OC Supervisor Denies Allegations of Money Laundering

October 10, 2020 Updated: October 12, 2020

IRVINE, Calif.—Orange County Supervisor Andrew Do vehemently denied the money laundering accusations leveled against him after California’s Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) announced it will officially open an investigation into both him and the county’s Republican Party over an alleged illegal transfer of campaign funds.

The investigation was launched on Oct. 2 after a formal complaint was filed by Mario Angeles Jr., who claimed that Do and the GOP engaged “in various illegal acts under the California Political Reform Act, including money laundering.”

Do told The Epoch Times that the allegations were untrue and motivated by Angeles’s support of a political rival, Sergio Contreras, who is running against Do for the incumbent’s District 1 seat on the Board of Supervisors.

“Mario Angeles lives with Yahaira Ortiz, one of my opponent Sergio Contreras’s campaign workers and head of the MindReady non-profit that is part of a complaint for improper electioneering for Contreras,” Do said via text message.

The FPPC complaint alleges that Do donated $24,000 from his “Andrew Do for Central Committee 2020” account to the Orange County GOP on Sept. 11, and then, less than two weeks later, the GOP donated $22,326 to Andrew Do’s Campaign for Orange County Supervisor.

Angeles said the money Do donated to the Republican Party was “nearly the identical amount” to the figure that the party donated to Do’s campaign for supervisor.

The complaint alleges that the maneuver was “a thinly veiled attempt to disguise the true source of the donations” and an attempt to skirt Orange County’s ordinance that limits campaign contributions.

Orange County’s Tin Cup limit—which stands for “Time Is Now, Clean Up Politics”—is a county ordinance that allows a maximum campaign contribution per donor of $2,100 per election cycle.

However, political parties are exempt and can donate an unlimited amount to candidates. The allegation is that, by making it look like the money came from a political party, Do skirted around the per-donor limit. 

No GOP Donation, Says Do

Do denied any illicit bank transfers, saying that no funds were transferred into his supervisor campaign account from the GOP.

“There were no bank transfers of any amount from the OC GOP to my Supervisor campaign account, especially for $22,000 as Mario Angeles claimed,” Do told The Epoch Times via text. “The Tin Cup limit of $2,100 was never violated because the OC GOP did not donate any money to my Supervisor campaign.”

“First, because such a donation would be illegal, and second, the OC GOP’s lawyer would never allow such criminal conduct. The suggestion that the GOP and I would collude to ‘launder’ money and then file an official document with the FPPC to document that fact is ludicrous.”

Do explained that the FPPC is required to investigate all complaints, and alleged that his opponent and the Orange County Democratic Party are filing them to generate investigations to use as a political tactic against him in the upcoming election.

“This is an attempt to create a self-generated headline by my opponent and the OC Democratic Party in order to send out hit mailers against me. The FPPC is required to ‘investigate’ every complaint filed, so by virtue of their filing numerous complaints (frivolous or not) they can forever say that I’ve been repeatedly investigated by the FPPC,” Do said.

‘Case After Case of Corruption’

Rachel Potucek, communications director for the Democratic Party of Orange County, told The Epoch Times that “Andrew Do’s latest scandal is disappointing, but it is not surprising.”

“For years, independent investigations into Andrew Do found case after case of corruption, even prompting a new state law,” Potucek said in an email.

“This is at least his fourth FPPC violation—he should know better by now. Andrew Do’s latest attempt to blame others for his own actions only further shows that he is not the kind of leader Orange County needs.”

Do’s campaign treasurer, Lysa Ray, is included in the current FPPC complaint. She was found guilty of a similar offense by an FPPC investigation for her involvement in another campaign in 2010, that of Tony Strickland for state controller.

In that case, FPPC said $65,000 in campaign contributions reported as coming from the Ventura County Republican Party (VCRP) and the Stanislaus County Republican Party (SCRP) were actually laundered through those party offices. 

The FPPC ruling stated that the “VCRP and SCRP were not the true sources of the contributions, and the true sources of the contributions were concealed.” It found Ray and Strickland guilty of “causing over-the-limit, earmarked contributions to be made in VCRP’s and SCRP’s names to Strickland for Controller and filing false campaign statements concealing that activity.” 

Contreras, who is running against Do for supervisor, told The Epoch Times via email, “When taken together with his use of taxpayer funds for campaign mail pieces and the ongoing investigation into his residency, this latest allegation of misconduct is further evidence that Andrew Do should not be trusted with our taxpayer dollars.”

“The fact that the California Fair Political Practices Commission has opened an investigation speaks volumes. Time for change on the Board of Supervisors.”

The FPPC is a nonpartisan, independent state agency authorized to enforce provisions of the county’s Political Reform Act of 1974, which requires the disclosure of campaign contributions and expenditures during elections, according to the Orange County Registrar of Voters website.

‘Other Forces at Work’

Do cited Angeles as an untrustworthy source in his communications with The Epoch Times, and referenced a website that contained allegations of impropriety against Contreras.

The supervisor also warned voters to be aware of election manipulation in a time when votes can be easily swayed by false accusations.

“For the FPPC to move so fast on an allegation with no evidence, conveniently on the week where voters will be receiving their ballots, there must be some other forces at work behind the scene,” he said.

He said the effort, “from the complaint, to opening an investigation, to issuing subpoenas”—which resulted in multiple news sources picking up the story—required “a ridiculous level of coordination.”

He added, “People should be incensed that our election process should be subject to this sort of manipulation.”

The Orange County Republican Party didn’t immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ inquiry for comment.

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