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Orange County Perspective : Michael R. Capizzi O.C. District Attorney Just Doing His Job : Capizzi Doesn’t Merit Wrath of GOP Critics for Investigating Scott Baugh’s Campaign

Orange County Dist. Atty. Michael Capizzi has found out in recent weeks what it is to be a Republican in Orange County who conducts his office independently in matters related to political investigations. He has come under heavy fire from supporters of newly minted Assemblyman Scott Baugh for investigating alleged campaign irregularities in last month’s special election in the 67th Assembly District. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach) led the charge, demanding the district attorney’s resignation, denouncing him as having gone off the deep end, and characterizing a court-sanctioned search for evidence in Baugh’s home conducted by Capizzi’s office as “reminiscent of the way Nazis and gangsters act.” An incensed Rev. Louis P. Sheldon, head of the Traditional Values Coalition, evoked similarly inappropriate images of the Gestapo, and in the process, misstated Capizzi’s name. One would think from the remarks of some of the more vocal Baugh supporters that it was a crime for a district attorney to be doing his job. For some GOP partisans, even looking into a case where legitimate questions of campaign-law violations have been raised about one of their own amounts to a kind of traitorous behavior. It is not surprising that partisans were only too willing to respond with their own political hardball. Some were so angered that a member of their party would follow his own lead that they asked for a criminal investigation of irregularities in Capizzi’s 1990 and 1994 nominating papers. This fishing expedition came up empty when an official in state Atty. Gen. Dan Lungren’s office said that there were no violations of the law. Given the questions that already have been raised about the Baugh campaign, a district attorney would be remiss in not looking into the matter. It is not as if Capizzi dreamed up this case on his own. There have been a number of questions outstanding about Baugh’s links to the candidacy of Democrat Laurie Campbell, who was removed from the ballot by a Sacramento judge. Let the grand jury and the courts decide the merits, if it comes to that. In the meantime, Capizzi deserves support and encouragement to keep doing the job he was elected to do, without fear or favor.


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