By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

Accused of trying to bribe his opponent to keep her out of the race for Del Norte County supervisor, Clyde Eller is now facing questions from the state Attorney Generals office.

Investigators from the Attorney Generals office were in town yesterday to question both Eller and candidate Sarah Sampels.

Sampels made the bribe allegation at a public candidate forum last week.

Sampels said investigators from the Attorney Generals Office questioned her about the bribe yesterday.

Eller wouldnt confirm whether investigators spoke with him.

If I had talked to them, I wouldnt make that public, Eller said.

Eller did, however, flatly deny the accusation.

I did not, in any way, offer Sarah a bribe, he said yesterday.

According to Sampels, Eller invited her for coffee in October at a local restaurant to discuss ground rules for the campaign.

The next morning, Sampels said, Eller called her at her home.

He prefaced the phone call with I know Ive told you for three years that I wasnt going to run, and I know you need extra income and health insurance, and Im willing to compensate you not to file your papers, she said.

When asked if she had a tape recording of the conversation, Sampels said, No comment.

According to Eller, the two did talk about the campaign.

We had a conversation about running a clean election and we agreed. In my estimation, she violated that agreement, Eller said.

Sampels said she did not report Eller to the California Fair Political Practices Commission the department under the Attorney Generals office which handles such cases.

Spokesman John Symkowick of the CFPPC said he cant comment on an investigation while its under way or even confirm that one was launched.

Once investigations are complete, he said, details will be made public, whether there is action taken by the commission or not.