Anaheim Republican Jose “Joe” Moreno has announced he is withdrawing from the AD-69 race, citing the Hatch Act and questions raised about his eligibility to run from a LiberalOC post as reasons why he had to make a choice between keeping his job and running for office. Moreno’s withdrawl makes OC Clerk Recorder Tom Daly the next assembly representative for AD-69 which makes up parts of Anaheim, Santa Ana, Orange and Garden Grove.
The Orange Juice erroneously reported TheLiberalOC was on the list of those filing a complaint. That’s not true. We did place inquiries seeking clarification on eligibility. That’s a legitimate function of what we do.
As Moreno’s website will be deactivated tomorrow, he places most of the blame for his withdrawl….on us.
I have been given a choice from the US Special Counsels Office: end campaigning and withdraw my candidacy for the 69th Assembly District or quit my employment with the County of Orange.
First of all, those who would threaten my family’s main source of income by using this political campaign legal tool, the Hatch Act are not in any way advocating my freedom of speech, supporting democracy, or simply playing fair.
The following excerpt is from a story on a political blog, which tells of some of the origins of why the County of Orange sought an opinion from the US Special Counsel office and whether my previous candidacy violated the Hatch act.
(I won’t assume that it was a mere coincident that this story was published right after my second place showing in June’s primary election and a month before the US Special Counsel’s opinion was published.)
The political blog wrote,
“LiberalOC asked the Social Services Agency whether they had sought an opinion from the U. S. Office of Special Counsel regarding the possible violation of the Hatch Act by Moreno, they declined to answer because they “do not comment on personnel issues.” When asked whether the Agency was aware of the Hatch Act, Social Services Agency spokesperson TerryLynn Fisher said; “the Agency is acutely aware of the Hatch Act.”
I understand any person or groups advocating following the law but believe this is is simply a political campaign legal tool, given I cannot afford to legally fight against this opinion, yet acknowledge the inconsistency of why this law has not applied to my previous opponent, Tom Daly.
Did this political blog contact the County of Orange Human Resources agency when Tom Daly was allegedly accused of violating some of the provisions of the Hatch Act that dealt with campaigning at work, hiring campaign contributors relatives or friends or awarding contracts to campaign supporters or contributors. These allegations have been uncovered and written extensively in the following titled stories.
Daly gets caught sending campaign email to his employees, during work hours | New Santa Ana
Hard Hiring Freeze at County; Someone Forgot to Tell Clerk-Recorder- Friends of fullerton’s Future Blog
MORE MONKEY BUSINESS AT THE CLERK-RECORDER’S OFFICE; TOM DALY AND HIS THREE AMIGOS.- Friends of Fullerton’s Future Blog
Some of the members of this political blog have written stories that support Tom Daly and one of the members has been a campaign contributor to Tom Daly’s campaign.
For the record, I was subjected to a recorded investigatory interview by Orange County Legal Counsel office and a Orange County Human Resources manager and while I continually insisted then that “I do not politically campaign at work nor have the power or position to grant favors, jobs or contracts, that would benefit my campaign” in the over 3 hour meeting. Subsequently, the County of Orange did conclude their investigation and found no evidence that I violated any personnel rules of the County of Orange.
But, did the County of Orange investigate Tom Daly for violating the provisions of the Hatch Act when I offered this information 5 months ago. Well, we all know that there is a current investigation of Tom Daly for improprieties as an county elected official that mirror what I asked the county to consider looking into months ago.
Nevertheless, I have tried to resolve the Hatch Act as it relates to my employment the last five months.
I have sent Congressional Representative Darrell Issa a request to reform the Hatch Act. I have applied for different positions within the County Of Orange that would allow me to continue my campaign without any question about Hatch Act violation.
Interesting even the US Special Counsel own Director has seemingly repeatedly requested the Hatch Act be reformed as it is being abused and used as a political tool to end competitive elections. asking for reforming its tough penalties and application to state and local candidates. In fact, an enforcer of the Hatch Act was interviewed recently, Carolyn Lerner, Hatch Act enforcer, seeks reforms – Josh Gerstein – POLITICO.com
This tremendous legal challenge is one I can’t afford to challenge nor can I afford to lose my job.
Tomorrow I will request, the Orange County Registrar of Voters withdraw my name as a candidate because of the Hatch Act. While I understand that my name may still be on the ballot, I will submit a press release once I confirm this, announcing an end to any campaigning on my behalf and publicly announcing I am no longer a candidate.
For the record, Mr. Moreno asking us to follow the lead of New Santa Ana or Friends for Fullerton’s Future for our own editorial coverage choices is laughable. And we did report on the investigation the county is pursuing against Tom Daly. In fact, we were pretty fair to every candidate in the AD-69 race, running news of their endorsements, fundraisers, as well as being critical of their faults. We were critical of Daly’s poor showings in the endorsement fights early in his individual fundraising, but noted the key business and community endorsements among voters most likely to get out an vote. We reported on the endorsements received other Democrats in the race and their personal financial shortcomings.
After Primary night, we contacted Mr. Moreno via email and cell phone and got no response whatsoever. The truth is Jose “Joe” Moreno didn’t launch much of a campaign, didn’t have much of a vision for being in the Assembly, and got votes because he was A) the only Republican in the race and some voters will only vote party line, and B) a number of people in Anaheim thought they were voting for Dr. Jose Moreno, an Anaheim City School District trustee. Paco Barragan is a much better qualified candidate for assembly than Moreno. But Moreno had the benefit of the R and the benefit of voter confusion working for him.
Does the Hatch Act need to be reformed? I’m sure it can be reworked to permit candidates like Moreno to run. But Joe Moreno was a last minute candidate who was in over his head the minute he turned in his nomination papers. Without him in the race, Julio Perez cruises to the second spot on the ballot and what was the hottest assembly race in the county before the primary is now a snoozer going into November.
But if TheLiberalOC is THAT powerful that we can influence the eligibility of a Republican candidate for office, well, mission accomplished.
UPDATE: We did contact the Social Services Agency to confirm Moreno’s claims and they responded saying that they were unable to comment on personnel matters. That didn’t surprise us since that is their standing policy.
Even though Moreno has announced that he will cease campaigning, the damage from the failure of the Social Services Agency to take prompt action during the primary has harmed more than just Mr. Moreno and his family. In addition to the unnecessary stress this has put on them, the voters of the 69th Assembly District have been deprived of the opportunity to choose among qualified candidates for the office.
SSA knew of the violation and chose to drag their feet rather than make the matter clear to Moreno in the first place. The Hatch Act regulations are clear in what is allowed and what is not. Whether it was a symptom of a green attorney from the County Counsel’s Office assigned to the agency dropping the ball, or the gross negligence of senior managers similar to their handling of the toxic safety hazards at agency facilities, countyand agency executive managers have once again screwed up.
In the end, the people of Orange County are left holding a flaming bag of poo.