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Brown expands Bell probe, vowing to 'turn over every rock'

August 9, 2010 | 10:03 am

Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown said Monday that his office is expanding its investigation into the Bell salary scandal, promising to “turn every rock over” after receiving complaints of voter fraud.

“We’re finding out that Bell, not only are they paying their city manager more than the president, but there’s people coming forward talking about voter fraud, that some of the councilmen had policemen and others come and pick up absentee ballots, which you’re not supposed to do,” Brown told "Good Day L.A." “We haven’t nailed it down but we’re asking people to come forward, let us know if you have some reports about illegality in the city of Bell.”

Brown announced the creation of a hotline for citizens to report voter fraud at a news conference at his Los Angeles office this morning.

Brown, who is also the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, pledged a “top-to-bottom review” of how local governments determine public employees’ salaries, and he blasted the state pension system for failing to blow the whistle when it discovered the excesses at Bell.

“We see it in business. We saw the bonuses on Wall Street,” Brown said. “Greed is there, and if you don’t have scrutiny, if you don’t have people watching, people do bad things.”

He added: “We are going to turn every rock over in Bell that we can. I think this is not legal. It’s a waste of public funds. How do they do this? To me, it looks like they have, shall we say, breathed together. That’s what conspire means.”

In other news, Brown said he supports a ballot measure that would allow the Legislature to pass a budget with a simple majority. He said that though the current two-thirds requirement “keeps a lot of garbage off the governor’s desk,” Republicans use it for political horse trading.

“The majority vote will level the playing field,” he said.

-- Michael J. Mishak in Sacramento

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