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News Release

Jan. 9, 2020

Burdick for Congress files state & federal complaints against
Rep. Ami Bera for fraudulent campaign marketing practice

Complaints filed with U.S. House Ethics Committee, California Secretary of State

 

SACRAMENTO — On Wednesday, Democratic candidate for Congress Jeff Burdick officially filed complaints against Democratic U.S. Rep. Ami Bera (CA-7) for an ongoing fraudulent and unethical campaign marketing practice that serve to mislead voters in California’s 7th Congressional District.

For several weeks, the home page of Bera’s campaign website BeraForCongress.com has deceptively touted that Bera has been endorsed as the “clear choice” by “The Sacramento Bee Editorial Board for the California 7th Congressional District’s Primary…” The tout is listed immediately under “Latest News” suggesting the endorsement was a recent or breaking news announcement and applies to this year’s primary.

1/31 UPDATE: With mail-in voting starting in just four days, the Bera campaign'has continued its monthlong deception of voters visiting his campaign home page. The home page continues to claim Bera has just been endorsed in this primary by the Sacramento Bee – but this is blatantly false. This despite nearly a month of complaints, reporter inquiries and media coverage including in the Elk Grove Citizen.  


However, The Sacramento Bee has yet to endorse in Burdick and Bera’s race. Plus visitors who click deeper into Bera’s site can learn that the endorsement tout actually does not apply to the current race, but to Bera’s 2018 primary.

“For three years, Democrats in Congress have been fighting to combat the false and deceptive online election practices of Russian bots. How disappointing to see Dr. Bera now serving as his own Russian bot to deceive his constituents this way,” said Burdick, who is the first Democrat to ever primary Bera. “This is clearly not accidental. Bera spends an average of $10,000 a month on web and digital services, and has a paid campaign staff to boot who should be quite familiar with their campaign home page.”

Burdick declared his candidacy June of last year and has made campaign ethics and good government key parts of his platform. For example, he’s taken the nation’s most principled fundraising pledge by refusing donations from PACs, corporations and donors outside his district. In contrast, about 80% of Bera’s nearly $20 million in career donations came from outside the district, including millions from corporations and special interests, according to OpenSecrets.org.

An Arden-Arcade resident, Burdick also created the Good Campaign Oath to pledge candidates to run campaigns of the highest ethical nature. This includes to never engage in illegal, distorting or unethical campaign practices; to quickly report any unlawful or suspect conduct within one’s own campaign or by outsiders – foreign or domestic; and to ensure a harassment-free workplace for all campaign volunteers and staff.

Burdick is also running on a traditional Progressive platform already supported by most Democrats and a majority of independents. This includes Medicare for All, comprehensive drug cost reform, the Green New Deal, and an Election Reform Constitutional Amendment.

 

In Burdick’s complaint to the U.S. House Ethics Committee, he cited Bera’s online deception as violating Rule XXIII, No. 1 of the House’s Code of Official Conduct. This states “a Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.”

In the complaint sent to Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office, Burdick cited Bera for violating California Business and Professions Code 17500 BPC. This defines the crime of false or deceptive advertising to be when a person or company makes false or misleading statements to consumers about the nature of a product or service. Violating this law is a misdemeanor punishable with up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500.

“Blatantly deceptive marketing like this shows what little respect Bera has for his constituents and the sanctity of our election system,” Burdick said. “Unfortunately, this is not out of character for Rep. Bera. His political career features a long history of scandal, ethical misdeeds and questionable campaign fundraising partners.”

The list includes:

 

  • Getting caught plagiarizing parts of speeches and at least one OpEd.

  • His 80-year-old father going to jail for laundering more than a quarter million dollars in illegal campaign donations through Rep. Bera's early campaigns.

  • Once federal investigators revealed their probe to Rep. Bera in Oct. 2015, Bera was legally required to refund or disgorge the illegal donations within 30 days. According to Bera, this did not happen until more than six months later. This let the investigation stay hidden until after the March 7 deadline for opponents to file for the June 10 primary.

  • Bera has accepted many donations from questionable sources, especially for a doctor. This includes taking nearly $50,000 from the largest opioid makers and manufacturersall of which are currently being sued by the County of Sacramento.

 

“The only way we can fix our federal government and make it more answerable to the voters is by electing more principled candidates. Bera has repeatedly failed this test. So this primary, it’s time for Sacramento County voters to make some history by making Bera history,” Burdick said.

Jeff Burdick is a Progressive Democrat and resident of Arden-Arcade. To arrange an interview, call 916-200-5165 or visit BurdickForCongress.com.

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