I have been sharply critical of Fred Whitaker in the months leading up to the removal of OCGOP support for William “Bill” Brough. I believe he was too slow to act, too cautious and too indecisive. That said, as I’ve written in the past, once he committed it has been lights out.
Witness this scathing editorial in the Orange County Register. THIS IS WHAT WE NEED MORE OF FROM PARTY LEADERS.
As the chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, I would like to explain why the OCGOP asked Assemblyman Bill Brough to withdraw from the race for the 73rd Assembly District.
As the Register reported on January 21, two other OC Republican organizations recently joined us in asking him to resign immediately: the Lincoln Club and The New Majority.
This is not a frivolous matter. Here is how we got to this position and it is Brough who put us there.
The complaints began with OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett. As the Register recounted on June 21, 2019, Supervisor Bartlett “and three other women came forward with accusations that in recent years Brough had made aggressive, unwanted sexual advances against them.”
I personally sat down with two of the accusers, and then talked to Brough himself. I believed the women, while the assemblyman’s explanations rang hollow. Initially these women were anonymous, seeking to protect their families, but Assemblyman Brough retaliated by publicizing their full names, further victimizing these whistleblowers.
The accusations against Brough should not be conflated with the high-profile accusations in 2018 against Justice Brett Kavanaugh. The accusations against Brough are different because they are not only recent and convincing, but they are from respected Republican women here in Orange County. These are women I know and trust.
Bartlett also filed a complaint in 2011 with the city of Dana Point when she was on the city council with Brough. She said, “I still have nightmares.” I believe her.
Two of the Republican women have filed complaints with the state Legislature and these investigations are ongoing. The results are likely to come out after the primary, but before the fall election.
As if that weren’t enough, the state Fair Political Practices Commission also is investigating Brough. Reported the Sacramento Bee, “He is accused of using the money to pay off his family’s cell phone bill, go out to fancy restaurants and take a personal trip to a Boston Red Sox game.”
And a new Register story on January 29 reported the “latest financial disclosures show he spent $57,000 in campaign funds during the second half of 2019 and first weeks of 2020 on flights, hotels, meals and entertainment — expenses similar to those that triggered an ongoing investigation by state authorities over potential misuse of campaign funds.”
That partying included blowing $13,000 taking 19 people to a Rolling Stones concert in the Bay Area, giving a new meaning to the song, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.”
The FPPC said its investigation is ongoing and would give no timeline. But the Register estimated, based on the average times of investigations in similar cases, a conclusion could be reached in August – just as the election is heating up.
No doubt a Democratic opponent in the November 3 runoff election would take advantage of all these allegations. Although this has been a reliably Republican seat, with a 13-point registration advantage (41 percent to 28 percent), it’s one we can’t afford to lose.
On a related note – Dear CAGOP Leadership – have you pulled the endorsement of Tyler Diep Yet? If not, why not?