Vincent Farnsworth 7:30 p.m., April 24
Is the political committee, Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio, a front for an anti-DeMaio group?
It's safe to assume that the primary goal for the Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio in 2012 is to see DeMaio become San Diego's next Mayor.
But there's always an element of risk in assuming anything, especially in the month leading up to an election.
In recent weeks, DeMaio supporters have accused the pro-DeMaio committee of having an anti-DeMaio agenda with strong ties to some medical marijuana advocacy groups.
Campaign documents filed by Conservatives for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio on October 25 show a large one-time donation from South Bay businessman and former Filner supporter, Charles McHaffie for $25,000. A big chunk of that money, $10,000 to be exact, was then paid to Integrated Campaigns.
Documents filed with the County Clerk show that Integrated Campaigns was formed on October 3, which happens to be the same day that the Conservatives for Gay Rights submitted its paperwork with the San Diego City Clerk.
Trevor Polischuk is listed as the firm's owner. On his LinkedIn profile, Polishcuk listed "webmaster for Citizens for Patient Rights", a medical marijuana advocacy group, as his job title.
Within an hour after sending questions to Polischuk, the LinkedIn profile was updated, changed from webmaster for Citizens for Patient Rights to a "freelance web developer"
In another twist, Polischuk posted the following message on Twitter on October 25.
"My favorite part about the last two weeks of an election cycle is that truth and facts just stop mattering."
But Polishcuk is not the only connection between medical marijuana and the Conservative for Gay Rights Supporting Carl DeMaio. The committee's main contact is Jessica McElfresh, a local attorney who has represented pot advocacy groups in the past.
McElfresh, has denied any wrongdoing. During an October 12 phone interview McElfresh said she was hired to file the paperwork and to find a qualified treasurer, nothing else.
"My work for this group is solely in a professional capacity. I can tell you," said McElfresh. "The committee is what and who they say they are."
In an email that same day, James Schmachtenberger, president of the Patient Care Association and the treasurer of Citizens for Patient Rights, also denied any ties to the committee.
"I can assure you that neither of these organizations are in anyway connected to any sort of efforts or groups similar to those described in this article," wrote Schmachtenberger in regards to the October 12 article.
Patrick Adams, the chair of the Gay Friends Supporting Carl DeMaio for Mayor 2012, is puzzled that DeMaio's opponents would be willing to go to such lengths to defeat the councilmember.
"Obviously they are supporting Filner. What I don't understand is why are they using this gay angle? To try and play the gay community just doesn't make any sense.
Adams has taken it one step further. On October 26, he filed an official complaint with the City's Ethics Commission.
"We believe that urgent action is required of the San Diego City Ethics Committee, FPPC, and California Bar ethics groups take immediate action as this could have an impact on the upcoming, Nov 6th, San Diego’s mayoral race," reads the October 26 complaint.
"We have seen a pattern of shifting, misleading, and missing information with its 410 filings and amendments, not providing required information to properly contact sponsors, officers, sponsor donor, and vendors, and are attempting to launch a campaign program that will misrepresent Mr. DeMaio (appearing as if they are supporting but presenting messages that could reduce voter turnout in support of Mr. DeMaio)."
Schmachtenberger, Polischuk, and Citizens for Patient Rights have not responded to our requests for comment.
More like this:
- Papa Doug hasn't forgotten Carl D. — Oct. 10, 2013
- Reader publisher makes in-kind advertising contribution to medical marijuana campaign — Nov. 3, 2012
- Pro-DeMaio political committee speaks out against accusations of fraud — Oct. 29, 2012
- Sponsor of Pro-DeMaio political committee is a former Filner supporter — Oct. 19, 2012
- Legitimacy of new pro-DeMaio LGBT political committee questioned — Oct. 12, 2012