Major Conservative Donor Committee Spending Big to Oppose Yolo DA Candidate Cynthia Rodriguez

by Robert J. Hansen

Golden State Communities Project (GSCP), a political interest group, has received almost $150,000 in opposition to Yolo County DA candidate Cynthia Rodriguez, according to campaign finance documents.

GSCP board members include Greg Totten, CEO of the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) who is also co-chair of GSCP.

The CDAA, of which Yolo County DA Jeff Reisig is the President, donated $10,000 to GSCP.

Totten was on a shortlist of potential prosecutors to be appointed by former President Donald Trump to top federal prosecutor in California’s Central District but ultimately was not tapped for the job.

John McGinness, former Sacramento County Sheriff, is on the GSCP Advisory Board.  (In 2017, he was hired by the city of Davis to conduct an independent investigation into the Picnic Day incident.  However, after the Vanguard reported he said, “If you look at certain groups within our broad population, for example, African-Americans in this country did much much much better before the Civil Rights Act,” he subsequently withdrew as investigator.)

The GSCP received 100,000 from the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, its largest single donation.

Ralph Diaz, former Secretary of CDCR and President of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys of LA County, Michele Hanisee, are GSCP board members.

Last year, Hanisee’s Association filed a petition against District Attorney George Gascón, challenging his new directives such as dismissing gang enhancements and firearm allegations and for dismissing, withdrawing, or not filing special circumstance allegations that could result in a life prison sentence without the possibility of parole for defendants charged with murder.

The judge ruled in favor of the deputy district attorneys, saying he cannot order his prosecutors to ignore laws that the union says protect the public, including three-strike allegations and sentencing enhancements.

Other members of GSCP include Frank Lee, president of the Organization for Justice and Equality, and Bay Area Director of the California Coalition Against Drugs.

Lee is recognized for his efforts to fight against drug abuse, especially marijuana.

In 2019, the California Narcotic Officers’ Association awarded Lee the San Francisco Bay Area and California Citizen of the Year Award.

Former US Attorney and Shasta County District Attorney McGregor William Scott is also on the GSCP advisory board.  (Scott took over as investigator for the Picnic Day incident in Davis and was an outspoken critic of progressive reform).

Scott resigned his position as the chief federal prosecutor for the Eastern District of California in 2021 after being appointed in 2017 by former President Trump.

GSCP is the only donor listed in opposition to a Yolo DA candidate. All others support one of the two candidates.

Executive Director for Salem Media Group, Edward Atsinger donated $7,500 in opposition to Rodriguez via GSCP.

Reisig’s campaign filings show he raised $143,000 from January through April this year and spent more than $126,000 in the same period.

Reisig’s campaign has spent $27,500 with Onymous Media Group and nearly another $30,000 with eFundraising Solutions.

The Reisig campaign spent nearly $4,000 on yard signs. Reisig’s campaign still has $121,000 cash on hand according to campaign finance documents.

On its website, GSCP has several articles republished from CalMatters, Politico, and others, that are critical of progressive prosecutors George Gascón and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin.

The board is composed of well-known conservatives who are committed to preventing criminal justice reform by getting in the way of any DA that is promising reform like Gascón, Boudin, and Rodriguez.

About The Author

Robert J Hansen is an investigative journalist and economist. Robert is covering the Yolo County DA's race for the Vanguard.

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