Category: AD-38

AD-38: Patricia McKeon Has Received Washington Defense Lobbyist Money for California Assembly Race


Republican Assembly candidate Patricia McKeon, wife of Rep. Buck McKeon, Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee and Simi Valley GOP Activist/Consultant Steve Frank

Looks like pay to play to me. And, the lobbyist has not been very smart about it either.

Recent disclosures reveal that a federal lobbyist with ties to Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., the senior member of the committee overseeing the Pentagon, provided financial support to McKeon’s wife, who is seeking a seat in the California Assembly this year. As defense industry lobbyists scramble to head off looming cuts in the Pentagon budget, they are looking for new ways to ingratiate themselves with McKeon.

Patricia McKeon, Buck’s wife, surprised many when she announced her intention last September to run for an open seat that largely overlaps her husband’s district. One of the first reported contributions to her campaign came from a political committee called the Fund for American Opportunity, registered to a post office box in Washington, D.C., that donated $1,000. The fund, which is financed by a number of corporations including the drug industry trade association PhRMA, is owned and operated by Mark Valente, a Beltway lobbyist.

The contribution, reported here for the first time, appears to be an effort to circumvent federal campaign limits. Federal campaign disclosures show that Valente has already maxed out in donations to Rep. McKeon this cycle, having given $2,500 to his campaign for Congress. And the contribution came within a day of Valente’s donation to Patricia’s campaign for the California Assembly.

Then, there is the ethics issue of Mrs. McKeon receiving over $ 500K in salary from her husband’s Congressional campaign committee.

For the last 10 years, Buck McKeon made Patricia McKeon his highest-paid campaign staffer, an arrangement that ethics experts have criticized as an invitation for corruption. In 2007, a report exposed the fact that Patricia McKeon was by far the highest-compensated family member of the few members of Congress employing relatives for their campaigns.

A review of campaign documents by Salon found that, counting reimbursements for food and travel, the McKeon campaign committee has paid Patricia over $547,584 since 2001.

I think the Federal Elections Commission/FBI will soon be investigating the Mark Valente contribution.

As far as her receipt of monies from her husband’s campaign account, she had better account for her salary, because she is bound to be asked about it in a debate.


AD-38: Scott Wilk Vs. Patricia or Is It Rep. Buck McKeon?


Rep. Buck McKeon and Scott Wilk

This California Assembly race REALLY is a FAMILY FEUD. The National Journal has the story.

A sleepy race for a California Legislature seat is turning into a fractious family feud that pits a former top staffer to Buck McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the powerful House Armed Services Committee, against the congressman’s wife.

“Actually,” said Scott Wilk, McKeon’s district director from 2001 to 2006, “she’s running against me.” He insisted he was in the contest first. 

So it has been in the bitter early going of a Republican primary still five months away but already splintering longtime allies of McKeon, who has served in the House since 1993. The fight has now devolved into the personal.

Wilk said the congressman didn’t call to inform him that Patricia McKeon would challenge him for the California Assembly seat. Instead, the lawmaker dispatched an aide to Wilk’s home at 9 p.m. to break the news, Wilk said. This, after Wilk’s family had donated $6,000 to McKeon’s campaign committee over the last five years.

“I started laughing because honestly that’s a scenario that never crossed my mind,” Wilk said. “Her political acumen stops at seating charts.”

Wilk, 52, is a longtime political staffer who serves on his local community college board, has been chief of staff to two state legislators, and made an aborted run for the Assembly in the mid-1990s. Patricia McKeon, 69, has been a “full-time mother” (of six), president of a local PTA, and a community volunteer, according to a letter she sent to supporters. She’s been married to Buck McKeon for 49 years.

There is little doubt that Scott Wilk is the most qualified candidate in this race. I have known Scott for years, especially well when he worked for California State Senator Ed Davis and then for Assemblywoman Paula Boland.

Rep. Tom McClintock has endorsed Scott and that will carry a lot of weight in the Simi Valley portion of the Assembly District.

Rep. McKeon has already thrown his considerable weight behind his wife’s run. He hosted a fundraiser for her last fall in Washington, blocks from the Capitol.
“His main role has been that of a supportive husband,” said Alissa McCurley, the congressman’s spokeswoman. Patricia McKeon and her campaign declined to comment for this story. Wilk said they are running a purposefully stealthy campaign.

“The congressman has told people in the district that he plans to lock her in the room, raise all of her money, and win it on her name ID,” Wilk said.

But, why would Patricia McKeon, who has NO political experience and whose husband will be in D.C. serving in Congress want to live and work in Sacramento full time?

Looks like to me that Wilk is running for the California Assembly against his former boss, the Congressman. Can you hold two seats at the same time?

Here is a photo of Patricia McKeon at the Tony Strickland for Congress announcement.

Patricia McKeon and former Ventura County Sheriff Bob Brooks


AD-38: Scott Wilk for Assembly Announces More Local Leaders on Campaign Team


After the flap with Senator Tony Strickland the other day, one would think that this would be the end of the story on Scott Wilk’s endorsements. I guess that perception is wrong.

From the press release:

Today, Republican Assembly candidate Scott Wilk announced a growing list of local leaders endorsing his campaign for State Assembly.

Simi Valley City Councilman Glen Becerra, former Simi Valley Mayor Bill Davis, Castaic Lake Water Agency Directors William Pecsi and Peter Kavounas, Whittaker-Bermite Citizens Advisory Committee Chairman Glo Donnelly, and Santa Clarita Valley community leaders Harold and Jacqulyn Peterson have pledged their support to the Wilk for Assembly campaign.

“It’s very exciting to build a coalition of community leaders as important as the one coming together in support of my campaign,” said Wilk.  “I’ve worked very hard in the community and to get this kind of recognition from these leaders is humbling, but also very inspiring.  It makes me work that much harder to continue to deserve their support.”

“The leaders recognize the challenges facing our state and the failures of the state legislature to create an environment that encourages economic growth and job creation,” continued Wilk.  “As a small businessman myself, I recognize the challenges but I also have the experience needed to find solutions to these challenges.”

Wilk’s website is here.

Simi Valley City Councilman Glen Becerra


AD-38: Scott Wilk Releases California State Senator Tony Strickland from Endorsement


Santa Clarita Community College Trustee Scott Wilk

This is an interesting development and I have to say I have never seen this before – a candidate for office releasing a POL from his endorsement.

On the heels of his announcement to run for Congress, state Sen. Tony Strickland is no longer endorsing Scott Wilk in his bid for the state’s 38th Assembly District seat, Wilk confirmed Monday.

“Tony Strickland gave me the option of releasing him from his endorsement,” Wilk said. “He told me I could keep the endorsement but gave me the option of releasing him … and I’m going to release him.”

Strickland, who announced his candidacy in the 26th Congressional District election last week, would not comment on the endorsement issue.

“Senator Strickland doesn’t have a comment about that at this time,” said his spokeswoman, Sarah Walsh, when asked if he still endorses Wilk.

I have known Scott Wilk for a long time. Wilk has worked with Tony Strickland a LONG time as well and I recall Scott’s son helping Tony to the extreme during his last campaign, where he beat Democrat Hannah-Beth Jackson by a very slim majority (primarily from the Santa Clarita area).

But, there is this piece which sort of explains it.

It is called political pressure by a sitting Congressman, Buck McKeon for his wife, Patricia, who just so happens to be running against Scott Wilk.

I first met Patricia McKeon at Tony Strickland’s announcement for Congress. Here is a photo of her with Simi Valley Republican activist Steve Frank.

Contested primary elections are HARDBALL enough with an open (no incumbent) Santa Clarita based California Assembly seat, but throw this into a top two system change and you have some interesting permutations come June.

Tony Strickland, seems to have them calculated.

Now, will Strickland endorse McKeon?