Friday, Aug. 24, 2007 | To help capture a tight victory at the ballot box in 2004, Mike Aguirre spent more than a half-million dollars of his own money. With the help of supporters, he’s finding a way to get paid back.
Nearly three years after the election, Aguirre has raised $33,374 from donors who are helping the city attorney’s campaign committee reimburse its last lingering creditor: himself.
While part of that sum has gone unspent or to pay the committee’s operating expenses, $19,500 has been returned to Aguirre’s own pocket.
The arrangement allows Aguirre to raise money from benefactors, some of whom have business in front of the legal department he oversees, for the sole purpose of boosting his own personal finances.
After four prior elections in which he loaned his campaigns six-figure amounts only to forgive the debts upon his defeats, Aguirre said he is taking advantage of a law that allows him to replenish some of the personal assets he has sacrificed to become an elected official. However, he recognizes “it puts the City Attorney’s Office in a difficult spot.”
“It’s a difficult situation, but I don’t think there’s anyone who’s seen the way I operate who thinks they can buy the office,” Aguirre said. “This is just the reality of the situation.”