Committee Supporting Jensen Pays $2,500 to Endorser

In his bid to unseat his former boss, Santa Clara County Sheriff Laurie Smith, retired Lt. Kevin Jensen has managed to pull in endorsements from numerous police unions in the region. So it wasn’t much of surprise when he secured backing from Crime Victims United, a coalition made up of crime victims, their families and some of the same law enforcement employees who claim membership in those unions.

Except this particular endorsement came after an independent expenditure committee supporting Jensen wrote a $2,500 check to Crime Victims United, recorded in campaign disclosure forms as a “civic donation.” At first glance, the contribution and subsequent endorsement could appear to be a neatly arranged exchange, much like the COPS Voter Guide endorsements Rose Herrera and Johnny Khamis purchased in their 2012 City Council races. But Jensen strongly denies any quid pro quo.

“I didn’t know about the payment,” he said. “There was a fundraiser we went to, but the payment had nothing to do with the endorsement.”

Jensen told San Jose Inside that he applied for the endorsement like any other candidate—by calling the organization, requesting an application and interviewing with a panel.

As of the latest filing deadline, March 17, the "Santa Clara County Public Safety Workers Support Kevin Jensen for Sheriff 2014" committee had raised $235,000 to support its preferred candidate, with massive contributions—$180,000 to date—coming directly from the Santa Clara County Peace Officers Association, the local jail guard union. That committee paid Crime Victims United $2,500 to attend the organization's Feb. 25 dinner event, which featured Controller John Chiang as a guest speaker.

Jensen's candidate-controlled campaign has raised a total of $52,698.56, with just a $17,819.24 cash balance as of March 17.

Smith, who's running for what would be her fifth term, clocked $27,000 in mostly smaller donations during the first filing period of this year, and she had $59,059.66 in cash on hand.

When elected in 1998, Smith became California's first female sheriff. But her four terms haven't been without controversy. A 2011 lawsuit alleged that Smith doled out concealed weapons permits "in an arbitrary and capricious way," according to the Mercury News. A year later, she came under fire for lending an on-the-clock sworn-staff bodyguard to then-Supervisor George Shirakawa Jr. And just last fall, reports accused her of offering preferential treatment to DUI suspect and 49ers linebacker Aldon Smith.

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Jennifer Wadsworth is the former news editor for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Follow her on Twitter at @jennwadsworth.


    • Her filings are a mess, duplicated entries, people donating $1000 when the limit was $500, people now having donations of $1500… it’s like basic math escapes her campaign. There is another little PAC though that is turning out to have some interesting connections… and penalties. But the real story here is in how she runs the Office of the Sheriff. That’s what people need to be voting on — the fact that victims will be revictimized by her administration.

  1. Don’t be sad, Mr. Cortese. Larry only sticks with “Good Germans”–defined as folks who are in lockstep with his party line beliefs. He’s even worse than Tom McEnery in that regard.

  2. SHERIFF LAURIE SMITH ~ My search for Justice started 4 years before Joshua’s death when he was 6 after being called to his school by a women from child protective services, the day he was found with bruises all down the side of his body from being kicked down the back step into the trashcans by his father Santa Clara County Sheriff Deputy KW Klaver. From this day forth we entered into a world run by the Santa Clara County Sheriff Department and the Family Courts, both of which were more concerned about finding a way to deal with the abuse without damaging his father’s career as a Sheriff Deputy, by this I mean they did nothing to help Joshua, year after year they turned a blind eye from Joshua’s pain until his death at the age of 10, Joshua died by Hanging in a barn used for Slaughtering Cattle on his Father’s property the night before Joshua was to meet with a Family Court Judge about the abuse he was forced to live with for the 1st time in the 4 years we spent in the Court System. When Joshua died the Family Court had a meeting and wondered what they could have done differently that would helped to keep Joshua’s death from happening, The Sheriff Department’s way of dealing with his death was to have Sgt Jerry Egge rudely refuse me any kind of a investigation as he made statements to the media calling me a volatile type parent fighting over Joshua in child custody case, all this from the Sheriff Department who knew that their co-worker, Sheriff Deputy KW Klaver was Joshua’s Abuser…22 month after Joshua’s Death Sheriff Gillingham and Under Sheriff Laurie Smith sent Crime Scene and Homicide Deputies out to the barn where Joshua died for the 1st time and turned the information they collected from Joshua’s father,his abuser about what happened the night Joshua died over to the Child Death Review Board .

  3. Wait a minute here… Did Laurie Smith not just pay to be included in the very same COPS voters guide the author of this article just slammed. The very same mailer which tries to make it look as if the candidates who paid to be included were being supported by actual law enforcement? Why is it the author of this article, and follow up articles chooses to slam only a few of the candidates in the COPS voter guide mailer, but not Laurie Smith or the other candidates?

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