L.A. Democrats decry outside group's mailer slamming elected officials
The Los Angeles County Democratic Party on Tuesday denounced an outside group's mailer in a hotly contested San Fernando Valley congressional district race. The mailer, sent to Republican voters by Californians for Integrity in Government to support Rep. Brad Sherman in his battle with fellow Democratic Rep. Howard Berman, features three prominent liberal Democrats who are supporting Berman.
"If you love these politicians, then vote for Howard Berman," says the mailer's headline above photos of Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Los Angeles), Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer of California.
Eric Bauman, chairman of the county Democratic Party, released a statement saying his organization "strongly condemns the negative and divisive mailer by the so-called Californians for Integrity in Government.
"This is exactly the reason why we opposed 'super Pacs' and other non-identified independent expenditure committees that feel free to make misleading, nasty, ugly and libelous statements about candidates without restraint."
Some critics saw the mailer as racist, sexist and anti-gay because Waters is black, Boxer is a feminist and Frank is gay.
The Berman campaign on Monday criticized the mailer in an email to supporters seeking donations. "I know your mailbox has been filled with distorted information about Howard, but this one takes the cake," the email began.
The Sherman side also condemned the mailer and pointed it out has no control over actions by groups operating outside the campaign.
Californians for Integrity in Government has spent around $400,000 to oppose Berman and support Sherman, federal records show. Another outside group has raised money to support Berman and oppose Sherman.
Both Democrats are trying to appeal to Republican voters as well as their own base.
-- Jean Merl
Photo: Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman, left, and Howard Berman at a candidates forum earlier this year. Credit: Genaro Molina / Los Angeles Times