Despite an assertion in this week’s Santa Ynez Valley Journal — a newspaper owned by staunch Steve Pappas supporter Nancy Crawford-Hall — that District Attorney Joyce Dudley was sitting on state recommendations for felony prosecutions related to the 2008 3rd District Supervisorial race, both Dudley and the Secretary of State’s office said no such recommendations had been sent as of Friday morning.
A small item with no byline in the paper, under the headline “Dudley, do right” — and not listed as opinion — says Dudley is “sitting on a package of felony election code violations strongly recommended for prosecution by the State of California Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit.” The blurb doesn’t mention a reference to a particular election, however.
“We know [the recommendations] have been there for a while,” the article goes on to say, and also suggests there is a statute of limitations that runs out in November.
But Paul Rutledge, chief investigator for the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit, told Dudley in an email Friday morning his office had not forwarded any case to the DA’s office. “As of today, August 19, 2011, the Secretary of State’s Election Fraud Investigation Unit has not referred any case to the Santa Barbara District Attorney’s office regarding the Doreen Farr/Steve Pappas election for the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors,” Rutledge wrote.
Jim Luksic, editor for the Valley Journal, said the box “came from the publisher, and I follow her instructions.” For any further information, he said, email Crawford-Hall. She has not responded to an email sent Friday. Dudley requested both a correction and an apology from the paper Monday.
Crawford-Hall has poured more than $400,000 into Steve Pappas’s campaign for the 3rd District seat, which he lost by 806 votes out of less than 36,000 cast ballots, a fairly substantial margin when it comes to county election races. He filed a contest to the election, alleging massive voter fraud in 18 UCSB and Isla Vista precincts which, if thrown out, would make him the victor. But Pappas lost badly at every court level, and on Tuesday, Judge Colleen Sterne said Pappas owed Farr in excess of $700,000 in attorneys’ fees. The Valley Journal did not report on this decision.
In February, Pappas sent out a press release alleging a “criminal element” in the case, pushing a report from the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department, which he says contains proof fraud was committed. “It’s factual,” Pappas said in an interview with The Independent earlier this year. “It happened.” The report, which was provided by Pappas and is mostly redacted, has one line that states “there appears to be evidence that numerous violations of the California Elections Code took place.”
Crawford-Hall has also alleged voter fraud in her weekly Valley Journal columns, and has promised for months to unveil evidence behind the allegations, but thus far has not done so publicly.