Embattled City Attorney Carmen Trutanich feigned confidence when told that the two leading contenders for his job have raised substantial funds towards their campaigns to take the position he did not want last month.
Termed-out State Assemblyman Mike Feuer reports raising $650,000 towards his fight to win the office he narrowly lost to Rocky Delgadillo twelve years ago, while Police Rights Attorney Greg Smith has $200,000 on hand as he ramps up his campaign.
Trutanich, who now seems to be able to talk the the media, told the LA Daily News that he does not feel any pressure at this point to begin raising money for his re-election campaign. 'The one thing I learned (in the district attorney's race) is that money doesn't get you elected,' Trutanich said. 'Only God and doing your job can do that.' Trutanich made no mention of when, or even if, he will try to raise money for his re-election campaign, as he probably has to figure out who will support his re-election bid.
Former supporter District Attorney Steve Cooley is unlikely to support Trutanich's re-election having seen how recklessly Trutanich threw away all the political goodwill he had built by reneging on his 'Pledge to Serve' in an ego-driven bid to become DA.
Equally, Sheriff Lee Baca, one of Trutanich's principal supporters in his failed DA campaign, may be both unwilling and unable to support Trutanich's re-election. Baca is probably still smarting from being labeled a law-breaker thanks to Trutanich's ignorance of a state law that prohibited Baca from endorsing Trutanich in uniform. But even if Baca is willing to forgive and forget Trutanich's stupidity, Baca has already endorsed City Attorney candidate Mike Feuer and has agreed to serve as his Campaign Co-Chair, so it's unlikely (but not unheard of) that Baca will try to dance at both parties.
Without Cooley, Baca or someone of a similar stature, Trutanich is left without a strong law enforcement supporter for his re-election campaign, and that probably presents Trutanich will the biggest problem of all. Having rolled the dice and lost, it seems that nobody is willing to double-down and back Trutanich again.
It is also highly likely that Trutanich will not be able to raise anything close to the amount of money needed to compete for City Attorney. He taped out most of his sources for funds in his failed DA campaign, and many will now see him as the likely loser to Feuer or Smith, and keep their check books shut. Additionally, many of those who contributed to his DA campaign may be prevented from contributing to his City Attorney campaign because of Measure H; a city ordinance that prohibits businesses who contract with the City of LA from making campaign donations to elected officials.
Given the practical problems that Trutanich faces toward fundraising, his statement that 'he does not feel any pressure at this point to begin raising money' is probably untrue. The reality is more likely that he is under tremendous pressure, but has no plan of action because failure appears to be the only option with or without money, just as in his failed DA campaign.
The same also applies to Trutanich's lack of concern over not having a campaign manager. With John Shallman now firmly committed to Mike Feuer and Greg Smith about to announce the appointment of a campaign strategist who probably knows more about the skeletons in Trutanich's closet than Shallman, Trutanich's statement that 'he doesn't feel any pressure to hire a campaign consultant,' is probably also untrue, as is the laughable notion that 'he is considering several potential candidates.'
The reality for Trutanich is that he is in something of a Catch 22 situation when it comes to campaign consultants. Few will want to be associated with a doomed campaign of a proven liar, and those who do, will only take on the job for all the cash they can squeeze out of Trutanich. Which takes us back to that other thorny little problem Trutanich has (or hasn't) about fundraising. It will cost him a lot of cash to hire a top line consultant, assuming he can find one who is willing to risk damaging their reputation by association with him. At the moment, Trutanich doesn't have any cash for his City Attorney campaign, and may have debts to retire from his failed DA campaign.
But if raising money to hire a campaign consultant is not an option, Trutanich could instead use City resources to provide alternative funding. The recent 'retirement' of Trutanich's Public Information Officer, John Franklin, could provide Trutanich with the opportunity to hire someone to replace Franklin who would actually be paid by taxpayers, but work on his political campaign. Although that would appear to be in violation of City Ethics laws, Trutanich has historically shown scant regard for those laws. He appears to use LAPD as a limo service to ferry him to and from campaign events, as well as in the production of his ill-fated 'True Stories' DA campaign docu-drama.
But beyond Trtuanich's apparent free use of City resources for his political campaigns, it does appear that Trutanich actually uses taxpayer funds to pay for political staff. For the third year now, Trutanich has used City funds to pay Dan Raskov $4,4175.00 a month (under Contract C-116687) to source 'Grants and Alternative Funding,' for the City Attorney's Office.
It is unclear whether in three years Raskov has actually 'sourced' any such funding, however, given Trutanich's propensity to issue press releases at the drop of a hat, you can be reasonably sure that if Raskov had actually found a grant or 'alternative funding' for the City Attorney's Office, there would have been a press release about it. There is none. So what does Raskov actually do for Trutanich?
It does appear that Raskov is closely connected to Trutanich's political campaigns. In November 2011, when Trutanich ducked the first District Attorney forum, Raskov was spotted in the audience taking notes, presumably to report back to Trutanich.
In January 2012, Raskov was named as Trutanich's campaign manager in a questionnaire submitted to the ADDA.
While it is technically possible for Raskov to wear two hats, work for the City of LA sourcing 'Grants and Alternative Funding' without success for three years, and in his spare time work for Trutanich's political campaigns, the odd thing is that campaign finance reports submitted by the Carmen Trutanich for District Attorney Campaign have so far failed to list any payment to Raskov for his services.
There is, of course, always the possibility that there is an innocent explanation, and now that Trutanich has broken his self-imposed media blackout and is taking to the press, perhaps he will offer that explanation. We won't hold our breath.
Trutanich's comments to the Daily News shows he has learned nothing from the drubbing he received at the polls on June 5. What cost him the election was, primarily, his untenable position as a liar who reneged on his sworn 'Pledge to Serve,' and then ran a campaign that came up with a new lie almost every week. Trutanich is the personification of that adage 'How can you tell when a politician isn't lying? His lips don't move.' He continues to make statements that are not just implausible, but are frankly insulting because they show that Trutanich really thinks we are stupid enough to buy what he is selling.