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Op-Ed: LA’s “Recall George Gascon” Effort (Torpedoed By Scoreless GOP Consultants) Want A 2nd Round But Where Did The Money Go?

George Gascón
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón during a news conference in August 2021.

LOS ANGELES, CA – In LA politics, is $300,000 a lot of money? As a fiduciary for the community and event organizer, I know what that amount would accomplish and how it should not be dismissed. $300k is the amount that was claimed to be transferred from Round 1 “leaders” of the Recall George Gascon effort to Round 2. Suddenly that’s not the case, based on the latest financial statements, and the impetus of this article. 

Sadly this is also a bigger issue in California and other states where conservative and Republican efforts are losing but the question is, was there a real effort to win in the first place? Like I have discussed before, we need merit, performance-based audits and accountability as it seems the Republican consultants can live comfortable lives off of their candidates losing and chalking it up to the state’s lean while putting out minimal effort.  Others call this a grift. 

Contrast this with recent efforts by Republican Edward Durr in New Jersey, who ousted the sitting Democratic Senate President Sweeney with only $9,000 spent. With consultants constantly talking about money, it ignores the fact people are winning races around the country without having tunnel vision on fundraising and money.

The actual reasons for the failure of the first effort to recall Gascon was well-explained in the LA Magazine article “How the Campaign to Recall DA George Gascón Went Down in Flames,” by Hillel Aron and my piece on meritocracy missing in this effort

A reasonable response for this “leading” effort’s loss would be to introspect, learn from the failure of the first round and ask the tough questions: why it failed, what can be done to correct those issues for next time, and what have we learned from the experience? Sadly, none of this self audit seems to be taking place. 

The main PAC, Recall George Gascon, which was so threatened by other PACs supplementing their efforts on the same petition (read: not competing with a different petition), did not do this. Instead they are quickly rebooting a 2nd round effort and claiming they would be the lead. 

But what can we expect? The same clandestine operations, lack of results and not playing well with others even on their side? Now they are backtracking on their initial claims of $300,000 being left over from the first round and now that money is nowhere to be found. 

The grassroots exposed uncomfortable truths by asking questions about where this money was going. After all, honest people have a fiduciary responsibility to the donors to this cause and care about money being efficiently allocated. 

Rather than accepting responsibility, the team, led by these “scoreless” consultants, sent a vicious but confusing email, questioning the integrity of the other recall group, Recall Gascon Now, in an attempt at deflection. Childish behavior.

Still, where did that money go? The 460 Financial Statement for Recall District Attorney George Gascon shows no transfer of $300,000 as they had claimed and only about $5,000 cash on hand.

The screenshots below are from an LA Daily News article. 

“Recall District Attorney George Gascon” (the round 2 reboot effort) is the same consultant team hired by Round 1’s Recall George Gascon (operating under the committee name of Victims of Violent Crime for the Recall of District Attorney George Gascon). The September 30th 460 Filing Statement for Recall George Gascon shows over $1.4 million dollars raised.

Organizers to start new drive to recall LA County DA George Gascón

Claims are made that money spent by this committee went were expensed for signature collection – but just how many signatures did $1.4 million dollars get? We don’t know because this same team does not want to be forthcoming so they decided not to submit any signatures at all. So it will forever remain unknown and nebulous.  $1.4 million dollars raised from well-meaning donors really deserves more transparency than what we are getting. 

No representative from either Recall George Gascon (round 1) or Recall District Attorney George Gascon (round 2, same people) ever showed up with their signatures to the Registrar of Voters Office to have the total verified. They claimed to have almost 200,000 signatures. They also claimed that $300,000 was being transferred from one committee to another, yet the financial statements showed that claim to be false. 

Of however many signatures they had, how many were collected by volunteers? How many by paid gatherers? How many collected for each of the numerous expenditures made on the 460 filing? 

These questions deserve answers before another dime is entrusted to this team of consultants for a 2nd round effort. While on the topic of team leadership, it would be worth looking more closely at who it is that has been hired to manage the effort, and essentially being entrusted to spend those hard earned donor dollars. Maybe then can we turn the ship around in California.

On the Recall George Gascon media page, the point of contact listed is the same as the one representing the Recall District Attorney George Gascon committee. Recently, the CEO of this consulting firm had been hired by the Larry Elder campaign, leading the Recall Newsom effort to a resounding failure, with many pundits attributing the abysmal failure to the Larry Elder campaign. The same campaign manager has also recently been under investigation by the Orange County District Attorney’s office for questions surrounding his billing to the Transportation Corridor Agencies.

In light of so many questions, one question remains – should Recall District Attorney George Gascon, the same vampiric GOP consultants with no follow through, really be trusted for Round 2?

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