Since word spread about Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen surveilling Sheriff Laurie Smith’s orbit for some vaguely defined reason related to theories about deal-making and concealed-weapon permits, most of her allies have kept a pretty low profile.
Enter James Campagna, treasurer of pro-Smith independent expenditure committee Santa Clara County Public Safety Advocates, who touched base with Fly a few days ago in a show of transparency.
Despite a $45,000 donation to the PAC from elite bodyguard Martin Nielsen that’s raised eyebrows since we first pointed it out, Campagna assures us that his team operates the committee with “high standards for ethics and reporting responsibility.”
Campagna makes no apologies for supporting Smith, and in an email to Fly offers high praise for her “fortitude and leadership.”
“A recent example,” he says, “was the lamentable shooting at our beloved Gilroy Garlic Festival, where her local team and the rest of the county law enforcement support teams reacted aggressively and with great courage to avoid an even bigger massacre.”
Finally, Campagna goes on to say, he has no clue who Nielsen is—nor anyone at AS Solution, the executive protection firm he works for that provides security to Silicon Valley A-listers including Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg.
If he noticed anything untoward about Nielsen’s gift to the public safety PAC, Campagna says he’d have notified the right people. “We do, however, report promptly and in full accordance with the law, all contributions made to our organization in the spirit of transparency and authenticity,” he says.
Attached to Campagna’s email was a scanned copy of Nielsen’s handwritten $45,000 check. Dated Oct. 4, 2018 and drawn on an account at Citibank’s Santa Monica branch, it misstates the name of the PAC, leaving out the word “public.”
The “memo” line of the document designates the payment a “donation,” and it’s signed with a perfunctory flourish.
That seems like enough hints for subpoena-empowered investigators to track down the true source of the funds behind Nielsen’s generosity.