As those of you who have been following Matt Fleischer’s LASD INVESTIGATIONS Dangerous Jails series know, we have received quite a number of requests from people working for (or retired from) the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department asking us to post The Friends of Paul Tanaka campaign contributions lists that we acquired for WitnessLA/the LA Justice Report through public records act requests.
In response to the increasing number of appeals we received, we published the 2008 campaign donations list late last month.
We intended to hold the rest of the lists until Part 5 of Dangerous Jails. However, we decided to go ahead and post 2009 today—mainly because the matter of campaign donations came up at several points in yesterday’s story about the Sheriff’s Department decision to launch an investigation into whether or not retired custody commander Robert Olmsted was blocked from from correcting problems at Men’s Central Jail that he said he repeatedly reported to command staff.
In particular, the story cited Captain Dan Cruz’s 2008 and 2009 donations to then Assistant Sheriff Paul Tanaka’s campaign, and a 2009 donation by Commander Joseph Hartshorne.
For some reason or other, the 2009 list itself is divided into two documents. (And due to a sudden late-night attack of persnicketyness on the part of WLA’s Word Press software, it was easier to post both PDFs at Scribd—and link to them—rather than host them on WLA’s own site. Please forgive the resulting ads)
Here is Part 2.
You’ll note that both Cruz’s and Hartshorne’s names turn up on Page 7 of Part 1 of the 2009 list.
Dan Cruz’s name also appears on the 2008 list.
As reported in Part 3 of Matt Fleischer’s Dangerous Jails series, a long list of department insiders have suggested that there are correlations between LASD promotions and donations to Undersheriff Tanaka’s mayoral campaigns. (The undersheriff also serves as the mayor of the city of Gardena.)
LASD officials deny the possibility, according to the LA Times story on the Olmsted investigation:
Sheriff’s officials, including Hartshorne in his interview with Olmsted, reject the suggestion that small donations affect personnel decisions.
So does the money matter? After all, in some cases, both deputies and supervisors gave only $100 to the undersheriff’s campaign. In other cases, LASD personnel gave a lot more, or they gave multiple times—or both. (In fact, in one intriguing instance we happened to notice in this round of posting, a Sheriff’s department supervisor gave $250 in January 2009, while in December of 2008, the supervisor’s wife gave to the legal limit of $1000.)
Thus what meaning—if any— should we take away from these lists? In future posts, we’ll pull apart the issue in far greater detail.
In the meantime, as always, we welcome the continuing input, tips and thoughts from the men and women—present and former—who serve the people of Los Angeles County wearing the badge of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department.