What did they know and when did they know it?

These have become the questions of the hour, on the political playing fields of both the state and the nation. While the White House continues trying to squirm out of holding Karl Rove responsible for his reprehensible actions, Democrats in California are aiming some heat at the Republican-controlled Secretary of State and Governor’s offices for their role in the Prop. 77 flap. Here’s a quick primer:

The legal and political wrangling over Proposition 77 stems from discovery that the text submitted to the attorney general to launch the initiative campaign was different from the version used to solicit voter signatures.
Adding to the controversy, proponents of the measure and the Republican governor’s legal affairs secretary, Peter Siggins, have conceded that they knew of the glitch at least a week before they reported it to the secretary of state’s office.
The matter was brought to the attention of the secretary of state’s office June 13 – three days after Proposition 77 was certified for the Nov. 8 ballot.
Opponents say they suspect that Siggins and Daniel Kolkey, an attorney for the proponents, intentionally delayed notification because it would be harder to keep the initiative off the ballot once it was certified.

Of course, Rove’s actions which endangered our national security and God knows how many individual lives, can hardly be compared with any fishy behavior that might have gone on between the Governor’s office, Secretary of State Bruce McPherson and Prop 77 proponents. Still, it doesn’t mean that what is being alleged isn’t serious. This entire special election is enough of a waste of taxpayer dollars that any deception resulting in more unecessary expenditures is offensive and wrong. It is also a dangerous precedent to allow the measures that are ciruclated to the public to differ from those that are put on the ballot. Proponents argue the differences were “technical,” but that is too slippery of a slope even for technicalities to be forgiven.
And just because Prop 77 has been kicked off the ballot doesn’t mean that the Democrats should back off from the planned Elections Committee oversight hearings. After all, proponents say they are going full speed ahead with an appeal.
Meanwhile, any sort of compromise on the special election seems increasinly unlikely. On that topic, Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez’s spokesperson Steve Maviglio has the quote of the day:

“There are two flat tires on the reform Hummer,” said Maviglio, referring to the governor’s fondness for the large sport utility vehicles. “We are not going to be there to pump them back up.”