Jose Moreno’s campaign for the 69th Assembly District has ended – a result of a federal law, the Hatch Act, which prevents many employees of county governments from running for legislative seats – if federal funds are used by their departments. Moreno works for the Orange County Health Care Agency. As such his job was threatened – because union members and local liberal bloggers used the Hatch Act to attack him and to go after his job and his family’s well-being.
Moreno’s opponent, Orange County Clerk-Recorder Tom Daly, also appears to have a Hatch Act problem as his department takes federal money in order to fund their processing of U.S. passports. Daly is also embroiled in charges of sexual harassment.
Moreno will remain on the ballot and I will still be voting for him.
Here are Moreno’s thoughts on this subject, from his campaign website (which will be coming down by tomorrow):
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.