By Doug Porter
A press conference called by Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio went awry yesterday after Los Angeles Times reporter Tony Perry asked questions regarding allegations of sexual harassment made by a former campaign staffer.
DeMaio’s denial (an “absolute lie”) was the lede in a UT-San Diego story on the presser, which made it seem as though the candidate himself had raised the subject. The Republican candidate is challenging first-term Democratic representative Scott Peters in California’s 52nd district.
Politico.com has posted a story this morning that includes an interview with the accuser, who says he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement prior to parting ways with the campaign. The DC-based publication also says it has obtained a copy of a never aired radio interview with 29 year old Todd Bosnich describing in “explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him.”
There a lot more to this, and today we’ll tell you what we know. This story dates back to last spring, and takes several twists and turns along the way.
The Back Story
Last May the DeMaio campaign released a report on sitting Congressmen who were also drawing pensions. Aside from including his opponent Scott Peters as double-dipper (Peters donated his City Council pension to local libraries) and a few punctuation marks, the report was lifted from a story appearing in the National Journal.
The publication called out DeMaio on the plagiarism:
DeMaio has claimed to have authored a “report” finding that 102 members of Congress are drawing a government pension atop their congressional salaries. He leaked an advanced copy to The Wall Street Journal on Monday and is following up with an event in San Diego this morning to induct some lawmakers, most notably his opponent, Rep. Scott Peters, D-Calif., into a “Hall of Shame.”
But his “report” looks like little more than a copied-and-pasted version of a National Journaldatabase that accompanied a cover story last June on congressional double-dipping. National Journal reviewed the financial disclosure forms of every member of the House and Senate tocreate the database and reveal that nearly one in five members of Congress are collecting taxpayer-funded retirements atop their $174,000 salaries.
The data in DeMaio’s version, which is touted as a “Report by Carl DeMaio” on its first page, matches the National Journal database, down to the text, colors, and abbreviations.
The Republican Congressional candidate, who has a history of issuing “look alike” reports, fessed up to this round of plagiarism:
UPDATE: Carl DeMaio called late Monday to say he was “mortified” by the situation and that National Journal should have been credited as the original source of his report on congressional pensions. “I’m terribly sorry,” he said.
DeMaio said his staff had produced the pensions report at his direction but he did not know the full extent to which its contents had been lifted from National Journal until Monday morning. Still, he took full responsibility. “I don’t throw my staff under the bus,” he said.
Carl DeMaio’s spokesperson Dave McCulloch told Politico yesterday that former policy director Todd Bosnich, the person named as the accuser, was fired for plagiarizing while working on the campaign at about the same time as the National Journal incident.
The Big Break-In
The DeMaio campaign called the police on May 28th to report a break-in at their offices, located in the 9600 block of Black Mountain Road.
Patrol personnel arrived to find computer cables cut and monitor screens smashed, SDPD public affairs Officer Matt Tortorella said…
…Campaign communications director Dave McCulloch told 10News, “We’re six days out from an election and this is disgusting….”
…There are questions about whether it might have been an inside job because of the entry point coming from an adjoining office and the fact that a file cabinet with files inside was untouched, while another was stripped of several hundred dollars worth of gasoline debit cards.
Never afraid to play the pity card, DeMaio went to the conservative press to put his spin on the story.
From National Review:
“They destroyed everything — they wiped us out entirely,” DeMaio, a libertarian Republican who served a term on San Diego’s city council, told Fox News on Friday. “It was designed to silence the campaign very clearly.”
Nothing was stolen or taken from the office, added DeMaio.
Despite the excessive damage, the campaign and its supporters were able to restore or replace the equipment and get up and running again in a matter of hours. By Wednesday night, DeMaio tweeted a picture of his campaign already hitting the phones again.
The Investigation Wraps Up, Maybe
Three months later (August 29th) police spokesman Lt. Kevin Mayer told UT-San Diego that two former DeMaio staffers may have been responsible for the break-in, which by then was being called a burglary.
Mayer said the DeMaio campaign identified two former staff members as potential suspects early on in the investigation.
“Both staff members are cooperating with our investigation,” Mayer said. “We anticipate the our investigation will be turned over to the District Attorney’s Office in the next couple of weeks.”
He was unable to say if the two were staffers at the time of the burglary or left the campaign subsequent to the incident.
Lt. Mayer also told the UT that police have not developed sufficient probable cause to identify a suspect or suspects by name.
The ‘couple of weeks’ have gone by, and according to today’s UT San Diego, the DA’s office issued the following statement: “The District Attorney’s Office thoroughly reviews any investigation forwarded to our office by law enforcement.”
Some Uncomfortable Questions Get Asked
The press conference called Wednesday by the DeMaio campaign yesterday was supposed to give the candidate a chance to lash out at Democratic Congressman Peters for misleading attack ads being aired on local television stations.
TV station KUSI, which pretty much wears its conservative sympathies on its sleeve, played it the way the DeMaio campaign would have liked, burying the inconvenient questions asked by LA Times reporter Tony Perry at the at the end of the story.
DeMaio claims his opponent’s ads do not tell the truth by claiming he is a big champion of the Tea Party.
DeMaio said he is especially offended by the spots about student loans because he says loans were his lifeline to a college degree.
DeMaio said it was Peter(s) who should be wearing the extremist label.
NBC7 News reporter Wendy Fry posted a transcript of Perry’s questioning on twitter Wednesday afternoon.
Here’s a taste:
PERRY: So you’re saying that his allegations that you sexually harassed him in this office and elsewhere are not true?
DeMaio: Absolutely untrue. You know, an individual who is the prime suspect to the break-in in ourcampaign office would manufacture such an outrageous lie, but again, all the evidence that wascollected by the police department clearly indicated this individual was the prime suspect and it’s unfortunate but we will continue to allow the District Attorney to proceed with her case and weighing the case to prosecute for the break-in of our office.
PERRY: Were you interviewed by the sex crime detectives?
DEMAIO: We have provided all information to the police de…
PERRY: Were you interviewed by the sex crime detectives.
DEMAIO: Nods yes. We were interviewed by the detectives.
PERRY: We, you’re using the word we
DEMAIO (talking over) Our entire campaign team…
PERRY (talkingover) How bout an “I”?
DEMAIO: All of our campaign members including myself freely provided information and the police chief called me and she said ““thank you for your full cooperation” and we consider this matter closed.”
Politico Finds the Guy Behind the Allegations
So it was obvious from LA Times reporter Tony Perry’s questions, that he knew more about what was going on here. Mark Walker’s UT-San Diego story also indicated the paper had heard about the accusations and were trying to locate the person behind them.
Washington DC’s Politico was first to publish the accuser’s name late last night.
In a telephone interview with POLITICO later in the day, a San Diego man named Todd Bosnich said that he was the former staffer making the harassment claims. He denied that he broke into the campaign office.
Bosnich, who worked as policy director on DeMaio’s congressional campaign, also said that on June 2, he taped a 27-minute interview with a conservative San Diego radio station in which he described in explicit detail how, over the course of more than six months of employment, DeMaio became increasingly aggressive in his sexual behavior toward him. The interview, which was conducted with host Mike Slater and obtained by POLITICO, never aired.
When Bosnich complained about DeMaio’s alleged behavior to the candidate’s campaign manager, the response was that he shouldn’t have told DeMaio he was gay, Bosnich alleged in the radio interview.
Bosnich, who was 28 at the time of the radio interview, said he approached DeMaio on May 18 and told him he needed to quit the race or stop his behavior. The next day, Bosnich said, the campaign manager called him into his office and told him that DeMaio had lost his trust in him. He also said he was offered him $50,000 to sign a nondisclosure agreement. He said he rejected the offer.
The UT-San Diego story in Thursday’s paper summed up the GOP candidate’s response to the press conference:
“This is par for the course in politics,” DeMaio said. “If an individual does something wrong, they will continue to make up something and I think that is pretty shameful. But our campaign has been very, very confident that this individual will be held accountable for their actions.”
DA Bonnie Dumanis to the Rescue?
So we were led to believe the District Attorney’s office received the results of the SDPD investigation into the break-in of Carl DeMaio’s headquarters several weeks ago.
Nobody has been charged. Now allegations about misconduct on the candidate’s part have surfaced.
I believe it’s quite possible that nobody will be charged with anything by our County District Attorney. She is, as I’ve said frequently in the past, the keeper of the flame for San Diego’s privileged class.
Two things need to happen here. First, the radio interview with Mike Slater done by DeMaio’s accuser needs to be released. Secondly, it’s time for California Attorney General Kamala Harris to intervene.
With Carl DeMaio, it’s not about his politics. It’s about his character. This situation, which needs to be examined in the context of his behavioral issues from the past, has the potential to resolve any questions people may have about that character. Then again, this is San Diego…
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