The union for Los Angeles police officers is pumping another $850,000 into an independent effort backing mayoral candidate Wendy Greuel, the largest single contribution from one source during the campaign.
The contribution came amid reports that Greuel was scaling back her spending on TV ads -- although her campaign said late Wednesday it was launching another ad today attacking rival Eric Garcetti for taking campaign contributions from a convicted felon.
The Los Angeles Police Protective League, which represents about 10,000 police officers, has now spent roughly $1.4 million to back Greuel.
When the LAPPL's contract comes up next year, it must be approved by a group that includes the mayor. The LAPPL endorsed Greuel earlier this year. LAPPL spokesman Eric Rose said the union doesn't comment on political contributions.
The donation comes amid heavy union spending on behalf of Greuel. A union representing Los Angeles Department of Water and Power workers has raised at least $1.45 million to back Greuel and led an outside committee, Working Californians to Elect Wendy Greuel, that's raised at least $3.8 million.
Greuel suspended advertising spots on Tuesday and Wednesday, said Bill Carrick, political consultant for the Garcetti campaign. Political campaigns frequently monitor a competitor's buys on television stations.
The Garcetti camp argues Greuel is spending money far faster than her rival. Pulling back from TV is a sign Greuel's campaign is struggling financially and relying heavily on special interests for help, Carrick said.
"I think we're seeing a situation where the Greuel campaign is being entirely conducted by super PACs," Carrick said.
The Greuel campaign did not respond to an email or phone calls. But it released a statement late Wednesday saying it is launching a new TV ad that will focus on the link between Juri Ripinsky and Garcetti. Ripinsky is a developer who has donated to Garcetti's campaign and served time, according to the Greuel campaign. Garcetti voted to approve an East Hollywood project in 2007 proposed by Ripinsky.
The 30-second spot also criticizes Garcetti for attending a fundraiser held by Ripinsky.
"This just shows that Eric Garcetti will say and do anything to get elected, even if it means selling out Angelenos to take money from a convicted felon who destroyed a banking institution in the Valley," said Greuel consultant John Shallman in a written statement.
Garcetti has defended the project and the fundraiser, saying Ripinsky has served his time.
"This is breathtaking hypocrisy from Wendy Greuel because she voted for his project twice and took money from a convicted felon in several of her campaigns," said Garcetti spokesman Jeff Millman. "It's further evidence that she will say or do anything to get elected."
During her political career, Greuel accepted more than $7,000 from Charles Francoeur, a real estate developer charged with a felony. On Thursday, she said she had given back $2,600 to Francoeur and his wife, Susan. She also donated $4,000 to L.A.'s Best after-school program. The $4,000 represents funds given to her City Controller and City Council accounts by the Francoeurs.
Eric Bauman, chairman of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party, who has not endorsed a mayoral candidate, said Greuel may have slowed down spending on TV because of a tactical decision to spend money earlier in the campaign going after voters casting ballots by mail ahead of election day.
A pro-Greuel television spot, funded by a committee led by the DWP union, has also been running for about the last week.
Bauman believes the DWP union's TV spot and anticipated advertising from the LAPPL will make a "huge difference" for Greuel's campaign.
"It will maintain her message is being delivered to voters, even if it's by a third party," Bauman said.
Greuel gave a $100,000 contribution to her own campaign last weekend, according to the city website. Candidates who participate in the city's matching funds program are allowed to contribute $124,500 to their own campaigns.
Garcetti loaned himself $50,000 to pay back debts during the primary. ___
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