OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated Federal Law?

Posted by Chris Nguyen on April 9, 2012

U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM)

U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM), author of the eponymous Hatch Act

In a rather unfortunate turn of events, it appears AD-69 candidate Jose “Joe” Moreno may have violated federal law. (Remember, this Jose Moreno should not be confused with Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose F. Moreno.) The explanation for this lies in a Fresno County Assembly district.

On Friday, the Fresno Bee reported that Republican Geof Lickey withdrew from the AD-31 race against incumbent Democrat Henry Perea. The Bee indicated Lickey had indeed met the March 9 filing deadline and qualified for the ballot before his withdrawal; this March 23 list of candidates who qualified for the ballot from the Secretary of State also confirms this. Lickey was able to remove himself from the ballot, as this April 4 list from the Secretary of State indicates Perea is the sole candidate in AD-31.

The Bee reported, “The Hatch Act bars federal employees from using government resources for partisan purposes. But Lickey was told it also prohibited him from running for partisan political office — even though he doesn’t work for a federal agency.”

The Hatch Act, named after its author, U.S. Senator Carl Hatch (D-NM), was adopted to reduce the usage of federal government jobs to advance partisan political ends after Works Progress Administration officials were found to be using their positions to win votes for Hatch’s party.  Hatch was outraged by this corruption from his own party and wrote the Hatch Act.  Two attempts to have the act overturned on free speech grounds were rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court, who held that the Hatch Act is constitutional.

Among other things, the Hatch Act prohibits covered employees from being “candidates for public office in a partisan election.”

Potential candidates covered by the Hatch Act should act with caution before entering partisan politics. Indeed, when speculation surrounded a potential State Senate candidacy by California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board Member Sharon Runner in 2010, she refused to even comment on whether she would enter the race due to the Hatch Act. Only after Runner resigned from the CUIAB did she announce that she was running for the State Senate (which she went on to win).

Moreno selected “Orange County Eligibility Technician” as his ballot designation, and that, of course, is his actual job. What does an Eligibility Technician at the County of Orange do? Well, here’s the County’s job description.

So how does the federal Hatch Act apply to a county employee like Moreno?

Well, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “The Hatch Act restricts the political activity of individuals principally employed by state or local executive agencies and who work in connection with programs financed in whole or in part by federal loans or grants.”

According to the County’s job description, part of Moreno’s job is: “explaining and administering laws and policies pertaining to Federal/State/County assistance programs.”

(If you’re wondering why partisan elected officials aren’t banned from running for re-election, elected officials are exempted from the Hatch Act if their elected post deals with federal dollars and their elected post would be the sole cause for a Hatch Act conflict. It would be kind of funny, though, if the Hatch Act prevented every Governor in the country from running for re-election because states administer many federally-funded programs.)

As I mentioned above, the Hatch Act prohibits covered employees from being “candidates for public office in a partisan election.”

In light of Prop 14, is a race for the Assembly still a partisan election since candidates are no longer nominated by political parties?

Under the Hatch Act FAQs: “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 rebut the presumption that an election is nonpartisan, and thus, indicate that the election is a partisan one. While each case is fact specific, the Board has consistently held that it is less about the title used, and more about the actions of the candidate.”

More definitively, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion in 2001 stating, “For purposes of the Hatch Act, an election is deemed partisan if political party designations appear on a ballot next to candidates’ names.”

Moreno listed himself on the ballot as a Republican. He also told the Orange County Register that he had sought financing from the Republican Party to pay the filing fee to run for Assembly.

It looks like the Hatch Act may put an end to the Moreno candidacy for AD-69.

36 Responses to “Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated Federal Law?”

  1. junior said

    “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 ..”

    He has not done that according to anything you have written here.

    • The name “Republican” is certainly a resource. Regardless of whether he sought permission, endorsement, or paid for the right to use that label, he did. Certainly a “resource” he felt entitled or compelled to use to “further” his campaign. This was clearly understood by Sharon Runner.

      As usual, Chris, great info.

      • junior said

        @Brenda,

        I think that reasoning is a stretch and I believe that Runner acted out of an over-abundance of caution.

        • @Junior

          I have to agree with Brenda and Chris on this one. Not only is he running with an (R) next to his name, but he also sought OC GOP money.

          • junior said

            Chris E,

            Apparently he did not “use” GOP money. I don’t see anything that says you cannot “seek” GOP money. He did not violate the statute.

    • Sal said

      According to the OCRegister, by Andrew Galvin, Reporter:

      “Moreno called Scott Baugh, chairman of Orange County’s Republican Party, to ask if the party would pay his candidacy fees. After meeting Moreno for the first time, Baugh agreed…In a phone interview, Baugh said he talked with Moreno about “the realities of that being a difficult seat for a Republican to win.” “He’s coming across like he’s the Republican candidate,” Moreno said of Daly. “He’s not the Republican. I’m the Republican
      Moreno “seemed eager and enthusiastic to go out and give it his best shot,” Baugh said, “and one of the reasons we like to field candidates in every district is it provides infrastructure support for our general get-out-the-vote operations.”

      http://totalbuzz.ocregister.com/2012/03/27/lone-republican-takes-on-four-democrats-in-69th/83683/

  2. Jose Moreno said

    I’m trying to understand exactly what are the motives of this “center to Right” blog.

    This Hatch Act was intended fir the right reasons but has been primarily abused by opponents to end campaigns before they even started. Instead, you guys are willing to shine the spot light on me with my employer because you guys are patriots or law enforcers. Neither apply here.

    Try googling this Hatch act and you see that it been used as a tool by activist in Democratic party to challenge candidates, not to stop corruption.

    I am required to tell the truth when I state my occupation and I am required to tell the truth in regards to my political party.

    I heard about this law from a once trusted representative but when I educated myself(googled it) I found that it is being used for the wrong reasons.

    I don’t want to be the poster boy for correcting this law and I don’t want to be without a job but it is in the best interests of my family and my country that this law get fixed asap.

    The way I see it this news benefits democrat Daly so I would like to know why ….

    • Why is this blog pursuing this agenda? Because John Lewis is openly pimping Daly. And the OC GOP machine is complicit with this attempt to elect a Democrat.

      By the way Chris, does this mean that all of the Orange County workers who are running for the OC GOP Central Committee, in the 69th A.D., should drop out of that race? What about Thomas Gordon? He works for the LAUSD, which receives plenty of US government funding. Are you sure you want to go down this road?

      • Dan Chmielewski said

        The work of people like Thomas Gordon at LAUSD and government money received by LAUSD has nothing to do with his candidacy for partisan office with the OC GOP Central Committee. Please go down the road and explain how tis matters.

    • Sal said

      Jose Moreno you knew about the Hatch Act/law and chose to disregard it?
      Did you get any legal opinion about the Hatch Act provisions prior to or after you entered the race? You should probably consult an attorney to protect yourself and your family.

      Don’t feel too “comfortable” with Art Pedroza’s “support”. He has ulterior motives because he is NOW endorsing Michelle Martinez who has lots of baggage by voting to he detriment of the community…he probably assumes that your candidacy will ensure that the Republicans will vote for you in June but that you will lose in November, and that without you they are LESS likely to vote for her or Julio, and instead that they may vote for Tom Daly or Francisco Barragan.

      BEFORE, Art Pedroza was distrustful of Michelle Martinez, this is what he said about her in the past, this was before she paid him for his services and who is now endorsing him:
      The name of the post was: “Michele Martinez has a new job, trying to rip off the taxpayers”, and Art was the Administrator on his own blog.
      Art Pedroza
      Posted April 20, 2008 at 2:41 PM
      #4,
      I was more than happy to promote her when she was doing her job and looking out for the people. Now that she is just another Pulido shill, not so much.
      It is truly tragic how Pulido ruins so many promising politicians. Remember what he did to Mike Garcia?
      You may despise me all you want. But the truth is, Martinez has strayed from the path. If she expected me to throw her a ticker tape parade, I am afraid she was quite mistaken.
      http://www.orangejuiceblog.com/2008/04/michele-martinez-has-a-new-job-trying-to-rip-off-the-taxpayers/

  3. An exception exists which Chris did not note.

    State and Local Employees Hatch Act provisions do not apply to: individuals who exercise no functions in connection with federally financed activities; or

    individuals employed by educational or research institutions, establishments, or agencies which are supported in whole or in part by state or political subdivisions thereof, or by recognized religious, philanthropic or cultural organizations (e.g., administrators, teachers).

    Note the part about agencies supported in part by the state. Moreno’s agency does in fact receive state as well as federal funding.

  4. Let me respond to several points raised in the comments above.

    1. Regarding the exchange asking about utilizing party resources, that is negated by the following paragraph, as I noted above, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion, “For purposes of the Hatch Act, an election is deemed partisan if political party designations appear on a ballot next to candidates’ names.” The party designations do in fact appear next to the candidates’ names in AD-69. Furthermore, the Register reported that Moreno did receive party funding for his filing fee.

    2. With regard to the Central Committee candidates, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel issued an advisory opinion in 2010, stating: “An employee covered by the Act may not, among other things, be a candidate for public office in a partisan election, i.e., an election in which any candidate represents, for example, the Republican or Democratic Party. 5 U.S.C. § 1502 (a)(3). However, a covered employee may campaign for and hold elective office in political clubs and organizations. Even if you are an employee covered by the provisions of the Hatch Act, the Hatch Act would not prohibit you from being a candidate for the Xxxxxxxx County Democratic Committee.” In other words, under the Hatch Act, Central Committee is not a partisan office but rather a position in a political organization; therefore, running for Central Committee is not prohibited by the Hatch Act.
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/Redacted%20Final%20Close%20Ltr%20to%20subject%20HA-10-1856.pdf

    The list of permitted activities includes “campaign for and hold office in political clubs or parties” (like Central Committee).
    http://www.osc.gov/haStateLocalexamplePermittedActivities.htm

    3. The exception about “individuals employed by educational or research institutions, establishments, or agencies which are supported in whole or in part by state or political subdivisions thereof, or by recognized religious, philanthropic or cultural organizations (e.g., administrators, teachers)” is being misread in the comment above. The adjectives “educational or research” apply to institutions, apply to establishments, and apply to agencies; this is to protect university professors, teachers, principals, provosts, deans, etc.

    In this 2007 advisory opinion, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “The Hatch Act does not apply to individuals employed by educational or research institutions, establishments, agencies, or systems that are supported in whole or in part by a state or political subdivision thereof, or by a recognized religious, philanthropic or cultural organization. 5 U.S.C. § 1501 (4)(B). The intent of this exemption was to exclude teachers from the prohibitions against engaging in political activity…This ‘educational exemption’ was not intended to apply in every instance where an agency or institution performs an educational or research function, but only to those primarily involved in education and research.”
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/educ%20exemp-accepting%20appointment.pdf

    More definitively, in this 2011 advisory opinion, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel states, “…the Hatch Act exempts from coverage individuals who are principally employed by educational or research institutions, establishments, agencies, or systems that are supported in whole or in part by a state or political subdivision thereof. 5 U.S.C. § 1501(4)(B). This exemption has been interpreted narrowly as applying to teachers and other employees of educational institutions.”
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/Public%20library%20AO%205-12-11.pdf

    For example, in this 2009 advisory opinion, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that a County Public Health Nursing Service (CPHNS) nurse was prohibited from running for partisan office by the Hatch Act because the CPHNS received a $300,000 federal grant and received 14% of its Medicaid reimbursement from the federal goverment.
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/Nurse%20providing%20care%20to%20Medicaid%20patients.pdf

    Another example: in this 2011 advisory opinion, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that a corrections lieutenant could not run for partisan office because his agency received $81 per day per inmate from the federal government.
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/US%20Marshals%20contract%20AO.pdf

    Yet another example: in this 2011 advisory opinion, the U.S. Office of Special Counsel found that a Chief of Police could not run for partisan office because his police department received federal funding for a highway safety program.
    http://www.osc.gov/documents/hatchact/state/Chief%20of%20Police%20AO.pdf

    • You are wrong. You have failed to look at the legislative intent of the Hatch Act. That is where the lawyers would go first. This law was not meant to be used to bully candidates like Moreno.

      By the way, the deadline has long since passed to challenge those who are on the ballot. The deadline was March 23. Thus it is too late for you and the others in your party machine who are trying to elect a DEMOCRAT, Tom Daly.

      A new poll also indicates why Daly’s friends in the GOP are trying to squeeze Moreno out of the primary: http://wp.me/p269j9-sQ.

      Wait until the hits on Daly come out and rest assured that they are coming. By June 5 his name will be mud and he will fail to make the top two. I believe that Martinez and Moreno will square off in November.

      Also, you should know that a number of prominent OC Republicans will be calling Norby’s office tomorrow to complain about his staffer attacking a Republican candidate.

      • Wow said

        Why are you changing the subject. Nguyen totally took you to school with his comment. I highly doubt that Norbys office will care when Carlos Bustamante, Otto Bade, Tan Nguyen, Mike Carona, and John Williams call in to the office.

        • Art Mentirosa said

          Give it up, Art, Chris Nguyen totally OWNED you! He did researched and puut together facts annd has blown you away!

          You only care about Jose Moreno because you think he helps Michele Martinez, and you want Martinez to hire you if she gets elected to the Assembly.

      • Dan Chmielewski said

        You have a major bankruptcy last year and it’s your second, you lost two federal lawsuits since 2010, and you have exhibited bullying behavior online that many school administrators would find abhorent. Please don’t play the “free speech” angle when you have banned so many people who take you to school regularly online. There are other reasons your name is mud and its not stopping you from running for OCBoE. What’s your excuse?

        • Bob Thomas said

          EDITORS NOTE: This comment has been redacted due to it being an attack on another commenter and having no relevance to the post.

    • junior said

      “.. the Register reported that Moreno did receive party funding for his filing fee.”

      Can he clear that hurdle by reimbursing the party for the amount they paid for his filing fee?

  5. Wow said

    I am going to declare Chris Nguyen the winner on this one. Art, you almost had me siding with you.

    • Again, Nguyen has won nothing but scorn with this post. The OC Republicans I spoke to tonight were very angry and will be making calls to Norby’s office tomorrow. Norby is in a tough race and he doesn’t need this mess one bit.

      • Dan Chmielewski said

        I’m sure Sharon Quirk-Silva is so pleased that you turned your back on her endorsement from 2010 to endorse her chief rival. Not that your endorsements mean much.

      • Concerned Citizen said

        Reported overheard exchange by a couple of OC Politicos who heard about Art’s “informant email”

        “Who is Art Pedroza and why is he sending emails trying to spread criticism of Chris Norby’s staff?”

        “Pedroza is mentally unstable, don’t reply”

      • Art Mentirosa said

        Good gravy, as if any OC Republican with a shred of credibility cares what Art pedroza thinks!

  6. Michele's Tax Preparer said

    EDITORS NOTE: This comment has been redacted, because it is an attack not relevant to the post.

  7. Sal said

    Cecilia Iglesias who ran in 2010 as an Independent was forced to resign her County position because of her Hatch violations…as detailed by The Liberal OC.
    http://www.theliberaloc.com/2010/07/07/sanchez-challenger-iglesias-violated-federal-law-forced-to-resign-county-job/

  8. JOE MORENO said

    Sal,

    I read the same story but I heard of the resignation based on a different reason. Cecilia was a single hard working mother who was trying to unseat Lorretta Sanchez. If that doesn’t fit into that working class families umbrella I don’t know. Surely something to be proud of…., especially since she was really never perceived to be a political threat.

  9. […] Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated Federal Law? […]

  10. […] unclear why Moreno would want to withdraw from the race, but a local political blog had speculated that Moreno’s job with the county’s Social Services Agency could put him in violation […]

  11. SA Artist said

    Will Art ever confirm for us whether or not Dennis DeSnoo ordered him to remove posts on Orange Juice that were critical of Mayor Pulido? He was allegedly overheard at an art walk bragging DeSnoo ordered him to and to leave Larry Agran alone in order to get paid.

  12. […] Comments SA Artist on Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated Federal Law?met00 on The Plaintive wail of CivilityBob Thomas on Has AD-69 Candidate Jose Moreno Violated […]

  13. Venganza said

    I just got back from a night out with some politicos. According to somebody who knows people in Norby’s office, not a single person including Pedroza called in to the office to complain about the blog post. It’s one thing to harass somebody, but threatening to harass somebody is just plain lazy.

  14. […] Jose “Joe” Moreno an Orange County Eligibility Technician who is running as a Republican. […]

  15. […] the second week of April, OC Political, the OC Register, the Liberal OC, and then OC Political again speculated/warned/advised that […]

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