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[Disclaimer: I'm running against "Racky" in the June 3 primary, so obviously I'm biased, but I've been saying that he should go after Walters from long before I decided to run. And yes, I too wish that the DA's opponent would not have to write stories like this himself, but that's how it goes until someone else steps up.]
Mimi was never cleared of charged that she lied — or, let me use the technical legal phrase here, perjured herself — regarding her declaration of residency stating that she had moved from her palatial mansion in Laguna Niguel to an apparently unoccupied apartment in Irvine, to the doorstep of which her 2012 opponent Steve Young brilliantly sent flowers welcoming her to the district and then document their wilting, untouched, on her supposed home doorstep day after day. The problem was not merely that she lied about where she lived, but that she lied about who she was eligible to vote for — which turns this into one of those rare cases of voter fraud that Republicans are always complaining about without providing examples. (Friendly advice: if you’re looking for something, don’t forget to check in your front caucus!)
Because the Orange County District Attorney was (and remains) useless in such matters, Steve Young had to take the matter to court — where he offered a devastating complaint based on the facts — and Mimi’s attorney didn’t even bother to give the alleged facts more than a perfunctory denial, because he said that it was up to the State Senate to determine her qualifications for office. (And, of course, unlike the DA, Young could only sue over her eligibility, not over perjury.) The State Senate shrugged and seated her. She got away with evading the substance of Young’s charges — until, perhaps, now!
Thank you to our commenter Anon (the recent and occasional one, not the longtime regular lowercase “anon“) for pointing me toward this press conference, where the Sacramento Bee finally asked the right question. Is corruption in the State Senate really a Democratic thing – AND WHY IS DIANE HARKEY APPARENTLY GETTING A PASS FROM THE MEDIA THESE DAYS IN THIS RESPECT, BY THE WAY, I ASK IN PASSING? – or are Republicans also doing some bad stuff, only without consequences?
Here’s the relevant part of the press conference — along with my laborious transcription of it:
SAC BEE REPORTER [starting mid-sentence, speaking to Sen. Mimi Walters who along with Sen. Ted Gaines is flanking Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff]: … the issues with Senator Wright and your own lawsuit on a similar residency issue, can you clarify for us where you live, do you live in an apartment, or in a home in Laguna Niguel, or somewhere else?
[SEN. MIMI WALTERS reaches for microphone, but quickly withdraws her hand as the Minority Leader starts to speak.]
SEN. BOB HUFF [overlapping Reporter's last words]: [Lemme jump?] in on this. I asked them to come behind me so I would talk, they weren’t going to be talking, so I’m happy to respond to you, but they’re just showing support for the caucus right now.
Then he proceeded not to respond to the reporter’s question. So, jaw agape, I have a few questions and observations:
(1) WHAT IS BOB HUFF AFRAID OF? Would he really have not allowed Mimi to answer a question that made her look good?
(2) WHY DIDN’T MIMI SPEAK ANYWAY? It’s a valid question of her, and there was a good collection of reporters around. Why wouldn’t she take the opportunity to say “Excuse me, Bob, but I know that these questions are out there, so I’d like a take a moment to put them to rest?”
(3) THE REPORTER DIDN’T ASK THE CRITICAL QUESTIONS. (Of course, she might have been hoping for some follow-ups.) The questions might be something like this:
(1) When do you assert that you moved to Irvine?
(2) When you moved, did you intend to make that apartment your permanent residence as defined by law?
(3) Did you change your voter registration as you did so?
(4) Did you swear under perjury that that information was correct?
(5) When you signed your voter registration form and your candidacy statement under penalty of perjury, did you understand how the law defines “permanent residency”?
(6) At that time, did you have plans to move?
(7) When, if at all, and why did you change your intention to make that apartment your permanent residence as defined by law?
(8) When, if at all, did you move out of that Irvine apartment — and to where?
(9) When, if you have, did you subsequently change your voter registration?
(10) Do you now have to live in Irvine if you are representing Irvine in the State Senate?
You don’t just skip down to question 8! (At least, you wouldn’t do so in a deposition or criminal investigation!)
(By the way — don’t give away the answer to question 10 in comments, let her answer it!)
I’m glad to see that the Capitol Press has the scent of scandal here. Now ask the right questions! And while you’re at it — ask Bob Huff why he tried to protect Sen. Walters — if he didn’t already know that she had lied?