State Senate Hopeful Dave Cortese Redirects Donations From Recently Indicted Backer

When a criminal grand jury last week indicted Christopher Schumb and three others on charges of bribery in exchange for concealed weapons permits, 15th State Senate District candidate Dave Cortese quietly distanced himself from the prominent political donor.

Late last week—after Santa Clara County DA Jeff Rosen announced the charges—Cortese reportedly discussed the best course of action with his wife, East Side Union High School District trustee Pattie Cortese. Together, according to Cortese’s campaign manager Alex Maykowski, they decided to redirect whatever Schumb donated to a good cause.

The couple chose to hand the cash over to two locally based nonprofits.

Some went to Bright Futures, a youth mentoring program, Maykowski said. The rest went to the Enough is Enough Voter Project, a group founded by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber to hold elected leaders accountable for the way they treat women.

Financial disclosure records show that Schumb donated $3,250 to Cortese’s bid to succeed soon-to-term-out Jim Beall.

In the absence of an announcement about regifting Schumb’s money, Cortese fielded criticism from his D15 opponent, former Federal Elections Commission chair Ann Ravel.

Ravel—who helmed California’s Fair Political Practices Commission before Obama appointed her to the FEC—has made government transparency and campaign finance reform a prominent part of her platform. On Monday, the lifelong good-government advocate publicly called on Cortese to return all contributions from Schumb.

“This clearly crosses the line,” she told San Jose Inside in a phone call earlier this week. “I would not take money from any organization or group where it’s clear they are engaged in essentially violating the trust of the public.”

The Cortese camp dismissed the call-out as a publicity stunt.

“This is just politics as usual,” Maykowski said. “Ann will do anything to try to attack Dave and our campaign. This won’t be the last political Hail Mary she attempts.”

But Ravel’s camp was unaware that Cortese redirected the money and criticized him a second time on Tuesday for staying mum on the matter.

In an afternoon email to Ravel’s supporters, her campaign manager, Andrew Berthelsen, said Cortese’s “silence speaks volumes.”

“The people of Santa Clara County deserve better than the old pay-for-play politics,” Berthelsen wrote. “Both Governor Brown and President Obama trusted Ann Ravel to be the top watchdog to stop corruption in our elections, and voters can expect the same when she’s our next state senator.”

Grace Hase is a staff writer for San Jose Inside and Metro Silicon Valley. Email tips to [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @grace_hase. Or, click here to sign up for text updates about what she’s working on.

9 Comments

  1. Okay, here it comes… Slow roasting this sucker on a pit.

    Dear Mr Cortese, I regret to inform you that you are now enmeshed in a “Wadsworth Maneuver.” You’re done. May I suggest campaign suspension so you can find some nooks and crannies for your donations. If you don’t have a good lawyer, drop me a line, we’ll grab a coffee and I’ll give you some names. Perhaps, I can line you up with a gig or two after the show, I know some people that need some stuff done in the county. Ciao!

  2. The culture which allows Chris Schumb to sell gun permits for Laurie Smith is the same culture that Dave Cortese is rooted in. Look at Santa Clara where a registered lobbyist, former council member, markets access to the Niners, getting clients free tickets that were promised to people who were promised Colts games. It is a culture where Smith paid some back lawyer, a friend of the Santa Clara hack, out of gun permit sales. Cortese used Schunb and is friend of the hacks mentioned above and must withdraw. As for Santa Clara, they need to audit the lobbyists and ban the hacks who make false promises.

  3. As the article clearly states, the money was donated to worthy causes and not kept by the campaign. It also clearly states that the criticism delivered by the Ravel campaign came after the money was donated, indicating that Ravel and her campaign are behind the times, speaking without fact checking. They shouldn’t have doubled down before knowing all the facts.

  4. > As the article clearly states, the money was donated to worthy causes and not kept by the campaign.
    . . . .
    > The rest went to the Enough is Enough Voter Project, a group founded by Stanford law professor Michele Dauber . . . .

    ANY dollars that land in Michele Dauber’s supper dish are NOT dollars “donated to worthy causes”.

    Michele Dauber — hyped as a possible bigwig in the California Democratic Party — is the poster child of gender identity politics and eager wannabe of the California’s ruling oligarchy.

    Dollars that touch Dauber’s partisan fingers are permanently contaminated with politics and should be put in steel drums and buried at the federal radioactive waste disposal site.

  5. “… a criminal grand jury last week indicted Christopher Schumb and three others on charges of bribery in exchange for concealed weapons permits…”

    I’d be pleased to see Mr. Schumb get out from under that indictment (especially if he provided testimony implicating Laurie Smith), but for the moral crime of supporting David Cortese he deserves no mercy. This county has, for decades, suffered as if its electoral process were inflicted with a form of herpes that caused the same painful blisters to appear with deflating regularity.

  6. Dave, can I call you Dave?

    See “Ravel for Senate” excellent comment to know the truth. Dave, they are just not into you. Face facts, you’re not on the squad even if you did donate to Mother Dauber and the Dionysian Sisterhood. You don’t have to be Apollo to see what they have planned. Close your eyes and picture Persky, a lot of wine, and some hunting boots. I’ll get blocked if I go further, so use your imagination. The first half is great, the second half is, well it’s a killer.

    Anyway, let’s have lunch, I just got a call on something you might be interested in.

    -late

  7. Dave,

    Maybe it’s time to get out of the public eye. Not have to carefully watch every word you say. Not have to vote along party lines. I don’t know how you can even stomach the Democrats anymore. Your dad dropped that party like overripe plums dropping from trees.

    Have you made enough money to retire yet? Have you proven to the family that you can make it without them?

    We’re 15 years apart or so in age. In 15 years, I’ll be 63, and I’ll be counting off my last 2 years of federal service every day. At 65 I’ll be done, completely done. No more phone calls, no more emails, no more waking up to an alarm or driving to a job.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love what I do; when I do it for myself, but doing it for pay isn’t that rewarding. It’s just 8 hours a day I sacrifice so I can have save enough to not have to do it anymore. It’s 8 hours a day so I can have money to keep catholic school tuition paid, bills paid, and fund my gardening and electronics habits.

    Anyways, take it into consideration. Maybe buy a wetsuit and a surfboard, go surfing. Maybe do like I’m doing and get back to the family roots of growing and preserving your own food. I know you, I know this family, and none of these politics align with the family values.

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