The California Fair Political Practices Commission charged today that top aides of California Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr. lied, covered up and destroyed evidence of unauthorized political activity by Brown's office in an attempt to thwart an investigation by the commission.
The devastating report by the commission, created by an initiative written by Brown's office in 1974 when he was secretary of state, did not name Brown as a target. The FPPC said it found "insufficient evidence" to warrant any formal commission enforcement action, but asked the Sacramento and Los Angeles district attorneys office to look into the destruction of evidence and the possibility one aide may have perjured herself.
In addition, the FPPC charged, Brown's top legal adviser, Bryon Georgiou, and Georgiou's assistant, Mo Jourdane, were being referred to the California Bar Association for investigation of violation of ethical rules governing conduct of attorneys.
Brown's press secretary, Carri Beauchamp, said the governor would have no immediate comment.
However, the FPPC's findings appeared to spell trouble for Brown's all-but-announced plans to run next year for the Senate seat now held by Republician S. I. Hayakawa.
The story began in December when the Los Angeles Times reported Brown's office, through what was called the "outreach program," was setting up a comprehensive political operation to compile extensive lists of political supporters at state expense.
Brown and his chief of staff, Gray Davis, denied the charges. However, Brown's Los Angeles political operation later repaid the state about $2,000 for use of the computer.
The FPPC began its seven-month investigation in December. But, the report stated, Brown's aides stonewalled, refused to come up with documents or altered them.
Much of the commission's investigation centered around Lynn Sante, a state member of Brown's correspondence unit.
Sante allegedly cut the bottom off two memoranda describing the outreach program before the documents were given to the commission.
The commission also charged that 3,000 3 x 5 cards were destroyed after being shipped to Brown's Los Angeles political office. The cards contained names and addresses of individuals who had written Brown's office on various subjects.
The correspondents allegedly were described by what Sante's memos called "effectiveness status," such as "major opinion leaders," "hard workers," "helpful," "minimally useful" and "not always helpful." They also were cross-referenced by "support status" for mailing lists as "prospects," "supporters" or "volunteers."