Voice of San Diego’s ongoing investigation of the San Diego Association of Governments has revealed that the regional transportation agency has twice misled San Diegans about how much money it could raise through tax increases.
This week, Andrew Keatts asks a basic question: Are public agencies allowed to lie on the ballot?
The short answer: yup.
Keatts talks to three election law experts who say the First Amendment protects free speech, even if it’s false speech used to promote ballot measures.
Michael Colantuono, a Northern California-based attorney and an expert in elections, municipal law and local government revenue, tells Keatts that there’s a short window before the election in which false claims can be challenged, but if no one steps up during that time, that’s basically it.
But another expert said a novel legal case against SANDAG could be made, not over election fraud but for “an interesting form of public tax fraud.”