Politicians Pay to Play in Shady Mailer - NBC Bay Area

Politicians Pay to Play in Shady Mailer

PG&E, Gavin Newsom pay for endorsements that appear to be from the Democratic Party



    Politicians Pay to Play in Shady Mailer
    Getty Images
    Gavin Newsom paid $116,000 to get Larry Levine's misleading endorsement. PG&E? Only $15,000, a relative bargain!

    You might have received a "Voter Information Guide for Democrats" in the mail, but don't be fooled -- while it might appear to be an official "Slate Mailer" from the Democratic Party, instead it's essentially paid advertising, and misleading at that.

    "Slate mailers," pioneered locally Willie Brown, were flyers sent to the party faithful that listed a slate of preferred candidates for upcoming elections -- in Brown's case, all the party-backed Democratic machine candidates.

    In this case, it's simply an independent mailing produced by political consultant Larry Levine.  All you need to do to get an endorsement is, well, pay Larry Levine.

    So who coughed up the cash? Well, Pacific Gas and Electric and Mercury Insurance Group, who both have measures on the ballot that consumer protection groups -- and the Democratic Party -- have assailed.

    Also? San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who paid Levine $116,000 to appear as though he's earned the party's endorsement for Lieutenant Governor.

    However, the party hasn't endorsed anyone in that race.

    Jackson West will not be making any formal endorsements, though of course candidates are welcome to add him to their media lists.

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