(CN) – A San Diego voter has sued Assemblyman Todd Gloria, accusing him of illegally using donations from his Assembly re-election campaign to pay for his run for the mayor’s office.
In a lawsuit filed Monday against Gloria and the San Diego County Democratic Party, voter Mat Wahlstrom claims Gloria transferred money raised during his last Assembly run to a new committee before declaring his intentions to run for re-election in 2020 and while he was already running for mayor.
Wahlstrom says the transfer from “Todd Gloria for Assembly 2018” to “Todd Gloria for Assembly 2020” this past March amounted to nearly $294,000. It wasn’t until August that he filed the necessary paperwork to launch a 2020 Assembly bid.
However, when a San Diego reporter wrote a story about Gloria filing the paperwork to run for re-election in Assembly District 78, Gloria’s campaign spokesman Nick Serrano responded to a tweet from the reporter and wrote, “Nothing has changed, Ken. Todd is running for mayor.”
Wahlstrom says Gloria then announced on social media on Aug. 14: “I am not running for the Assembly; I am running for Mayor.” Gloria then claimed he was only keeping his Assembly committee open to carry out the responsibilities of his office and called the filings mentioned in the newspaper story corrections to “administrative oversight,” according to the complaint.
“Gloria has been soliciting and accepting donations into his Assembly 2020 committee with the intent to use that money, either directly or indirectly, to support his campaign for the office of mayor of the city of San Diego in 2020,” Wahlstrom says in this complaint.
“Gloria and at least one member of SDCDP’s [San Diego County Democratic Party] executive committee agreed, prior to the filing of this lawsuit, that if Gloria transfers money from his Assembly 2020 campaign to SDCDP, SDCDP will use the money to support Gloria’s campaign for the office of mayor of the city of San Diego in 2020,” Wahlstrom adds.
In an email, Serrano called Wahlstrom’s lawsuit “baseless” and “politically motivated.”
Wahlstrom wants a judge to declare that Gloria is illegally financing his campaign for the mayor’s office and to bar Gloria from using any money from the “Assembly 2020” committee for his mayoral run.
He is represented by David Kenney of Kenney & Kropff in Pico Rivera, California.
Kenney has also asked both the San Diego County district attorney and the FBI to investigate.
San Diego County Democratic Party chair Will Rodriguez-Kennedy calls the allegations in the complaint an “ill-fated attempt” to undermine the party.
“The allegations made against our party are simply false and appear to be eleventh-hour mudslinging in a political conflict in which our party has not yet taken a position,” said Rodriguez-Kennedy in a statement.
“Our party engages voters and elects Democrats to advance equality, opportunity, sustainability and prosperity for all,” Rodriguez-Kennedy continues. “We will vigorously defend our constitutionally protected, First Amendment right to advance the principles and policies of the 653,493 Democrats that we have been elected to represent.”
Gloria’s campaign did not respond to emails and phone calls seeking comment by press time.