The head of a law enforcement group that endorses Republican candidate for governor Bill Simon said Tuesday he has two photos from nearly five years ago showing Democratic Gov. Gray Davis illegally accepting a campaign contribution in the state Capitol.

Monty Holden, executive director of the California Organization of Police and Sheriffs, told reporters the 1998 photographs show Davis, then lieutenant governor accepting a $10,000 check from Al Angele, then executive director of COPS. Davis was running for his first term as governor at the time.

The claims are "false and possibly slanderous," Davis campaign press secretary Roger Salazar said. "This charge is categorically false. No such exchange of campaign funds took place inside then Lt. Gov.'s Davis' Capitol office in Sacramento."

Davis said the meeting took place in his campaign office in Los Angeles, which would not be illegal.

Angele called the charge by current COPS members "totally unbelievable."

"I've never been in (Davis') office in my life," said Angele, now a Davis appointee to the Board of Prison Terms. "I don't understand it. It's out of left field."

Simon initially made the allegation Monday after the candidates met in Los Angeles for their first debate before the Nov. 5 election.

But Tuesday, Simon backed away from the allegations, saying it was a matter between COPS and the Fair Political Practices Commission. "It's not my allegation. ... This is California Organization of Police and Sheriffs speaking, not me," Simon told KGO-AM.