LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — California Republican gubernatorial candidate Tim Donnelly has come under fire after he accused rival Neel Kashkari of supporting fundamentalist Islamic law.
The controversy started after a 2008 invitation to a Treasury Department seminar, which was about how to establish capitalist businesses in countries where Sharia law rules, was posted on Donnelly's Facebook page.
Kashkari, who worked for the Treasury Department at that time, gave the opening remarks at the seminar.
Donnelly wrote, "Given the recent stories and protests about the outrage of the discriminatory nature of Sharia law, we're horrified that Kashkari would support Sharia anything."
The Kashkari campaign charged that Donnelly went even further on Twitter, suggesting that Kashkari had submitted to Sharia law.
On a Santa Cruz radio talk show, Donnelly and Aaron McLear, a senior adviser to the Kashkari campaign, got into a heated exchange.
"You're trying to say that Kashkari was submitting to Sharia law. You tweeted that. You said that Neel Kashkari submission to Sharia law. So that's your accusation," McLear said.
Donnelly responded, "Yeah. Those are direct quotes from a Washington Times article. I have no opinion on those, but the bottom line…."
"No. No," McLear said.
The debate has created a bitter divide among California Republicans.
"Kashkari is Indian. Now he's a Hindu, he's not even a Muslim, but I'm already starting to get emails from grassroots activists that are like, 'Beware of Kashkari. He wants to stone women and follow Sharia law,' and nothing could be further from the truth," Jon Fleischman, the publisher of FlashReport.org, said. "It's a low point in the campaign."
Fleischman added, "I haven't endorsed neither of them. Ideologically, I'm more inclined towards Tim Donnelly, but this kind of incident really brings into question his judgment."
California Congressman Darrell Issa, who has endorsed Kashkari, fired back at Donnelly.
In a statement, he said, "I was offended and outraged that someone who would run for the highest office in our state would resort to such hateful and disgusting rhetoric. It is crap like this that gives Republicans a bad name and there is no place in the Republican Party or in this race for someone like Tim Donnelly."
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