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Did Sal Quintero Break the Rules With Political Endorsement Letter?
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By David Taub, Senior Reporter
Published 6 years ago on
February 1, 2018

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A campaign consultant for a Valley congressional hopeful admitted Thursday morning that he erred by having a county supervisor write an endorsement letter on government letterhead.
Fresno County Supervisor Sal Quintero wrote a letter endorsing Bobby Bliatout, ahead of a Democratic Party meeting for the purpose of endorsing candidates. The letter appears to be on Quintero’s official county letterhead.
Such a letter could run afoul of state and local rules.
“We made a mistake. I apologize to the supervisor. We should have caught that. It was my responsibility. There is no excuse. We own it,” said William Schlitz, Bliatout’s campaign consultant with the firm Centaur Strategies.
County officials are also determining if any rules violations occurred.
“We are looking into the matter,” Jordan Scott, the county’s public information officer tells GV Wire.
Letter in Question

Copy of letter Supervisor Sal Quintero wrote on behalf of congressional candidate Bobby Bliatout.
The letter, dated Jan. 22, was written on behalf of a congressional candidate. Bobby Bliatout is running for the District 22 seat occupied by Republican Devin Nunes of Visalia.
“I believe Bobby is the most qualified individual for the General Election. I support him and I encourage the Democratic Party delegates to endorse Bobby Bliatout of U.S. Congress,” Quintero wrote. He addressed the letter to “Dear Democratic Delegates.”
The letter has the Fresno County seal in the upper left, with Quintero’s letterhead in the upper right. At the bottom are the address and phone number for Quintero’s county office. A disclosure box is below that. It identifies that the letter is “paid for and authorized by Bobby for Congress … Not printed nor mailed at public expense.”
Quintero didn’t have much to say when asked by GV Wire.
“Talk to our county counsel,” was his only response.
GV Wire called Fresno County Counsel Daniel Cederborg, but did not receive a response by time of publication.
Bliatout said using the letterhead was an idea from his campaign team, and used for identification purposes.
“The county letterhead was to show who he was, not that it was an endorsement from the county. There should have been a footnote that it wasn’t from the county,” Bliatout said.
Bliatout said he did not know that making an endorsement on letterhead could violate state and local regulations.

Violations?

The state agency regulating campaign mailers specifically says no political letter should be mass mailed at public expense.
While sources told GV Wire that a complaint to the Fair Political Practices Commission is forthcoming, the agency said this week it had not received anything.
Even if the letter is a replica of county letterhead, it could be the unauthorized use of the logo. Two county management directives indicate that the logo may be used for official county business. However, requests to use the logo for non-county business must be submitted in writing and approved by county administrators.
Scott said there is some ambiguity over whether those directives also apply to the Board of Supervisors.  The next step would be between the board and counsel.
“If that’s true, that’s a thoughtless thing (Quintero) did. I don’t think he did it with intent, but it’s bad if he did something like that,” said Supervisor Buddy Mendes, a Republican who supports Devin Nunes.

District 22 Race

Bliatout is one of three Democrats in the race who has raised money. The others are Fresno County Deputy District Attorney Andrew Janz, and Fresno businessman Ricardo Franco.
The California Democratic Party held regional pre-endorsement meetings around the state Jan. 27. The party voted to endorse Janz.

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David Taub,
Senior Reporter
Curiosity drives David Taub. The award-winning journalist might be shy, but feels mighty with a recorder in his hand. He doesn't see it his job to "hold public officials accountable," but does see it to provide readers (and voters) the information needed to make intelligent choices. Taub has been honored with several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. He's just happy to have his stories read. Joining GV Wire in 2016, Taub covers politics, government and elections, mainly in the Fresno/Clovis area. He also writes columns about local eateries (Appetite for Fresno), pro wrestling (Off the Bottom Rope), and media (Media Man). Prior to joining the online news source, Taub worked as a radio producer for KMJ and PowerTalk 96.7 in Fresno. He also worked as an assignment editor for KCOY-TV in Santa Maria, California, and KSEE-TV in Fresno. He has also worked behind the scenes for several sports broadcasts, including the NCAA basketball tournament, and the Super Bowl. When not spending time with his family, Taub loves to officially score Fresno Grizzlies games. Growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area, Taub is a die-hard Giants and 49ers fan. He graduated from the University of Michigan with dual degrees in communications and political science. Go Blue! You can contact David at 559-492-4037 or at Send an Email

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