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PolitiFact: Calif. GOP gubernatorial candidate signed check to help Gore recount in 2000

The statement

California gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, a Republican, "gave $10,000 to Al Gore's recount" effort in 2000

Meg Whitman in an ad for her campaign for governor of California

The ruling

The Republican primary to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California has spawned a flood of ads attacking both Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, and Steve Poizner, the former state insurance commissioner — the two GOP frontrunners for the nomination.

Whitman has questioned Poizner's Republican bona fides by charging, among other things, that he gave $10,000 to Al Gore's 2000 presidential recount effort.

The Poizner camp concedes that a federal disclosure form shows that the Gore account received a $10,000 check signed by Poizner, and identifies his employer. But the campaign has said the check (and a separate $1,000 donation to Gore) was written on a joint account and intended to be from his wife, Carol Poizner.

Poizner's press secretary Bettina Inclán said the candidate's wife is a Democrat who "supported Al Gore,'' adding that Steve Poizner voted for Bush in 2000, worked for Bush, and voted for him again in 2004."

Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, a campaign-finance advocacy group, and Brett Kappel, a campaign-finance and ethics counsel at the law firm Arent Fox, said this explanation is plausible.

The Poizners "should have specified who the check was coming from," Kappel said. "But did you ever write a check for something your wife wanted? I have."

The forms for both donations list Steve Poizner's employer, however. And while the campaign describes Carol Poizner as "a Democrat," she has donated a lot of money to the GOP.

Ultimately, there is no way to prove whether Steve Poizner was writing a check for his wife, as he suggests. But under the law, the fact that he signed the check makes the donation his, and the listing of his employer, rather than his wife's, bolsters the idea that he was the intended donor. So we rate the Whitman campaign's claim Mostly True.

For more rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

The statement

California gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner, a Republican, "gave $10,000 to Al Gore's recount" effort in 2000.

Meg Whitman in an ad for her campaign for governor of California

The ruling

The Republican primary to succeed Arnold Schwarzenegger as governor of California has spawned a flood of ads attacking both Meg Whitman, the former CEO of eBay, and Steve Poizner, the former state insurance commissioner — the two GOP frontrunners for the nomination.

Whitman has questioned Poizner's Republican bona fides by charging, among other things, that he gave $10,000 to Al Gore's 2000 presidential recount effort.

The Poizner camp concedes that a federal disclosure form shows that the Gore account received a $10,000 check signed by Poizner, and identifies his employer. But the campaign has said the check (and a separate $1,000 donation to Gore) was written on a joint account and intended to be from his wife, Carol Poizner.

Poizner's press secretary Bettina Inclán said the candidate's wife is a Democrat who "supported Al Gore,'' adding that Steve Poizner voted for Bush in 2000, worked for Bush and voted for him again in 2004.

Sean Parnell, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, a campaign-finance advocacy group, and Brett Kappel, a campaign-finance and ethics counsel at the law firm Arent Fox, said this explanation is plausible.

The Poizners "should have specified who the check was coming from," Kappel said. "But did you ever write a check for something your wife wanted? I have."

The forms for both donations list Steve Poizner's employer, however. And while the campaign describes Carol Poizner as "a Democrat," she has donated a lot of money to the GOP.

Ultimately, there is no way to prove whether Steve Poizner was writing a check for his wife, as he suggests. But under the law, the fact that he signed the check makes the donation his, and the listing of his employer, rather than his wife's, bolsters the idea that he was the intended donor. So we rate the Whitman campaign's claim Mostly True.

For more rulings, go to PolitiFact.com.

PolitiFact: Calif. GOP gubernatorial candidate signed check to help Gore recount in 2000 05/19/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 19, 2010 10:53pm]
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