By Doug Porter
There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.
The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.
UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.
Drip, Drip, Drip…
As with any good scandal, bits and pieces of information continue to appear in the press.
A Washington Examiner story shows the DeMaio campaign continuing to assign accuser Todd Bosnich tasks expected of a higher level staff member.
The scandal began on May 12, when National Journal reported that a DeMaio campaign report on pensions plagiarized one of its articles. In the initial report, DeMaio apologized and took full responsibility for the lapse.
“I don’t throw my staff under the bus,” he told the magazine.
For the next several days, it appears the campaign did not take any action against Bosnich and continued assigning him long-term projects.
In a May 15 email to top campaign staffers and consultant Richard Grenell, DeMaio listed assignments for Bosnich, including developing major new policies and doing opposition research on Democratic candidate Scott Peters.
Bosnich’s assignments include “draft infrastructure plan,” “finalizing schedule for infrastructure press conference,” “start working on Economic Plan/Pathway to Prosperity,” “finish tally (and documentation) on all $ given by unions to Scott Peters (direct and IE),” “finish tally (and documentation) on all PAC money to SP” and “track peters.”
The email is similar to others sent to staffers during the campaign.
An earlier email cited in the story “similarly lists as an assignment for “Ric” — presumably Grenell — “LA Times bullshit spin” and “keep pushing LGBT responses to haters.”
Deny, Deny, Deny…
Candidate DeMaio continues to claim the sexual harassment allegations are a lie. He taped an interview with NBC7’s Rory Devine on Wednesday.
At a candidate forum on Tuesday at the Bernardo Heights Country Club, sponsored by the Conservative Order of Good Government, DeMaio spoke out.
From UT-San Diego:
“It’s an outrageous lie,” he said when asked about the subject by the forum moderator, who described the subject as “the elephant in the room.”
“There’s not a shred of truth, and it’s unfortunate in the last 20 days of a campaign that smears come up,” DeMaio said. “I think San Diegans are disgusted by this sort of politicizing of our election.”
He went on to blame Democrats for pushing the recent allegation.
While it’s certainly true that local Democrats (the national party types have issued a press release or two, which have gotten exactly zero traction) are not crying into their craft beers over the DeMaio scandal, the reality of this kind of scandal is its hard for many partisans to know how to react.
The prospect of a gleeful response (even in private) is tempered by the memory of the downfall of the ex-Mayor who now gets blamed for everything.
John R. Lamb, who pens the Spin Cycle column for City Beat, discussed this unease in week’s edition:
The back-and-forth set social media ablaze—not surprising, given the timing of the bombshell as ballots began dropping in voter mailboxes. The culmination may have come when former 52nd Congressional District candidate Lori Saldaña—neither a fan of incumbent Rep. Scott Peters nor the leadership of the local Democratic Party—equated to McCarthyism CityBeat’s decision to publish an interview with Bosnich by KFMB radio personality Mike Slater that was recorded the day before the June primary but was never aired.
The Peters campaign, meanwhile, has been quiet as a church mouse on the subject, most likely following the axiom that when a political opponent is falling, let him fall on his or her own. When the opposition is debating who has the more credible lie-detector results, what can one really add to the conversation?
The real question is: How will these allegations play among voters? Clearly, those who’ve always found DeMaio to be a self-serving, egomaniacal charlatan—a “political sociopath,” as former City Council colleague Donna Frye once labeled him—will feel further emboldened that San Diego will face another Bob Filner Moment with DeMaio in office.
(For the record, I read some of the Saldaña twitter storm and don’t remember the reference to McCarthy. But she was really passionate.)
I think City Beat was correct in posting the infamous interview with ex-staffer Todd Bosnich. The story was out there. He comes across as credible.
There was one part of the interview/story that deserves followup. Surely somebody can find his mother.
From the 10News coverage of the Bosnich interview, which started off with Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, walking away from questions about the DeMaio claim she’d called him personally to announce he’d been cleared:
Then on May 18, Bosnich said he told DeMaio in a meeting to either quit the race or stop the behavior. The next day, Bosnich claims he was offered a $50,000 non-disclosure agreement from campaign manager Tommy Knepper, along with a new job with the San Diego County Republican Party.
“Frankly, the money, I found the most offensive thing of it,” Bosnich said. “That it treated me – I don’t know if I can say this – like a whore.”
That’s when he said the threatening email and phone calls started. Bosnich said he and his mother were threatened from anonymous email accounts, and he believes it’s because he wouldn’t sign the non-disclosure. Bosnich said the threats were either from DeMaio or someone in the campaign.
“I’ve never been so angry in all my life. You can take me on all you want, but leave my mom out of it,” he said.
Voter Reaction: Meh
One voter who lives in the 52nd Congressional District told me she’d received more than a half dozen phone calls last week asking for opinions on the accusations against DeMaio.
Here are some results, via KPBS:
- The first question: “Is your opinion of Carl DeMaio favorable, unfavorable, neutral? Or do you have no opinion one way or another?”
- The response: 34 percent favorable; 38 percent unfavorable; and 21 percent neutral.
- The second question: “Have you been following recent news about a former DeMaio campaign aide?”
- The response: 57 percent yes; 38 percent no; and 4 percent not sure.
- The third question: “Do you believe the aide’s story?”
- The response: 36 percent yes; 41 percent no; and 22 percent not sure.
- The fourth question: “Does the story make your opinion of DeMaio more positive, more negative, or does it make no difference either way?”
- The response: 15 percent more positive; 35 percent more negative; and 49 percent no difference.
If you dig down into the data, I found the reactions of political independents of interest. The answers provided by the non-affiliated were all just a few points worse (from the DeMaio campaign’s point of view) that the general average.
“I Will Not Lose My Humanity”
The Escondido City Council met once again last night and denied an appeal by the ACLU supporting a proposed undocumented immigrant children shelter.
Some residents opposed opening the shelter, giving a litany of excuses, all of which have been refuted. And none of them had anything to do with the real reason: Brown people were coming.
From NBC7 News:
“The federal government pays all of the costs. There are no indirect costs. Children do not enroll in local schools, all medical care and all necessary services are paid for under the federal contract,” said David Loy, the ACLU’s San Diego legal director.
He said there is more than enough parking at the facility and there is no evidence of noise and traffic issues, calling the concerns “red herrings….”
And this quote:
“We refuse to give in or bend to the government at any level of the body politic throughout America,” said one speaker. “If I have it my way, I will deport each and every one of them and not even bat an eye if they are babies or toddlers or old men or women.”
The vote was 4-1 to kill the project. Mayoral candidate Olga Diaz’ reaction has been picked up nationally in various news accounts.
From UT-San Diego:
Councilwoman Olga Diaz, who is engaged in the final weeks of a yearlong campaign against Abed to become the city’s next mayor, voted in favor of the project.
She said her analysis of the land-use criteria found the shelter was appropriate for the location. She also said she supported the shelter because it would help children in need.
“I may lose an election, but I will not lose my humanity,” she said.
On This Day: 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown leads 18 men, including five free blacks, in an attack on the Harper’s Ferry ammunition depot, the beginning of guerrilla warfare against slavery 1916 – Margaret Sanger opened the first birth control clinic in New York City. 1966 – Joan Baez and 123 other anti-draft demonstrators were arrested for blocking the entrance to the Armed Forces Induction Center in Oakland, CA.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
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@