A spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown who admitted last week that he had secretly recorded telephone conversations with journalists, including a reporter for The Chronicle, resigned Monday.
Scott Gerber was placed on administrative leave Friday after telling Chronicle political writer Carla Marinucci that he had recorded her interview Wednesday with two attorneys in Brown’s office without seeking her permission.
Gerber admitted taping the conversation with Marinucci after the newspaper published a story about consumer activist Harvey Rosenfield charged that Brown changed the wording of the summary of a proposed ballot measure on car insurance after pressure from Mercury General, one of the state’s largest insurers and a Brown campaign donor.
In his resignation letter to James Humes, chief deputy attorney general, Gerber said he recorded Marinucci’s interview not "to play gotcha but simply to have an accurate record of official, on-the-record statements on matters of public concern."
"It is clear now that I made serious errors in judgment," he said. "I should have asked reporters for permission to record." Gerber apologized to Humes, Brown and "the reporters I taped without permission."
"The errors were mine alone – neither the attorney general nor any other attorneys from our office were aware that I was recording interviews without permission," Gerber said.
Brown declined to comment Monday on the resignation.
The taping came to light when Gerber contacted an editor at The Chronicle after the story about Rosenfield’s allegations was posted Wednesday evening on SFGate.com. Gerber said Humes’ comments were not fairly reflected in the article and e-mailed the editor a transcript of the conversation.
Editors at the paper briefly took the story off the Web site to include more comment from Gerber, who said the summary of the insurance measure was rewritten after its sponsors, a coalition of insurers and consumer groups, made extensive changes to the initiative.
Gerber added that, in the view of Brown’s office, the new summary is a fair and accurate description of the measure. The updated story was then posted on the newspaper’s Web site.