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Part 2: Bera And Jones On Court Cases, Campaign Finance, Presidential Candidates

This is the second part in a two-part series on the race for California's 7th Congressional District. Read Part 1: Jones, Bera Speak On Issues In Race For 7th Congressional District
Democratic incumbent Ami Bera is being challenged for the 7th Congressional seat by Sacramento Sheriff Scott Jones, who is a Republican. Both men have faced controversy during their campaigns.

Before Scott Jones became Sheriff, four female deputies sued the department for incidents of harassment and retaliation for whistleblowing. In support of that lawsuit, a female deputy alleged an "inappropriate" but consensual relationship with Jones while he was in a position of authority. 

The county lost the lawsuit and Jones’ reputation took a hit. But, he denies the allegations and says there was no relationship.

"I've conducted myself with integrity and ethics my entire career and these allegations that supposedly happened 13 years ago, but were never brought up until in this lawsuit a year or so ago, were found by two separate judges to not have Merit..."

Bera was investigated when his father was caught illegally reimbursing friends and family for donations to Bera's campaigns.

"The U.S. Attorney has been pretty clear that after an exhaustive investigation, neither I nor my campaign had any idea what was going on," says Bera. "Look, my dad made a tragic mistake. You know, these are the consequences of it and it's a sad story. But, you know, to his credit, he admitted what he did and he has to face those consequences."

Jones responded to the conviction of Bera’s father by laying out a series of campaign finance reforms he says he would introduce if elected.

"If you are the family member or related to a candidate either candidate or officeholder and you're donating. There should just be a simple check box on the form...so someone can look at an easy glance if they are a relative or family member of an office holder or a candidate."

Jones says laws should be changed to require campaigns report all donations within 24 hours and to notify people when they have donated the maximum amount allowed.

Bera says he supports some campaign finance legislation. 

"I'm a co-sponsor of the Disclose Act which would increase transparency," says Bera. "I'm very much on board in terms of repealing Citizens United, get all this outside money out of campaigns and at the end of the day let's make campaigns about the people who can actually vote for you."

Bera says the election is about the economy.

"You know, the Sacramento region was hit pretty hard by the recession. People are still struggling to recover. Things are a little bit better than they were 4, 6 years ago." says Bera. "But, as I go around and talk to folks, there's still a lot of middle-class families that are out there just working hard trying to get ahead. They've got kids on one side who may be graduating high school and want to go to college and they're struggling trying to figure out how to pay for college and then they've got aging parents as well."

In 2014, one of his deputies, Deputy Danny Oliver, and a Placer County detective, Detective Michael Davis Jr., were shot and killed. A Mexican national who had been deported four times has confessed.

Jones says the killings spurred him to run for office.

"For the district I think it's an opportunity for them to get representative leadership that they have not enjoyed over the last couple of terms," says Jones. "You have Congressman Bera who has been largely ineffective in Congress. And I think the district deserves better and I think I can give them better.”

Jones wants to separate his Congressional campaign from the presidential race.

"I'm running for Congress. Right? I'm running for a separate branch from the executive branch. I'm running on my own platforms," he says.

Jones also says he has his own ideas, and own positions on issues.

"My issues are out there and and well-established. So to unfairly paint either Congressman Bera for supporting Hillary or me for my willingness to vote for Donald Trump I think is a little bit unfair and I think a little bit beyond what the voters for this Congressional race actually care about," says Jones.

Bera says Jones has already linked himself to Trump.

"It's not a Donald Trump County. I mean it's not a place where Donald Trump should do well," says Bera. "And that's why it was really surprising that Scott Jones came out so early in his support of Donald Trump."

Both men have been elected twice to their respective offices.


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