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POLITICIAN WATCH : Chutzpah Raiser

May 21, 1993

Leave it to Don Roth to give new meaning to the words retire campaign debt and without shame.

Roth quit as an Orange County supervisor March 1 and pleaded guilty to seven ethics violations for not reporting freebies from people who benefited from his votes.

His sentence, which seemed fair, was a $50,000 fine, a three-year suspended term and 200 hours of community service. What definitely is not fair is how Roth is trying to wriggle out of that sentence.

Roth, a former Anaheim mayor and always a fund-raiser par excellence, turned to his leftover campaign funds. That well ran dry when only half of the fine was paid, so he decided to do what he knows best in order to pay the rest of the fine and any pesky lawyer bills. He's going to hold a fund-raiser June 9. Roth is asking supporters to pay $100 each to "help assist me to retire my political debt."

We've got a better idea. Anyone tempted to help Roth should forget him and become a different kind of donor. Give the $100 to a charity--be it a church group, a school, a service organization, whatever. Maybe give it to the Boys & Girls Club of Anaheim, the club where Roth is supposed to work off his community service. It turns out he interpreted community service as meaning he would organize a golf tournament on the club's behalf. Needless to say, it's a fund-raising tourney.

Once again, Roth just did not get it. He should pay his own fines. And those who might consider helping him should spend the $100 on a good cause, not a disgraced ex-supervisor.

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