Tuesday July 7th, 2020 3:52PM

California attorney general candidate faces ethics panel

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Steven Bailey, a former judge now running for California attorney general, is facing a judicial ethics tribunal just two months before the November election.

Bailey, a Republican who served as an El Dorado County judge from 2009 through August 2017, is accused of using the job to aid his political campaign, improperly accepting gifts and steering business to a firm where his son worked.

Three special masters from the Commission on Judicial Performance on Tuesday begin considering the allegations, which Bailey says "simply lack merit" and are the result of political gamesmanship.

The hearing in Sacramento creates another hurdle in Bailey's uphill battle to unseat Democratic incumbent Xavier Becerra, who was appointed last year by Gov. Jerry Brown to fill a vacancy and now is seeking a full four-year term.

Becerra easily won the June primary with 46 percent of the votes. Bailey advanced to the runoff by finishing second but was 21 points behind.

No decision is expected from the commission until well after the Nov. 6 election. Bailey could be publicly admonished even though he no longer is a judge but he can't be disqualified from the attorney general's race.

"Judge Bailey initially expressed interest in running for attorney general because of the office's recent trend toward hyper-partisan politics to the detriment of public safety," James Murphy, one of Bailey's attorneys, said in a statement to The Associated Press. "We question if this inquiry is nothing more than a politically motivated and brazen attempt to sabotage his campaign."

He denied that Bailey's actions interfered with his judicial impartiality and blamed inadvertent errors for several of the allegations, including that Bailey provided a written testimonial for a political survey company.

The commission is deciding whether to discipline Bailey over claims of conduct "that brings the judicial office into disrepute" and of "willful misconduct in office" — the harshest charge and enough that it could have prompted his removal if he still was on the bench.

One of the allegations is that for a year Bailey improperly used his judgeship to raise funds and promote his candidacy for attorney general. Bailey says that he retired months before filing his formal declaration of candidacy in February and that the board is infringing on his constitutional right to free speech and to run for office.

He is also alleged to have repeatedly ordered defendants to use an electronic monitoring service without disclosing that his son worked at the company providing it or that the company's owner was a friend who worked on his 2008 judicial campaign. The commission also alleges that he ordered a defendant to pay $140 in restitution in 2009 after a letter signed by the judge's son said the man owed that amount for electronic monitoring.

Bailey says he followed the ethics advice of other judges that he did not have to routinely disclose the relationship with his son, and that the owner was a "professional acquaintance" with no real involvement in his campaign. He says the monitoring company was approved by the county probation department, as required by law, and that he arranged to have a second, competing company also provide monitoring services.

Bailey also is accused of accepting hundreds of dollars in gifts between 2009 and 2012, including nearly $350 from a Placerville attorney. The commission says he appointed the same attorney to oversee a case in 2011 at the unusually high rate of $350 an hour to be paid by the defendant, without disclosing the attorney was a friend.

He denied failing to report or falsely reporting travel-related payments and reimbursements, saying he believed all the gifts were permitted.

He also denied that he was showing bias by telling another judge in response to a compliment about a shirt that he got it from a "gay guy" and that "gays really know how to dress."

The hearing before one appellate judge and two Superior Court judges appointed by the state Supreme Court is expected to last until Sept. 14. They then have about 60 days to report their findings to the commission. Both sides may respond to that report in writing and in an oral argument before the commission.

  • Associated Categories: U.S. News, Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top U.S. News short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Supreme Court News, AP Elections, General Election News
© Copyright 2020
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
California attorney general candidate faces ethics panel
GOP candidate for California attorney general is facing an ethics tribunal just two months before the November election
3:27PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Sting operation recovered Dorothy's stolen ruby slippers
A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" were recovered in a sting operation 13 years after a smash-and-grab at a Minnesota museum
3:26PM ( 9 minutes ago )
Prosecutors reject sex abuse cases involving Spacey, Seagal
Los Angeles prosecutors have cited the statute of limitations while saying they won't file sexual assault cases against actors Kevin Spacey and Steven Seagal involving incidents in the early 1990s
3:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Colin Kaepernick's Nike deal prompts flurry of debate online
An endorsement deal between Nike and Colin Kaepernick is prompting a flood of debate online as sports fans react to the apparel giant backing the quarterback
2:58PM ( 37 minutes ago )
The Latest: Parkland victim's father approaches Kavanaugh
A man whose daughter died in the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., tried to shake the hand of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh during a break in Tuesday's confirmation hearing
2:51PM ( 44 minutes ago )
Former Arizona US Sen. Jon Kyl to replace John McCain
Prolonging the uncertainty over who will fill the late John McCain's U.S. Senate seat, the governor of Arizona announced the appointment of former Sen. Jon Kyl but said he has only committed to serve until the end of the year
2:37PM ( 58 minutes ago )
AP National News
Twitter CEO says company isn't biased, wants healthy debate
Twitter's CEO says the company is not biased against Republicans or Democrats, and is working on ways to ensure that debate is healthier on its platform
2:53PM ( 43 minutes ago )
EPA watchdog faults agency for Pruitt's 24/7 security costs
The Environmental Protection Agency's internal watchdog is faulting the agency for spending millions of dollars on around-the-clock security for ex-administrator Scott Pruitt
12:48PM ( 2 hours ago )
Woodward book says Trump aide privately called him 'idiot'
Bob Woodward book on Trump: White House chief of staff privately calls him an "idiot," presidential aides plucked sensitive documents off his desk
12:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
The Latest: Feinstein questions Kavanaugh commitment to Roe
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh fits the mold of the "anti-choice and pro-gun" nominee that President Donald Trump had promised to put forward
11:30AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Grassley rejects Democrats' bid to delay hearing
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has begun giving his opening statements at a hearing for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh after being delayed for over an hour by Democrats
10:57AM ( 4 hours ago )
The Latest: Feinstein describes 'frustration' over documents
The top Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee is describing "frustration" over the confirmation process for Brett Kavanaugh
10:33AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Online Supreme Court News
Fragments found in Brazil museum fire provide some hope
Firefighters found bone fragments from the collection of the still-smoldering National Museum raising hopes that a famed skull might somehow have survived a massive blaze that turned historic and scientific artifacts to ashes
1:23PM ( 2 hours ago )
Major UK union backs calls for new Brexit referendum
One of Britain's biggest trade unions is backing calls for a new public vote on leaving the European Union, saying voters were misled during the 2016 referendum campaign
12:29PM ( 3 hours ago )
Massachusetts' House delegation faces spirited challenges
Several members of the all-Democratic U.S. House delegation in Massachusetts face spirited challenges in Tuesday's primary election
10:28AM ( 5 hours ago )
AP Elections
2018's most volatile candidate (it's Trump) isn't on ballot
Trump loves to take his freewheeling political stylings on the road on behalf of his fellow Republicans and he's raring for the sprint to Nov. 6
10:54PM ( 1 day ago )
Challenge for Congress: Consider Kavanaugh, keep lights on
Keep the government running and confirm Brett Kavanaugh as the next Supreme Court justice. Those are the big-ticket items GOP leaders hope to accomplish as lawmakers look to wrap up their work and head home to campaign for the November elections.
12:38PM ( 2 days ago )
Hackers? No, human error plagues Arizona primary voting
For all the worries about Russian hackers and other cyber-vandals, voting problems this week in Arizona served as a reminder that one of the biggest threats to fair elections is plain old human error
10:24PM ( 5 days ago )
General Election News
Sting operation recovered Dorothy's stolen ruby slippers
A pair of ruby slippers worn by Judy Garland in "The Wizard of Oz" were recovered in a sting operation 13 years after a smash-and-grab at a Minnesota museum
3:26PM ( 10 minutes ago )
Prosecutors reject sex abuse cases involving Spacey, Seagal
Los Angeles prosecutors have cited the statute of limitations while saying they won't file sexual assault cases against actors Kevin Spacey and Steven Seagal involving incidents in the early 1990s
3:26PM ( 11 minutes ago )
The Latest: Kelly says he didn't call Trump an idiot
White House chief of staff John Kelly is denying an account in journalist Bob Woodward's new book that he called Trump an "idiot." Kelly says, "The idea I ever called the president an idiot is not true."
3:18PM ( 18 minutes ago )
Rick Pitino tells AP he knows his coaching days are in past
'I think my time has passed': Rick Pitino tells AP he suspects his coaching days are likely over
3:18PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Republicans hit Trump for criticizing Justice Department
President Donald Trump is encountering bipartisan criticism for complaining that his own Justice Department's indictments against two Republican congressmen are endangering the GOP's midterm election prospects
3:14PM ( 22 minutes ago )