Monday.”

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At an election night celebration, Baugh said he was confident that the investigation “is going to be a dead issue” by next week.

His opponents, both Republicans and Democrats, criticized the disclosure, which came after Baugh won the seat with 45% of the vote.

“Holy cow, the guy was lying from the very beginning,” said Republican Haydee Tillotson, who withdrew from the race two weeks ago to avoid splitting the Republican vote. “Everything that ever came out of him from the beginning was a lie.”

Tillotson said “there obviously is some connection” between Baugh and the Campbell candidacy. “When he first said he didn’t know her, that was a lie,” she said. “I would not believe anything he has to say.”

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Baugh was defended by Republican County Chairman Thomas A. Fuentes, who said he had learned on election night about the late reporting of Rick Campbell’s contribution.

“It is a mountain being made out of a molehill,” he said, adding that it was “very appropriate” to return the money once Baugh learned that Laurie Campbell was in the race.

GOP leaders have said repeatedly that they had nothing to do with Campbell’s candidacy.

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The $1,000 check from Rick Campbell was received by the campaign on Aug. 23, according to the report and a source close to the campaign. It was returned on Sept. 21, the day Laurie Campbell filed her candidacy papers and paid a $699 filing fee.

Baugh’s reports previously had listed the $1,000 as a contribution from Baugh that was returned to him. The first amendment then listed it as a loan from Baugh that was repaid, according to the report and the source.

Daniel Traxler, the campaign treasurer who wrote the reports, said on Monday that the $1,000 stood out when he was reviewing campaign banking records while preparing the original report for submission.

The $1,000 “appears as a deposit along with a $3,500 deposit and I could only find $2,500 in checks to correspond with it . . . that is $2,500 in Xeroxes of checks,” he said.

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Traxler said he asked Baugh about the $1,000 portion of the deposit, which took place Aug. 23. “Scott remembers it as cash” he gave to the campaign, Traxler said on Monday.

Traxler said he does not know who made the $3,500 bank deposit and was annoyed that there was no better record of it.

“It was after that, that I told them no one makes deposits but me,” he said.

Traxler on Wednesday said he issued the separate amendments as he became aware of the different circumstances. He said he had worked on the second amendment during the weekend and filed it at 4:30 p.m. election day because he did not learn all the details from Baugh until Tuesday.

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“I reported it as soon as I was given the corrected information,” he said.

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Fuentes said Baugh should not be blamed for forgetting to report the contribution. It happened “probably because he is busy running for the office and isn’t spending all this time being an accountant,” he said.

Democrat Linda Moulton-Patterson, who finished second to Baugh with 32% of the vote, said Baugh “is not qualified to hold office. He has lied before and he is caught with the smoking gun now. I can’t believe this was omitted by accident.”

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Moulton-Patterson said she is certain Baugh knew the Campbells. “People don’t give you a thousand dollars unless they know you well,” she said. “I think the truth will come out. I just think it is a damn shame that this didn’t come out before the election. The D.A. knew about this. It is a shame to let people vote without this knowledge.”

Campbell had said in October, when she was still a candidate, that she entered the race to “prevent someone with a more liberal agenda from winning.” She described Baugh as the only other conservative in the race and said Republicans should vote for him.

Campbell has refused to identify who asked her to run, saying, “They asked me not to.”


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