On May 18, 2014, MaryAnne Pintar, the campaign manager for Rep. Scott Peters, sent the U-T a note.
She was frustrated that a paid staffer for Carl DeMaio, Todd Bosnich, had been allowed to run a letter to the editor in support of DeMaio on May 14. The letter looked like any letter to the editor, with no mention of Bosnich’s affiliation.
The U-T, she wrote, should put up a note that it was a mistake to publish the letter.
Adrian Vore, who edits the Local section and is the reader’s representative at the paper, responded to her a few days later saying that would not be happening.
“It turns out that Bosnich stopped working for the DeMaio camp in early May. The letter was submitted and ran about 2 weeks after he left,” he wrote. “Given, that I won’t run an editor’s note (sic).”
That was the story DeMaio’s team gave Vore. But Bosnich hadn’t left the campaign. DeMaio, in fact, was angry with him.
We Stand Up For You. Will You Stand Up For Us?
I think it is a mistake to try to analyze/interpret the multiple and conflicting allegations upon which this election drama is based without passing it through the filter of what else we already knew about Peters and DeMaio.
Other than the continued wry smile this story keeps bringing me, I still see little more than an a candidate whose boorish behavior and shocking inability to lead people finally ruined his credibility with the public. Besides, if the ongoing investigation results depend in any way on email proof AND we know that "shared identities" within the DeMaio campaign were used extensively - whose to say who was actually at the keyboard for anything? Carl DeMaio clearing his good name? Uh, ok.
The tactics, strategy and results of every election help set up the next election. The art of how to defeat or elect a candidate is always being refined. How Peters won and DeMaio lost contain lessons that we'll see play out in 2016 and beyond.
I'd like to see which things will be re-used in the next election, and by whom.
Much respect Scott for your desire to know the truth. Thanks Scott and VOSD for taking on this sisyphean task.
Although we’re now in the “Who cares, the election’s over phase”, it would be enlightening to direct some attention to the timeline of Scott Peters’ campaign getting DeMaio’s “playbook” and turning it over to the police, plus Peters’ claim that he never looked at it and turned it over immediately. Remember, the guy has to run again in two years, and if he’s a convenient liar the public has a right to know, right?
As for Carl’s claim that he’s through with politics, I remember Richard Nixon telling the press they wouldn’t have him to kick around any more after he lost the California Governor’s race. Then he wound up as President a few years later. “Never” is not always “never” to a politician who has ever actually won an election.
@Bill Bradshaw this isn't about the election for me. I want to know who lied. Someone fabricated an amazing tale and I want to find out who and make it clear they shouldn't be taken seriously again. And yes, we do have a sitting congressman involved. I went over what we know about Peters' role in the first installment: http://voiceofsandiego.org/2014/11/11/what-we-know-about-scott-peters-role-in-the-demaio-scandal/
All I get from this is a big WHO CARES? The race is over. Unfortunately, beating a dead horse is something VoSD does well.
@msginsd I think it's important to find out who lied and who the victim in this situation was. I find the story compelling.
@msginsd There are a lot of reasons that this story remains relevant though the election is over. As a threshold matter, Mr. DeMaio and his proxies continue to argue his innocence - he has a right to be heard, as does Mr. Bosnich . All of the central characters in this story, Mr. Bosnich, Mr. DeMaio, Mr. McCulloch and Mr. Knepper are likely going to want to work again in this town. If they are liars, people should know.
Finally, each of the central figures in this story seems to be acting to keep it alive through a dizzying series of sometimes bizarre accusations. VOSD's efforts to parse these byzantine facts is both admirable and relevant.
@Scott Lewis @msginsd And I don't. It's politics. Both sides lie. Both sides "spin". Big deal. You're dragging VoSD down to the level of daytime soap operas. Good luck with that business plan. VoSD investors and contributors: ask about Scott's motives. As somebody who has money to invest, I just don't see it.
@msginsd @Scott Lewis You're looking for a conspiracy when there isn't one. Many readers clearly find this ongoing to be interesting because they're reading the installments in high numbers . It's also important because reputations of two influential people are on the line. And it's so far unresolved. If you think this coverage is bogus, then you have a problem not just with VOSD but journalism as a whole and the ethics of journalists themselves.
@msginsd @Randy Dotinga @Scott Lewis Well msginsd it's ok to think Scott Lewis is beating a dead horse; and yeah maybe Dotinga won't be hosting the Tonight Show any day soon, but all your observations only make me wonder why you keep reading. Beating a dead horse is tame compared to the self-flagellation you endure each day when you log in here.
While there is much attention to Mr. Bosnich's and Mr. Harper's allegations, I think the Jorgensen primary campaign had a far greater impact on the runoff election. Mr. Bosnich is quoted here as stating, "I think some of the homophobic groups and attacks that Jorgensen linked himself to were disgusting and reprehensible."
This race is a microcosm of the Republican party's problems. A significant minority of their adherents locally and nationally are social conservatives. They vote in much higher percentages than the average voter and perhaps (when the candidate it so their liking) the average Republican. DeMaio's candidacy was probably a bridge too far for them, but this might have been less stark were it not for Jorgensen's primary candidacy. He was the anti-DeMaio Republican and the straight man. The differentiation between himself and DeMaio in the primary inevitably led to heavy focus on DeMaio not being the choice of social conservatives. Meanwhile, Scott Peters is a fairly moderate guy, backed by the national Chamber of Commerce, and heterosexual. Socially conservative Republicans may not have voted for Scott Peters, but many probably couldn't bring themselves to vote for DeMaio. This is going to be an increasing problem for Republicans nationally. They must either become more socially conservative or veer away from social conservatives and find some other equally committed block of voters. I don't see how they succeed at either.
Regarding Mr. Bosnich, his allegations are not much different than those of others in the workplace who complain about sexual harassment. They are very hard to confirm or deny. The fact that Mr. DeMaio's campaign has a history of intentional deceit regarding emails and electronic media makes their efforts to use emails to deny the accusations essentially impossible. I have a very hard time following the timelines and so on with regard to Mr. Bosnich, but he certainly doesn't seem any less credible than Mr. DeMaio's campaign machine on these issues. People may or may not have believed his allegations, but even for those social conservatives that did not believe them, the Bosnich allegations were a reminder that Mr. DeMaio represented something repellent to them.
I view Mr. DeMaio quite negatively, not primarily for his politics, but for the manner in which he practiced them, which was heavily aimed at pointing fingers at others in the most odious way. I greatly dislike demagoguery. Thus, I am happy to see that he says he’s done with politics. The rest of this is a sideshow. Too little, too late.
@Chris Brewster I disagree that it's too late to vet the truth. I think it's important for us to know as much as we can about who lied and who the victims were. The readership data would indicate that many others do as well. Feel free not to read any of the rest. Should be done soon.
Mr. Lewis: Thanks. Any idea how CNN got this story before local media? I had the impression they had it and were working on it for some time prior to October.
Mr. Lewis: Thanks, but you're not going to get off that easy. I'd have liked to know the truth before the election. It's value thereafter declined precipitously, especially with Mr. DeMaio's loss. I remain flummoxed as to what may be the truth. Perhaps that will come with installment IV.
@Chris Brewster Sure, that would have been nice. The story didn't break until October. I had not been able to find the accuser until CNN went with its story. We did our best to make sense of what was being said while it was coming out. DeMaio, in particular, was not interested in discussing his side of it at all or sharing any of this stuff. I explained that above. The police affidavits, which provoked this analysis, were not unsealed until after the election.
@Chris Brewster someone gave CNN the tape of Bosnich's interview to KFMB, which never ran. I suspected it was Peters' camp, because a copy of it was given to his campaign manager. But she denies giving it to anyone other than her lawyer.
@Chris Brewster Chris, I generally agree with your comments which I find to be rational and well presented. That being said, it's time to lighten up here. In my opinion it's never too late to determine if our elected officials/wannabe elected officials have been lying to us. Particularly in the case of Carl DeMaio, as I have a hard time believing he's really done with seeking political office, if the truth comes out and helps to prevent him from getting elected again, then I'm all for it. Maybe one day Scott will tell us what he believes since I'm not sure rehashing the timelines will bring out the truth, but hey if the timing is wrong for you, just click delete.
Second point is I don't think we should expect too much in the way of breaking news from VOSD. Stated differently, one of the reasons CNN got the story first may have been because they have a bigger budget and much larger viewership than VOSD. I read VOSD for insight, depth, fact checking, and yes to see the comments without a UT filter. These folks are good at what they do, but in my opinion their strength lies in in-depth reporting rather than scooping everyone each news cycle.
There, that's my two cents, and I've probably succeeded in pissing off both you and Scott.
Mr. Darnell: Not at all. But I do find myself looking at a tangled ball of string here. If there's an answer in the end, it may be worth it. So far, I'm no more comfortable that we know the truth. I don't know about you. As for VOSD versus CNN, I have hopes that local journalists should have better sources in the local community. There was talk that rumors about all this were out there, but no one published them for various reasons. That worries me because CNN isn't going to be a reliable watchdog on local political issues.
Mr. Lewis: Thanks for this. Question: Is it ethically appropriate to publish speculation of this sort? I don't know all the ins and outs of journalistic ethics.
@Chris Brewster Local journos are pretty well connected. In this case, I'll bet the leaker was going for national impact, hoping that would trickle down and force the local media to pay a lot of attention. If so, it worked. (The leaker may also have wanted national attention in order to get the national GOP to rethink its financial support of the DeMaio campaign. If this percolated up at the local level, it might have never gone national at the high level of CNN.)
@Chris Brewster Well Chris, thanks for not getting mad, I pretty much agree that it's a very tangled ball of string. Probably because all the parties involved believe in spin (read lies) when dealing with politics. The very tangled nature of this political contest, the difficulty of corroborating what you believe, and each sides easy access to attorneys would have caused me to delay publishing anything until I felt secure in its veracity. It's hard to verify rumors, and Scott Lewis would be able to discuss this better than I, but I believe it's the reason they worked on their story as long as they did.
However while not rising to the level of beyond a reasonable doubt, I personally don't think it's much of a stretch in believing that Carl DeMaio lied early, lied often, and lied consistently. Coupled with his obsessions to put his face on TV, his name in print, and take credit for any positive event while deflecting any blame for his mistakes made him a poor councilmember and an even worse candidate for higher office. Ok, that's a mini-rant, and I'm done with the biased part of my response.
Re Todd Bosnich, I'm inclined to cut him a little slack, but not much. Although he's admitted telling a number of lies (often on behalf of Carl) unless he's had a change of heart and now wants to be a Democrat, he has caused significant damage to his career by speaking out. That took either a truly naive belief that truth will triumph or an extreme degree of anger. While there may be some inconsistencies in his recollection of dates, that doesn't alter the larger part of his story....and, even though Carl's people would have us believe one of them wasn't who he said he was, there are the other two staffers.
The questions surrounding Scott Peters are of little consequence to me since most of them were raised by Carl DeMaio or his surrogates. What Carl described as a playbook and others have called a few mailers couldn't have been big news in the Peters camp. Proof of that came out during the campaign since the only new allegations Carl had involved the theft of his playbook, and that couldn't have been in whatever it was that the Peters campaign received. Certainly someone on Peters staff read through the material (does Carl expect anyone to believe he wouldn't have read Peters' material if someone had given it to his campaign) but I'll take the Congressman at his word that he was busy and didn't bother to review the documents.
Finally, I share your hope for our local journalists, excluding of course the editorial group at the UT. This who lied series I-IV has been interesting to me since I'm no longer as connected as I once was.
However, there are still some questions remaining. Principal among these is one I believe you first raised regarding our Chief of Police. While I think she's done a fine job to date, I'd really like to know whether or not she kept Carl DeMaio personally advised regarding an ongoing investigation, and if so why? So there you go Scott, I'm betting you can scoop CNN on that one.
Mr. Darnell: I agree on pretty much all points. I still wonder though whether any of this changed enough minds that it had an influence on the election. I think most minds were made up well before the election and the polls were just plain wrong (again).
@Chris Brewster Yeah, I doubt we'll ever know how much effect this had on the election, but the optimist in me would like to believe with you that most voters had long ago figured out Carl and wanted no part of his act.
I know from my own perspective, limited as it is, I made up my mind years ago that I would sooner vote for Satan than Carl DeMaio. In fact (and I can think of no more embarrassing act I've committed in my life) I proved it by voting for Filner as the lesser of two evils. Sigh.
The DeMaio camp has now gone on the record giving three different dates for when I was fired. Has called all the emails that embarrass them to be "fabrications", but then rely on different emails to bolster their claims. They've now claimed Justin was an impostor, I was just an "intern" with an axe to grind, and that this was all a "conspiracy" orchestrated by Scott Peters to bring Carl down. Carl's excuses and stories change almost every day now, yet it's everyone else that is lying.
I know it's difficult for Mr. DeMaio to accept the fact that the voters told him to get lost for a second time, but any neutral observer at this point would have to suspend their disbelief in order to believe Carl's constantly changing stories
You have peaked my curiosity. Are you now disputing that you were not an intern for most of your time on the campaign?
This article seems to indicate you were unpaid for November through March which would usually indicate an internship.
Humm...I'm not Republican, or gay, though I do know a couple of people who are.
It occurs to me that, in a race that got very down and dirty, this might have been the fatal blow.
Turns out that a scandal that focuses on both the sexual harassment and sexual orientation is the one-two punch to knock out any gay candidate. We saw sexual harassment drive a mayor from office (as it should) and that lesson may not have been lost on some from his party. Add the gay element and it goes to another level.
KPBS may have been the quiet hero in this story. They had an exclusive that they did not run. Did they see something amiss with the allegations or the timing that others missed? Or were they just more cautious?
@Glenn Younger They did run it eventually -- as soon as the second accuser permitted them to use his name.