Say goodbye to “Cal-Exit.” The California secession effort will no longer try to qualify a ballot initiative, its author said Monday, after media outlets turned up his connections to the Russian government.
The CalExit movement gained visibility the day after the presidential election. Proponents set up outside the state Capitol, touting their ballot initiative. It would have asked voters to start an intricate and unlikely process to have California secede from the United States.
But getting that measure on the ballot would have required almost 600,000 voter signatures, an effort that typically requires millions of dollars in funding YesCalifornia never displayed.
Author Louis Marinelli says he’s now pulling the measure and quitting the organization.
"Someday, after you’ve read this email and after the false allegations about me vanish, and after this period of anti-Russian hysteria subsides, may it be said of this campaign that we spoke the truth...that led California to independence from the United States," writes Marinelli in his farewell statement.
Marinelli lives in Russia, and media outlets have shown connections from organizations affiliated with the Russian government that promote secession movements in Western nations.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly referred to Marinelli as a California native. He is originally from New York.