Reiner Resigns From Calif. Preschool Commission in Spending Flap

Complaining of "personal political attacks," Hollywood director Rob Reiner resigned Wednesday from a statewide preschool commission he helped create.

His organization, the California First 5 Commission, has been under scrutiny for its spending practices.

Two weeks ago, Reiner dismissed suggestions that he step down as chairman of the commission, which has collected nearly $4 billion in tobacco taxes to fund early childhood programs. "Everything I've done is completely legal," he said.

But Reiner called Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger over the weekend and resigned, said Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson.

In a letter to the governor, Reiner said: "We agreed that we cannot let personal political attacks get in the way of doing the very best we can for California's children."

Critics accused the commission of a conflict of interest after it spent $23 million in state money on an ad campaign that coincided with Reiner's promotion of a preschool ballot initiative.

The Legislature has asked the state auditor to investigate.

Reiner was unavailable for comment, said spokesman Mark Fabiani.

He will be replaced by Hector Ramirez, an executive at a nonprofit group for needy children, the governor said.

Reiner is known for his role on the TV sitcom "All in the Family" and for directing such movies as "When Harry Met Sally" and "A Few Good Men."