In the 1992 film Sneakers, there's a tense scene between Robert Redford, who plays a hacker-turned-security expert, and Ben Kingsley, his buddy, who took the fall decades earlier in a banking prank. Kingsley, who has since become some sort of mob boss and grown a fierce ponytail, has captured Redford and wants the little decrypto-matic machine Redford pilfered from a mathematic genius.
Redford tries to make a deal for his life, and Kingsley comforts him:
"I cannot kill my friend."
Then he turns to his henchmen standing beside him and says:
"Kill my friend."
How Redford's character gets out of that jam isn't important (River Phoenix falls through the ceiling on to the bad guys). It's the cold one-liner that's relevant to the issue at hand: The ongoing mystery behind how Birther-Minuteman-Right-Wing-Nutbar Gary Kreep won his race for a seat on the San Diego County Superior Court.
See, judicial candidates aren't allowed to mislead the public about their opponents under California's ethics rules for judges. So, instead, Kreep hung back and let his close colleague do it for him.
As we reported on July 11, in the days right before the election, a political-action committee (PAC) called "Taxpayers for Safer Neighborhoods," paid for illegal robocalls that slammed Kreep's equally unfortunately named opponent, Deputy District Attorney Garland Peed. The calls were illegal because they didn't begin with a real person (a common peccadillo in California politics), buy they also seemed to misrepresent Peed's record as a prosecutor.
The PAC, we found, is tied to James Lacy, who's a close political ally of Kreep's; Lacy chairs the Western Conservative Political Action Conference, while Kreep serves as vice chair. What we didn't know is who paid for the robo-calls.
And guess what! Even though the group's campaign disclosure for that period were made public yesterday, we still don't know.... because no one's paid for them yet.
The PAC's disclosure shows that Landslide Communications, a political-marketing firm run by Lacy, made the calls—one attacking Peed, worth $540, that went out three days before the election and one promoting Kreep, worth $440, that went out one day before the election. That's a total of $980, conveniently $20 short of the spending level that would require expedited reporting.
However, the form also shows that Lacy's Landslide hasn't collected, with the robocalls listed as accrued expenses.
The PAC reported only $198 in donations during that period. None of those donors were disclosed, which indicates the contributions were all less than $100.
So, either Lacy's going to have to eat the expense, the PAC needs to find some after-the-fact donors or the PAC will have to dip into leftover money that had been donated to promote campaigns up the coast in Orange and Los Angeles counties.
Here's another trivia question: What does Gary Kreep have in common with ex-Republican and self-styled moderate Nathan Fletcher?
That same committee also spent $200 on a slate mailer for Fletcher.