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You need to read this story in today’s Voice of OC. I can only give you a taste of it, but it’s the sort of development that we may be referring back to years from now — including next year, when every member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors except for Shawn Nelson is expected to be making a play for higher (or at least other) office. This could affect a lot of races.
The FBI, Internal Revenue Service, district attorney and U.S. attorney’s office have formed a task force to investigate reports of political corruption in Orange County, the FBI confirmed Wednesday.
The state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, which enforces campaign reporting laws and is investigating a majority of the Board of Supervisors, as well as the board of CalOptima, also is working closely with the task force, according to county sources.
No details were made public about individuals or specific areas of corruption being investigated by the task force, but Los Angeles FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said it was formally created in April.
The FBI typically supplies agents who are experts in investigating corruption by public officials, such as solicitation of bribes, deprivation of services, election fraud and foreign corrupt practices. Former Orange County Sheriff Michael Carona was convicted of witness tampering in 2008 and sentenced to federal prison after an FBI investigation.
That the Feds are targeting corruption in the county — and, ahem, not leaving it to DA Tony Rackauckas to do it on his own — does not mean that corruption exists. The Supes deny it. Yet, the Grand Jury seems to think that something foul is afoot.
Sadly, it is the Grand Jury’s hypothesis that untoward behavior continues and is actively festering in today’s political environment. In point of fact, this and several other studies conducted by the 2012-2013 Grand Jury address the fact that corruption has permeated all levels of the organization, and does not apply only to elected officials positioned visibly in the public eye.
That’s not comforting.
(Why is Janet Nguyen suffering in a Hieronymous Boschian Hell in the graphic? Good question. Start your reading here.)