MOORLACH CAMPAIGN UPDATE — PAC Funding — March 6, 2015

Gov. Scott Walker and I met a few years ago, when he was in town for the 2012 Rose Bowl, when Wisconsin was playing Oregon. As my son-in-law was born and raised in Wisconsin, I decided to wear the Aaron Rogers Green Bay Packers jersey that he had given to me that Christmas. Gov. Walker is a fellow warrior in trying to address the stranglehold that public employee unions and special interest groups have on elected officials.

My opponent is the beneficiary of hundreds of thousands of dollars in independent expenditures from public employee unions, see The Daily Pilot‘s Barbara Venezia covers this activity in her column, which is the first piece below.

At the Post Office this morning a lady took a hard look at me and said, "You’re John Moorlach, and it’s terrible what they’re doing to you, so my friends and I are praying for you." Then she quietly slipped out of the door and went to her car. If this is any indication of how voters are reacting, then the concluding two sentences of Barbara’s column are spot on.

The LA Times covers the fund raising update as of the end of February in the second piece below. My opponent has been raising funds for more than a year. It was reported that he had raised $221,000 by end of December. This means he’s only raised $150,000 this year. And a significant portion of it comes from, you guessed it, political action committees (PACs).

I started in mid-January, as the Governor had to declare a special election before I could ask in earnest. Raising more than $100,000 in some six weeks is not bad, and comparable to what a sitting member of the Assembly raised. And none of my funding comes from PACs!

We need to raise much more to combat the public employee unions largesse. If you haven’t contributed something yet, now is the time to do so. Go to and make an investment in your state.

We can win this election. The voters don’t want someone who is unaccomplished and beholden to special interest groups. And they are not amused with the negative campaign mailers and robo-calls.

As you know, I have been very transparent about my positions while in office and have a full body of work at As to what is being said about me, let me provide a rebuttal.

I am opposed to amnesty. My opponent is running from his public record by falsely claiming that I support amnesty. Find any public statement where this legal immigrant from the Netherlands supports amnesty. You won’t find it.

I support the right to bear arms.

I have always supported the death penalty.

It is impossible for me to vote myself a $100,000 pension.

I never voted to raise your property or sales tax.

Sacramento is run by the public employee unions and they obviously love my opponent. But, if you want someone who thinks and behaves like Gov. Scott Walker, someone unafraid to address the fiscal morass of this state and willing to oppose the public employee unions, then I’m your vote.

Daily Pilot

Art imitates life during election season

By Barbara Venezia

Watching the "The Good Wife" on Sunday, I couldn’t help but see parallels with what seems to be unfolding between the two favored candidates in the special election for our own 37th state Senate District.

In the episode called "Dark Money," the main character, Alicia Florrick, played by Julianna Margulies, is running for state’s attorney and has to come to grips with the dark side of campaigning — political action committees, or PACs.

Florrick is conflicted about taking PAC money from a homophobic and unsavory character played by Ed Asner.

Funny thing is, when I ran for Newport Beach City Council in 2006, I took money from people who, on a good day, I wouldn’t spit on if they were on fire.

Like Florrick, I grappled with the moral dilemma that contributed in part to my decision to drop out of the race.

The television episode is timely, since last week I wrote about the 37th District battle between former county Supervisor John Moorlach and Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine). This race, like the fictional one on the CBS drama, seems to be developing dark aspects.

Writing last week’s column, I had received one Wagner hit piece on Moorlach. Since then, more arrive almost daily in the mail, but at the time, I did question him about the initial one.

I wondered if campaign dollars wouldn’t be better spent sending out mailers that actually touted his accomplishments, introducing him to voters rather than slamming Moorlach.

Wagner informed me that it wasn’t his campaign money being spent; it was from an Independent Expenditure, or I.E., that he said he had no control over.

There’s that "dark money" thing again.

For those unfamiliar with PACs and IEs, let me explain a bit about how they function and what purposes they can serve.

While most campaigns have legal limits for contributions directly to a candidate, donations to PACs and IEs do not. They also can conveniently provide plausible deniability for candidates. It’s the old good cop, bad cop strategy.

These organizations can say derogatory things about a candidate’s opponent while the candidate’s hands appear to remain clean.

Legally, PACs and IEs are supposed to act independently from candidates’ campaigns.

The fictional episode of "The Good Wife" explores the legal gray area here as Florrick discovers a tweet from her camp with a cryptic message to a PAC that is funding misleading robo-calls about her opponent.

Staff justifies the tweet, claiming a loophole in the law.

But let’s get back to the real-life campaigns at hand.

I’m not saying Wagner or Moorlach is involved in anything like what’s on the CBS show, but PAC and/or IE money will come into play in their race, as they do in most elections.

As this week progressed, more hit pieces came out accusing Moorlach of all sorts of things that weren’t entirely true, and Moorlach penned a response in the Daily Pilot, "Commentary: Campaign hit pieces distort taxpayer-friendly record."

Having been there, I can tell you that candidates may not know specifics of what an outside committee will do on their behalf, but they have a general idea where it’s going because people can’t help but talk.

The Orange County Register then debunked two of the claims about Moorlach, put one in context and said another was indeed true.

Candidates should be trying to convince us that their vision for the future deserves our votes.

Wagner’s campaign seems to be about bashing Moorlach.

I’m always suspect of campaigns that continually point the finger at the other guy. That tells me that this candidate has no substance, is running scared or is listening to bad campaign advice.

Whatever it is, it’s not good.

Candidates need to own what happens in their camps.

I see Moorlach doing this.

I have yet to see Wagner do it.

Negative campaigning is an age-old and tricky strategy. Go too far and it makes voters uncomfortable, turning them off from you and on to your opponent.

And judging from the buzz I’m hearing this week, that might be what Wagner’s camp is doing.

BARBARA VENEZIA lives in Newport Beach. She can be reached at bvontv1.


Assemblyman Wagner has big fundraising lead in Senate contest

By Patrick McGreevy

State Assemblyman Don Wagner (R-Irvine) has jumped out to a big fundraising lead over two other GOP candidates in Orange County vying for an open seat in the state Senate.

With the March 17 special election looming, Wagner reported Thursday that his campaign has raised $371,000 so far and has $118,000 in his campaign account as of Feb. 28.

John Moorlach, a former member of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, reported raising $108,000 and holding $33,500 in his account at the end of the period. Congressional aide Naz Namazi has raised $11,240 so far.

The 37th Senate District seat was vacated when Republican state Sen. Mimi Walters was elected to Congress in November.

Wagner built his fundraising lead with contributions from fellow Republican lawmakers as well as groups including the California New Car Dealers Assn., Blue Shield of California, the Building Owners and Managers Assn., the California Hospital Assn., and casino operators including the Pechanga Band of Luiseno Indians.

The vast majority of Moorlach’s contributions come from individuals, including accountants, attorneys and doctors, while companies that contributed included Ganahl Lumber Co. and Wealth Management Corp.

This e-mail was sent out by the Moorlach for Senate campaign —