U.S. District Court Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of San Francisco said that “they seem to have ignored the statutory proscription.” She accused USDA, which has oversight over AEB, of ignoring the law on government involvement in political campaigns, the Chronicle says. She ordered the Agriculture Department to not spend any money collected from egg producers on the Proposition 2 ballot measure.

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The paper says a government lawyer described the ads as “neutral and educational,” unrelated to the Nov. 4 ballot initiative. “But Patel said she was skeptical after hearing from a Humane Society lawyer that the government-backed ads featured a No on 2 spokesman with a message that dovetailed with the opposition campaign’s theme,” the paper says.