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Opponents of SD 29 Recall Sue to Halt Certification Over Illegal, Misleading California Republican Party Tactics

Chevron-Backed Campaign Lied by Telling Voters Recall Petition Would “Stop the Car Tax”

Sacramento, CA – Today, voters in Senate District 29 filed a lawsuit to stop the fraudulent recall effort aimed at State Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton). The suit, filed in Sacramento Superior Court, asserts that it’s illegal for the election to move forward because the California Republican Party-funded petition contains objectively false and misleading information, and that signature gatherers have systematically lied to voters about the content of the petition.

“This suit is about nothing less than the integrity of our election process; a recall election simply should not be certified when signatures were gathered based on lies to voters,” said James Harrison, an attorney with Remcho, Johansen & Purcell, LLP, who filed the suit today. “To allow voters to be duped, as the California Republican Party has attempted in SD 29, is a clear violation of the public interest.”

The lawsuit details not only the objectively false information in the petitions, but also the tactics proponents have taken to mislead voters: “… tables set up to collect signatures outside of grocery stores throughout the 29th Senate District that displayed signs with messages like ‘stop the car tax,’ and they witnessed signature gatherers misleading voters by urging them to sign their petition to repeal the gas tax.” (See photos)

The suit continues, “although Senator Newman is the target of the recall effort, one would not know that from the campaign to have voters sign the recall petition. Instead, the campaign is billed as an effort to ‘Stop the Gas Tax’ or ‘Reverse Car and Gas Tax Hikes.’”

The “petition gathering campaign has misrepresented the nature of the petition by informing voters that it will ‘Stop the Gas Tax’ when it will not,” attorneys wrote to the court. “These statements are intentionally misleading statements of fact that are false beyond dispute and mislead voters, and violate Election Code section 18600. The petition therefore cannot be circulated and the recall effort, using the petition as drafted, must be halted.”

Linda Gardner, James Gallagher, and Joanne Fawley are the three SD 29 voters who brought the suit. They said, “The voters of SD 29 sent Josh Newman to represent us in the Senate just six months ago, to address real concerns, from traffic to schools to air quality. The California Republican Party’s wasteful recall petition will only pour our tax money down the drain, while not solving a single problem we care about. We are sick of the lies and political games, and we are demanding Carl DeMaio and the CRP stop lying to voters.”

The petitioners will ask the Court to set a hearing date soon to address these misrepresentations before the Secretary of State must reach a final decision concerning the recall effort.

Hundreds of SD 29 voters have reported that they signed the petition after being led to believe that it would lower their taxes, only to learn later their signature was on a recall petition. Upon being informed of the real reason behind the petition, an increasing number of voters have demanded that Registrars of Voters in Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Orange counties remove their signatures from the petition.

Earlier this month, attorneys filed legal complaints with the State Attorney General, Secretary of State, and County District Attorneys representing Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino, demanding they investigate illegal misrepresentations by the committee circulating petitions to recall the Senator. Misrepresenting the contents of a recall petition is a misdemeanor under California’s Elections Code. San Diego politician Carl DeMaio, principal officer of the committee, and the California Republican Party were named in the complaint.

Earlier this month, the Sacramento Bee reported Chevron gave $500,000 to the [California Republican Party], presumably to help pay petition circulators to gather signatures to qualify the recall.

View the suit here.

Posted on June 29, 2017 in Press Releases.

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