Assembly candidate offers to donate first-year salary to charity

TURLOCK, Calif. -- A Democratic candidate for state Assembly is offering to donate all but a dollar of his $99,000 first-year salary to charity if he's elected.

"Mostly he's doing it to kind of bring attention to what's going on with the state budget and how it affects community programs and nonprofits and how giving to charity is way down," said Doug White, a spokesman for candidate Tom Hallinan.

Hallinan, an attorney for several local cities and special districts, is running against Republican Greg Aghazarian in the 26th District, a San Joaquin Valley seat that's targeted by both major parties.

Keeping the $1 of the legislative salary will allow Hallinan to get health insurance, White said. He'll also receive the $125 a day in expense money that lawmakers get when they are in session.

He'll also have his wife's salary as an attorney for California Rural Legal Assistance, a nonprofit legal services organization that represents the poor, White said.

Carl Fogliani, a spokesman for Aghazarian, suggested Hallinan wasn't serious about giving up his salary.

"He's been caught lying the entire campaign," Fogliani said. "You can't believe a thing he says. It's just another gimmick of a desperate campaign."

But White said Hallinan's motives were sincere. "This is something we've been planning for a long time," he said. "We did this in the most positive of lights. It does not have anything to do with Greg Aghazarian. It has something to do with Tom Hallinan."


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