Chief Justice Ronald George … a Hillary Clinton supporter?
That’s what the FlashReport Web site claimed this morning when it posted “breaking news” — complete with the image of a flashing siren — that California’s top judge had contributed $2,300 to the Hillary Clinton for President campaign in 2008.
It was strange enough to read that the Republican appointee apparently backed a Democratic presidential wannabe. But more troubling was the fact that, if the claim was true, George’s contributions would have violated a state canon barring jurists from donating more than $500 a year to nonjudicial candidates.
The chief justice’s office has now responded: The Federal Elections Commission — and the FlashReport — got the wrong Ron George, his top aide says.
“I can tell you unequivocally, the chief did not do this,” said Beth Jay, George’s principal attorney. George was attending a conference Monday.
FEC filings show a Ronald George of San Francisco making seven contributions to the Clinton campaign totaling a combined $2,300. George’s occupation is listed as “chief justice” and his employer “the state of California.”
But the residential address listed on the disclosure form — a pricey South Beach apartment — is not the chief justice’s, Jay said. So whose is it? A quick search online links a Ronald F. George to that property. The chief justice’s middle name is Marc.
So why does the Clinton campaign filing with the FEC list the donor as the chief justice? FEC spokeswoman Judith Ingram said it wasn’t her agency’s doing.
“We take the reports that the candidate committees provide us and we slap them up on the Web site,” Ingram said. “We don’t do any work on them.”
A possible explanation for the “chief justice” listing could rest with Clinton’s fundraising operation, which was responsible for ensuring that thousands of contributions were reported with accurate donors’ names, addresses and occupations. If a check from Ronald George in San Francisco arrived without his job listing, could someone have Googled the relatively common name and city and come up with … multiple items on the chief justice?