Apr 052010
 

Taxpayer Advocate. Actually, Senator/Taxpayer Advocate.

I should have put Blogger/Taxpayer Advocate on my Central Committee filing.

Well – Tom Harman for Attorney General got the beat-down and George Runner was allowed to keep his designation by a judge.

The Sacramento Bee made a strong case for Damon Dunn for Secretary of State – ripping Debra ACORN-Bowen for her lack of leadership over vapid and absurd ballot designations. There were a rash of lawsuits this year over said titles – thanks to Bowen doing nothing.

The Sacramento Bee – typical of them spent most of the article taking shots at Republicans, including a cheap-shot at “Small Business Owner” Ted Gaines. Gaines is my Assemblyman – who is also an insurance agent.

Sorry, but Gaines’ description is more accurate than Taxpayer Advocate… maybe Jon Coupal of Howard Jarvis could use that or Ted Costa…

The Barbara Alby campaign distributed a press release pointing out the absurdity:

The Sacramento Bee says “politicians are trying to game the system.”   CalNews calls it, “Feeding at the Public Trough.”

It was documented recently that Sen. George Runner developed a scheme to convince the Secretary of State and even a judge that he’s a taxpayer advocate as well as a full-time legislator.  The Sacramento Bee said “California’s secretary of state needs to stop the games by enforcing truth in advertising for how politicians identify themselves on official ballots.”   Maybe they should look at the latest evidence unveiled by CalNews in a piece written by Raoul Lowery Contreras.

Contreras criticized the Runners for “double-dipping,” both accepted per diem for living expenses. The current individual per diem rate is $141.86 per day, tax free if the member lives away from Sacramento.

“Republican California State Senator George Runner (Republican-17th District) and his wife, former elected Assembly woman Sharon Runner double-dipped over $200,000 just between 2005 and 2008 according to the California Assembly Rules Committee and the California State Senate Daily File.”

The Runners “presumably shared the same residence in Sacramento while in session, while they were collecting their tax free $283.72 per day, plus state supplied cars at $500 per month each. While they were collecting their double-dipped per diem payments and car allowances they cashed their salaries of $95,200 (before December, 2009, it was $116,000) each for total annual pay of $190,582.”

“Adding the Runners’ annual pay of $190,582 (it was higher — $232,000 – when Mrs. Runner served in the assembly) and their $283.72 daily “per diem,” Mr. and Mrs. Runner averaged over $300,000 a year between 2005 and 2008.”

Contreras called Runner’s actions of “double-dipping at the Public Trough” and the use of the ballot title taxpayer advocate as “disgraceful and dishonest” and “attempt to fool Republican voters.”

George Runner made himself vulnerable to this attack because he and his wife lived in the same house in Elk Grove and bought a second home in Tahoe during that period of time.

Perhaps married legislators will re-think their household budgets as this sort of boondoggle just looks really bad… especially when you’re on the ballot as a taxpayer advocate.

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