Thu, Jun

Exposed: Hahn Operative Trolls CityWatch


@THE GUSS REPORT-“This is Ground Control to Janice Hahn.…” Immediately hire the person who for several hours last week posted voluminous, detailed comments (actually, the only comments) vigorously defending you using the name Jay Romeo on my CityWatch article regarding the illegally raised special interest donations that you have agreed to return in your campaign against Steve Napolitano to become LA County Supervisor of the 4th District. 

That is, unless Romeo already works for you …. 

Romeo’s effort is what one might expect of a paid political consultant like Hahn’s campaign spokesman John Shallman who did not respond to my offer to do Q&A prior to the article being published and discussed on KFI AM-640. While his office eventually denied posting those comments, let’s take a closer look. 

But first, my cardinal rule about reporting on politicians or aspiring ones: I do not accept prepared statements in lieu of (my) questions and (their) answers. A prepared statement neither advances a story nor serves the reader. It serves only the entity making it. 

Romeo claims to be so close to Hahn that he explains her motivation for returning those funds: “She’s doing it anyway out of an abundance of caution and respect for the law in general.” 

Romeo also cited quotes from the LA Times and the Daily Breeze newspapers: 

Los Angeles Times (9-24-16) “In an interview, Hahn said she would pay back the money if the county ultimately decides she has to…” 

Daily Breeze (9-22-16) “As we’ve said before, Janice will ‘cure’ (repay what’s owed) within the time frame given by the registrar,” said Hahn strategist John Shallman. 

Generous for Romeo to include that second quote, don’t you think? Perhaps the Daily Breeze quote was added because in the Times’ article, Shallman’s name did not appear in proximity to his quote, and that one quote addressing the subject simply wouldn’t do. It’s just a hunch. 

On Friday, while Hahn and Napolitano duked it out in court when he sued her to prevent those excess funds from being spent, I re-contacted Shallman’s office to ask if they posted the Romeo comments.

Meghan Carvalho, a Shallman aide, emailed me a prepared statement (despite my caveat against them) that she said came from Shallman. 

In Shallman’s statement, he mentioned “…firefighters, teachers and nurses…” 

In one of Romeo’s comments, he mentioned “…teachers, firefighters and nurses…” 

There are more than 10 million people living in Los Angeles County in thousands of professions. 

How spectacular that Shallman and Romeo selected not only the same number of professions, but the same exact three…with the same exact comma usage, too.


In the LA Times, Shallman is quoted “…working families are not silenced…”

In the same exact context, Romeo wrote “…working families, cannot donate…”


Shallman’s emailed statement noted how the law “…rigs the system in favor of millionaires…”

Romeo’s comment was “…rigs the system in favor of millionaires…”

That’s the same exact wording, to the letter.


Shallman, in his prepared statement and in other media outlets, made some of the same specious points that Romeo did, like suggesting that donation limits on Political Action Committees (PAC) somehow silences individuals’ 1st Amendment right to contribute to campaigns. They do not. Individuals are all able to donate to campaigns directly, regardless of whether they also donated to PACs. 

This is hardly the first time Shallman has been accused of unconventional, unfair or untruthful behavior. 

While Romeo accused me of favoring Napolitano, I wrote about Napolitano’s concerns because he willingly engaged in Q&A, while neither Hahn nor Shallman did. But let me assure you, Romeo, I do not live in the 4th District, am neither Republican nor Democrat, cannot tell you where Napolitano stands on even a single issue and, prior to this article, never even heard of him. Satisfied?


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a writer who contributes to CityWatchLA, Huffington Post and KFI AM-640. He blogs on humane issues at http://ericgarcetti.blogspot.com/.   His views do not necessarily reflect those of CityWatch) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.


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