SAN DIEGO, April 18, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In a highly unorthodox arrangement, Congressman Brian Bilbray's (R-CA) embattled Chief of Staff Steve Danon, who has been campaigning full time for local office since 2009 while working as a full-time Chief of Staff, has been based in and working from San Diego, not Washington, D.C.
"Was this pre-arranged agreement made solely for Danon's political benefit?" asked K.B. Forbes, campaign manager for Carl Hilliard, candidate for the same Third District San Diego County Supervisorial seat Danon is seeking. "Danon looks like he has pushed the boundaries of ethical behavior and this arrangement doesn't pass the smell test. For a Congressional Chief of Staff to work from the home district is extremely rare and highly unusual."
Danon has been under fire for campaigning full-time while on the federal payroll. Danon's paid-to-campaign scandal gained traction this week when he refused to provide two different media outlets, the San Diego Union-Tribune and the North County Times, with detailed calendar, email, telephone, and cellular phone records so they could verify that Danon wasn't fundraising or campaigning while on the federal clock.
"Danon, who has insincerely campaigned on ethics and transparency these past 33 months, strongly rejected transparency when it came to his own political ambitions and needs." Forbes declared. "Danon disingenuously attacks opponents for the same scurrilous behavior he engages in."
Yesterday, Forbes exposed the fact that Danon, who has repeatedly admonished other politicians for taking travel junkets, took two of his own travel junkets: a month-long visit to China in 2009 and a weeklong junket to Saudi Arabia in 2010.
The paid-to-campaign scandal is based on Congressional House Ethics Rules that require "careful records" distinguishing work time from campaigning time and that clearly state that compensation be "reduced proportionately with any reduction in the employee's time." Danon's salary of $168,411 has never been reduced. The Hilliard campaign has noted that it is physically impossible to be a full-time candidate while working as a full-time federal staffer.
Although there are currently two Chiefs of Staff that operate from their home district, it is an extreme rarity among the 435 members of the House of Representatives.