A politician’s life is fraught with potential conflicts of interest, from a mundane city council dilemma such as “every road in the city is about to get re-paved and my neighbors have asked me to make sure our street goes first – gulp” all the way to “a zillionaire has said she can donate $3.4 million to my spouse’s ‘Fashion for Fish’ non-profit if I oppose plans for a new airport down the street from her house – hmm.”
These everyday tensions are magnified in certain elected positions, chief among them Attorney General.
Without question, in the course of the term of office, situations will present themselves that may be legally required to be addressed but potentially politically damaging and vice-versa. Considering the history of the office – being Attorney General has been a crucial stepping stone to the Governor’s office, with more than half of our recent governor’s having held the spot – significantly raises the political advantage/personal gain bar (as it were).
Hence today’s question:
An Attorney General is an elected official, but unlike many other such electeds has very specific tasks to complete and constructs to abide by, some of which may be either personally disagreeable or politically damaging. As the office has shown itself as a “launching pad” for larger political careers, how would you approach this tension between public duty and private gain?
Anne Marie Schubert:
I don’t acknowledge there will be such a tension for me. I’m not a politician. I’m a career prosecutor. I will enforce California’s laws and lead the fight to pass laws that will make communities safer and hold criminals accountable.
As Attorney General, I will follow the law and protect and defend the Constitution and our great citizens of California. The Attorney General answers to the People and not to the Governor, and I will do just that. To the extent I am required to follow a constitutional law to which I do not agree, I will follow the law.
I’m not a career politician. I’m not trying to use the position as a launching pad for a political career. After my term in office, I will go back to defending those caught up in the criminal justice system, including animal rights activists whose prosecutions violate the First Amendment. Moreover, I am not taking a dime from special interest groups. As such, there is no tension between public duty and private gain.
I am running for Attorney General because I feel I am uniquely qualified to hold this position, having worked on all sides of the courtroom as a federal prosecutor, US Assistant Attorney General, judge’s law clerk, defense attorney, civil litigator and appellate lawyer. I have spent over 30+ years in the criminal justice system and believe when prosecutors are committed to JUSTICE and not personal political gain, it is the best system in the world. This is not a steppingstone for me to achieve higher political ambition. I see this role, and the service I could provide to the State of California in the Attorney General’s Office, as the culmination of my career and what would be the honor of my life.
Attorney General Rob Bonta:
Where to begin?
As noted, the same group fighting the recall of George Gascon and Chesa Boudin have flooded Bonta’s and his wife’s campaign coffers.
And Bonta’s campaign gave money a “non-profit” his wife once ran – https://calmatters.org/projects/california-political-legislative-nonprofits-rob-bonta-wife/
And then there was her oddly-timed elevation on the Alameda school board:
And her taking over his former Assembly seat upon his rise to Attorney General:
I think we get the picture.
Author’s Note – The “Fashion for Fish” non-profit is not envisioned as hosting a gala event to raise money to protect the endangered whatever but to actually dress fish in period costumes, put said fish in tanks, and drive them from school to school to teach children the history of the textile industry – if I were a Sacramento husband, don’t you think I could raise money for that?
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