Officials Accused of Violating Campaign Laws
Turning up the heat in a four-month probe into alleged misconduct by Anaheim politicians, an independent prosecutor has charged Mayor Tom Daly and former Councilman Irv Pickler with breaching state and city campaign contribution laws.
The misdemeanor complaints filed by prosecutor Ravi Mehta come as Daly prepares to run for the county supervisor’s seat held by William G. Steiner. Daly said in an interview this week that he plans to announce his candidacy soon.
But on Friday he referred all questions to his attorney, who said his client had committed only harmless, technical errors in filing campaign finance reports.
The complaints include charges that Daly and Pickler accepted campaign contributions that exceeded the city donation limit of $1,000 per person, and that they failed to itemize and report the donations.
If convicted, they could face six months in jail and fines for violations of state and local campaign regulations.
Also named in the complaints are Daly’s former wife and campaign treasurer, Debra Daly, and the political committees set up by Daly and Pickler to manage contributions in a 1996 City Council race.
Mehta was hired with the approval of just two members of the Anaheim City Council to investigate the alleged campaign violations after City Atty. Jack L. White refused to file charges, calling the allegations unfounded. Two council members abstained and a third voted against hiring Mehta.
The investigation by Mehta, the former head of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, has cost the city more than $79,000 in fees, and more than $4,300 in expenses since October.