The Pala Band of Mission Indians will not make any independent expenditures to campaign for 69th Assembly District candidate Michele Martinez, the tribe’s spokesman, Doug Elmets, said in an interview Friday.
Martinez, who is a Santa Ana city councilwoman, approached Robert Smith, chairman of the Pala Tribal Council, at a social function in Sacramento and asked for campaign support, but they never discussed independent expenditures, Elmets said.
“Where Michele Martinez got the idea of an IE [independent expenditure] is beyond our knowledge,” Elmets said.
“She [Martinez] has not met with the Pala Tribal Council, which is indicative of the fact that she has no support from the tribal council yet for her candidacy, let alone the idea that the tribe might run an independent expenditure campaign, which, given her erroneous comments, make the idea even more remote.”
California Watch senior editor Bob Salladay sitting near Martinez on a train Thursday morning headed to the Bay Area when he overheard Martinez talking on the phone about independent expenditure committees.
“I’m working with Chairman Robert Smith from Pala. Yeah, they are going to come in real big with some IEs,” Salladay quoted Martinez as saying.
It’s illegal for any candidate to coordinate independent expenditure campaigns, which are supposed to be controlled and funded without the candidate’s influence.
Martinez released a statement today saying that Salladay didn’t tweet the truth about her phone conversation.
“I don’t know what’s worse; someone secretly listening to a private conversation without consent or misrepresenting that conversation publicly,” she asserted. “It’s disrespectful, dishonest and downright creepy. Now, I’m even more motivated to bring INTEGRITY, civility and honor back to public service in Sacramento.”
In an interview with Voice of OC, Salladay said the quote he tweeted was “solid.”
“I didn’t put any words in her mouth. That’s what she said,” Salladay said.
— ADAM ELMAHREK