Carr Questions Rosen’s Use of Merc Clips

DA Dolores Carr is pointing an accusatory finger at challenger Deputy DA Jeff Rosen regarding the use of San Jose Mercury News articles on his campaign website. Carr released a statement today charging that Rosen may have violated state campaign finance rules and federal copyright laws. Her campaign also said the use of the articles might be seen as an in-kind contribution that exceeds campaign contribution limits.


The statement from the Carr camp says that when her campaign manager, Phyllis Lazzarini, contacted the Merc earlier this month seeking permission to reprint an article on the Carr campaign website, she was told that permission for a six-month PDF reprint has a $1,855 price tag.

Lazzarini noted that the Rosen campaign website has several Merc articles printed in their entirety online or in PDF form, but that nothing on Rosen’s campaign spending forms indicate that money was paid to the Mercury.

Could this be some kind of unreported campaign contribution? “I’m looking to [Rosen] to answer these questions,” Carr said in an interview this afternoon. “People need to play by the rules. If he’s been getting these reprints and not paying for them, then he should account for that.”

Candidates are required by the California Political Reform Act to report all contributions and expenditures in their 460 forms.

Since the Merc has long been cold on Carr and sweet on Rosen, the Rosen campaign had plenty of clips to choose from—about $17,000 worth, according to the calculations made from a price sheet provided to the Carr campaign.

Emails posted to Carr’s website between Director of Online Content Keith Randall and Merc Publisher Mac Tully seem to indicate they had no idea Rosen was using the reprints.

“Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Tully wrote to Carr on Mar. 12. “We have notified Mr. Rosen to remove our material.”

Currently, Rosen’s website mentions 31 Merc articles which have all been changed to links to Nobody in the Rosen campaign was available today to explain whether this was some kind of oversight, or if someone else in the Mercury organization gave him the go-ahead. —Jessica Lussenhop

UPDATE: Rosen responded to Carr’s allegations this afternoon, saying he simply didn’t know that it is illegal to re-post copyrighted articles from a newspaper’s website. “We didn’t seek their permission,” he says. “We didn’t think we needed it.”


  1. Mercury’s DA candidate said “We didn’t seek their permission,” he says. “We didn’t think we needed it.”

    since Mercury recruited me, promoted my campaign with dozens favorable news stories, columns and editorials while attacked my opponent every week so I could fill my web site with Mercury’s DA stories

    “Thank you for bringing this to our attention,” Tully wrote to Carr on Mar. 12. “We have notified Mr. Rosen to remove our material.””  Wink , Wink

    Ops,  Mercury and their DA candidate who is a lawyer ” didn’t know the law ” Wink, Wink and got caught taking thousands of dollars in undisclosed corporate campaign contributions and campaign news print ads

    Never see this story in Mercury – maybe Metro has the stones to publish details – yea ha ha ha

  2. The use of nonmonetary contributions is a tricky business.  An Oregon based pollster has been conducting push pölls against the Santa Clara 49ers stadium.  Not only has Santa Clara Plays Fair refused to list this effort, though they are legally required to do so, but the San Francisco business leaders raising funds for last minute mailings against the Santa Clara effort.

  3. Check out the SF Chronicle.  Michael Cohen and Gavin Newsom claim federal stimulus money will be used in an advocacy campaign which includes supporting the Lennar SF Stadium proposal.

    Your tax funds at work!

  4. Rosen for D.A. Campaign Statement

    Dolores Carr has spent countless hours making a mountain out of a molehill. In her efforts to divert the dialogue of this campaign from her unethical behavior, Carr is making an unfounded accusation that our campaign has somehow infringed on Mercury News copyright provisions.

    Here are the facts -explained truthfully. Our campaign, in conducting research, bought a subscription to the Mercury News’ archive. Using that subscription, we linked to several stories about Jeff Rosen’s prosecutorial accomplishments and Dolores Carr’s ethical lapses on our website

    Unfortunately, the stability of those links was variable and we were never sure when the stories would be de-linked from the Mercury news site. To remedy the situation, our website manager decided to simply replicate the stories. Mr. Rosen was not made aware this change had been made.

    The Mercury News contacted our campaign and asked that we remove any complete articles; we immediately complied by working with the Mercury News Online content department to ensure the articles we referenced were properly linked from our site to their archive. We have used excerpts where archives pre-date the Mercury News’ ability to link them electronically. The Mercury News has informed our campaign that they are satisfied with our compliance to their request.

    As a campaign team, we are proud to live up to the example that Mr. Rosen has set for all of us. In this case, that is admitting we made a mistake, apologizing, and rectifying it as soon as possible. Apparently, that type of ethical and straight conduct is foreign to Ms. Carr.
    Rather, it seems she would practice the cynical tactics of diverting the public’s attention from the facts of the matter.

    We encourage Santa Clara County voters to visit our website to learn more about the real issues in this campaign. The stories we have referenced from the Mercury
    News, the New York Times, and ABC News provide ample evidence of Ms. Carr’s unethical behavior, poor judgment, and reasons why she has failed the people of Santa Clara County.

    • Did it ever occur to your campaign to run a clean race? We voters aren’t willing to listen to you bashing one another any more. We are sick of the mud slinging, the lies, half-truths, and the above scapegoating and excuse making. Your campaign has consistently misled the public into believing that DA Carr is at fault for the lack of prosecution of the case of a young woman who was gang raped. According to several candidates running for County Sheriff, the TRUTH is that the investigation done by the Sheriff’s Office after the rape, and evidence that was collected was so poorly done that the DA’s Office could not bring it to trial. The public wants the FACTS not your distorted view of them.

      Also, the apology you gave above is like a youth offender saying, “I’m sorry I stole your car but if you hadn’t left your keys in it, I wouldn’t have taken it in the first place!” Man up, own up, and take the heat for your bad choices.

      The reality seems to be that your campaign didn’t want the public to view the derogatory comments the public made in the commentary section after the articles in the Merc. When Rosen wrote on Protect San Jose, law enforcement bloggers nailed him on his positions. To this day he has failed to respond to their concerns. The public has a right to know whom they are voting for. We don’t care to hear all this bashing. Carr has a right to defend herself against all these attacks so stop the smoke screen will you!

      If your candidate is qualified then he should run on his qualifications, nothing else.

  5. Unfortunately, I have to call b***s*** on the Rosen campaign’s response.  As someone who has been looking at the Rosen website since it first came up, I do not remember a time that the Merc articles were simply linked – I remember that they were always reprinted.  That is, before the Merc recently asked him to remove the reprints.  The reprints always have looked better for Rosen than the links do, because they just have the Merc’s anti-Carr, pro-Rosen articles without including the subsequent comments on the forum as the links do – many of these comments are critical of Rosen and the Merc.  Moreover, now that the articles are linked rather than reprinted (since the Merc asked Rosen to take down the reprints), it appears the links are working fine.  So this argument that the links were unstable doesn’t make much sense.  The questions I have are – how long is the Rosen campaign alleging they had links up before switching to reprints, and how long did they monitor those links before realizing that the links were unstable?  How long have they now had the links up (after the Merc asked them to take down the reprints), and have the links proved to be unstable yet?  Also, when did the Merc first realize the Rosen campaign was violating their copyright?  Didn’t Scott Herhold, a Merc columnist, cite Rosen’s website in his columns?  Did the Merc decide to give him a free pass (even though they have enforced their copyrights against others, like Carr for example)?  Also, as an accomplished lawyer who is endorsed and managed by other accomplished lawyers, did Mr. Rosen – or any of his endorsers – take a copyright class in law school?  And now that Mr. Rosen is saying he made a mistake, can he get off his high horse?

  6. According to the Rosen campaign’s response, “Mr. Rosen was not made aware” that reprints were being used on his website.  Are you kidding me?  The reprints were up there for months.  He never looked at his own website?  How stupid does he think we are?

  7. It may be that Rosen did not know.  But another question is—didn’t the Merc know that Rosen was reprinting the articles.  As the Carr press release points out, Merc columnist Scott Herhold has referred to Rosen’s website in his columns.  Didn’t he spot this issue?  As the Carr press release also points out, the Merc specifically has enforced their policy not to allow this in the past—not only did they try to enforce it in the case of the Carr campaign, but they previously have enforced it against others as well.  It’s ok for the Merc to like, support and endorse Rosen—that’s free speech.  But they need to comply with campaign reporting laws if they are doing that—especially since their whole argument against Carr is an alleged breach of ethics.

  8. Wow. Amazing stuff here. On the one hand, a DA who is so clearly corrupt to border on criminal. On the other, a challenger who reprinted instead of linking to MN articles (both would have the same content). I think the real issue that the biggest issue the Carr folks have against Rosen is this. The issue the people of Santa Clara have with Carr is she is corrupt. Not a hard call to make.

    • “Borders on criminal?”  What crime exactly did she border on commiting?  Do you have a California Penal Code section you are thinking of?  Or is it a federal offense?  Or are you just making this up?  On the other hand, the challenger—your candidate Rosen—was cited for prosecutorial misconduct by the Court of Appeals.  Have you checked on that?  And do you have a canned talking points memo from the Rosen campaign to address it?  And by the way, that’s not even the “biggest issue” against Rosen.  The biggest issue is that he will stop at nothing—including making crime victims relive their nightmares—to promote his campaign.  Someone that ambitious should get what he wants, because after he does, it will be apparent to everyone what he is really made of.

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