Politics

Why are California Republicans feuding over their own anti-gas tax campaign?


Leaders of the effort to repeal California’s new gas tax are blasting Republican governor candidate Travis Allen for using money raised to repeal the tax to broadcast ads featuring himself.

A pro-repeal committee controlled by Allen, an Orange County state assemblyman, is spending a $300,000 donation it received this month on radio and video ads in which Allen introduces himself as a candidate for governor and then talks about why he supports repealing the tax.

Other activists behind the anti-gas tax movement say that money was sorely needed for signature-gathering efforts, as the May 21 deadline for submitting signatures quickly approaches. And the state political ethics commission is looking into a complaint about the spending filed by Allen’s campaign rival.

The internecine GOP dispute could have wider implications: Republicans are counting on a gas tax repeal measure to get on the November ballot in order to encourage their voters to go to the polls and support vulnerable GOP members of Congress up and down the state.

Carl DeMaio, a former San Diego councilman who is one of the leading gas tax repeal activists, blasted Allen for the ad spending, calling him a “fraud” and a “snake oil salesman.”

“While we’re struggling to get our last signatures and could use that money, he takes $300,000 and blows it on his own self-promotion,” DeMaio said in an interview Monday. “I’ve got retired grandmothers who’ve done a hell of a lot more on this than Travis Allen.”

Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an anti-tax group that’s also involved in the campaign, said he was also unhappy with the money being spent on ads. “We’re disappointed that those valuable resources that were raised for the purpose of helping with the gas tax repeal effort are not being placed directly into the signature gathering phase of the operation,” he said.

In an interview Monday, Allen said that the money was well-spent to support the repeal effort. “I will make sure this money is spent in the most effective manner possible,” he said.

Allen launched a campaign for a ballot measure to repeal the gas tax in May, and made the tax a central issue in his campaign for governor. His repeal effort was sidetracked by an extended legal fight with the state Attorney General’s office over the wording of the ballot measure, and it missed its January deadline without submitting any signatures. At the time, Allen said he would support a separate gas tax repeal effort, run by DeMaio and the Howard Jarvis association, which is still collecting signatures.

Earlier this month, the pro-repeal campaign committee controlled by Allen reported receiving $300,000 from PISF Inc., a financial services company in Marin County. The committee has since paid for ads featuring Allen — in one ad, posted to his YouTube channel, he introduces himself as “Travis Allen, candidate for California governor,” and describes himself as “the original author of the gas tax repeal in California,” before advocating for a repeal. Text on …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Politics

      

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