The Congresswoman who can’t escape the DUI manslaughter scandal that haunts her.

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By Peter Lance. July 12th, 2014. Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) stands on the podium of the very worthy Pacific Pride Festival in Santa Barbara, looming over two images that continue to haunt her. The first is a poster from the memorial service for Mallory Rae Dies, the 27-year-old UCSB graduate who was killed December 6th in a horrific hit-and-run DUI manslaughter crash by Mrs. Capps’ then District Representative Raymond Victor Morua III. The second is a banner from Vow4Mal.org, the non-profit set up in her honor to stop drunk driving. 

 

 

 

In late May the FBI began  investigating allegations raised in my 5-part investigative series in The Santa Barbara News-Press (published April 13-17th) that Mrs. Capp’s District Director Mollie Culver broke federal law in a scheme to get Mr. Morua out of jail and into a VA-funded alcohol treatment facility in the days immediately after the crash while Mallory clung to life.

Then, as I reported, as soon as she was taken off life support Ms. Culver did a 180 degree turn, falsely claiming that Mr. Morua was not working for Mrs. Capps the night of the accident when he drank six vodkas at a party sponsored by The Santa Barbara Independent, then got into his Dodge Caliber with a BAC of .17, more than twice the legal limit.

Mrs. Capps continues to take the position, “no comment” while Mr. Morua has accepted responsibility. He pled guilty April 15th to charges of manslaughter DUI and leaving the scene of an accident.

On May 28th he was sentenced to from 20 years to life and is now serving out his term in Wasco State Prison.

Mr. Morua recently did a video interview for a public service announcement warning about the dangers of drinking and driving.

But after denouncing him, following Mallory’s death, Mrs. Capps and her attorney from the U.S. House continue to claim, against the weight of the evidence, that he attended the Indy’s Holiday Bash “in his personal capacity”

If the Government, which is representing Mrs. Capps, prevails with that position in court, Mallory’s family will be denied any chance of recovering damages for her loss and the $100s of $1000′s in medical bill they now face.

The FBI-DOJ investigation came after more than 1,000 people online and in the street signed a petition asking Mrs. Capps to tell the truth about my series and calling on Santa Barbara District Attorney Joyce Dudley to ask the Justice Department to intervene. But Mrs. Capps and her staff have continued to deny any responsibility for Mr. Morua’s actions following The Independent’s Holiday Bash.

In a story in The Independent authored by Tyler Hayden, Mrs. Capps, who is seeking her 9th term in congress, called my series Death On The American Riviera “full of inaccuracies,” but she and her press secretary Chris Meagher, a former Indy reporter, have  refused to be specific or cite a single factual allegation in the 20,500 word series that was incorrect.

On Saturday July 12th, after he was texted the picture above Mr. Dies said, “It actually looks as if Mal is looking up at her and laughing at her indifference. I can promise you that the supporters of Vow4Mal will dog Mrs. Capps at every event on her campaign trail until she comes clean.”

The FBI began its investigation May 27th by interviewing Mr. Morua who was then still in Santa Barbara County Jail. They also interviewed his former fiancé Teresa Montoya, who is now his wife, as well as his mother Rose Saucedo.

All three of them confirmed my findings with respect to Ms. Culver’s scheme to get Mr. Morua out of jail — a plan that involved her forging two separate VA forms which carry stiff fines and prison terms if they are used improperly.

The referral to The Public Integrity Section of the U.S. Department of Justice was made by André Birotte Jr. the U.S. Attorney for The Central District of California in Los Angeles who was nominated by President Barack Obama on April 3rd to become a federal judge. The nomination was recently confirmed by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I certainly hope that Mrs. Capps’s vaunted position in the Democratic Party will not deter the President from insuring that his Justice Department will leave no stone unturned in this investigation,” said Mrs. Dies. “This was never about politics. It was about discovering the truth.” 

On June 7th I broke the story that in 2012 Ms. Culver was one of 55 members of the California delegation in The Electoral College who voted for President Obama. She’s the former political director of the California Democratic Party and was instrumental in helping Eric Garcetti get elected Mayor of Los Angeles last year.  On May 21st, 2013, the day of the L.A. Mayoral election, Ms. Culver was cited on Mr. Garcetti’s website as one of two point persons designated to thwart intimidation at the polls.

 

Ms. Culver’s cell phone number listed on that site was the same one she used in the VA Form 10-10-EZ in the box for Raymond Victor Morua’s “Home Telephone Number;” listing herself “Mollie” as his contact in the Application For Health Benefits.

That form, on which Ms. Culver filled out all of his personal information in blue ink and forged Mr. Morua’s signature, warns of potential “fines and/or imprisonment for up to 5 years, for concealing a material fact or making a material misstatement of fact.” 

According to Legistorm, a website that tracks Members of Congress and their staffs, Ms. Culver began working for Mrs. Capps after the Garcetti election. She was paid $36,500.02 in 2013 and her salary through the first quarter of 2014 was $18,083.33.

An email sent to Ms. Culver requesting her response to the FBI investigation went unanswered. Chris Meagher, Mrs. Capps press secretary who attended The Holiday Bash with Mr. Morua did not return my phone call requesting a comment for this piece.

 

One Response to The Congresswoman who can’t escape the DUI manslaughter scandal that haunts her.

  1. Elizabeth Starbuck Reply

    July 12, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    Peter,

    Thank you, for honoring Mallory’s memory with the truth and your persistence in keeping us current with the facts. I am shocked by Louis Capp’s lack of integrity.

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