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Moran, Dems Respond to Corruption Allegations

by ARLnow.com — April 10, 2012 at 5:50 pm 2,631 42 Comments

State Democratic officials say an error, not corruption, was the reason why Democratic congressional challenger Bruce Shuttleworth was initially not allowed on the 8th District primary ballot.

Officials announced yesterday that Shuttleworth had, in fact, submitted the necessary number of signatures to quality for the ballot, after they determined last week that he was 18 signatures short. At a press conference today, Shuttleworth charged that his opponent, Rep. Jim Moran, was somehow behind the snafu.

In a statement, a Moran spokesman didn’t respond directly to the allegations, but said the campaign hoped that officials would “get to the bottom of the situation.” The campaign also took a shot at one of Shuttleworth’s political backers.

The Moran campaign submitted their petitions well ahead of the deadline to avoid any last minute problems. It’s a deep concern that petitions appear to have been misplaced by the Fairfax County Registrar’s Office. We urge local officials to get to the bottom of the situation to find out what really happened, to ensure the Democratic process is protected.

For our campaign, nothing has changed. We were fully preparing for a primary, and the coming attacks from the conservative, Texas oil money fueled Super PAC that has stated their intent to try defeat the congressman, who has been a champion of the environment throughout his time in Congress.

Later this afternoon, Democratic Party of Virginia spokesman Brian Coy explained what had happened.

Democratic 8th Congressional District Committee chairwoman Margo Horner, who was named in Shuttleworth’s federal lawsuit challenging the initial petition decision, had passed off the petition signatures to impartial local election officials in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington, in an effort to avoid the certification process becoming too “politicized,” according to Coy.

Somehow, Coy said, the Fairfax County registrar lost a number of petitions during the process. They only discovered that the petitions had been lost after Arlington County registrar Linda Lindberg notified them that there were Fairfax County signatures within her office’s stack of petitions, according to Coy.

After the error was discovered — which was after Shuttleworth had initially been denied a spot on the ballot — the lost petitions were found, counted, and yesterday afternoon it was determined that Shuttleworth had, in fact, qualified for the ballot. Coy said that correct procedures were followed and denied that there was any intentional effort to leave Shuttleworth off the ballot.

“The results of this process had nothing to do with anything other than whether or not Mr. Shuttleworth had enough signatures,” Coy said. “Any insinuation that the party lost the signatures, that they did anything other than… go above and beyond the procedures that are laid out… is inaccurate.”

Coy added that “the responsibility to certify petitions lies with our congressional district committees” – not centrally with the Democratic Party of Virginia, whose chairman is Brian Moran, the congressman’s brother.

  • Inflammatory Commenter

    Inflammatory Comment!!!

    • Josh S

      Check.

  • John

    If you’re interested in corruption check out his brother’s connection to the Washington Flyer and his former staffer on WMAA’s board.

  • Willie Mae Washington

    The Daily Kos article didn’t even mention Jim Moran’s plea deal when he was a city councilman in Alexandria which, many speculated, he took to ensure that he would never get any jail time. This many has a trail that would make Bonnie and Clyde blush. Why he has such devoted followers is beyond any measure of sanity.

    • Willie Mae Washington

      This MAN has a trail . . .

    • MomHon

      If you want to know why he has so many devoted supporters, read my post on the original story.

      • Patrick

        You mean the complete an utter nonsense where you support him not only intimidating children but also beating his wife? And then try to blame his anger on he’s “Irish”? Yes you paint a very good picture of the lemmings that support this complete and total embarrassment.

  • Elmer

    Moran: The congressional poster child for Insider Trading.
    How much longer will the sheeple of Arlington put up with this clown?

    • drax

      Ah, “sheeple.” What a great word. Everyone who disagrees with you is just an idiot.

      • Skeptical

        I’m with you on this one. Like or hate Moran, every time someone flings the word “sheeple” at any group that disagrees with him, an angel throws up.

      • Car-Free Diet

        Drax, you said it, not Elmer.

  • Arlington, Northside

    Moran is a bully

  • .T-G.E.O.A

    Hope someone eggs him on while he’s pressing flesh.

  • Clarendoom

    Snafu doesn’t mean cute little mistake. It is an acronym…and a not very nice one at that.

    • dave schutz

      When I was about 9 we were at my grandmother’s – she took the Reader’s Digest, and I was reading something which referred to ‘snafu’ as a Navy acronym which meant ‘situation normal, all fouled up’. So I proudly went off to the kitchen and told my dad about this, since he had been a Navy man in WWII.

      In a spectacular display of quick-witted dad-ness, he said, ‘Yes, that’s one thing it can mean’.

      • drax

        You dad had the necessary restraint of a parent. He was dying to tell you the truth.

      • .T-G.E.O.A

        Nice memory

      • TCE

        … now go ask him what FUBAR is…

  • Jason S.

    Moran has nothing to worry about, the morons in the 8th District don’t even bother to know anything more than the party of the person getting their vote.

    • drax

      Everyone who disagrees with you is a moron who doesn’t think before they vote and only considers party. Everyone who agrees with you is thoughtful and intelligent. By chance, the 8th district is filled with morons. Yet some districts – the ones who vote the way you would – are full of thoughtful and intelligent voters. You know all this because you can read everyone’s mind.

      This insightful political analysis is brought to you by Jason S.

      Oh, and dude, if they only vote by party, how does that matter in a primary vote? These are both Dems. Duh.

      • Car-Free Diet

        Yes, that is right. Moran is a fierce protector of federal employees and retirees which makes sense considering many of them are his constituents.

        He is also known on Capitol Hill for his tenacity in bring home the bacon to his campaign contributors.

  • http://www.bluevirginia.us Blue Virginia

    Here’s the fax from 8th CD Democratic chair Margo Horner to the Virginia State Board of Elections explaining what happened.

    http://www.bluevirginia.us/showComment.do?commentId=25642

  • Mr. Atown

    Jim Moran is a CANCER to politics

  • John Fontain

    “Coy said that correct procedures were followed”

    Uh, if that was the case, you wouldn’t have have initially denied him a spot on the ballot.

    • j

      No kidding, right? Isn’t that the entire crux of this PetitionGate?

      • Josh S

        Well, if the petitions were simply misplaced, then one can easily and truthfully say that correct procedures were followed. But a human error intervened. Happens. All. The. Time.

        Believing that this automatically means that corruption is involved is like believing the full moon causes crazy behavior.

        • Aaron B

          Well said Josh. The fact that Shuttleworth is trying to make this out as some sort of corruption issue is sad and the same dirty politics he claims he is so far above and fighting against.

          Now that an explanation has been given for what happened, will Shuttleworth now apologize for his over-dramatic and unnecessary characterization of the situation? I doubt it.

          • drax

            Why should he? He is a challenger fighting uphill.

        • John Fontain

          “if the petitions were simply misplaced, then one can easily and truthfully say that correct procedures were followed.”

          So misplacing the signatures is part of following the correct procedures? It seems like counting all signatures submitted would be one of the most basic elements of following the correct procedures. “losing” half of them does not.

          • Josh S

            Spare us, John.

          • Sandy

            He has a good point.

          • John Fontain

            From what?

            I am trying to understand how you come to the conclusion that:

            losing half of the signatures = following correct procedures

            I am happy to listen to any attempt you can give to explain your thought process.

          • Marc

            I agree with John, if the procedures are properly designed it should not be possible to “lose” them.

            Think about it this way, what if this was a bank and each signature was a check. Do you think it would be an acceptable practice for a bank to lose a bunch of checks? Would you be okay with a bank tell you that your deposit were lost to human error, because you know it happens?

    • Car-Free Diet

      No, no, no. Correct procedures were followed in denying Shuttleworth a place on the ballot. The only reason the Democratic Party changed it’s decision was because Shuttleworth didn’t go away but decided to fight. When he sued and showed he was willing to force the Democratic Party to go through discovery to uphold their decision, the Party folded. At least the judiciary in Virginia has not been corrupted by the Democratic Party, yet.

  • Suburban Not Urban

    Some of this report doesn’t really make sense.

    “Margo Horner, …, had passed off the petition signatures to impartial local election officials in Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington, in an effort to avoid the certification process becoming too “politicized,” according to Coy”.

    The 8th district is composed of Alexandria, Arlington, FC, and parts of Fairfax – how does having Fairfax, Alexandria and Arlington officials make this more objective – I could see this if you had folks from Loudoun or Prince William doing the certification.

    The comments from the Arlington registrar makes it seem like they were split up so that they could be checked by the local registrar from the signer’s address – given that these local registrar probably have easier access to info to verify residency. This seems like the real reason with a whole lot less spin.

    But that raises the question of how this works. There is nothing that forces any given petition page to be from only a single jurisdiction, although when many of these are collected going door to door that is what probably often happens. But, nothing prevents someone going to some social event on the border of AC and McClean and getting signatures mixed from different juridictions.

    There is 2 ways I could see this working.
    1) You just split the total pages giving any one page to only one registrar. Most of them are easy to verify because they are local, but they are still responsible for non-locals where they occur.

    2) Give pages with all sigs in one locality to the “correct” registrar. Take pages with sigs from multiple jurisdictions and copy them – striking sigs from outside a single locality and giving that page to that locality, then taking a second copy and striking the ones given to the previous locality(and maybe others outside the second locality) and giving that to the second jurisdiction …. etc.

    If 2 is the way it is done, giving non-local sigs to a locality seems like an easy way to bury signatures since they would probably invalidate anything not local.

    The final issue is why wouldn’t the AC registrar have notified the Fairfax register about the odd pages in their portion at the same time AC “filed” their count. The fact that the folks in charge at summarizing the results rushed out the first count without any validation seems odd.

    • Josh

      Agree with most of what you wrote. This is a little bit of messy party politics and process simmering to the surface. You would think their verification process would be a little more centralized and less ad hoc. But hey, they know Moran will win the primary anyway, so why not pass the buck on verifying all those signatures.

  • novasteve

    Moran is the Marion Barry of Nova, there’s no getting rid of him unless someone like Helen Thomas

  • Alfonso

    For better or worse, the system is run by humans and these things happen.

    Moran plays hardball with the best of them but kind of ridic to claim he was part of this mixup. Maybe the strategy sounds plausible to some, but too stupid and risky to be believable that Moran & Co. would even attempt. .. Moran is going to win, why risk it along w/ significant legal penalities, by dilly dallying in this crap.

    In terms of Shuttleworth’s response… it is exactly what he should be doing as a challenger, with little to no chance of winning. He needs to be outlandish, fiery, over the top, etc., in order to get his name out there. Sad but true that false attacks, or at least ones are believable and will leave doubt in the minds of some despite evidence to the contrary, push the narrative in Shuttleworth’s favor.

    I don’t think it’s a bad idea for Moran to get a challenger every now and then, keeps him on his toes.

    Unfortunately, for as good as Shuttleworth’s resume is, the stuff he is suggesting in terms of reforming Congress are as ridic as the tacky photoshop buttons they’s pasted on.

    “Strengthen House Ethics Committee” – yeah, so the House Ethics Committee is basically a joke, it is purposefully set up that way. People far more powerful than a freshman member have tried to change this and it has cost them and their districts dearly.

    “No budget, No Pay for Congressman” — so Moran should have caved and supported the Boehner/Ryan Budget? Moran actually is one of the few people willing to make deals and compromise, it’s the Tea Party nuts and outside groups that have made compromise almost impossible, even on things that were once bipartisan such as the Transportation Bill have gone up in smoke.

    “Curtail Earmarks” — well for one, they’ve already been banned. two, they’re not that bad of thing – would you prefer an elected official determine a small percentage (<1%) of projects that receive funding or an unelected and unaccountable bureaucrat? The transparency was improved significantly, eliminating most types of pay to play schemes, before the 2010 elections when America proved once again how ignorant they are to the functions of government. Now as a way to avoid the earmark ban and stigma, senior MoC's are able to work with the dept, agency or omb to bury their request deep within the presidential budget with one line in a agency's justification. A place where no one save for a few budget officers and maybe a congressional staffer or two will read it, much less understand the political implications. Some members have moved the game further into the legal gray area and play the joint reach-around game with lobbyist who are often better able to get the WH to play ball on a certain issue, while the Member can help the lobbyist with an issue buried in some committee. Moran has actually been one of the strongest voices for a pragmatic approach to reform, as opposed to the tea party nuts and people who claim to carry the reform banner but end up pushing everything further underground.

    "Fully Support the No Labels Agenda" — so no labels has a couple decent ideas in terms of reforming the US Senate…tho none are really that original and in general the org is a big waste of time and money.

    I do completely agree with his final points on Defense spending and the defense industry… good luck fixing that though.

  • Xdm1

    I was one of the Shuttleworth signatures that was denied, despite that they confirmed I lived at my address, and was a registered voter. I was given additional “justification” papers to fill out, in an incredibly time-sensitive process. Stupid… and eyebrow raising.

  • Kenny Powers

    Anyone willing to take a bet as to if Moran will ever accept a debate with Mr. Shuttleworth? Can’t imagine why he would risk that (better to be called out for dodging debate then open up the risk of getting bested by an upstart). But boy oh boy would I pay top dollar for front row seats to see hizzoner on the hotseat for all of his ethical transgressions. Our system works only when there is accountability. No matter what you think of Moran, he’s set up for life on the Democratic ticket here and has little or no accountability. Thanks, Mr. Shuttleworth for at least putting a spotlight on how much the game is rigged…right down to the petition process (if not rigged, so inept that it does make us look like a Banana Republic).

    • drax

      He’s 100% accountable. Every two years, there is an election.

      • Kenny Powers

        He’s in a VERY safe district..no republican will ever beat him so the only accountability really is via the Democratic Primary. He has such a machine in place, such a HUGE warchest to outspend any and all commers and his bro heads the local party machine that runs the primaries. He’s got his foot heavily placed on one side of balance scales and it’s all tipped to his total favor. On top of that, that very machine his brother leads “loses” then finds 800 signatures only as a suit is filed. You can’t make up such a rigged game like that. So, yeah, technically you are indeed correct since elections by definition are supposed to offer accountability. But so many democrats DESPISE Moran as an ethical embarrassment (I personally used to love him,but he’s lost his way over the years with his “seat for life”), and so many of us hold our nose to pull the lever against a republican…so he gets in again and again because the system is rigged for incumbents like him. That is not accountability by any objective measure. It’s almost as if Lord Acton looked into the future and saw Jim Moran when he observed, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

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