by Will Harper
Attorney General-elect Jerry Brown told the Oakland Tribune he won't be "hiring" wife, Anne Gust, to work for him in the AG's office. That's technically true ï¿½ he won't be "hiring" her or even paying her a salary. However, Brown is investigating whether Gust can work for him as a volunteer entitled to travel reimbursements and workers' comp, according to a public document obtained by the Express.
In a December 19 letter to the Fair Political Practices Commission, James Humes, the chief assistant attorney general of the civil division, asks whether Gust can work as a volunteer for Brown. "In short," the letter says, "we ask whether the Political Reform Act prohibits or restricts the Attorney General Elect from appointing his spouse ... to work as a volunteer in the Department of Justice in a formal executive-level position once he assumes office."
It's unclear what that "formal executive-level position" would be. In the Tribune today, Brown said his wife wouldn't be replacing the outgoing chief deputy for administration and policy, who oversees the executive staff and 3,000 non-attorney workers.
Humes asks for a prompt reply because Brown takes office January 8, "and some organizational decisions affecting the Department's more than 5,000 employees could be deferred pending receipt of your advice."
Jon Matthews, a spokesman for the FPPC, says the commission is preparing a written response to Humes' letter. That advice letter will be a public document, he says.
Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, left a message for the Express saying Brown had not inquired about whether his wife could work for him. When the Express called back for clarification, Dresslar stuck to his guns and said Brown indeed had not asked about whether Gust could work for him. As to whether she could volunteer for her husband, Dresslar said that was an entirely different question. Fucking lawyers.
Humes will stay on in the Brown administration, although not in the same job: He'll take over as chief deputy attorney general for legal affairs.
Back to 92510, the East Bay Express news blog.