An election watch group said Friday that it was greatly disturbed by mailers and television ads by Los Angeles City Council candidate Beth Garfield attacking her opponent, Tom LaBonge.
But the Campaign Watch Commission of the League of Women Voters concluded that the ads and mailers did not warrant censure for misleading voters.
"We are, however, greatly disturbed by the nature of the innuendo underlying the materials," the commission said. The group cited "dubious words and images," including footage depicting cash stuffed in envelopes and shadowy figures behind closed doors.
LaBonge had complained that the material accused him of a shady deal involving the tobacco industry and falsely implied that he tried to hide his acceptance of tobacco industry contributions.
LaBonge was not on the council during a vote to ban smoking in restaurants but supported the restriction. Garfield has filed a complaint with the same group charging that a LaBonge mailer is "loaded with character attacks, and false and misleading statements."
Meanwhile, the executive direction of the city Ethics Commission, LeeAnn Pelham, said Friday that statements in Garfield mailers about LaBonge were wrongly attributed to the panel. One of those said LaBonge took tobacco money "at the last moment so voters wouldn't know before the  election." That statement was not made by the commission.
"We regret if any member of the public was led to conclude otherwise," Pelham said.