Joe Moreno Drops Out of AD-69; Blames Us for Asking about The Hatch Act

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.

Moreno writes:

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.

Thank you.

Jose Moreno

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.

  13 comments for “Joe Moreno Drops Out of AD-69; Blames Us for Asking about The Hatch Act

  1. Paco Barragan
    September 28, 2012 at 2:42 am

    Dan & Chris aka The Liberal OC:

    Thank you for your fair and balanced reporting on this race; I appreciate the fact that you highlighted the Hatch Act concerns.

    I think it is imperative that we both hold our elected officials accountable when necessary, and while we may not always agree with them, that we also always support them as they tackle our state’s many issues; and encourage them to cooperate for the well-being of our youth and our citizens.

    I am hopeful and optimistic that Tom Daly will use his experience, intellect and talents to help move the 69th AD and our state forward.

    again thank you for your reporting!

    Francisco “Paco” Barragán

  2. Luis
    September 28, 2012 at 7:15 am

    A week ago two investigations and two candidates with the only difference one supported by the wealthy elites, a considerable campaign war chest, and a high priced attorney.

    Today, one withdraws as a candidate because of challenging one of the provisions of the Hatch Act would be something he could not afford. The other candidate has an attorney that has been delaying and blocking the investigation into finding out the corruption and sexual harassment charges that are being investigated and this is called “holding our elected officials accountable”

    Francisco, you don’t get it. Very lame!

    • Paco Barragan
      September 28, 2012 at 9:56 am

      @ Luis:

      I like Joe Moreno personally, and don’t wish him any ill will, and I also understand the sacrifice that he has made that it takes to be a candidate; however, it appears he was hoping that the Hatch Act rules would be bent and ignored in his favor.

      Now, Joe may have a valid point about the need to reform the Hatch Act, but Joe chose to place himself, in this predicament by hoping the rules would be “changed in the middle of the game”.

      In general Free Speech, Democracy and Fair elections are not advanced by attempts at having the laws or rules ignored or twisted to favor one candidate over another, in the middle of a race, as it seems Joe was hoping it would happen.

      It is easy to imagine that if Joe had a valid case that the Republican Party would be supporting him and would be taking a principled stance in his defense; however, it is very telling that they are not.

      Also, as Dan C, states:
      * “making stuff up”,
      * relying on unsubstantiated allegations,
      * relying on voters voting along partisan lines (Joe being the only Republican on the race), and
      * hoping the rules are ignored

      to make up for a lack of Vision, for a lack of a Campaign Strategy or for a lack of a credible campaign, this is I think a lame way of hoping to get elected . . . I hope you get this.

      Francisco “Paco” Barragán

  3. September 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

    Luis — a couple of things. 1. The Hatch Act does not apply to elected officials, so Moreno’s contention that the Hatch Act should impact Daly is clue #1 he is in over his head.

    The anonymous letter against Daly has several erorrs in it; Daly does not have a county credit card and therefore can’t go on shopping sprees he is accused of doing.

    The four women in the case named by the letter have all denied the contention made in the anonymous letter. I suspect the county may have legal liabilities if these women decide to sue. Having watched these women interact with Daly’s wife during his primary night party, I find it hard to believe any of them are good enough actresses to joke around with the wife of the person they are supposed to be involved with.

    The investigation isn’t being delayed or blocked. You made that up.

    I am afraid its you who cannot separate fact from fiction.

    • September 28, 2012 at 11:29 am

      “I suspect the county may have legal liabilities if these women decide to sue.”

      You think that they can sue the County because someone sent the County an anonymous letter accusing them of misconduct and the County (supposedly) investigated? That would be a very interesting legal claim.

      As for the “good enough actresses” notion, who knows what goes on in other people’s marriages? People keep telling me that I should look into the Rohrabachers’ marriage, but I have neither the time nor the stomach for it. I think that your acceptance of congenial relations as proof that there’s no truth to the allegations is both premature and not a courtesy that you would extend in all cases.

      • Dan Chmielewski
        September 28, 2012 at 1:25 pm

        Greg — If I’m working somewhere and I’m accused on misconduct and eventually cleared, I have to think harm has been done to one’s reputation. You;d have to consult with an employment attorny but I think these women have a case.

        We’ve all heard the rumours about Dana, but even Moxley hasn’t published them.

        As far as my acceptance of what I believe, I tend to believe things I see and how people carry themselves. What their body language says. And how they respond to a question.

        With due respect counselor, you have no idea what courtesies I would or wouldn’t extend to anyone. But an interesting dodge to our point your blog published something not-factual about us being complaintants in this case and run our “denial” in the same tradition of “when did you stop beating your wife” question.

        Vern doesn’t seem to understand that Daly is not impacted by the Hatch Act since he is an elected official.

  4. junior
    September 28, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    Right now aren’t there more important things to be concerned about – like if the Angels make it to the playoffs??

    • Dan Chmielewski
      September 28, 2012 at 3:58 pm

      Let’s Go Halos!

  5. Not Pedroza's PR firm
    September 29, 2012 at 10:28 am

    What a jerk. Maybe Pedroza can babysit his kids while they whine

  6. Luis
    September 30, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    Interesting comment on Orange juice, which makes sense. More sense if the allegations of sexual harassment and corruption in office against Tom are True.

    “If Moreno were to get the more votes than Daly in November and then chose not to fill the Assembly seat, the seat would become vacant. In that case, the governor would either appoint someone to fill it or call a special election, Kelley said Friday.”

    http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2012/09/28/moreno-again-drops-out-of-69th-assembly-race/88904/

    “So if many voters do not want Daly, they should vote for Moreno. And then another bite at the apple can be had.”

  7. Luis
    September 30, 2012 at 11:33 pm

    Dan,

    Yu wrote here, “Luis — a couple of things. 1. The Hatch Act does not apply to elected officials, so Moreno’s contention that the Hatch Act should impact Daly is clue #1 he is in over his head.”

    But if you looked at the Hatch Act Q and A you would find the following:

    “Is it okay for an elected official who is covered by the Hatch Act to ask subordinate employees to help with his reelection campaign?

    Answer: No. While elected officials are exempt from the candidacy prohibition of the Hatch Act, they are still subject to the other two prohibitions – the prohibitions against using one’s official authority to affect the result of an election and directly or indirectly coercing a state or local employee to make a political contribution. Because it is inherently coercive for a supervisor to ask a subordinate employee to contribute to a political cause, the Hatch Act would prohibit an elected official form asking subordinate employees to help or contribute to his reelection campaign.”

  8. October 1, 2012 at 8:26 am

    Luis –
    ” the prohibitions against using one’s official authority to affect the result of an election and directly or indirectly coercing a state or local employee to make a political contribution.”

    What evidence is ther that Tom Daly used his official authority to afect the result of an election?

    What evidence Tom Daly directly or indirectly “coerced” (that’s the key word here) a stae or local employee to make a political contribution?

    Nice stretch, but no donut I’m afraid.

  9. MorenoHatchActViolation
    October 31, 2012 at 2:28 pm

    “Flaming Bag of Poo” – that is a unique way of referring to Tom Daly.

Comments are closed.