Gerber man files campaign complaint against Logue
Michael Holtsclaw is flabbergasted and amazed at the response of the Fair Political Practices Commission to a complaint he filed against Assemblyman Dan Logue and Cliff Wagner, Logue's chief of staff.
Holtsclaw, 65 of Gerber, a member of the Corning Patriots and a District 4 representative on the Tehama County Republicans Central Committee, filed the complaint on Aug. 29 claiming Logue, R-Loma Rica, had paid for radio advertising for a campaign without reporting the contribution.
The twist was the complaint contended Logue had made the contribution to the campaign of Democrat Charles Rouse, one of his opponents for the 3rd Assembly District, during the primary.
"I was driving down the road on May 21 listening to KPAY radio, when I hear this ad endorsing Dan Logue for the 3rd Assembly District. But then the ad takes a turn and starts endorsing Charles Rouse as well. I thought 'this isn't right,' and decided to do some research on it," Holtsclaw said.
The advertisement paid for by Logue, said in part, "The Enterprise Record called Charles Rouse a 'moderate Democrat,' 'smart,' 'thoughtful,' and says he 'understands the issues.' The local newspaper supports Rouse because of his strong support for higher education."
Holtsclaw found this to be an endorsement of Rouse.
The commission did not see things that way.
"Please be advised that the Commission will not open an investigation into your allegations. After review of your complaint, the information you provided is insufficient to establish a violation of the Act," states a letter dated Monday and signed by Gary S. Winuk, Enforcement Division chief for the commission.
It goes on the state, "There is no evidence that the payment for the radio ads was in coordination with Mr. Rouse."
Wagner said he found the complaint to be without merit and agreed with the commission's response.
Holtsclaw said he is undeterred.
"I still believe that ad to be a contribution to Charles Rouse's campaign," he said. "I will do more research and I don't plan on dropping this."
Logue paid $5,342 for the ad, which ran on two radio stations, according to documents.
"That was a lot of money to pay for a radio ad," Rouse, of Corning, said after learning of Holtsclaw's complaint.
He added that he didn't see the advertisement as an endorsement of himself or his campaign, but found it to be rather "ambiguous."
"It is a puzzling advertisement that I don't quite understand, and other democrats have told me they find it to be puzzling as well," Rouse said.
In addition to commenting on Rouse, the advertisement in question negatively went after Logue's other primary election opponent, fellow Republican Bob Williams of Corning.
Because it was an open primary, the top two vote-getters, no matter what party, advanced to the general election on Nov. 6.
Clearly, Logue would have a better chance of defeating the Democrat in a mostly conservative district than another Republican, especially since Williams joined the campaign late and could use the extra time to raise money and get his name out.
As it turned out, Logue and Rouse were left standing.
The three men were running for the office left vacant by Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber, who announced he would not be seeking re-election, but was instead going to run for the 4th District in the state Senate.
That seat was left open when Doug LaMalfa resigned to run for the 1st Congressional District, which came open with the retirement of Rep. Wally Herger.
Logue, who is on November's general election ballot for the Assembly seat, also is on the ballot for LaMalfa's former Senate seat.
Holtsclaw said he has been rankled ever since Logue filed a complaint with the commission accusing Nielsen and Williams of violating campaign-finance rules in June.
The complaint claims that during the 3rd Assembly District primary election campaign, Nielsen donated $32,000 to the Tehama County Republican Central Committee, which "passed through" the committee to Williams campaign.
That investigation is ongoing, the state agency reported.
"Logue is saying the money the committee gave Bob Williams was just a pass through of funds donated by Nielsen. That is absolutely not true. Nielsen gave us the funds with no strings attached, not a cent was earmarked," Holtsclaw said.
"Jim Nielsen is a lot smarter than that. He has been around the block a few times and knows what is right and what isn't."
Holtsclaw believes Logue's complaint is in retaliation for Wagner being asked to leave the room when the Tehama County Republican Central Committee was deciding who to endorse for the 3rd Assembly District primary election.
"Wagner got really mad and gave our chairman, Ken Say, the riot act," Holtsclaw said.
"It specifically states in our bylaws that neither Logue or Wagner could be in the room when that decision is being discussed and decided on."
Holtsclaw said he is a bit disappointed in the infighting going on in the party.
"If we don't expect exactness from our own party, how can we go after the Democrats when they do something unethical," he said.