IF you’ve been in GOP politics for any length of time, you have seen Republican Candidates smeared in an attempt to separate them from their base. We all remember President Trump, in my backyard, Sheriff Scott Jones (only Sheriff for two years at the time) miraculously had run-ins with Women that just so happened to tell their stories to the fraud doctor Ami Bera. As we are seeing some of the President’s accusers being paid and others being proven to have personal axes to grind over jobs they wanted and did not get, you have to view all of these with skepticism.
in 2016 Dante Acosta was running for Assembly to replace Scott Wilk who had moved from the Assembly to the State Senate. Acosta found himself at ground zero in his own vortex of accusations.
Unlike most Republican candidates who fold their tent and cower in the corner, Acosta fought back when the scandal monster came after him.
Yesterday, I received a copy of a complaint filed with the Assembly Rules Committee against Dante Acosta, which will re-ignite the controversy as it is my belief I was not the only person that received this.
Here is what it boils down to:
Jennifer Van Laar, who made the complaint, also attempted to sue Dante Acosta for defamation. She indicated in the complaint that she dropped the lawsuit because of her father’s terminal illness.
Acosta, very publicly in a news conference attacked the allegations head on, flanked by several women attesting to his innocence and professionalism.
The now-filed Assembly Rules Committee complaint alleges that the women who defended Acosta were lying and that none of them knew Van Laar.
The complaint also uses a series of Instagram interactions as evidence of further harassment after Dante Acosta won election to the Assembly.
The complaint alleges that Van Laar lost political consulting jobs as a result of retaliation in October of 2016 when Acosta was getting written about in the LA Times and other media outlets.
Quoting the LA Times Story (which sums up the response of Acosta):
A statement from Acosta’s campaign did not mention Van Laar by name, but claimed that his accuser had encouraged Acosta to run for office and “aggressively pursued him as a client,” saying the accusations were retaliation for his decision not to hire her. Van Laar, who also goes by the name Jennifer Knight, was a consultant for Jarrod DeGonia, another Republican candidate who ran against Acosta in the contentious June primary.
On Wednesday, the Acosta campaign also released what it said were screenshots of text messages between the candidate and Van Laar between January 2015 and March 2016 that appear to show a friendly exchange over more than a year, adding in its statement that “there is not one text that shows any inappropriate behavior.”
“The woman in question alleges that the behavior occurred in January 2015 in Washington, DC,” the statement read. “More than a year later, the woman encouraged Mr. Acosta to run for State Senate, and then State Assembly, and to retain her as his consultant. She continued to communicate with him in person, telephonically, and text up until he filed to run.”
So, here you go. A he-said-she-said situation. If you look at this objectively, this looks like a public fight between people that don’t like each other very much. It looks like Van Laar attempted to set fire to Acosta and Acosta’s crew ran her over with a political truck.
Had I been able to talk to Jennifer Van Laar before she sent this complaint, I’d have advised her not to do it. I do believe that all this does is make Acosta a victim and it will de-legitimize future complaints against either Acosta or other members of the legislature.
I’d strongly advise Dante Acosta and other members of the legislature to do several things (some that Acosta did do): save all text messages and social media interactions for sure, keep a distance from other adults that you could be seen as sexually interested in, make sure you have witnesses/staff at all events you are at, and lastly keep copious records and documentation of all staff decisions for your campaign and office.
Acosta did two key things wrong: The text message exchanges should have never happened and if he truly was not the aggressor, he should have told Van Laar to stop and/or blocked her number and secondly he (or his staff) should have never followed Van Laar on Social Media with the trolling. Both of these actions lend credence to the allegations made and will cause Mr. Acosta a problem in his 2018 re-election.
Click here to see the text messages as posted on a local Santa Clarita Station – then judge for yourself what is real and what is not.