It must be campaign season. How else do you explain Jerry Brown's recent fascination with investigations and allegations announced with lots of media in tow and advantageously timed to benefit traditional Democratic constituencies and issues? There is no doubt that the Brown campaign committee and political advisors are strategically planning the roll-out of official attorney general "investigations" to maximize public attention and perception. But what is most troubling about Jerry Brown's use of the Attorney General's office to campaign for his return to the governor's mansion is that his cavalier press conferences, media interviews and announced investigations are only chasing Democratic political issues while ignoring real public safety concerns. Brown has turned the Attorney General's Office into a political machine with subpoena power -- and Republicans and their allies are the target.
In the month of April alone, Brown has launched investigations to embarrass Sarah Palin, aggressively promote union membership, clear ACORN of criminal activities, play catch-up on the Wall Street scandal by trumping up charges against Wall Street giant Moody's, go after an oil company politically active in defeating California's new green house gas emissions law, and grab headlines on issues ranging from home foreclosures to former child star Corey Haim's death. In just one month, Brown has shown that his race for governor starts by using his legal office to help traditional Democratic allies beat back their opponents. The tactics Jerry Brown is using and the public position he is abusing leaves the public with no other choice but to ask Brown to give up his position as the top law enforcement official in California if he is to run an honest campaign for governor.
Brown has promoted his investigation of Sarah Palin's speech at California State University Stanislaus nationwide in an attempt to raise campaign money from Democrats across the U.S. By using the Attorney General's office to investigate the Democrat's favorite villain, Brown has turned the AG's office into his political fundraising operation. It just isn't credible for Brown to suggest that Palin's speech contract deserves the scrutiny of the top law enforcement agency in California -- no matter what the details of the contract are. Brown's hyperbolic and emotional rants on the issue just don't pass the straight-face test.
Brown has also taken aim at a Texas based oil company that recently launched an initiative in California to stop a state greenhouse gas bill from taking effect in 2012. Valero is leading the challenge to AB 32, an anti-business bill passed in 2006 that will force California businesses to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% with costly mandatory caps beginning in 2012. With environmentalists and union leaders aggressively supporting AB 32, Brown has gone after their opponent, Valero, who is trying to overturn the law by taking the controversial issue to the people through a statewide ballot initiative.
This month, Brown also launched various "investigations" of construction companies that union leaders love to hate. The California Labor Federation, a consortium of 1,200 unions, has been a loud vocal supporter of Brown's campaign and Brown has happily returned the favor. This is no unbiased union doing the due diligence work of its union members. The union's website uses the same verbiage as the Brown campaign and covers the same messages, including the exact same lame charges leveled against Brown's opponent. The obvious quid-pro-quo support appears with Brown's multiple "investigations" launched against construction companies who don't support union rules, including two drywall contractors this month alone. The message is clear - either you help Democrats and their allies, or you face possible "investigations" from AG Brown.
Another recent target is Moody's Corporation, the Wall Street rating agency. Why Moody's? Look no further than Brown's own press release, which reads: "Moody's is one of the most profitable companies in the country. It had the highest profit margin of any company in the S&P 500 in the years leading up to 2008 - higher than Google or Microsoft..." In a lame -- and late -- attempt to seize headlines by grabbing a piece of the Wall Street scandal, Brown launches a political "investigation" of a Wall Street giant to support the latest Democratic talking points. Brown's cavalier language when talking about his recent "investigations" is so outrageous and laced with mis-information and unfounded charges that his characterizations are best left on the political stage. The over-the-top language should not be used by methodical and factual law enforcement officials. In an all-out final push to restore his political family's glory and return to the Governor's office, Brown has turned his current Attorney General's office into an aggressive partisan shop where supporters' favor is curried through subpoenas and innuendos.
The business community is being bullied by Brown and his team through Chicago-style politics. If Jerry Brown wants to restore California to its golden days, then he should start by stepping down as attorney general and giving the citizens confidence that the highest law enforcement official in the state will not also be running for governor at the same time.