DA Rackauckas Seeks Public Integrity Office Funding

Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas (Photo: Chris Prevatt)

Today’s agenda for the Board of Supervisor’s meeting includes a request for funding for a Public Integrity Unit. The request is the result of a large numbers of complaints against public officials for improper conduct. Most notably, there is the arrest on 12 felony sexual abuse charges leveled against City Council member Carlos Bustamante in early July. Bustamante’s arrest was related to alleged sexual harassment by Bustamante against several femal employees of the Public Works agency where he was a senior executive. Bustamante’s arrest has resulted in the departure of several senior county executives accused of mismanaging the investigation of allegations made against Bustamante which officially date back more than a year. Those departures include the firing for cause of OC Public Works Director Jess Carbajal, and the forced resignation of County CEO Tom Mauk.

Councilman Carlos Bustamante Arrest at Santa Ana City Hall (Image from OC DA Video)

According to the staff report for the agenda item; “The District Attorney requests approval to add seven (7) new positions to its Special Prosecutions/Special Assignments Units to form a Public Integrity Team dedicated exclusively to address the growing number of complaints and investigations of crimes involving people holding public office.  Additionally, we have received increased complaints that allege the County and/or County employees may be victim(s) of crime. Over the last several years, complaints and investigations of crimes involving people holding public office have steadily increased.  Additionally, the Office received increased complaints that allege the County and/or County employees may be victim(s) of crimes.  Some specific type of crimes, include, but are not limited to: illegal or inappropriate use of public funds; bribery; election and campaign violations; conflicts of interest; malfeasance in office; Grand Jury matters; and Brown Act.”

This is a significant departure for District Attorney Rackauckas who has been criticized for his tepid response to violations of public trust in the county, with his response to the Bustamante case being an exception to that perception. The estimated cost for the additional positions is $1,117,425.

  6 comments for “DA Rackauckas Seeks Public Integrity Office Funding

  1. Santa Ana Resident
    September 11, 2012 at 8:22 am

    Rackauckas has done a pretty pathetic job of investigating some pretty blatant violations of the public trust in several offices around the County.
    Spending for this new division might be more justified if he agreed to use it for ALL elected offices throughout Orange County. Several times, city residents have concerns and legitimate complaints regarding ethical and legal violations by the elected officials in the cities where they live. They get no result trying to address it through city channels, so the D.A.’s office is the logical place to turn.
    Brown Act violations, gifts of public funds, and other criminal violations of the public trust should be more aggressively pursued by the D.A., not just in the county offices, but in all the elected and appointed positions in every city in the county.

  2. henry lipton
    September 11, 2012 at 8:53 am

    its about friggin time

  3. dempatriot
    September 11, 2012 at 11:56 am

    The board of supervisors is in no position to say no as they themselves have bee rocked all the way to the 5th floor in recent investigations and it isn’t over for sure. John Moorlach will likely have some very sweaty palms and racing heart as they discuss this today and it will pass 5-0 sooner or later.

    You can bet the investigations will not only continue through the county ranks but into the cities, schools and colleges as abused employees at other government agencies begin to finally speak out.

    You will continue to see high level public sector sudden departures/retirements as the DA widens the probe. Don’t be surprised by some top level elected officials retiring for “personal reasons.”

    Go get ‘em!

  4. Pedroza for City Council
    September 11, 2012 at 12:22 pm

    Will Claudia Alvarez be on the panel. Whenever I think of personal integrity, she is the first person I think of

  5. Pedroza for City Council
    September 11, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Can the county retroactivately investigate Chris Leo for allegedly hitting on married female staffers when he worked for Lou?

  6. Ltpar
    September 13, 2012 at 10:18 am

    Considering the District Attorney blatently ignoring the political corruption in Irvine over the years, why would he now be asking for more money to do something he has never shown an interest in? A more important question is why has the D.A.’s Office turned a blind eye to political corruption? Frankly, Mr. D.A. your action is a day late and a lot of dollars short. What we need is a new District Attorney who will determine that “No person” regardless of their political connections is above the law.

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