The Election Night party for Democrats held at the Westin downtown was unusually elated, considering the drubbing their colleagues across the country had taken.

It was obvious why. Rep. Scott Peters may have been behind Republican Carl DeMaio in the early vote returns, but he was close enough that many seemed confident he would eventually win. They were right.

Many saw the end of DeMaio in the results, and this made them jubilant.

One visitor showed up at the Democrats’ party with a smile too: Todd Bosnich, the former DeMaio staffer who had accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him over a period of months before firing him and offering $50,000 to stay quiet.


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Bosnich has never hidden his desire to destroy DeMaio politically. And yet, as police reports of his political movements behind the scenes started to surface last week, some saw them as an indictment of Bosnich and his supposed complaint.

It’s as though you can’t both be the sincere victim of sexual harassment and want to destroy someone politically.

To Bosnich, though, they were one and the same. He had to destroy DeMaio’s political career, he said, to stop him from hurting anyone else. If you believe his story, it makes sense.

But after refusing to discuss the details of Bosnich’s allegation during the campaign, DeMaio is now working to prove he was the real victim. It was not that voters did not like DeMaio’s policies. It was not that he ran an inferior campaign. It was not that he was too divisive or failed to rally an army of supporters.

He wants you to think he is the victim of a historic and absurdly far-ranging fabrication.

“We hit October and Mr. Peters, my opponent, dragged this campaign into the mud with false personal smears,” DeMaio told KUSI. “As a result, I think we lost a lot of support just because of how nasty the race became in the remaining days.”

Thanks to NBC 7 San Diego and U-T San Diego, the public has those new police reports. The documents have set the stage for a second contest, post-election. This one pits DeMaio against his accusers. Either DeMaio and his aides are lying, or his accusers are. In fact, one side is weaving a tale so vicious, they should never be taken seriously in public affairs again.

That’s why we have to find out the truth.

My first stop is to clarify what exactly Peters’ role in this scandal was.

Let’s start with some key dates.

May (?): Bosnich Is Fired

Sometime in mid-May, Bosnich was fired from the DeMaio campaign. He says it was May 19. He says he confronted DeMaio about the alleged sexual harassment and when he showed up the next day at work, he was fired, offered money and another job.

But he told police, according to the recently released search warrant affidavit, he was fired May 26.

The DeMaio campaign has itself been wildly inconsistent on this question of when Bosnich was fired. It has, at different times, said Bosnich was fired May 5, May 14 and May 22.

A police report regarding the May 28 break-in at DeMaio headquarters quotes a DeMaio staffer saying Bosnich was fired May 22 for “poor performance.”

DeMaio campaign manager Tommy Knepper told police that on May 12, the day the notorious plagiarism scandal erupted, he told Bosnich that he would no longer be doing research for the campaign, and that on May 14, he told Bosnich he’d be getting his final paycheck the next day and would no longer be an employee — but he could still volunteer.

According to this version, Bosnich left the campaign by May 23.

In yet another claim, DeMaio’s team told the U-T’s Adrian Vore on May 20 that Bosnich had left the campaign two weeks before then. That would be May 5.

May 31: Peters Campaign Gets Involved

This is MaryAnne Pintar, Peters’ campaign manager, in front of and to the right of Peters.

Photo by Dustin Michelson
Photo by Dustin Michelson
Rep. Scott Peters, supporters and staff members, including MaryAnne Pintar, watch returns on election night.

According to the police affidavit, Pintar called the police on May 31. She said Bosnich had emailed her two days earlier and told her he was the victim of sexual harassment by DeMaio.

She sent the emails to police investigators. They interviewed her that evening.

The emails “contained campaign strategy and campaign-specific information from DeMaio’s campaign that appeared not to be for public release.” She then said she got another email, in which Bosnich was contemplating whether he had the courage to contact police.

She also told police Bosnich had made it clear he wanted to keep DeMaio from winning “and being able to further harass and violate” employees.

She said she’d finally decided to call the police when she asked Bosnich if he was OK and he did not respond.

That same day, May 31, police went to Bosnich’s house. “Bosnich said he was not prepared to discuss what occurred but invited the sergeant and lieutenant inside his house.”

And then he did discuss it.

June 5: Pintar Meets Bosnich

On June 9, Pintar called police again. This time, she said, she was spooked about car break-in near her house.

She had met Bosnich in person a few days earlier, on June 5, she told them.

And he gave her an envelope.

In the envelope was a copy of a 27-minute audio interview Bosnich had recorded with KFMB’s Mike Slater that never aired. It outlined his whole story about the sexual harassment. You can listen to it here, thanks to CityBeat.

Also included were printouts of campaign mailers the DeMaio campaign planned to use. Pintar told me she did not think much of them. They did not seem helpful.

“There was nothing ever reported that somehow this was something that might have been taken in the break-in,” she said.

I asked Pintar why Bosnich was coming to her.

“He told me he came to me because, if Carl went to Congress, he would do this to other people and he didn’t have anywhere else to turn,” Pintar said.

She said that she made copies of everything. She was heading to Hawaii on vacation and told the police in that June 9 call that she would leave the information with Peters. Peters gave it to his wife, because he was heading to D.C.

Police retrieved the information from Peters’ wife on June 11.

I asked Pintar who else she gave the information to. Did she give it to CNN?

“I gave it to my attorney and the police,” she said.

She did not give it to CNN, she said, after I pressed her again. She also denied sending it to other media or to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

A few months later, CNN would blow everything wide open when it aired Bosnich’s allegation.

Police would later show the documents that Pintar got from Bosnich to DeMaio and determine that they were stolen from the campaign. They secured a search warrant of Bosnich’s home and executed it. But he was never arrested.

The district attorney said she didn’t have the evidence to make an arrest.

Oct. 20: Peters’ Lie

We now know that Pintar, Peters’ campaign manager, got documents from Bosnich on June 5. She told police about them June 9 and police picked them up June 11. The police later concluded they were stolen.

But on Oct. 17, during the recording of a televised debate at NBC 7 San Diego, the media and the public didn’t know any of those things. That’s what made one question from DeMaio to Peters so shocking.

“Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters said his team got some information and he never saw it.

“We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation,” he said.

That was not true. It was only after these police affidavits were released that Peters, on Twitter, admitted he “misstated the timeline.” But he also claimed he never saw them. At the very least, he handed the envelope to his wife so that the police could pick it up after he left for a trip back to Washington D.C.

Pintar told me that Peters was caught off guard by DeMaio’s question about a “playbook.”

“In our minds, we never had a playbook. His answer was we got information about your campaign that we forwarded to police within 24 hours,” she said. “He didn’t remember because it didn’t come from him. In his mind that’s what he was referring to.”

This is the most damning thing DeMaio has on Peters and the congressman’s role in his supposed smearing. But DeMaio’s story requires its own leaps of logic, and has left me with a picture of a campaign teeming in orchestrated deception.

I’ll work on that story next.

    This article relates to: 52nd Congressional District Race, Carl DeMaio, Government, News, Politics

    Written by Scott Lewis

    I'm Scott Lewis, the editor in chief of Voice of San Diego. Please contact me if you'd like at scott.lewis@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0527 and follow me on Twitter (it's a blast!): @vosdscott.

    25 comments
    Kent Hill
    Kent Hill subscriber

    >>>
    Why are You continuing to cover this "He Said - She Said" fabricated campaign garbage.
    Carl DeMaio continues to be a divisive, lying republican, who does NOT deserve to be elected to any public office and Scott Peters is a moderate democrat, who decides public policy based on where the money is at, like too many elected officials.
    There were No laws broken, and even if there were, the local republican district attorney's office would only draft charges against a democrat and not a republican.
    The Voice of San Diego, on this situation, seems to be stuck in "Soap Operaland" and gossip that serves No purpose, but to keep this situation in the public's mind during a media ratings period.

    obboy13
    obboy13 subscriber

    @Kent Hill Well Kent, there's only one thing left to do.  You're just going to have to run for Congress as the voice of reason.

    obboy13
    obboy13 subscriber

    Since the beginning of his public life, Carl DeMaio has excelled at being a great revisionist.  If his actions painted him as an ineffective lone vote on the City Council, unable to get along with his peers, just allow some time to pass and Carl would tell you how he was able to reach across the aisle and work well with everyone to "get the job done."  Never mind that colleagues from both sides of the political spectrum (J.Sanders and D. Frye) painted a very different picture of how Carl acted as a Councilmember.  In fact, the mayors quip suggesting that Carl probably took credit for his (Sanders) weight loss is one of my all-time favorite political put-downs.  For anyone with a decent memory, it's reasonably clear that from Tea Party darling to strong reformer, Carl has been willing to portray himself as whatever is politically expedient or in vogue.


    With his credentials as a revisionist well established, and his political career in the dung pile, does it surprise anyone that Carl DeMaio is now taking to the airwaves in a transparent attempt to regain whatever credibility he had with his base?  The new message, one he's used many times before, is that his loss is everybody else's fault....not Carl's.  Right, Carl ran the perfect race, it was just the gullible media, his lying, mud-slinging opponent, and some plagiarizing thief who all conspired to cost him his rightful place in Congress.   


    Scott, this was a good piece about a guy who with just a couple more losses will be in Michael Aguirre territory, however as you inferred, there are still a few questions to be answered:

    1. Todd Bosnich has been accused of a myriad of transgressions, but at the end of the day Todd was Carl's staffer.  Why did they hire him in the first place, and why if what he allegedly did was so egregious, was he allowed to remain with the campaign as a volunteer?  


    2. What exactly is the Peters campaign alleged to have kept too long?  When Carl surprised Scott Peters with a question about a playbook, I had two quick thoughts.  First the image of a large spiral bound playbook similar to those previously used by NFL teams; and second, I wondered in this day and age what campaign actually prints out their strategy instead of storing it on some form of electronic media.  If what was given to Ms. Pintar was indeed a few campaign mailers, it was hardly a big deal, and it then follows the Peters campaign and the candidate himself would have not treated it with a high priority.  Remember, Peters' staff didn't seek this stuff out.

    3. Which campaign ran or had run on their behalf, the most attack ads?  Ok, I admit I fast-forwarded through all the political ads, but surely there is a count of which side used more.  Fact-check time?

    4. Carl is now claiming that Peters "dragged this campaign into the mud with false personal smears."  Uh, I don't recall any of this coming from the Peters campaign, it all came from Carl's ex staffers.  What specifically is he referring to?

    5. Carl refused to discuss any of the accusations or answer questions regarding them.  While it was refreshing to see his silence, why is he willing to open up now, unless he's trying to rehabilitate his brand.

    6. Why no follow-up with Chief Zimmerman?  Did she or did she not personally call Carl DeMaio to update him on his case?

    7. It would be interesting for someone to ask Carl if he understands the difference between "cleared" and insufficient evidence to prosecute.  Clearly the District Attorney does.

    8. Lastly, speaking only for myself, I'd like to ask Carl when he is finally going to go away?  Isn't two straight losses enough for even Carl to realize that in the eyes of the voters, he's the problem 

    Nicole Larson
    Nicole Larson subscriber

    I've worked in a lot of campaigns over many years, on both coasts, and have to say that it's very common for disaffected and disilliusioned campaign workers to share information and documents with the opposition, especially when they've been "mistreated."  But I have to say that I've never seen a campaign worker as badly abused as Todd Bosnich was before he was fired, and worse afterwards. I can easily understand why he was determined to stop DeMaio from being elected -- for far better reasons than in the past campaigns I've observed and been involved with.


    It's very tricky for the receiving campaign to know whether documents they've received are legitimate or not. Very often they're not. So -- while I confess to being a strong Peters supporter -- I really think that the Peters campaign walked a delicate line and handled the matter correctly. If all you can find is a slight discrepancy in the timeline of when the documents were handed to police, that's minor -- especially compared to the wholesale lies told repeatedly by the DeMaio campaign.


    The fact that Bosnich has now been charged with striking his mother speaks only to the clearly dysfunctional dynamic in his family. We know nothing about what precipitated the argument, nor what actually happened, nor the reality of the relationship between the two.  This incident does nothing to alter the truthfulness of his allegations of abuse by DeMaio, especially since DeMaio's alleged behavior seems to fit a pattern backed up by so many other stories circulating around DeMaio for years.


    What is really telling to me are the changes in the appearance of the fresh-faced Bostnich pictured in front of the White House that have appeared in so many articles about him and the clearly older, stressed Bostnich who appeared in interviews following the surfacing of this scandal.  Something clearly happened, beyond the rigors of normal campaign activities.

    fjanuary
    fjanuary subscriber

    Karma! 

    What we saw over the past 6 months was Scott Peters and the democrats use DeMaio's own blueprint for gaining public support against him.  For years DeMaio has used his soundbites of half truths and exagerations to push his reform agenda. 

    Personally, I hated watching all of the negative campaign ads over the past 60+ days but I admit I revelled watching Demaio squirm and have to address all of the attacks the way he made others do in his press conferences as the "watch dog" and as a Councilman. 

    Karma.

    David Cohen
    David Cohen subscriber

    This was a win for the good guys.

    Janet Shelton
    Janet Shelton subscriber

    This could be like a millipede (if they wore shoes)--lots more shoes to drop before we know what happened and maybe some will drop years later and some never.  No point in judging or speculating.  Peters won.

    jrubin81
    jrubin81 subscriber

    Who cares about any of this?  Seriously!!!  Congressmen ran sketchy campaigns.  Wild accusations were thrown around, they might have been fabricated.  Not sure why any of this is a surprise.  The real scandal is that VOSD is still covering this garbage. 

    Chris Brewster
    Chris Brewster subscribermember

    There are an awful lot of Republican insiders in this community breathing a major sigh of relief.

    Rick Smith
    Rick Smith subscriber

    With so many voting by mail, it seems it may also be a leap of logic to say this "scandal" had any impact on voting.  How many voted before these allegations hit the airwaves?  I know I did.  When the campaign ads came on, mute button.

    Paul Girard
    Paul Girard subscribermember

    I believe that the closeness of the race was due to this issue, but that the Peters campaign was HURT by the promos about it. It painted that campaign as sleazy. They should have stayed away from the topic and let Bosnich do his own talking.

    Chris Brewster
    Chris Brewster subscribermember

    Mr. Girard: Question is, which of the nasty campaign ads were by the candidates and which were by independent organizations? Most of the ones I saw were it was, "I'm Scott Peters and I approved this ad," seemed fairly positive to me, though I certainly don't remember them all. This whole concept of independent entities running ads for candidates may help candidates in some cases, but they often tend to cast the candidates they are backing in a bad light. Viewers assume all the ads are approved by the candidates I think.

    Jim Abbott
    Jim Abbott subscribermember

    In an election that saw Republican candidates nationwide exceed the rosiest of poll numbers, Carl DeMaio failed. The campaigns of both candidates assaulted San Diegans for months with filthy accusations in a desperate race to the bottom. DeMaio can't say he didn't have enough money to spend. He can't say that the overall atmosphere favored his opponent based on how poorly Democrats faired. He is now trying to lay blame on a disgruntled former staffer who leaked strategy to the other side.  Based on how equally vicious both campaigns were deployed, the playbook didn't seem to make much difference and VOSD's gnashing of the number of hours it was in the Peters' campaigns possession seem trivial and misplaced. I mean, I can scan a ream of papers on my office copier in minutes. Besides, knowing that the strategy may have been compromised gave DeMaio ample reason and opportunity to recalibrate and raise additional funds to overcome any damage. He demonstrated consistent ability to pump out fresh attack ads right up to election day. I have said it before, and continue to say it. Carl DeMaio was defeated by Carl DeMaio.  As City Beat opined in its post-mortem, DeMaio drove ultra-conservatives into the Peters' column because they'd rather see a garden-variety liberal supporting women's healthcare access and LGBTQ rights than a fresh-faced, young Republican whose heresy might be spread over a long career. Once again, DeMaio's irresistible bent towards contrary positions (this time within his own party) torpedoed his efforts. If he's searching for answers, he should start with a mirror.

    Russ Fox
    Russ Fox subscriber

    @Jim Abbott  Good write up, Jim.  I do know Carl DeMaio and he can be a bit polarizing at times. With that said, there already is plenty of proof of these vicious lies against Carl and nobody deserves to go down this way.  But, I will agree with you that Carl definitely needs to take a hard look at himself. 

    Jim Abbott
    Jim Abbott subscribermember

    @Russ Fox @Jim Abbott Hey Russ, I might disagree with you just a wee bit about "nobody deserving to go down this way." I witnessed firsthand the scorched earth methodology used by DeMaio and his partner Jonathan Hale when they took down Gay & Lesbian Times publisher Michael Portantino. They so thoroughly ruined him that he ultimately took his own life.  Add to that, the DeMaio-Hale duo's misuse of Prop B funds, the take-no-prisoners behavior toward ideological opponents and the boorish behavior toward staff, (not too mention multiple accusations of sexual harassment) and you have a pol who looks a lot more like Bob Filner than he does Abe Lincoln.  He's also had a lot of cover provided by law enforcement, oversight entities and the local Republican power structure who all have been too willing to look the other way in all these matters. Perhaps this gave DeMaio  a false sense of Teflon invincibility - a condition that went unnoticed by  over half the electorate.  So, in a polite but firm voice, I'd say Mr. DeMaio reaped exactly what he had sown at the same moment all his chickens came home to roost. Karma has a way of doing that ultimately and few tears will be shed for the would-be mayor/congressman/emperor.

    Russ Fox
    Russ Fox subscriber

    @Jim Abbott @Russ Fox Wow, that's a pretty heavy follow up!  I responded to you because we know each other.. sold you a Caddy a while back.  With all that said, and more, hopefully DeMaio will go quietly away.  Believe me.. no tears are being shed.  I recognized Peters as the better choice but I was not in the 52nd District to vote.  Never mind that I am a staunch liberal, and never mind that I don't believe two wrongs would ever make a right.  I stand by my views and I would very much rather have seen DeMaio lose without this crap.  Making up lies to get rid of someone we don't like is stupid and bad for the LBGT community (in this case).. sorry we don't agree on this.  

    Mark Giffin
    Mark Giffin subscribermember

    Its Over.

    What will the next drama be?

    Stay tuned.

    czanolli
    czanolli subscriber

    All's well that ends well

    Geoff Page
    Geoff Page subscribermember

    @Jake Alexander If you are going to provide a link to a story at least have the decency to point out that the station itself printed a correction to its story.  Bonisch was not arrested for "Assault-on-an-officer."  He got in a fight with his mother.


    Gaby Dow
    Gaby Dow subscribermember

    Wow. Great piece, well-written, researched, timely and explains a lot yet makes clear there is still so much we honestly don't know. Waiting for your next piece on this feels like a mystery novel, yet it's sad to realize this was an actual campaign for public office in our community. The line that hit the hardest is what I hope to see more detail on: "one side is weaving a tale so vicious, they should never be taken seriously in public affairs again."

    Who exactly are DeMaio's aides (Tommy, Dave, Rick) and how involved were allies like Krvaric. Who are the three campaign deflectors? How could one campaign produce SO MANY clear lies and scandals, and what was the opposing campaign supposed to do when the drama spilled into their world?

    Are there lines that were drawn for campaigns with this terrible experience? What about the media, and reporters that cover political races? The McCulloch and Grenell "strategies" need an article all of their own.

    Jake Alexander
    Jake Alexander subscriber

    @Gaby Dow Asking all the wrong questions.  What was the Pintar and Bosnich strategy?  The Peter's / DCCC strategy.

    Linda Tegarden
    Linda Tegarden subscriber

    @Jake Alexander @Gaby Dow Wasn't MaryAnn Pintar Jerry Sander's Valerie Jarrett?  I find this so strange that she would be Scott Peter's teflon Don. 

    The tone of every piece I've read from any of the writers for VOSD or the new San Diego Times convey a feeling that Carl DeMaio is just a nasty guy in both senses of the word and the media is comforted by his failure...somehow the world in San Diego will be righted if he leaves the public arena.  

    I just found the salacious details in the reporting really icky.   I would like to believe that this is not "gay politics" trump card.