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The state attorney general has declined a request that it investigate a labor-backed coalition running radio ads claiming that signing initiative petitions increases risk of identity theft.

A San Diego official supporting an effort to qualify a pension reform measure for the local ballot had filed letters of complaint with the attorney general and the state Fair Political Practices Commission alleging that Californians Against Identity Theft was running afoul of state campaign disclosure laws and engaging in illegal voter intimidation tactics.

The attorney general responded to the complaint last week, writing in a letter to San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio that it found "no basis to conduct an investigation at this time."

"Responsibility for investigating allegations like those described in your letter rests primarily with local authorities and perhaps the state Fair Political Practices Commission," Senior Assistant Attorney General Douglas Woods wrote in a letter dated Aug. 8.

The FPPC had previously declined to investigate the group, saying there was no evidence it was in violation of the Political Reform Act.

The effort's ads and website did not originally disclose its primary backers -- the state Building and Construction Trades Council and the California State Pipe Trades Council. Though supporters maintain the nature of the ads do not require disclosure, they later filed as a political committee with the secretary of state.

The group, which is now calling itself Californians Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud, is continuing its radio campaign. Spokesman Roger Salazar said the group hopes to "focus on the well documented abuses within the paid signature gathering process for initiatives" now that both complaints, which he called "political grandstanding," have been dismissed.


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