The Coast News Group
State Sen. Catherine Blakespear is reportedly closing a legal defense fund after settling a lawsuit with constituents. Courtesy photo
State Sen. Catherine Blakespear is reportedly closing a legal defense fund after settling a lawsuit with constituents. Courtesy photo
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Blakespear reportedly closing legal defense fund

Democratic legislator State Sen. Catherine Blakespear is reportedly closing a legal defense fund she created to combat a censorship lawsuit with constituents who accused her of blocking them on her official Facebook page.

Since it was established, Blakespear’s legal defense fund has raised $300,000 in contributions, with $182,000 pouring in from various supporters in the months after the lawsuit was settled in early September.

The Los Angeles Daily Journal first reported the story.

“The plaintiffs and I settled the lawsuit in the fall of 2023, and throughout the end of the year, I worked to raise the money to pay my legal bills,” Blakespear told The Coast News via email. “There is no ongoing litigation, and I am currently in the process of closing the legal defense fund.”

State law allows legislators and candidates to establish legal defense funds for cases “arising directly out of the conduct of an election campaign, the electoral process, or the performance of the officer’s governmental activities and duties.”

While there are no contribution limits for these funds, any remaining funds must be disposed of once the legal issue is resolved and all associated expenses have been paid, according to the Fair Political Practices Commission.

Blakespear established the legal defense fund after Encinitas resident Garvin Walsh and several others filed a lawsuit alleging the former mayor had violated their constitutionally protected free speech rights by blocking them from participating on her Facebook page.

Under the legal representation of Rancho Santa Fe attorney Carla DiMare, the plaintiffs also accused Blakespear of breach of contract for allegedly violating a previously signed settlement agreement by issuing a bad-faith apology and paying a $5,000 fee using her campaign funds rather than personal finances.

The Coast News reported on Sept. 4, 2023, that a settlement between parties had been reached. Five months after the complaint was settled and dismissed, Blakespear’s legal defense fund still remains active with a cash balance of $32,665.

“In 2022, Blakespear could have avoided the Walsh litigation, and therefore her legal defense fund, by simply issuing the apology that she had agreed to issue and paying the $5,000 that she had agreed to pay,” DiMare told The Coast News. “After the Walsh case was settled, Blakespear did not close her fund. She kept her fund open for business and pulled in $182,000 in donations. It’s troubling. It is also reasonable to ask if she now owes favors.”

Since the settlement on Sept. 4, the legal defense fund has received monetary donations from several casino gaming tribes, including Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation ($10,000), Pechanga Band of Indians ($5,000), Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians ($5,000) and Jamul Indian Village of California ($5,000).

Other post-settlement contributors to the legal defense fund include McDonald’s Corporation ($7,500), the Govern for California Courage Committee ($7,500), Southern California Edison ($5,000), Davita, Inc. ($10,000), California Business Properties Association PAC ($10,000) and a committee sponsored by the California Faculty Association ($10,000).

The most recent donation to the legal defense fund came earlier this month with a $10,000 contribution on Jan. 5 from Escondido-based Prime Capital HR and Dalrada Financial Corporation.

On the other side of the ledger, between Jan. 1, 2023, and Sept. 30, 2023, Blakespear’s legal defense has reported $269,705.93 in expenditures, including $55,000 to Olson Remcho, a political law firm representing Democrats in California.

“It’s quite sad and shameful,” Walsh told The Coast News via email. “Catherine Blakespear got herself into a mess and turned to political donors to bail her out. Now she is indebted and will repay her debts with votes in the legislature at the expense of her constituents. I hope people will realize that her conduct in this whole affair has been dishonorable.”

1 comment

steve333 January 26, 2024 at 5:58 pm

Corrupt Catherine strikes again
I don’t think anyone who voted against her is surprised by this.

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