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UPDATED: Criminal Investigation Launched into Moran Video

by ARLnow.com — October 25, 2012 at 3:29 pm 15,613 135 Comments

(Updated at 7:25 p.m.) The Arlington County Police Department has opened a criminal investigation into a video of Patrick Moran, son of Rep. Jim Moran (D) and former field director of his reelection campaign.

The video, released yesterday by conservative activist James O’Keefe, allegedly shows Moran offering advice on how to cast fraudulent ballots. The advice was given to an undercover reporter who approached Moran with a scheme to fraudulently vote on behalf of 100 people.

Moran has since resigned from the campaign.

From an ACPD press release:

The Arlington County Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Arlington County Police Department have been made aware of a video released yesterday allegedly depicting Patrick Moran, former Director of Field Operations for the Jim Moran for Congress campaign organization, assisting another to vote illegally.

The Arlington County Police Department has initiated a criminal investigation of this matter.

Police Department spokesman Dustin Sternbeck promised a “thorough investigation” into the “election offense allegations.”

“All parties will be involved in the investigation,” he said, adding that “it would be irresponsible” to not investigate the video. Police will turn over the results of the investigation to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office, which will then decide whether or not to prosecute.

Patrick Moran, in a statement issued following his resignation from the campaign, denied any wrongdoing.

“At no point have I, or will I ever endorse any sort of illegal or unethical behavior, he said. “At no point did I take this person seriously. He struck me as being unstable and joking, and for only that reason did I humor him. In hindsight, I should have immediately walked away, making it clear that there is no place in the electoral process for even the suggestion of illegal behavior: joking or not.”

Arlington GOP Chairman Charles Hokanson, meanwhile, called for Rep. Moran to resign over the video during an interview that was scheduled to air this afternoon NPR, according to an Arlington County Republican Committee press release.

Update at 10:10 p.m. — Rep. Jim Moran issued the following statement tonight.

I don’t condone the actions of the right wing organization in question, but I recognize that this incident is teaching Patrick a tough lesson early in life. I know that my son’s intention was to deflect the line of questioning by this trained political operative bent on goading him into a specific response.

But the fact remains that the conversation drifted into discussions that reflected a serious error in judgment that Patrick wishes he could take back.

In life, if we learn from our mistakes, we move forward stronger, wiser, and committed to ensuring they are not repeated. I know Patrick will come out of this tough situation a better man for it.

The Moran campaign also issued a statement.

Our campaign welcomes a thorough investigation and we will fully cooperate. The incident involving Patrick was an unfortunate situation. While clearly lacking good judgment, Patrick’s unsolicited interaction with a right wing political operative seeking to trap him in a damaging conversation did not constitute an unlawful action. We are confident this unwelcome chapter in the campaign will be quickly and favorably closed.

Photo via YouTube/Project Veritas

  • craig

    well, that can’t be good

  • Cletus Van Damme

    How bout we just launch a criminal investigation into Congressman Jim Moran, period?

  • Kim W

    Who are they investigating, the P. Moran or the guy who made the video?

    • that guy

      that is my question, too… I figured P. but its very ambiguous..

      • southarlington

        I was thinking that too…isn’t there something against the law about filming someone without there knowledge…..and then releasing for their gain….

        • Dagny

          Not in Virginia

        • Right of Center

          uh…have you seen that Obama ad re: Mitt’s 47% comment?

          • Jenn

            word

        • KalashniKEV

          Public place, not shown for profit.

          • Bon Air

            James O’Keefe is well funded by Koch types. So someone is making a profit.

          • Marie Antoinette

            Mon Dieu! Yes, all funded by the vast right wing conspiracy? I guess stupidity plays no role…

          • Sox

            Where is the revenue?

          • David Koch

            I throw them a few trinkets from time to time

        • NDaBoonies

          So you have no problem with Moran? It’s how dare O’Keefe expose him?

    • A

      The guy who made the video lacked scienter. He had no criminal intent. The quesiton will be whether Moran had criminal intent. You be the judge.

      • Mike Rithjin

        The guy who made the video had no criminal intent? He claimed to be wanting to commit voter fraud himself and was looking for help, how is that not criminal intent? He initiated the entire conversation and the whole idea. The Moran kid wrongly engaged in conversation but the subject was brought up to him, and the video guy kept peppering him with questions about it. If Moran is being investigated then absolutely no question so should the guy shooting the video.

        • bemused bystander

          +100

        • KalashniKEV

          It’s clear that Moran found this to be an interesting proposition though, no? Why did he continue to engage with the man and offer his tips on forging utility bills?

          He’s a snake, just like his father…

        • Ballston Commons

          Mike,

          Agree with you 100%.

      • Fareed

        Whatever the intent was to make the video will be a question for the grand jury. Even law enforcement need a Court Order to video tape someone.

        • Incorrect

          The law varies by state, but in VA, you only need to be part of the conversation in order to record it. (It’s still illegal to record two other people’s conversation IF they have reason to believe they’re in private.) Some states are “two party” states, meaning you have to inform the other person that you’re recording.

        • drax

          Huh? I can go out and videotape anyone on the street right now. No court order.

          The only issue is that Moran didn’t know he was being taped.

          • Stitch_Jones

            HEY! Hey, listen up!

            The issue is NOT the film maker. The issue is a corrupt campaign worker working for (and related to) an admittedly corrupt politician that somehow still represents us in congress. Nightline does this all the time and you have no issue with that but again, the issue is the voter fraud and corrupt behavior!

            Cripes. Are we so wedded to the “D” or the “R” in front of their names that we cannot see what is plain in front of our faces?

            Most educated county in America my rear…

          • JD

            Nightline gets people to actually do something illegal, like show up at a house after agreeing to meet a teen for sex. This is was a hypothetical conversation with a random person on the street about how a hypothetical, but difficult, attempt at voter impersonation could be done. At no time did Moran say he would assist in the effort or go along with it. And indeed, there is no effort at all. This whole incident was made up by O’Keefe.

  • novasteve

    Let me guess, they’lre going to investigate the interviewer, or quickly find no wrong doing on patrick’s part and then forget about it and say they did something.

    • drax

      What law did Patrick break?

      • Captain_Obvious

        I don’t know, maybe conspiracy to commit voter fraud…

        • ronfrom22207

          read in Church Lady voice

        • WeiQiang

          … which would likely require the recorder to release all unedited recordings. Might be an interesting tactical move.

          • CitizenEgg

            O’Keefe always releases full unedited versions of his videos (unlike everybody else who selectively edits what they want you to see and believe). Raw potion of video starts at 8:21 mark if anybody’s really interested. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT77qP2Nai8

          • torsionbar

            I’m guessing you didn’t click the link. The entire 26 minute unedited video was indeed published. Its on youtube. It was released along side the edited short version.

          • Lloyd

            Dude, the left will still claim that it has been doctored, just like they continue to claim O’Keefe is a convicted felon.

          • drax

            The left learned that tactic from the right.

          • Al Gore

            Good one.

          • WeiQiang

            Can’t click the link. Was the 26 min video of only Moran? I was referring to other recordings of other people.

        • CA

          I believe you need at least two people for a “conspiracy.”

        • Josh S

          “maybe” being the key word there…..

        • Kirk

          Then wouldn’t he person who made the video be the criminal?

        • Joe

          If the person taking the video had no intention to commit voter fraud, then Patrick wasn’t conspiring to commit fraud.

  • Observer

    10:1 they are going after the recorder.

    • torsionbar

      Why would you think that, when the statement from ACPD specifically mentions Moran “assisting another to vote illegally”? Seems pretty obvious they’re going after Moran, and rightfully so.

      • Observer

        I don’t trust The Man.

      • drax

        Yeah, looks like it, but Moran doesn’t seem to actually assist, just talk about it. Maybe it’s conspiracy to assist or whatever, or maybe just telling someone how to do it is illegal.

      • Kirk

        Why rightfully so? The person making the video is initiating the conspiracy.

  • Chris G.

    Apparently VA is a one-party consent law state. If this is accurate it is unlikely that they’d be investigating the videographer. Now this is just an investigation that doesn’t mean charges are imminent or anything.

    http://www.citmedialaw.org/legal-guide/virginia-recording-law

  • PikerShorts

    I thought ArlCo usually told AG Kook to go kick rocks usually

  • JamesE

    The fashion police are also investigating the video because of the scarf.

    • Captain_Obvious

      fashion police have concluded its an epic form of d-baggery.

      • Josh S

        Not as bad as wearing driving mocs…..

  • JD

    This is standard operating procedure. I don’t think the police have any choice but to begin an investigation if prompted. It is possible that the people making them aware of it is the Moran campaign itself. I don’t know that, but it is one viable course of action they could take.

  • brendan

    This is bull…. He made several attempts to persuade the person not to do this, and while he should have been more forceful in turning the person away and discouraging such an action, it was the person behind the camera pushing the illegal act.

    switch it around a little… to any other sort of crime, say selling pot.

    Hey man, do you know where i could sell some pot?

    “Eh, probably not the best idea…”

    But I have all this stuff…

    “why don’t you get a job…”

    I really want to sell this pot…

    “well you should get a job, but…never done this but you could sell it over by pershing and glebe, just not a good idea and you might get caught so be careful”

    oh okay cool… really want to do this.

    “you’re hardcore dude…”

    I don’t think the person being pushed to help or give advice did anything illegal… better actions could have been taken but, not illegal.

    • Dagny

      Please, even his dad has a record of pleading no lo contendre to conflict of interest charges.

      • brendan

        your comment has nothing to do with what i said…

    • blah
    • CitizenEgg

      He started off okay, but should have stuck to his guns and told the undercover guy that ‘No way would I condone or suggest you go with this plan.’ That would have been sticking to your principles and upholding the law. Sadly, he made a poor choice to keep talking to the guy.

      Your drug analogy doesn’t go far enough either. Unless he advised the would be dealer to break up the oz into smaller nickel and dime bags and then then wait for the school to get out so he could move it in smaller amounts.

      • Minor Point

        It was the scarf that made him do it…..had he not been wearing the scarf, he would have done the “right thing”

    • Buzz

      Brendan: I guess you missed the part where Moran suggested he forge utility bills, huh? And impersonate a pollster so he could be extra sure the people weren’t planning to vote themselves?

      • Joe

        I think we are all missing some distinctions. I think I know these answers, but if there are lawyers reading….Is having a discussion about how one could or would do something illegal the same thing as conspiring to do something illegal? I don’t think it is, unless there is actual intent to do said illegal act.

        For example, I often have discussions with my coworkers and friends about the relative insecurity of Metro, and how easy it would be for a terrorist to sneak a bomb onboard and blow it up under the Potomac, thus flooding the metro system, harming passengers, and bringing DC to a halt.

        I am quite certain that (in a legal sense, obviously) I’m not conspiring to commit this terrorist act.

        So I think the question becomes one of intent. Did Patrick believe that this guy was going to do what he said and was Patrick’s intention to aid in this behavior. If so, then he’s probably guilty of the accusations, but I have trouble seeing this guy get convicted based on a 30 minute video of a discussion on the street, that begins with him discouraging the behavior.

        • Squirvinia Quare

          I think the distinctions are A) you don’t have any particular knowledge of what you’re talking about and B) you’re talking amongst coworkers/friends. Were you and explosives expert and you were approached by someone on the street who was asking you how best to make explosives for the commission of a terrorist act, and you said “well, you could do XYZ, and probably should do ABC first” then its a different story.

          I don’t think the intent of the taper is really relevant since it would invalidate any stings by law enforcement.

        • Ren

          Put succinctly, when it comes to conspiracy, you start getting into some Latin, e.g. ‘mens rea’ and ‘actus reus’ (loosely, ‘guilty mind’ and ‘guilty act’).

          The trick here is that voting ‘prohibited acts’ have statutory definitions, so you have to consider legislative intent and judicial construction of the code. Also worth mentioning, this plays in to investigatory strategies, (‘should we prosecute…would we get a conviction…’).

          So, the analogy of idle chatter about something understood to be criminal doesn’t quite apply. Topic and context make a difference. Disclaimer..don’t construe any of this as legal advice, etc.

        • Va Tom

          Here’s the real distinction:

          If you are a Democrat discussing the possibility of some one “sneaking a bomb onboard [the Metro] and blow[ing] it up under the Potomac,” to Republicans you are a traitor.

          However, if you are a Republican discusing that same thing, to Republicans you are a patriot, since obviously everyone riding that train must be a communist.

  • LilJimmy

    Assume it’s under this section?

    Virginia Election Code: 24.2-1004(B): “Any person who intentionally (i) votes more than once in the same election, whether those votes are cast in Virginia or in Virginia and any other state or territory of the United States, (ii) procures, assists, or induces another to vote more than once in the same election, whether those votes are cast in Virginia or in Virginia and any other state or territory of the United States, (iii) votes knowing that he is not qualified to vote where and when the vote is to be given, or (iv) procures, assists, or induces another to vote knowing that such person is not qualified to vote where and when the vote is to be given is guilty of a Class 6 felony.” Similarly, subsection C prohibits intentionally voting at more than one residence, whether both are in Virginia or not.

    • WeiQiang

      By that definition, Scarfy McScarfstein is assisting and inducing.

      • DCCHughes

        Only if someone actually did cast the fraudulent vote.

      • Josh S

        Jesus, I think there are going to be a lot of cold necks around Arlington this winter……(lest we get called Scarfy McScarfstein)

        • drax

          Uh-oh, somebody owns a scarf just like that….

        • coppa

          it was nearly 80 f”ing degrees scarfy

        • WeiQiang

          Lighten up, Scarfy. ;-)

      • Kirk

        …and the person shooting the video is breaking the law.

      • Joe

        Not really. It says it’s illegal to help another person vote more than once. It doesn’t specifically say that it’s illegal to help someone help someone else to vote more than once.

        Splitting Hairs? Absolutely. But that’s what lawyering and laws are about.

    • bigdaddyva

      Seems to me if the videotaper was speaking hypothetically, then so too was Patrick Moran. I think they go down together for conspiracy to commit voter fraud.

      • JD

        But if there is no intended action, there is no voter fraud. Seems to me the investigation ends with no charges.

  • JamesOKeefesProbation

    Thank goodness for this criminal investigation.

    Maybe now convicted criminal James O’Keefe will be put away for good.

    • torsionbar

      Yes, you’re right, we should all turn a blind eye to corruption and fraud, particularly amongst our elected officials.

      • JD

        But of course there is no evidence of corruption or fraud here. We have only a statement induced by a known provocateur in a street corner discussion of how a hypothetical fraud could be done. There is no evidence that Pat or anyone else has committed voter fraud or would have even entertained the scenario had O’Keefe not presented it. At no time in the video does Pat offer to help him.

        • Ren

          I disagree, but only because I believe criminal liability for voter or election fraud would be broader than the definition set forward here (I lawgeeked – sorry : ) ). Possible evidence would pertain to conspiracy, prohibited under federal statute. It’s probably federal liability since they’re pretty clearly talking about multiple federal races.

          The idea of whether Pat ‘would have entertained the scenario unless presented’ is really interesting, but I don’t think there’s a defense against ‘private entrapment.’ He’s in rough waters for sure!

  • craig

    joking or not, this man’s career in politics is cooked.

    • ronfrom22207

      My instant, postage stamp novel of the saga goes like this: they take Pat down hard for this, and the Moran critics have their appetite for blood sated. No great loss to the clan, this guy seems like the Tommy Boy of the family.

    • URUN2

      Really?? He’ll be the next head of the DNC.

      • Va Tom

        If Pat acquires a crimina l record, that would only qualify him to head the RNC.

    • Beth M.

      I’m not so sure that Pat was much of a contender. Doesn’t come across as the brightest bulb, and his job was “field director?” That’s a volunteer job, just finding and stirring up volunteers, organizing canvassers and phone contacts, etc. Important on a micro level, but not exactly a high level position and not one where actual campaign strategy would be discussed.

  • blah

    is he the modern day Chris Farley from Black Sheep?

  • novasteve

    He does look like a Clarendouche.

  • Rick

    Craig, forget it. He’s as corrupt as they come, but the only seat safer than his is Nancy Pelosi’s.

    • brendan

      how is he as corrupt as they come?

      • Rick

        He is, I believe, the #1 earmarker in congress and openly brags about it while he pulls 60-70% of the vote every 2 years.

        • WeiQiang

          http://www.opensecrets.org/bigpicture/earmarks.php

          The problem – if there is one – is that his district is lousy with folks who make a living off the defense industry. Qualitatively, it’s tough for anyone questioning his earmarks to do so without being labeled ‘anti-national-security’.

          To wit: http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/earmarks.php?cid=N00002083&cycle=2010

        • drax

          Earmarking is corruption now?

          • Josh S

            Think of it as a common marker thereof. Not corrupt in and of itself but perhaps something to consider…..

          • drax

            Well, no, I won’t.

            By that standard, every single action by a congressman could be “corrupt.”

        • Chad

          I didn’t know earmarking made you corrupt. Thanks for the info.

      • Paul

        I don’t know about “as they come,” but his history of “personal loans” is troubling. One of them, from a drug industry lobbyist, had the distinct odor of a quid pro quo.

        • WeiQiang

          “One of them, from a drug industry lobbyist, had the distinct odor of a quid pro quo.”

          Moran aside for a moment … are you new in DC? Quid pro quo IS the smell of DC.

          • ronfrom22207

            So you are OK with it?

          • WeiQiang

            No. I believe that neither party serves the people faithfully. I believe that we’ve built up a system of laws and perverse incentives whose only logical conclusion is this dysfunction that we see, that we live with, and that we will literally pay for. I believe that, collectively, we’ve been convinced that our vote is the only thing we need to do and the people we elect will thereafter do our bidding in a way that we imagined they would. In fact, they want our vote to do other people’s bidding [because, as a Constitutional textualist would tell you, a corporation/union is a person /snark]. I believe that the superPACS and other “American” institutions that don’t have the balls to proudly identify themselves ['26.2' stickers notwithstanding] or their donors are hiding for a reason. So, no, I’m not OK with it.

          • drax

            Oh, give the SuperPAC crap a rest.

          • cause

            As many person causes you have here, Drax, I think an annoyance at the influx of attack ads by “The society for Making America Good and Stuff” is allowed.

          • WeiQiang

            wealthy people want special favors from legislators, but don’t have the balls to ask for them in public. profiles in courage. i’ll see your superpac crap and raise you a regular PAC and a social welfare organization.

          • drax

            I’m annoyed by them too, but that’s not what he’s talking about.

          • cause

            Companies have the same freedom of speech as individuals. I know.

          • drax

            Everyone and everything has freedom of speech. The constitution protects SPEECH. The source is irrelevant. All speech is protected, regardless of where it comes from.

            If only individuals had speech rights, that would mean political parties have none, among other examples. That’s ridiculous, of course.

          • cause

            Why are politicians required to say “I’m _____ and I support this message” and these groups are able to create attack ads and hide their identity behind a layer of meaningless names?

  • Alex

    Wow, if that’s true it is well below par and all involved should be punished to the full extent of the law.

  • JamesOKeefesProbation

    When will convicted criminal James O’Keefe (currently serving the remaining months of his 4 years of probation) investigate the massive voter fraud story of this election cycle involving Nathan Sproul?

  • Mack

    Forget it, James. It’s Arlington.

    • the tin dog

      The sad thing is that Arlington and Alexandria voters would vote for the Devil himself if he ran as a Democrat.

  • Joe

    Why isn’t there a call for Jim Moran to resign? His campaign appears to be very corrupt.

    • Bon Air

      How is his campaign corrupt? His son is an idiot, to be sure.

    • Josh S

      Yeah, it’s really not clear what the heck you’re talking about with the “His campaign appears to be very corrupt” comment. This video, while it may demonstrate questionable thinking on the part of his son, is a pretty weak foundation upon which to build any sort of case that the entire campaign is “very corrupt.”

    • the tin dog

      Moran’s been dirty for years (beating on a Black kid, Etc.), the sad thing is that Arlington and Alexandria voters would vote for the Devil himself if he ran as a Democrat.

  • KalashniKEV

    I hope the Kooch finds some way into this.

    It’s time to drain the swamp up here!!!!

    • drax

      Kooch has already failed miserably on Obamacare and global warming. You need a new hack.

  • Coraline

    What a giant waste of taxpayer money. No matter who is being investigated.

  • Citizen

    Thus is a political scandal, not a criminal one. To be guilty if a conspiracy, you have to take an act in furtherance of the conspiracy. This is just advice about how to break the law. It reflects terribly on Pat Moran, and probably Jim Moran, because it’s likely that the only reason Pat even has this job is because his father got if for him. But there is nothing for a grand jury or the police to investigate.

    • Right of Center

      Enter the fashion police

  • Mary-Austin

    Didn’t know Moran had a son around my age. He’s totally hot too.

  • Publius

    The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I took the time to take a written statement to James Moran’s office. I was having a pleasant conversation with his aide when Rep. Moran came into the room. When the aide introduced me and said why I was there, Moran flew into a rage. He shouted that he was “tired of people coming into my office and trying to tell me how to vote! You get out of my office!” It is obvious to me that James Moran doesn’t care what his constituents think, to him they are just people bothering him. He’s in it for the power; his son is there to help him hang on to it.

    • Va Tom

      I can understand Jim Moran”s rage as he was obviously aware that you are an obnoxius jerk!

  • GodFila

    When will the democratic voter fraud stop? Maybe Billy Joel needs to put out a “We didn’t start the fire” type of song.
    Black Panthers
    Pat Moran
    ACORN on the laaaam
    Hanging chads
    Listen lads
    We didn’t start the fraud
    No we didn’t light it
    But we tried to film it

    • Sox

      LOL

    • wut

      hahaha

  • John Fontain

    Let’s say I find a hitman and talk to him about killing someone. I video tape the encounter unbeknownst to the hitman.

    If the authorities find out, do I go to jail for conspiracy to commit murder or does the video tape represent a “get out of jail” card for me because i can say “well I obvious didn’t intend for anyone to get killed, I was videotaping just to set up the hitman.”

    • Sox

      why would you tape yourself conspiring to commit a crime?

      • John Fontain

        To me, that is the question the person who made the Pat Moran video should be asking himself right now.

    • Hitman

      John: I really want to get rid of my wife, see?
      Hitman: Sorry to hear that, have you heard about divorce?
      John: No man, she has got to go.
      Hitman: well, you’d probably be better off just getting a divorce.
      John: No, see, I’ve got it all planned, I just need to find someone to do the deed.
      Hitman: Yeah, well I can put you in touch with a lawyer friend.
      John: No, no, I want her dead. She’d destroy me in a divorce.
      Hitman: Yeah, well, murder is even more expensive, and a lot of trouble if you get caught. You would need tons of money and a foolproof plan …
      John: GOTCHA!!

      • OR….

        John: I really want to get rid of my wife, see?
        Hitman: Sorry to hear that, have you heard about divorce?
        John: No man, she has got to go.
        Hitman: Really? Wow, you really want to do it?
        John: See, I’ve got it all planned. I just need someone to do the deed.
        Hitman: Ok. Well, the police always start with those closest to the victim, so you’ll have to make sure you have an airtight alibi. I don’t want this coming back on me.
        John: I want her dead, so I’ll do what it takes.
        Hitman: Got it. Make sure you wipe all evidence of this conversation and meeting. The police can recover deleted files so you have to make sure everything is completely wiped. We’ll wait a few months to put time/distance between you and me and this meeting, and I’ll make sure the body is never recovered so there’s less evidence.
        John: GOTCHA!!

  • JakeO

    I really like that song ‘Casanova’ by Gerald Levert. The video is exceptional.

  • justin

    What’s wrong with Pat Moran that he only ever made it to be a campaign manager for his own dad’s campaign? If my dad was a corrupt Arlington congressman I would be CEO of Raytheon by now.

    • Allan

      He probably has a regular job too.

      • Kal

        HAD a regular job

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