Uploaded: Monday, November 6, 2000
Kniss violates ethics pledge
Campaign Ethics Foundation votes 6-2 against
by Don Kazak
What started as an ethics complaint by supervisor candidate and
Palo Alto Mayor Liz Kniss about opponent Dolly Sandoval being part
of a "misleading mailer" has backfired--with Kniss getting reprimanded
instead by the Santa Clara County Campaign Ethics Foundation.
the foundation ruled Oct. 28 that Sandoval's participation in a
mailing to registered Republicans was not a violation of an earlier
ethics pledge to not mislead voters.
But then the foundation
Friday night voted 6-2 that a press release from Kniss' campaign
was a violation because it misled voters about how the foundation
ruled on Sandoval's action.
The group sanctioned Kniss
for a press release from her campaign that stated the ethics group
had failed to clear her supervisorial race opponent, Dolly Sandoval,
a week earlier.
In fact, the group ruled that Sandoval had not violated
the part of her pledge about refraining from issuing misleading
statements. In a technicality, a later motion to affirmatively state
there was no violation was defeated. It was that vote that the Kniss
campaign referred to in its press release.
am disappointed that Mrs. Kniss stooped to this level in her campaign,"
"The press release (Kniss) sent out was
misleading," said Susanne Wilson, the chair of the campaign Ethics
Foundation. Wilson is a former San Jose vice mayor and Santa Clara
The foundation found that Kniss violated
part of the campaign pledge that promises to "not permit the use
of false or misleading statements" in her campaign.
motion in question that the Kniss press release referred to was
"confusing and should have been ruled out of order," said Karin
Dowdy, the corporate secretary of the ethics group.
reported it very accurately," Kniss contended in an interview. "A
motion to clear (Sandoval) was voted down."
gone to the ethics commission in late October asking that it make
a ruling on the fact that Sandoval's name appeared in what was a
Republican Party mailer. Sandoval, like Kniss, is a Democrat.
The foundation's Friday night vote came after the Nov. 3 issue
of the Weekly was printed, the last edition before the Nov. 7 election.
As a result, this story is being posted on the Weekly's Web site
and is being printed in the Nov. 8 editions of the newspaper.