Can you believe it? Scott Baugh, the Chairman of the OC GOP, told the OC Weekly’s R. Scott Moxley that he is considering running for State Senator Mimi Walters’ seat if she ends up winning her campaign for the Congressional seat being vacated by John Campbell.
Baugh served as the Assembly Republican Leader from 1999 until 2000. Term limits forced Baugh out of the Assembly in 2000. In 2004, Baugh was elected Chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County. He worked full time as a lobbyist and now runs a law firm – but you really have to go back and retrace this guy’s history to really understand what he is all about:
- In 1995, faced with a strong Democratic challenger, Baugh encouraged a second Democrat–a former co-worker at a Sacramento law firm–to run in order to split Democrat votes and benefit his own campaign. Following this–and with behind-the-scenes help from Republican leaders in Sacramento and Orange County–Baugh took a $1,000 contribution from the shill candidate’s husband, failed to report the contribution, and when he finally disclosed it months later, denied he knew his former co-worker. He later admitted knowing her, and now through his attorney admitted “errors.” (LA Times Letter to the Editor)
- In 1996, the Orange County district attorney’s office alleged that GOP Assemblyman Scott Baugh had committed at least six felonies by violating state campaign finance laws, including money laundering and failing to report donations made to his campaign, according to the LA Times.
- GOP Assemblyman Scott Baugh and two political associates were indicted by the Orange County Grand Jury on charges stemming from a special election in November, 1995, according to the LA Times.
- The three GOP staffers who pleaded guilty to campaign misdeeds with regard to the shenanigans regarding Baugh’s campaign in 1995 included: Jeff Gibson, 24, who managed the campaign to recall Assemblywoman Doris Allen; Mark Denny, a 27-year-old former staff aide to Pringle (who is now the OC CEO) , and Richard Martin, a 26-year-old Baugh campaign worker. All have pleaded guilty to participating in a scheme to fraudulently gather voter signatures on petitions to put Democrat Laurie Campbell on the ballot. In addition, Campbell cooperated with investigators, giving them extensive statements about how the scenario unfolded. (LA Times)
- U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher paid $2,617 in fines for failure to properly report campaign contributions he made to California candidates, including a $15,000 loan to state Assemblyman Scott Baugh, according to records filed in Washington and Sacramento. (LA Times)
- The former high school football captain, who lost a kidney in a 1993 bout with cancer, who prevailed over a major prosecution, who emerged from indictment as the GOP’s leader in the Assembly, is now smelling the roses. “I emerged from a difficult time,” he said, “and I came out on top.” (LA Times)
- Former Assemblyman Scott Baugh and his firm, Manatt Phelps & Phillips, took over lobbying duties for Orange County beginning Jan. 1, 2002, besting a bid by a firm affiliated with former Assemblyman Curt Pringle. The $20,000-a-month contract replaces the county’s longtime ties to lobbyist Dennis Carpenter, who retired this year. (LA Times)
Perhaps the most stunning indictment of Baugh is another article written by Moxley, which I am excerpting below:
In 2006, Daystar wanted to takeover Orange County’s public broadcasting channel at KOCE in Huntington Beach. The Texas-based evangelical television network hired Platinum Advisors, a California lobbying outfit, to block legislative attempts to thwart the company’s desire. I’ll let Rick Reiff, executive editor of the Orange County Business Journal and host of Inside OC on KOCE, tell the rest of the story.
“[Scott] Baugh, who works with Platinum, helped to deliver [Orange County’s] GOP delegation [in Sacramento],” wrote Reiff at the time in a column, “Lobbyists Swarm in KOCE Fight.” Reiff then noted, “that Baugh’s buddies in the conservative blogosphere also weighed in for Daystar and he quoted George Urch, then a legislative aide, saying, “I haven’t seen [Baugh] that motivated on anything.”
If Baugh needs a blog post to promote one of his favored candidates or issues, Cunningham dutifully obliges. If Baugh wants a blog post attacking a news article or a journalist, Cunningham dutifully obliges. If Baugh wants, well, you get the point. There is value, if unintended, in Cunningham’s robotic regurgitations: you read him and you know exactly where Baugh stands on a particular point.
Good example: I won Cunningham’s ire after I exposed how Jeffrey Ray Nielsen–one of Baugh’s best friends and a congressional aide to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher–had a relentless history of targeting 7th and 8th grade boys for sex–a point ultimately confirmed by Nielsen’s conviction and three-year trip to the slammer. Before the sex crimes conviction, however, pro-Baugh and Nielsen sources pathetically attempted to drive me away from the story by claiming that I had worked with one of the victims to blackmail an innocent Nielsen.
Skip ahead a couple of years to my current column in OC Weekly, “Buy, Buy Baugh.” It outlines legitimate concerns about the county’s Board of Supervisors recently giving Platinum Advisors, where Baugh is listed as “special counsel” and “lobbyist,” a no-bid, multi-year $5,100-a-week lobbying contract. That’s a fact. I pointed out that all five supervisors are Republican and count on Baugh’s blessing not just for the party’s powerful election endorsements but to lure large contributors to their campaigns. That’s a fact. I noted that Baugh, as party chairman for all five supervisors who control billions of dollars in annual public spending, is in an undeniable position to use his influence for personal gain. That’s a fact, too.
~Baugh has had a financial arrangement with Platinum Advisors to win government lobbying contracts. To this day, the company lists him as a “professional” with the company (see screen shot below). Lobbying directories also list Baugh as a lobbyist with Platinum Advisors, a liberal, Sacramento-based company that brags about its “access” to elected officials.
~After the OC GOP boss joined Platinum Advisors in 2006, OC’s Republican supervisors moved the consulting contract from Baugh’s old firm to Baugh’s new one, Platinum Advisors. The lucrative contract, more than $1,000 in taxpayer compensation every work day through the end of 2012, has remained there ever since. Baugh would have you believe that the transfer of the contract to his new company, one that had had no real presence in OC until that point, had nothing to do with his arrival there.
Baugh’s got other trouble too. He’s facing mounting pressure inside the party to explain why for six years he has ignored central committee bylaws that demand regular financial audits of the millions of dollars spent annually. One Republican Party activist told me the situation “smells” and a veteran GOP central committee member asked, “Why block audits unless there’ve been some shenanigans with all that money?”
Born in Redding, California as the fourth of Helen and Cason Baugh’s five sons, Baugh earned his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1984 at Liberty University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He then earned his Juris Doctor in 1987 at the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where he finished fifth in a class of 200. He then became an attorney in Huntington Beach, California. (Wikipedia)