Migden: Clear Channel paid for the billboards

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By Tim Redmond

State Sen. Carole Migden just called me to answer the question I've been posing to her for a couple of weeks: Who paid for all those pro-Migden billboards?

Migden says it wasn't a secret donor; as far as she knows, Clear Channel, which owns the billboards, donated them, through the efforts of Michael Colbruno, a local Clear Channel exec who is a former Migden aide and remains close to the senator.

"My campaign paid for the printing," she said. "The money for the boards came from some sort of internal fund available to Clear Channel to pay for these things when there are boards that aren't sold. It's all perfectly legal."

That isn't exactly what Colbruno had told me, which was that this was entirely independent of the Migden campaign.

Migden agreed that the ads were "helpful to me," but she also insisted that they were aimed in part at promoting her anti-war efforts, which will include a February state ballot measure calling for an end to the war.

Bottom line, though, these are billboards that promote Migden's campaign, and if we hadn't made a fuss about this, nobody would ever have known that they were, in effect, a gift from Clear Channel, one of the nation's biggest (and some would say, most evil) media conglomerates.