OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘Eligibility Technician’

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.

Posted in 69th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 36 Comments »

OC Republicans Shoot Selves in Foot; OC Democrats’ Worst-Case Scenario Evaporates

Posted by Chris Nguyen on March 16, 2012

In a pre-Prop 14 world, it made absolute good sense to contest every single partisan race.  Each qualified party was guaranteed exactly one candidate on the November ballot.

Prop 14 changed all that.  The top two candidates, regardless of party and regardless of whether anyone breaks 50%, advance to the November ballot.  If the top two candidates were members of the same party, presumably the more moderate candidate would win.  If there were two Democrats, the less liberal one would win thanks to Republican voters.  If there were two Republicans, the less conservative one would win thanks to Democratic voters.  Furthermore, the party with two candidates facing off in November would then spend a fortune in an intraparty battle, freeing the excluded party to spend its human and financial resources elsewhere.

In Orange County:

  • Republicans feared a November bloodbath in AD-74 between Allan Mansoor and Leslie Daigle, in which the less conservative candidate would win.  In AD-74, Republicans comprise 42.5% of registered voters, Democrats 29.0%, and no party preference voters 23.7%.
  • Democrats feard a November bloodbath in AD-69 between Tom Daly, Michele Martinez, Julio Perez, and Paco Barragan, in which the least liberal candidate would win.  In AD-69, Democrats comprise 49.7% of registered voters, Republicans 27.5%, and no party preference voters 19.1%.

Conventional wisdom held:

  • If no Democrat filed in AD-74, Democratic voters would back Republican Leslie Daigle over Republican Allan Mansoor in both June and November, as Daigle is less conservative than Mansoor.  Republicans would squander valuable human and financial resources in an intraparty battle for AD-74, freeing Democrats to spend their resources elsewhere.  However, if a Democrat were in the AD-74 race, presumably that person would be in the top two to face off against the winner of the Mansoor-Daigle fight.
  • If no Republican filed in AD-69, Republican voters would back Democrat Tom Daly over the other three Democrats (Michele Martinez, Julio Perez, and Paco Barragan) in June, as Daly is the least liberal of the four; the Republican voters would continue to back Daly over whichever Democrat he faced in November, as Daly would still be the less liberal candidate.  Democrats would squander valuable human and financial resources in an intraparty battle for AD-69, freeing Republicans to spend their resources elsewhere.  However, if a Republican were in the AD-69 race, presumably that person would be in the top two to face off against the winner of the Daly-Martinez-Perez-Barragan fight.

For about half a week, many in OC, including yours truly, thought the Democrats’ worst nightmare had materialized: a Democrat in AD-74 and no Republican in AD-69, as Robert Rush joined the Democratic Party and entered the AD-74 race while Republican Robert Hammond withdrew from AD-69 to join the Orange County Board of Education race.

Well both party’s fears came to naught and we revert to status quo in November with likely one Democrat versus one Republican.  As my intrepid fellow blog editor Chris Emami wrote, an obscure gentleman by the name of Jose Moreno (not to be confused with Anaheim City School District Trustee Jose Moreno) filed as the sole Republican in AD-69 with barely two minutes to spare.

Robert Rush (D-74) and Jose Moreno (R-69) could spend the next three months in Siberia, and both will still be in the top two in their June races by virtue of having “Democrat” and “Republican” after their names, respectively, allowing them to advance to November, where they will be summarily destroyed by their opponent.

(In case you’re wondering, Rush has a ballot designation of “Business Owner/Accountant” and will be second on the ballot after Daigle but before Mansoor while Moreno has a ballot designation of “Orange County Eligibility Technician” and will be third on the ballot after Daly and Martinez but before Barragan and Perez.  Many voters will be left scratching their heads as to what an eligibility technician is, and if you’re one of them, here’s an explanation of what that is.)

Democrats won’t squander their resources on an intraparty AD-69 battle in November nor will Republicans squander their resources on an intraparty AD-74 battle in November.  Both parties will revert to the old rules of spending their resources against each other in November.

Former Senate Republican Leader Jim Brulte once said in reference to a San Francisco Mayoral race: “When you’re a conservative, and you’ve got a choice between a socialist and a communist, you back the socialist.”  Democrat Robert Rush has enabled the most conservative candidate to win in AD-74, and Republican Jose Moreno just enabled the most liberal candidate to win in AD-69.

Posted in 69th Assembly District, 74th Assembly District | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments »