Saturday, February 25, 2006

Meathead may be caught in the corruption grinder

Rob Reiner, the Left-Wing Liberal Caricaturist-in-Chief of California, may himself be guilty of the same offense that he accuses Enron and Halliburton...Corruption and Fraud!!

The Los Angeles Times apparently wrote something about it, but because I generally do not trust the Left-Wing Media nor do I read any of it, I did research and found a reliable source who published the following report:

Rob Reiner's Ads Use Taxpayer Funds
Monday, Dec. 19, 2005 3:25 p.m. EST
By Carl Limbacher

Opponents of actor-director Rob Reiner’s $2.3 billion universal preschool initiative in California say a series of "public service announcements” are in fact taxpayer-funded ads for the measure.

The foes complain that Reiner not only leads the initiative campaign, but also chairs the state commission that is paying for the ads – which carry the message that preschool is good for society at large, the Sacramento Bee reports.

"It’s a matter of sheer common sense – this is an expenditure of taxpayer dollars promoting preschool,” Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, told the Bee.

"It’s clearly connected to the pending initiative, and as a matter of ethics it crosses the line. Whether it crosses the legal line remains to be seen.”

Now here is the L.A. Times' version:

TV Ads Put Focus on Reiner Some ask whether the tax-funded spots
helped tout the producer's June preschool initiative.

By Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer

February 20 2006

SACRAMENTO — Police sirens wail as a scruffy teenager, clutching a bag, runs frantically through the streets. Entering a schoolyard, he reaches into the bag. Out comes … a graduation gown, which he dons to receive a diploma.

The scene is from a television ad, paid for with tax money and made by consultants close to Hollywood producer Rob Reiner. It aired across California this winter, touting the benefits of preschool. "When kids go," the narrator says, "we all benefit."

The release of the ad, and two others, by a state commission Reiner heads coincided with his launch of a ballot initiative that would tax the rich to fund preschool for all California 4-year-olds.

Although Reiner did not directly approve the spots, their timing and substance highlight ties between the public commission and his private political campaigns and raise questions about whether the state-funded commercials were used to boost the initiative's prospects.

State law generally prohibits the use of public funds for campaign activities. Reiner's campaign attorney said the ads were legal and not political.

Reiner heads the First 5 California Children and Families Commission, a panel of seven members appointed by the governor and legislative leaders. It was created by an initiative Reiner sponsored in 1998 to promote early childhood development.

The measure, which raised cigarette taxes by 50 cents per pack, has generated $4 billion so far, much of it used for childhood healthcare, preschool and anti-tobacco efforts. Under Reiner's leadership, the commission has:
  • Spent $23 million for the "Preschool for All" ads, which ran from November to mid-January, making it one of the largest state-funded advertising campaigns ever in California. In January, Reiner's new initiative, also called "Preschool for All," qualified for the June ballot as Proposition 82.
  • Given $230 million in advertising and public relations contracts — including the preschool ad blitz — to firms that helped Reiner create the First 5 commission. As companies competed for the business, Reiner wrote a letter recommending one firm, which won.
  • Paid $206,000 of the tax money to three political consultants, though they had no contract. One of them — Benjamin Austin, a former Los Angeles deputy mayor — said they helped coordinate the government activities of Reiner, the First 5 commission and the media consultants. Austin and the others subsequently joined the Proposition 82 effort, with Austin as campaign manager.
The contracts for the ads and the public relations work were awarded legally. But given the winning companies' relationship with Reiner, "there is a question of … who really has a chance of getting a contract," said Bill Whalen, a Hoover Institution fellow and former Pete Wilson administration official. "Insider connections are rewarded."

Reiner has been accused of awarding "NO BID" Contracts influence peddling to ensure that those persons/entities who worked on the "yes on 10" campaign were benefiting financially from the the First 5 Commission.

Reiner just may end up in the same jail cell that he wants conservative benefactors to be housed.

Mali D. Currington

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