Monday, January 10, 2005
Today, the California Legislature's Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) is holding a hearing into the use of federal HAVA funds by Secretary of State Kevin Shelley. Included in the agenda is the presentation of the Bureau of State Audit’s report Office of the Secretary of State: Clear and Appropriate Direction is Lacking in Its Implementation of the Federal Help America Vote Act.
According to Committee Chairperson Assemblymember Nicole Parra, today's hearing (which Derek and I just attended), is just the first of multiple hearings into Shelley's management and use of HAVA funds. Assemblymember Parra should be commended for understanding that the implications of the State Auditor's report demand further investigation.
Unfortunately, the scope of the JLAC hearings does not extend to other questionable activity by Shelley as a candidate and as Secretary of State. While there are other investigations underway by other state and federal agencies (including the FBI), Californians deserve a public investigation by their elected officials into allegations of money laundering of campaign contributions to Shelley and his use of public funds and facilities to further his own personal political aspirations.
Perhaps even more important is the need for the California Assembly to determine whether Shelley's pattern of neglect of the law of the state of which he is the chief elections official rises (or perhaps the opposite) to the level of misconduct in office, the standard for impeachment outlined in Article IV, Section 18 of the California Constitution.
As the myriad investigations into Shelley suggest, whichever Assembly member or committee decides to look into this question will suffer no lack of material to examine.