Caruso has yet to fulfill $1-million abortion rights pledge

A day after a leaked draft Supreme Court Opinion The Roe vs. Wade overruling sent shockwaves across the country, with Los Angeles mayoral candidate Rick Caruso taking to Twitter to vehemently defend his support for abortion rights.

Caruso also pledged to provide financial backing to a proposal that Gov. Gavin Newsom and other state leaders had just announced that would specifically enshrine abortion rights in the state constitution by passing a voting measure now known as Proposal 1.

“I will form a California PAC by choice and provide an initial $100,000 pledge and $1 million pledge to ensure passage of the amendment,” Caruso wrote in a statement, Supporting a measure the state legislature would later vote for in the November vote.

That was on May 3rd. With just weeks until voters have their say on Proposition 1 and the Los Angeles mayoral race, Caruso appears to have spent no money on the abortion rights proposal — angering his mayoral opponent, Rep. Karen Bass pulls.

“Has anyone seen the $1 million?” said Bass, standing in front of a wall of colorfully illustrated feminist political posters Monday morning. A chorus of nos echoed through the offices of Women’s March Action in Boyle Heights.

“Rick can’t even keep promises he made as campaign tricks,” Bass said. “How can we trust him with the keys to City Hall?”

Peter Ragone, a spokesman for Caruso, said the real estate developer still plans to provide financial support to the committee.

“It has always been our intention to fund these efforts in close proximity to ballots that end up in mailboxes,” Ragone said.

Ragone declined to say when Caruso could invest the money ahead of the Nov. 8 election. According to the Secretary of State’s office, county polling stations have until October 10 to start mailing out ballots.

The first documents to form the Caruso Right to Choose Constitutional Amendment Committee were filed on May 20, according to state records. The committee has since filed three campaign statements, with the most recent filing covering the period between July and September 24.

No money has flowed into the committee since its inception in May, although the group has raised more than $9,000 in legal fees.

Caruso, who is largely self-funding his bid for Los Angeles mayor, has poured more than $61 million into his mayoral campaign.

Proposition 1, the abortion-rights measure of the state vote, would explicitly state in the language of the state constitution that California cannot deny or interfere with a person’s reproductive choices.

A poll in August showed voters overwhelmingly backed the measure. According to state records, more than $11 million was provided to support the passage of Proposition 1, and Caruso’s name does not appear on the list of donors.

Reproductive rights — an issue over which the Los Angeles Mayor will have little control — have become a focus in the race since the US Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe vs. Wade, announced two weeks after the June primary became.

Attention to abortion rights was a political boon for Bass, allowing the congresswoman to draw frequently pointed comparisons between her lifelong support for abortion rights and Caruso’s past donations to anti-abortion conservatives.

Bass’ attack on Caruso on Monday morning came during a broader “Roevember” press conference held with reproductive rights advocates who support her candidacy.

Karen Bass speaks to a line of people behind her.

Representative Karen Bass speaks at Monday’s press conference at the Women’s March Action in Boyle Heights.

(Carolyn Cole/Los Angeles Times)

Bass, who would be the city’s first woman mayor if elected, has overwhelming support from mainstream women’s groups.

“While [abortion rights advocacy organization] NARAL does not generally support local races, the stakes on this race are just too high to sit on the sidelines,” Shannon K. Olivieri Hovis, director of NARAL Pro-Choice California, told Bank of TV Cameras, appealing on Caruso’s previous support for anti-abortion groups.

Representatives from Women’s March Action, Emily’s List, the political arm of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles and other women’s political groups also spoke.

Despite his previous donations, Caruso has repeatedly said during the campaign that he has always supported abortion rights. He released a new video last week reiterating his support for abortion rights, while flashing phrases like “abortion is health care,” “pro-choice” and “fight for women” under his name.

The Caruso campaign plans to broadcast the video directly to 350,000 voters, Ragone said, characterizing the video as a response to “Karen Bass’s campaign of lies and misinformation surrounding his unwavering position on choice and reproductive freedom.” Caruso has yet to fulfill $1-million abortion rights pledge

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