Seems You Can’t Talk about Racist Politics in OC without Mentioning Dave Gilliard


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Orange Juice Blog, I have failed you this time — but now I’m going to try to undo some of the damage.

Two pictures of GOP uber-consultant Dave Gilliard, the smaller one done four ways

I found exactly two pictures of Dave Gilliard by searching the internet. He must not like being photographed. This makes me sad, so I’ve tossed in some different artistic renderings to show him how much fun it could be.

Former Assembly candidate John MacMurray of La Habra posted an excellent first comment to my piece of the latest racist Ed Royce atrocity mailed out to voters about Jay Chen.  (Scroll down past the story — as usual for my writing it may take you a minute or two — to see his comment.)  The comment included some material on racist vote suppression by Ed Royce’s go-to consultant Dave Gilliard, he of the friendly faces above.  I say “hey, John, you should write us a story on that!”  And, sometime later, I had a a sense of an odd sound-that-was-not-a-sound, perhaps the psychic trace of a genteel man to my northwest looking at his computer monitor and saying “Ahem.”

Shortly thereafter, an e-mail arrived with a link to a piece that MacMurray had posted a couple of weeks ago in the LA Progressive.  He had actually written it for us, but I had lost track of it, couldn’t find it, and then said for him to send it out as he saw fit.  I had forgotten that it was the Dave Gilliard story.  (DAMN IT!  I REALLY WANTED THAT ONE!)

You can read the whole thing, entitled “Orange County GOP Big on Voter Suppression, Too,” at the link.  The least they deserve is some clicks over it.  I’ll quote four paragraphs or so of fair use and then move on to my other surprising discovery.

Much of the story focuses on the “gone-to-jail-but-not-forgotten” Tan Nguyen and his voter suppression escapades in 2006.  (Did you know that Richard Nixon impersonator Tom Fuentes himself was Tan’s campaign manager in 2006?  If not, that’s because you haven’t clicked that link!)  But then MacMurray segues into something of great current interest:

For sheer brass it would be hard to top Curt Pringle’s 1988 escapade in the 72nd AD where his campaign sent private security guards in blue uniforms to “supervise” voting in Hispanic precincts. The blue-uniformed guards carried signs in English and Spanish warning non-citizens not to vote, and were seen writing down voters’ license plate numbers. In some instances, the guards sat behind tables with poll workers and at least one of the guards was observed handling voters’ ballots.

Pringle was running a tight race against Democrat Christian Thierbach and in fact only won by 843 votes of the 66,831 votes cast.

Pringle consultant Carlos Rodriguez was quoted as saying, “I’m not sure we would have won” without the guards. Rodriguez, along with another Pringle consultant David Gilliard, was blamed by then-OC GOP Chairman Tom Fuentes for hiring the guards and for hiring a sign company to place signs reading “Thank You Curt Pringle” in predominantly white areas and bilingual signs saying “Non Citizens Can’t Vote” in largely Latino areas.

After the FBI investigated, it all ended up being settled in a civil lawsuit for $480,000, $400,000 of which were paid by the OC GOP.

You probably didn’t click the link in that story above either, did you?  Here, let me give you a taste.  It was the 67th Assembly District, 1995:

Pringle’s office orchestrated the scheme to draft [supposed Democratic candidate Laurie Campbell to siphon votes from the main opponent of Scott R. Baugh, the Republican leadership's candidate, she said. She testified that the plan was carried out with the help of young aides to Pringle and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach).

"They got pushed by Pringle's people to do it," Campbell testified under oath. "I don't know who it was, but whoever holds the money, some big campaign donators, made some calls. . . . And those people called Pringle's office. . . . And [Pringle's office] said, ‘You better get it done.’ ”

One of the big donors she identified was Howard F. Ahmanson Jr., heir to a Los Angeles banking fortune who lives in Orange County and who contributes heavily to conservative Christian candidates. Ahmanson gave $40,000 to Baugh’s campaign.

Campbell said that much of what she knows about the GOP plan was revealed to her by Baugh, who she said took her into his confidence after the election.

Baugh was charged with two felony perjury counts and 11 misdemeanor violations of the Campaign Reform Act, including purposely misreporting tens of thousands of dollars in contributions and loans.  Baugh ultimately had to pay a civil fine of $47,900.  As Republicans who have since made him Party Chair might have said: “cheap at twice the price!”

(Note to the OC Weekly people taking swipes at Larry Agran for supposedly enticing Katherine Daigle into the Irvine Mayor’s race: that is what real corruption looks likeand you should learn to tell the difference.)

But that’s not all!

In looking for a photo of Dave Gilliard to illustrate this story, I came across another story — one by former publisher Art Pedroza in this very Orange Juice Blog.  And it’s worth reading!  Because Art sold the whole thing to Vern nine months after it appeared, I get to reproduce the whole thing here!

I am not a fan of Republican political consultant Dave Gilliard.  Not one bit.

Gilliard is good at winning campaigns when his candidate has great odds.  He is not known for winning with underdog candidates. 

He often designs mailers that cannot be called anything but racist.  He has done this for a lot of Orange County Republicans, including Supervisor Janet Nguyen and State Senator Mimi Walters….

This week it all caught up with him as Gilliard’s Northern California office was raided by a bunch of Riverside County investigators, at the behest of Riverside County District Attorney Rod Pacheco, according to the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

In November, Pacheco’s office announced a 155-count indictment alleging that nine people, including four of the five San Jacinto City Council members, conspired to skirt campaign contribution limits and funnel money into the 2006 Assembly candidacy of San Jacinto Councilman Jim Ayres. 

Gilliard has immense pull in Sacramento.  If he doesn’t like you he can singlehandedly shut off your funding.  He has done this over the years to great effect.

The obvious question however is whether Pacheco really has a case, or is he playing politics?

The Press-Enterprise notes that the case at the heart of the investigation involves political attacks in 2008, on Russ Bogh, who lost to Gilliard’s client, John Benoit, who is now a candidate for the State Senate.  Bogh is a close friend of Pacheco.

In spring 2008, Stephen R. Holgate, an Inland developer and former CHP officer, largely bankrolled a pro-Benoit campaign committee called Conservative Leaders of America, giving it $100,000.

Almost all of the advertising money went through Gilliard Blanning. The KAL Group, the committee’s treasurer, was paid about $2,000.

Fair enough.  Pacheco might just be looking to get revenge for Bogh.  But what if the case is legit?

Gilliard is currently the campaign consultant for Tustin Councilman Jerry Amante, who is running for the 70th Assembly District, and Fullerton Councilman Shawn Nelson, who is running for the 4th Supervisorial District.

I was most upset when Nelson hired Gilliard and can only hope that he will dump him now that he has a decent excuse to do so.

By the way, I had to laugh when I saw that Gilliard describes himself as a “Republican-Libertarian” on his Facebook page.  You have to check out his “Facebook Friends.”  They include: Adam Probolsky; Bert Ashland (an O.C. lobbyist who was appointed to a County Commission by Supervisor Janet Nguyen); Brandon Powers (who allegedly gave the infamous Duvall sex comment audio tape to Jon Fleischman); Curt Pringle; Dana Rohrabacher; Diane Harkey; Prop. 8 instigator Jeff Flint; Jeff Miller (who used to employ Brandon Powers – and who was the guy Duvall was talking to about sex with lobbyists); Jon Dumitru (aka the Turtle Eater); Jon Fleischman; Ken Lopez Maddox; Laura “Mrs. Jerbal” Cunningham; Mark Denny; Martin Wisckol, who pimps for Red County and the Liberal OC over at the O.C. Register; Michelle Steel; Mimi Walters; Phil Paule; Rhonda Rohrabacher, who was once busted for political dirty tricks as well; appointed O.C. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens; Shawn Fago; Tim Shaw (who used to work for Supervisor Janet Nguyen and now works for State Senator Bob Huff); and Tony Strickland.  The only one missing was Jerbal himself!

I surely hope Gilliard goes down in this investigation…

I’m not one to judge people by their Facebook friends — hell, I accepted a friend request from Adam Probolsky, because why not? — but I so like the first half of the story, especially the part that I put into orange boldface.

The problem is that after the original Press-Enterprise story on the raid, I can’t find anything more recent about it.  Art clearly thought that it was pretty serious.  Anyone know what happened?

We look forward to learning more about the alleged source of the racist attacks on Jay Chen — other than they would evidently fit right in with his modus operandi.  (Anyone on staff want to try to interview him?)


About Greg Diamond

Worker's rights attorney now moving into "good governance" litigation. North Vice Chair of Democratic Party of Orange County and occasional candidate. Proud to be prolix. Unless otherwise specifically stated, his writings never speak for the Democratic Party at the local, county, state, national, or galactic level. He tries to either suppress or openly acknowledge his partisan, issue, ideological, and "good government" biases in most of his writing here. If you have a question about any particular writing, just ask him about it and (unless you are an pseudonymous troll) he will probably answer you at painful length. He lives in Brea but generally doesn't blog about it. A family member works as a campaign treasurer for Wendy Gabriella in AD-73; he doesn't directly profit from that relatively small compensation and it doesn't affect his coverage. He does advise some campaigns informally and without compensation, although in 2014 he may receive some compensation for campaign consulting and fundraising for the campaign of Jorge Lopez for Orange County Assessor.