The Starting Line— DeMaio Campaign Tactic Backfires, US Atty Under Investigation as Calls for Resignation Mount

by on October 26, 2012 · 1 comment

in Columns, Government, Politics, The Starting Line

It all started with “a staff member” from Carl DeMaio’s mayoral campaign leaking an email from U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who was unhappy with Congressman Bob Filner for lashing out in response to attacks by the City Councilman, who had just re-stated his oft disproved claims about Filner’s pension.

This ‘leak’ was to be yet another salvo in a last ditch campaign to portray Filner as too unreasonable and hostile to be Mayor of San Diego. Instead, it’s blown up in his face.  Questions about whether Duffy was in violation of the Hatch Act, which restricts the activities of government employees in partisan political campaigns, are now at the forefront of the controversy.

Now this action by the DeMaio campaign has led to calls for the U.S. Attorney to resign and a review of her actions by Justice Department officials, according to NBC/7 News.  Steve Peace of the Independent Voter Network has written an op-ed calling for her resignation based, he says, on her refusal to listen to appeals from friends and associates that she step down.

“And then rather than cutting her losses”, Peace told NBC’s Gene Cubison, “she participates in an interview with the San Diego Union and proceeds to talk more.”

Rep. Bob Filner has joined the fray over the past two days, calling on U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy to step down from her post for wading into theSan Diegomayoral race.

“The U.S.attorney should resign because she got involved in a campaign,” Filner said in Wednesday night’s NBC San Diego debate with San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican. “That’s against certainly the spirit of the law if not the exact letter of the law.”

Voice of San Diego is up with a story saying that two legal experts (Both former Bush administration lawyers) have told them that, unless Duffy conspired with DeMaio’s campaign to release the correspondence, they believe she’s within the law.  They were also critical of the DeMaio campaign for releasing the emails in the first place.  From VOSD:

DeMaio later used Duffy’s donation and comments to imply he had her backing.

“I’m supported by Mayor Jerry Sanders. I’m supported by the leading Democrat donor, Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs. Laura Duffy, the U.S. attorney, donated to my campaign and today commented about her displeasure with the congressman’s temperament,” DeMaio said at a campaign forum last week.

DeMaio is now taking responsibility for the leaked email, calling it “an unfortunate mistake by one of our campaign staffers” during the Wednesday night debate.

Maybe Manchester Wasn’t Involved in Anti-Obama Film…

A legal squabble over proceeds from the film ‘2016: Obama’s America’ between producers has been bounced by a San Diego Superior Court Judge and is now headed for arbitration, according to a story by Greg Moran in today’s UT-SD.  Ho-hum, honor among thieves and all that….

What’s more interesting are the last two paragraphs of the story:

 An Associated Press story recently quoted U-T San Diego Vice President and CEO John Lynch saying that U-T San Diego Publisher Douglas F. Manchester invested in the film.

 Manchester was not available to comment, but Lynch said Thursday that Manchester has “no financial interest” in the film.

So the question now becomes, ‘were all those full page color ads that appeared in UT-San Diego paid for?’ Or were they political donation of some kind?  Inquiring minds want to know.

Noon Rally to Feature Sandra Fluke

Activist Sandra Fluke will join with Planned Parenthood supporters from throughout Southern California today at a rally on the south side of 6th Avenue and Laurel Street on October 26 at noon.  The Balboa Park event is intended to galvanize efforts to get out the vote.  The event is sponsored by the Parenthood Action Fund of the Pacific Southwest.

Earlier this year, Ms. Fluke, a Georgetown Law student — now a graduate — was shut out of the all-male congressional hearings on birth control chaired bySan Diego’s Congressman Darrell Issa. You may recall what followed: the conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh called her a “slut,” and the response was extraordinary. People from all over stood up and defended Ms. Fluke — even President Obama called to show his support.

Sandra Fluke is in San Diego as part of a nationwide campaign for women’s reproductive rights. Earlier this week she announced her support for Democrat Scott Peters in the race for the 52nd Congressional seat.

She explained her motivations for campaigning this year in a KPBS interview:

 “I just found that day after day there was more news from Republican leaders on why they were wrong on these policies and I eventually just gave up, because I thought that it doesn’t seem like they’re listening,” she said. “It doesn’t seem like they’re hearing young women’s voices on things like fair pay, the Violence Against Women Act, all these reproductive issues, and I decided the most effective thing I could do was send a strong message through our elections.”

 She said not enough voters are aware of bills such as the Protect Life Act, which would in part allow hospitals to deny abortions to pregnant women, even when the woman’s life is at stake.

 “We literally had a bill in the House of Representatives this year that said a hospital could allow a woman to die if she needed an abortion to save her life and the hospital didn’t want to provide it,” Fluke said. “That’s a staggering piece of legislation.”

 United Nations Invasion Watch

The latest conspiracy theory making the rounds of right wing media concerns the pending arrival in the US of 44 election monitors from the Organization of Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), a United Nations partner.

Although the international organization began monitoring U.S. elections in 2002, when then-President George W. Bush invited them to the country, their presence this year is now being ascribed to the conspiracy meme that Democratic President Barack Obama  is using the 2012 election to pave the way for a United Nations takeover.

Missouri Lt. Governor Peter Kinder (R) joined that conspiracy club yesterday when he warned that “Albanian” election monitors who will observe polling places on November 6th are part of President Barack Obama’s plan to let the United Nations take over theUnited States.

“UN observers, monitors, have no business in our elections and should be kept out ofMissouri,” he told radio host Dana Loesch. “I’m calling on legislative leaders in the majority party in both the House and Senate — Republican leadership — to join me in saying we will not have these UN election monitors in our state.”

Romney’s Incredible Shrinking US Navy

Radio and TV Stations inFlorida, Virginia, and New Hampshire are now airing ads from the Romney campaign complaining about the size of the American navy. “Our navy is smaller now than any time since 1917,” Romney warns in the radio spots. A narrator adds, “As commander in chief, Mitt Romney… will invest in our military.”

Romney trotted out this line during Monday night’s Presidential debate only to be swatted down by President Obama, responding with a now-famous zinger about “horses and bayonets.”

Wired.com has posted a story casting a new light on Romney’s push to beef up ship building: One of his top military advisers is in the ship building business.  John Lehman, formerly Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan, is now an investment banker with stakes in several ship building companies:

As one of Romney’s “special advisers” on his Foreign Policy and National Security Advisory Team, and his particular emphasis is as an adviser is on the Defense work group. Lehman has spoken publicly on Romney’s behalf about the expansion of the Navy, pushing the Romney campaign’s line that the Navy needs to produce 15 new ships a year, to the tune of tens of billions of dollars.

Romney believes the military must use at least 4 percent of the nation’s entire GDP, and plans to increase the military budget by an unpaid-for $2.1 trillion.

 Faith Leaders Speak Out for Proposition 39

 Faith community leaders from California endorsed Prop. 39 at an event held yesterday at the Sustainable Training and Resource Center in San Diego, coordinated by the Interfaith Committee for Worker Justice.

A letter released at the Center said they felt it will create green jobs with a real future for the state’s disadvantaged youth and that Prop. 39 will close “a senseless tax loophole exploited by big corporations.”

“Prop. 39 will end legalized discrimination against in-state businesses, which drives businesses and jobs out of California,” said Rev. Ron Stief, spokesperson for Faith Leaders for Jobs, Environment and Community.

Most of the revenue will support a new Clean Energy Jobs Creation Fund to promote energy-conservation retrofits of education-related buildings — and provide job training for entry-level jobs in this growing industry, which holds the promise of abundant, stable, well-paying jobs.

“Prop. 39 adds a needed $1 billion in revenue to fix the hole in the state budget and secure funds for green jobs training programs in our communities,” said Rabbi Laurie Coskey, Ed.D., San Diego ICWJ executive director.

City Council Candidate Accused of Campaign Violations

San Diego Democratic Party Chairman Jess Durfee filed legal complaints yesterday claiming Republican City Council candidate Ray Ellis and an independent expenditure committee, San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform were violating state laws. The complaints were filed with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the State Fair Political Practices Commission, and the City of San Diego Ethics Commission.

“San Diegans need to know that San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform and the candidates it supports, including Ray Ellis, have chosen to violate state law,” said Durfee. ”This is essentially money-laundering and defrauding of the public, and it’s an egregious breach of trust with voters.”
At a press conference in front of the Hall of Justice, the Democratic leader gave details of the violations, asserting that San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform (SDCVPR) has been funneling funds from the Lincoln Club, the Building Industry Association, and others to support various local candidates, including Ray Ellis. The committee attempted to mask the source of its funding by failing to file a disclosure form within the required period, including a major donation of $25,000 from the Building Industry Association.

He went on to state that Ellis and the committee broke state campaign finance laws by illegally coordinating their activities in order to use unlimited outside contributions to fund television advertising. In April 2012, the Ellis campaign produced a series of seven videos that have been broadcast on YouTube.

In early October, SDCVPR produced and purchased $50,000 in air time on high profile cable TV to air a slick commercial supporting Ray Ellis  The commercial clearly uses the same raw video footage that was originally produced and paid for by the Ellis campaign. Here is a side-by-side comparison:

“It is illegal for a candidate and an independent expenditure committee to coordinate in this way, or any way,” Durfee explained.  “No one should be able to buy an election.” Durfee called on SDCVPR and Ray Ellis to immediately cease the airing of the commercials and called on SDCVPR to release a full accounting of all donations received and expenses accrued.

Lawsuit Filed Over Photos Deleted by Border Authorities

Two activists have filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security claiming that restrictions on taking photos and recording video at ports of entry prohibits the public from documenting possible misconduct by authorities.

The federal lawsuit was filed on behalf of Ray Askins and Christian Ramirez by the American Civil Liberties Union.  The plaintiffs claim that agents with the Customs and Border Protection Agency unlawfully seized their gear and deleted photographs before returning the equipment.  They call the policy a violation of constitutional rights to free speech and against illegal search and seizure.

Ray Askins says he was handcuffed and searched after taking photos of an inspection area at a Calexico border crossing in April from a city street. Authorities subsequently returned his digital camera with all the photos erased.

Christian Ramirez, human rights director at Equality Alliance San Diego, claims he had about ten cellphone photos deleted in June 2010 atSan Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry. The lawsuit says he was on a pedestrian bridge, capturing images of male officers patting down women.

Escondido to Allow Protests and Recording of Traffic Stops

A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union against the City of Escondido claiming that police actions taken against activists recording and protesting against traffic stops violated their rights to free speech has been settled out of court.

The settlement resolves a legal action filed against the city in federal court in May. The California Highway Patrol, named as a second defendant in the suit, hasn’t settled according to the ACLU.

Under the terms of the agreement the city will be allowed to exclude protesters from the specific and limited areas where vehicles are initially stopped and where secondary inspections are conducted. But the settlement prevents other limitations from being placed on them. Escondidowill pay $7,300 in attorney’s fees and court costs, according to ACLU officials.

 

Quote of the Day: “I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”  - Mark Twain

 

On this Day: In 1881 the “Gunfight at the OK Corral” took place in Tombstone, AZ. The fight was between Wyatt Earp, his two brothers and Doc Holiday and the Ike Clanton Gang.  In 1955 New York City’s “The Village Voice” was first published.  In 1998 a federal judge refused to issue an injunction against the sale of MP3 devices. The Recording Industry Association of America had brought the case to court.

Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach  (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot  5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village  (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego (4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station)2 – 6 pm

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

 

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He received a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial in 2013. He is a cancer survivor and lives in North Park.
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avatar La Playa Heritage October 26, 2012 at 11:50 am

Advisory Opinions for presumed non-partisan California elections dated July 18, 2012, and January 16, 2001 have been issued by the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) regarding the Hatch Act.

To make the non-partisan San Diego Mayoral Race partisan requires evidence that DeMaio solicited or advertised the endorsement of a partisan political party, like the Republican Party.

Our San Diego Mayoral race is presumed non-partisan, until action by any candidate and Polical Party refute the assumption. Since 1955, the OSC has determined that the Federal Hatch Act is applicable to some local non-partisan contests. Especially if a non-partisan Mayor candidate uses the Endorsement of the local Republican Party in their campaign literature. It is up to the discretion of the OSC investigators if the contest for Mayor of San Diego has a known Republican candidate, who has the support of the Republican Party in San Diego.

Duffy just organizing a political debate is a violation of the Federal Hatch Act, let alone a political email afterwards. Duffy just contributing money to a candate is also a violation. As an employee of the Department of Justice who works on Criminal cases, Duffy is not allow to organize, manage, or be part of political events. She is a Federal lawyer, she should know Federal laws such as the Hatch Act, specifically for Further Restricted Federal Employees like United States Attorneys, FBI Agents, Secret Service, etc. The appointed position of United States Attorney in the Department of Justice further Restricts Duffy’s Political actions compared to other types of less restricted Federal employees.

http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/federal/fha-27.htm

“Usually, a nonpartisan election is so designated by state or local laws. Such state and local laws, however, create only a rebuttable presumption that an election is nonpartisan. See Special Counsel v. Yoho, 15 M.S.P.R. 409, 413 (1983), overruled on other grounds, Special Counsel v. Purnell, 37 M.S.P.R. 184 (1988).

Evidence showing that partisan politics actually enter the campaigns of the candidates may rebut this presumption. See In re Broering, 1 P.A.R. 778, 779 (1955).

For example, if a candidate solicits or advertises the endorsement of a partisan political party or uses a political party’s resources to further his or her campaign, these actions may transform a nonpartisan election into a partisan one.”

http://www.osc.gov/haFederalFurtherRestrisctionandActivities.htm

“Employees may not campaign for or against candidates or otherwise engage in political activity in concert with a candidate for partisan political office. Such Employees May not organize or manage political rallies or meetings.

May not use their official authority or influence to interfere with or affect the result of an election. For example: May not use their official titles or positions while engaged in political activity.”

May not engage in political activity – i.e., activity directed at the success or failure of a political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group – while the employee is on duty, in any federal room or building, while wearing a uniform or official insignia, or using any federally owned or leased vehicle.

For example: May not wear or display partisan political buttons, T-shirts, signs, or other items.

May not make political contributions to a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.

May not post a comment to a blog or a social media site that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.May not use any e-mail account or social media to distribute, send or forward content that advocates for or against a partisan political party, candidate for partisan political office, or partisan political group.”

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