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Controlling Dick Cheney

Another attorney joins the S.D. ethics commission

Dick Cheney (left) aide Joe Leventhal (right) found his way onto the city’s ethics board, thanks to an appointment by Mayor Faulconer.
Dick Cheney (left) aide Joe Leventhal (right) found his way onto the city’s ethics board, thanks to an appointment by Mayor Faulconer.

San Diego’s ethics commission has picked up yet another attorney, bringing the count of lawyers on the somewhat somnolent political watchdog’s board to five, versus just two lay members. Joe Leventhal, the latest appointee, named to the commission by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, carries the distinction of having been a top aide to vice president Dick Cheney during the administration of George W. Bush. “As part of the vice president’s senior staff,” notes Leventhal’s online profile, “Joe was then the youngest deputy assistant to the vice president at the age of 25. In this role, his responsibilities included functioning as the final substantive control point before information reached the vice president, managing complex policy, and political issues, and representing the vice president’s interests on all policy matters within the administration.”

The other GOP lawyers on the commission are Bill Baber and Fred Kosmo. Democrats Deborah Cochran and Alex Kreit round out the local Bar’s contingent. Non-lawyers are Democrat Sid Voorakkara, deputy director of external affairs in Gov. Jerry Brown’s office of Business and Development, and planning consultant Dave Potter, who doesn’t belong to a political party. So far this year, the commission has taken only four enforcement actions, reaching stipulated agreements with alleged transgressors of the city’s political ethics law. Two political efforts separately backing causes dear to Democrats — the minimum-wage hike and requiring November runoffs for all city races no matter the primary outcome — drew fines totaling $31,000.

The Republican-leaning San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce anted up a $5000 penalty for disclosure lapses related to committees employed to back failed Republican city attorney candidate Robert Hickey. The latest to feel the commission’s enforcement whip is Democratic ex–city attorney Mike Aguirre, whose 2013 campaign for mayor “failed to disclose the occupation and employer for eleven contributions totaling $1,250, approximately ten percent of total contributions received by the Committee,” per a November 8 agreement posted online. Aguirre, the document notes, “has run for elective office on several prior occasions and served as the elected city attorney from 2004 to 2008. Accordingly, Respondent knew or should have known that he was required to disclose occupation and employer information for contributors of $100 or more.” He agreed to fork over $500.

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Dick Cheney (left) aide Joe Leventhal (right) found his way onto the city’s ethics board, thanks to an appointment by Mayor Faulconer.
Dick Cheney (left) aide Joe Leventhal (right) found his way onto the city’s ethics board, thanks to an appointment by Mayor Faulconer.

San Diego’s ethics commission has picked up yet another attorney, bringing the count of lawyers on the somewhat somnolent political watchdog’s board to five, versus just two lay members. Joe Leventhal, the latest appointee, named to the commission by Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, carries the distinction of having been a top aide to vice president Dick Cheney during the administration of George W. Bush. “As part of the vice president’s senior staff,” notes Leventhal’s online profile, “Joe was then the youngest deputy assistant to the vice president at the age of 25. In this role, his responsibilities included functioning as the final substantive control point before information reached the vice president, managing complex policy, and political issues, and representing the vice president’s interests on all policy matters within the administration.”

The other GOP lawyers on the commission are Bill Baber and Fred Kosmo. Democrats Deborah Cochran and Alex Kreit round out the local Bar’s contingent. Non-lawyers are Democrat Sid Voorakkara, deputy director of external affairs in Gov. Jerry Brown’s office of Business and Development, and planning consultant Dave Potter, who doesn’t belong to a political party. So far this year, the commission has taken only four enforcement actions, reaching stipulated agreements with alleged transgressors of the city’s political ethics law. Two political efforts separately backing causes dear to Democrats — the minimum-wage hike and requiring November runoffs for all city races no matter the primary outcome — drew fines totaling $31,000.

The Republican-leaning San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce anted up a $5000 penalty for disclosure lapses related to committees employed to back failed Republican city attorney candidate Robert Hickey. The latest to feel the commission’s enforcement whip is Democratic ex–city attorney Mike Aguirre, whose 2013 campaign for mayor “failed to disclose the occupation and employer for eleven contributions totaling $1,250, approximately ten percent of total contributions received by the Committee,” per a November 8 agreement posted online. Aguirre, the document notes, “has run for elective office on several prior occasions and served as the elected city attorney from 2004 to 2008. Accordingly, Respondent knew or should have known that he was required to disclose occupation and employer information for contributors of $100 or more.” He agreed to fork over $500.

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attorneys and ethics don't seem to mix well

Nov. 30, 2017

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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