Rep. Mary Bono Mack

Erica Felci • The Desert Sun • May 3, 2010

Goldman Sachs’ executives faced tough questions on Capitol Hill last week, and it didn’t take long for the Democrats to bring the issue home.

The campaign for Palm Springs Mayor Steve Pougnet, the lone Democrat challenging Rep. Mary Bono Mack in this year’s election, called on the Republican incumbent to return a $2,000 donation she got from the Wall Street firm’s managing director last October.

“Knowing what we now know about Goldman Sachs’ business practices, which helped tank the housing market and led to the economic downturn, Bono Mack should immediately return the funds she received from Goldman Sachs,” Pougnet’s campaign manager, Jordan Marks, said in a statement.

On the same day as that statement, Bono Mack’s campaign happened to distribute an article she wrote in Politico regarding Goldman Sachs, which she dubbed “another Wall Street scandal.”

“It is little wonder (Americans) have lost faith in the government and even some of our basic institutions,” Bono Mack wrote in a piece that also covered health care policy but didn’t mention the $2,000 donation.

“From finance reform to environmental policy, it is clear that the current leadership cannot be trusted. This administration promised change. But its change is wrong.”

Pougnet certainly wasn’t the only Democrat discussing the firm, which is under fire for its investment tactics: The California Democratic Party chairman issued a letter to Republican gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman to “come clean” with how much of the $60 million she’s spent on her campaign is from profits she made through Goldman Sachs.

But let’s not kid ourselves into thinking Goldman Sachs has only been interested in GOP campaigns: According to OpenSecrets.org, the firm was one of President Obama’s top supporters in 2008, spending $994,795 to help him win the White House.
Ongoing bickering

The Wall Street firm wasn’t the only issue the Congressional candidates traded barbs over last week:

On Facebook and his campaign site, Pougnet told Bono Mack to “stop doodling cartoons and start debating the issues.”

The mayor was referring to an animated Web ad that the congresswoman’s campaign recently released, which depicted Pougnet refusing to answer questions about his stance on health care.

He’s started an online petition where supporters are asking her to agree to five public debates.

Bono Mack’s campaign manager told the mayor he should be “embarrassed” that the city had to issue pink slips to 22 police department employees.

“Pougnet’s liberal tax and spend policies are to blame for the fiscal mess in city hall,” Ryan Mahoney said in a statement. “It’s clear that Pougnet cannot be trusted to lead this city and definitely cannot be trusted to represent this district in Washington.”
Backup plan

Former Palm Springs police chief Gary Jeandron is asking voters to elect him to the full-time job of Riverside County supervisor, but it looks like he’s got a Plan B just in case the June vote is not in his favor.

Jeandron confirmed to The Desert Sun last week that he’s applied to be the permanent director of the College of the Desert’s Public Safety Academy.

Jeandron said he was asked to apply, and it seemed like the “natural process” considering he’s currently serving as the interim director.

“It wasn’t anything about my confidence in this (election at all,” Jeandron told The Desert Sun.

“It just simply means I’ve applied.”

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