*Technically there may be a tie between dozens or more Congressmen, but in that mix is Jim Moran, D-Virginia. How bad is he? Well, when this morning we learned he was retiring at the end of his term, I asked “Who will beat up the young black kids in our district now that our Congressman Jim Moran is retiring?”
I once saw him literally ask a U.S. Capitol police officer, “Do you know who I am?” (Answer: “Yes, sir. And you still can’t violate safety precautions in place for the president’s movement.”) It would almost be charming if not for the violence and corruption that surrounds this easily-reelected politician.
Let’s look at a brief history of Jim Moran’s greatest hits (and I do mean hits):
1) Assault, assault and more assault
In a 1995 battle between two corrupt politicians, Moran scuffled with Rep. Duke Cunningham (just freed from prison last year!) on the House Floor:
Late Friday, Moran pushed Cunningham from behind as they were leaving the House chambers and then took a swing at him, which Cunningham blocked. “He sucker-punched me,” Cunningham said.
During a 2002 congressional hearing, Moran screamed “I’ll break your nose!” at Indiana Republican Rep. Dan Burton.
In June 1999, his wife called the cops on him during an argument in which she claims the former boxer grabbed her. Moran, who told police he was only trying to restrain his wife, avoided arrest and no charges were ultimately filed in criminal court. But his wife filed for divorce the following day.
That same year he went after a kid in a parking lot:
Perhaps it was the stress of being in the top 5 percent of income earners, yet broke, that caused him to freak out while visiting an after-school center in Alexandria, Virginia last April. Moran, at this time driving a 1999 Toyota Avalon paid for with campaign contributions, was accused of inappropriately handling an eight-year- old, who he collared and brought to justice after the little tyke tried to carjack Moran. Moran said he feared the bulge in the boy’s pocket was a gun – how was he to know it was actually a baby bottle full of candy? – and that the kid threatened to shoot him if Moran didn’t hand over the car keys. Moran challenged the child’s parenting in the press. The kid’s mom challenged Moran’s judgment.
As the Washington Free Beacon notes: After Moran’s divorce, two female friends of Moran showed up at his house on his birthday in May 2001. According to Moran’s office the two women “were surprised by each other” and another altercation ensued. Moran then took one of the women “by the arm, trying to get her out of the house.”
Politico, which finds Moran’s threats “humorous,” detailed another incident in 2010:
Moran, a thickly built Virginian with a temper that runs hot on occasion, was summoned from his inner office by the noise of angry protesters interacting with his staff, according to the congressman’s account.
He confronted the protesters, prompting staff to step between them and the activists to ask whether Moran needed “bodyguards” to protect him.
“We’re not protecting him from you, we’re protecting you from him,” a staffer explained, according to Moran.
Moran once threatened to punch his predecessor, Stan Parris, and has been known to lose his temper at other times.
Violence is funny, Politico! Ha ha ha!
For his part, Moran says “I like to hit people.”
2) Resigning Under Pressure In Vote-Peddling Scandal
In 1979, Moran was elected to the City Council of Alexandria, Virginia. He was deputy mayor from 1982 until his resignation in 1984 as part of a nolo contendere plea bargain:
Moran’s saga began in 1984, five years after he was first elected to the Alexandria (Va.) City Council. While in office, he was charged with casting a vote that helped a developer friend win a bid for a lucrative plot of public land. A special prosecutor concluded that Moran had violated the state’s conflict-of-interest law. He sobbed as he pleaded no contest to a felony charge of vote-peddling, received a year’s probation for a reduced conflict-of-interest misdemeanor charge, and was forced to resign.
3) Coincidentally supporting laws while accepting financial favors by those that benefited from the laws
From Wikipedia: “Moran’s support for harsher bankruptcy law provisions and sponsorship of stricter bankruptcy legislation brought allegations in 2002 that his support came in return for financial favors by financial institutions which could benefit from such laws. In January 1998, one month before he introduced the legislation, credit card bank MBNA advocated that it would restrict the ability of consumer debtors to declare bankruptcy. Moran received a favorable debt consolidation loan from the bank that allowed him to avoid personal bankruptcy arising from credit card and stock market losses. The $447,000 loan at a favorable interest rate was the largest loan to an individual MBNA issued in 1998. Its belated disclosure triggered a Federal Elections Commission investigation into whether or not it constituted an improper contribution.”
4) Earmarking scandals
From Wikipedia: “The House Ethics Committee investigated several members of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, including Moran, Peter J. Visclosky, Norm Dicks, Marcy Kaptur and the late John Murtha, who was the chairman at the time, for a conflict of interest in the allocation of the government contracts to clients of the PMA Group, which donated nearly a million dollars to Moran’s political action committee, as well as a significant amount of money to the gubernatorial campaign of Moran’s younger brother, Brian. Moran said that he was unaware of “who made donations”, and “how much they gave”, and therefore was not affected by the donations when allocating the funding. In February 2010, the panel cleared Moran and the others, saying that they violated no laws. The panel concluded, as part of its 305 page report, that “simply because a member sponsors an earmark for an entity that also happens to be a campaign contributor… does not support a claim that a member’s actions are being influenced by campaign contributions”. After PMA’s founder, Paul Magliocchetti, plead guilty in September 2010 to six years of campaign finance fraud, Moran said that he would not return the $177,700 in PMA Group-related donations that he received from 1990 to 2010.”
In 2006, Moran was talking about the Democrats’ chances of taking the House in 2006 (which they did) when he exclaimed, “When I become chairman [of a House appropriations subcommittee], I’m going to earmark the sh*t out of it.”
Moran’s brother ran for governor of Virginia and also coincidentally got lots of campaign donations from contractors waiting for earmarks from Jim Moran.
5) Insider trading
From Wikipedia: “In November 2011, author Peter Schweizer published a book, Throw Them All Out, which included an allegation that Moran used information he got from a September 16, 2008 briefing, in which Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke warned of an impending financial crisis, for his stock market activity: September 17, 2008, was by far Moran’s most active trading day of the year. He dumped shares in Goldman Sachs, General Dynamics, Franklin Resources, Flowserve Corporation, Ecolabs, Edison International, Electronic Arts, DirecTV, Conoco, Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Apple, CVS, Cisco, Chubb, and a dozen more companies. Schweizer alleged that Moran made more than 90 trades that day. Moran has consistently denied these allegations, saying that he “was never at this meeting where supposedly insider information was disclosed.”
6) Voter fraud allegations
From Wikipedia: “On October 24, 2012 a video was released showing Patrick B. Moran, the Congressman’s son and a field director with his father’s campaign, discussing a plan to cast fraudulent ballots proposed to him by someone who posed as a fervent supporter of the campaign. In response to the person’s suggestion about trying to cast votes in the names of 100 inactive voters, Patrick Moran attempted to discourage the scheme, but also discussed the practical difficulties of forging documentation such as utility bills. The person he was speaking with was actually a conservative activist with James O’Keefe’s Project Veritas, and was secretly recording the conversation. The following day, the Arlington County Police Department opened a criminal probe into the matter. Two days after the video was released, the Virginia State Board of Elections asked Attorney General of Virginia Ken Cuccinelli to investigate Moran’s campaign for voter fraud. On January 31, 2013, Arlington County announced that the investigation, by its police department in collaboration with the Offices of the Virginia Attorney General and the Arlington County Commonwealth’s Attorney, had concluded and that no charges would be brought. Patrick Moran did plead guilty to assaulting his girlfriend outside of a Washington, D.C., bar in 2012.”
7) Attacking Constituents
According to the Retire Jim Moran website:
He has held only a handful of public meetings after in the last few years after multiple incidents, including one town hall where he scolded a disabled veteran and told him to “sit down or leave” after the veteran asked him a question about how military benefits would be affected by a possible government shutdown in the spring of 2011.
8) Bigoted rhetoric
He blamed the War in Iraq on the Jews. Repeatedly.
There was the time he went “ballistic” on a Roman Catholic priest for being a Roman Catholic priest:
Rev. Bryan Belli gave a pro-life sermon which criticized Catholic politicians who ignore Catholic teachings, with two prominent pro-choice Catholics seated in front of him. (Moran’s spokesman said later that it was “unethical” and “possibly illegal” for the priest to go after pro-choice politicians in his sermon. Honest people may disagree on this issue, but trying to silence the people who disagree with you is not any way to find common ground. So much for civility.) After the Mass, a “red-faced” Moran screamed, “You priests don’t know anything about abortion!” Fr. Dobbins responded by saying, “How can you reconcile yourself as a Catholic with your views on abortion?” Fr. Dobbins went on to say, “Congressman, put away the talking points. Talk to me as your priest.” Moran responded that there was “not enough time” for the two to discuss all Moran’s problems with the Church. “Congressman, one day you will need me,” the priest said. “And I will be here.” The clash ended as Moran screamed, “You priests are closed-minded.”
For these and oh so many other reasons, good riddance to Jim Moran. Let’s hope retirement involves no domestic abuse.