SACRAMENTO (AP) — The Democratic candidate for California attorney general asked television stations Monday to stop airing negative advertising by an influential national Republican organization funded by business interests.

The infusion of more than $1 million for the ad from the Republican State Leadership Committee chaired by former Bush White House counselor Ed Gillespie was the latest illustration of the national importance of the race for California’s top law enforcement officer.

President Barack Obama last week attended a fundraising event for candidate Kamala Harris, who supported Obama’s 2008 campaign.

The conservative group, funded by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, tobacco, insurance and medical companies, hopes to help elect Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley to the state’s top law enforcement job.

He is opposed by Harris, who is San Francisco’s district attorney. Her campaign officials contend the Alexandria, Va.-based, Republican committee failed to properly disclose who is behind the ad running in the Los Angeles television market.

The California Fair Political Practices Commission is being asked to order the committee to detail in the ad who is paying for it. Roman Porter, executive director of the commission, said it would review the complaint.

Cooley is being asked to denounce the ad.

The 30-second ad accuses Harris of being reluctant to seek the death penalty and features a video clip from the mother of slain San Francisco police Officer Isaac Espinoza.

Harris declined to seek the execution of Espinoza’s killer in 2004, and he is now serving a life term. Harris has repeatedly said she, like current Attorney General Jerry Brown, would enforce the law on capital punishment if she is elected attorney general.

Cooley spokesman Kevin Spillane said Harris is attempting to distract voters from her record of opposing the death penalty.

Adam Temple, spokesman for the committee, said the ad was reported properly to California campaign officials because it deals with an issue and is not an independent expenditure for Cooley.

“We think that voters should be well aware of Harris’ views on certain issues. There is a clear disconnect between some of those she’s taken and what Californians believe,” Temple said.

The committee, founded in 2002, describes itself as the only national organization dedicated to influencing down-ticket races such as attorney general, lieutenant governor and state legislators.

It says its goals are to reform the tax code, legal, health care and school systems, and to promote public safety.

It has drawn attention this year for its substantial financial contributions to legislative campaigns in Illinois, North Carolina, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Temple said the committee has 100,000 donors from across the nation.

Its top donors are the U.S. chamber, American Justice Partnership, which promotes limits on lawsuit damage claims, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and tobacco companies Reynolds American and Altria Group, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (16)
  1. Phil Cooper says:

    So, why is Ms. Harris upset? Is it because the ad is saying something that is untrue, or because the ad is saying something that IS true, but she’s trying to quash it on some legal technicality? Either way, she loses. It would have been better for her to say nothing!

    1. Dee says:

      Kamala Harris has been the DA in both Alameda and San Francisco Counties. During her tenure, in how many cases did the DA’s office fight for the death penalty in a crime? I suspect there were few or no cases or else Harris would have presented those facts in her support. Could it be that Harris and her attorneys do not fight for the death penalty when it is warranted?

      Kamala Harris: Give us the facts right now. Give us the number of cases in which your offices fought for the death penalty rather than pursue life sentences or long sentencing. A lot of us still have not mailed in our ballots. Give us the facts and let us decide at the ballot box.

  2. kuttan says:

    Upset with the truth. Truh Hurts Ms Harris.

  3. Mike says:

    Not only is she incompetent, she’s completely biased!!
    As SF’s District Attorney she turned a blind eye to Gavin’s flaunting of statewide voter mandates regarding gay marriage and affirmative action.

    Remember sheeple, gays have the right to marry based upon the constitution’s equal protection clause but white men do not have the same rights as everyone else when it comes to employment, regardless of the Equal Protection Clause…

    1. Frank C says:

      Mike you are an idiot. You should have finished high school to at least achieved a chance at securing a job. Too bad you’re stuck on your mothers couch. Get your GED and get a job and stop blaming others you turd.

  4. BOBKUR says:


  5. Robert says:

    Appeals to raw emotion have no place in what should be a rational, thoughtful discussion of issues. Ms. Harris has previously stated her personal objection to capital punishment. If elected to this office, she has stated a position that as AG she would seek always to uphold the laws of the state. This is not an easy position to take in any political environment.

    Sadly, the supporters of the ad, and those who financed it hide behind the veil of anonomous contributors. That is cowardly. Even worse, it points out the corrupting influence of money on our political life.

  6. JACK TAYLOR says:


  7. Jack says:

    Ms. Harris campaign is calling out the old Boogie Man. I’m a liberal, a
    San Franciscan, a Democrat, and personally believe that there is no significant evidence that capital punishment makes us safer or can be justified as a punishment when there is absolutely no way to ensure that absolutely every executed convict is in fact (not in law) guilty of the crime they are condemned for. If we are being honest it can’t even make us feel emotionally better because it doesn’t erase the lost and if it is the wrong person executed just exacerbates our conflictedness.

    Obviously I loath “Terd Blossom” but he is no monster, just another punk. Harris’ campaign needs you to believe that Rove is the beastly shadow in the closet to make him the issue instead of her ineffectual record and lazy work ethic. I am a liberal but that doesn’t mean that I must tolerate under reported crime and inept performance. That is the issue and she cannot defend her record honestly so she must try to make you believe in the Boogie Man.

  8. tn says:

    Her actions speak volumes. Although there’s no proof that executions eliminate major crimes, 99% of any human race who has half a brain, from any country would think twice before taking a chance on committing a crime punishable by death. That in itself, is a very strong deterrent for many, and may be the best “warning” we have available. The worst that could happen would be life imprisonment if the accused has a strong legal team or the prosecutor was ineffective. Nevertheless, right or wrong, she has spoken and she has shown and acted where her heart lies. The choice is still, yours.

  9. JC says:

    What’s up with all these right-winger nut jobs on here? Most of you probably don’t even live in California..