Despite vowing that he looked forward to it at his Thursday night town hall, Congressional candidate Gary DeLong has not answered yes or no to the question that's prompted city and state :
Did he use Long Beach City Hall staff or taxpayer resources to collect residents' private email addresses for use in his congressional campaign?
At least two complaints have been lodged with Long Beach City Attorney Bob Shannon, the Los Angeles District Attorney and California's Secretary of State, alleging the same essential thing: that DeLong misused city staff or resources to obtain email addresses that residents submitted to get official 3rd District updates (view one of the documents at right).
Doing so would violate state campaign law that forbids use of public resources for private campaigns, which might carry a fine, depending on the relative value of the proprietary information. DeLong has said that his campaign purchased numerous email lists, and there are bound to be crossovers with 3rd District newsletter subscribers.
One of the complaints filed by retired deputy city attorney Jim McCabe noted that his partner emailed a request to DeLong's City Council office requesting a 3rd District Council newsletter for neighborhood updates on road closures. McCabe said on Thursday night that his partner did so on a rarely used email address, ironically, so that his more personal address is not commpromised.
His partner allegedly received a response from DeLong's Council office chief of staff and another staffer that featured Facebook and Twitter links to the DeLong campaign. And a day or two later, he received a DeLong campaign email. Several Patch complained of the same-day scenario: after getting signed up for a district newsletter on trash pickups, suddenly they received DeLong canpaign material.
The story first broke in the Long Beach Press Telegram, which tested the allegation with two newly created email addresses through which 3rd District newsletters were requested. In short order, the newspaper said, each of the email addresses received DeLong campaign e-mails.
On Wednesday, Patch submitted a handful of questions asking whether city email lists were purchased or accessed and used to send campaign mail. that we forwarded to DeLong.
DeLong responded that he to answering those questions during his Thursday night telephone-town-hall meeting, which started at 5:30 p.m.
But DeLong said afterward, "Unfortunately no one asked the question, I was looking forward to answering it."
Then he didn't, or didn't specifically: After more than five hours, following requests via two or three e-mails (emails were invited at the town hall) and a phone call after the townhall ended, DeLong replied, "I’m confident my campaign has not violated any rules or regulations."
The town hall was announced late afternoon and was structured in such a way that callers were screened for entry in the townhall by giving their names and the questions they would ask. Typically, campaigns hire a company to actually invite registered voters to participate so there is a sizable audience.
Patch had a forced 15-minute delay into the call, after which we assumed the question that's made headlines would be raised by one of what were described as 7,500 callers. So Patch asked what three bills DeLong would want to pass and how would he accomplish those as a junior congressman (we will write more on this soon).
Late Thursday, the campaign strategist for congressional candidate and Democratic State Sen. Alan Lowenthal called the townhall an elaborate mechanism through which to control question-access and dodge legal and breach-of-trust questions by voters.
"So not one person asked him in the Town Hall about these investigations," Lowenthal strategist Mike Shimpock said, hours before DeLong sent a response. "Fine. Voters are asking him now: Did you or didn't you take this private information on city time for your own campaign interests, and who else might have the information now?"
According to campaign finance reports, DeLong has raised the most money aong fellow Republicans in the seven-way race Tuesday to represent the U.S. 47th U.S. Congressional District. It straddles most of Long Beach and several Orange County cities including Los Alamitos and Rossmoor.
DeLong and former U.S. Congressman Steve Kuykendall are the most familiar of the Republican candidates. Read more about