It is an old political trick: file a complaint against Candidate X with a government agency. Then, when that agency responds as it is supposed to by saying, “Tes, we’ll look into it,” the candidate’s opponent(s) send out mail saying “Candidate X is being investigated by (fill in government agency name here)!”
Usually it’s done by filing a complaint with the Fair Political Practices Commission, and done late in the campaign so there won’t be any resolution until after the election. This time, it involves the District Attorney.
In this case, the victim is Anaheim Union High School District Trustee Jordan Brandman. His fellow trustee, Katherine Smith, has asked the District Attorney to investigate Brandman based on…well, I’ll excerpt the Voice of OC’s accounting of her complaint:
Fellow board trustee Katherine Smith said she contacted the DA’s office after witnessing Brandman exiting the office on several occasions and hearing from district staffers that he regularly uses the office.
Smith said she doesn’t know how Brandman has been using the office. The staffers she spoke to don’t know either, she said.
“I see him coming out of that office into closed session, now that I start looking back, and I’m putting A, B, C and D together. I’m thinking, what are you doing in there?” Smith said.
Susan Kang Schroeder, chief of staff for District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, acknowledged that the office received the complaint and “has decided to review the matter.”
So let me get this straight. Smith sees Brandman coming in and out of a room several times. By her own admission, she has no idea what he is doing. Smith said none of the staff have any clue, either.
So based on that complete lack of information and self-professed ignorance, she brings in the District Attorney to investigate. You see, in addition to being a school trustee, Katherine Smith also appears to be an amateur sleuth.
And this person is overseeing a multi-million budget, setting education policy and presumably has a say in disciplinary matters regarding district employees.
Lord help any of Smith’s board colleague’s if they drink too much coffee and have to go to the bathroom an unusual number of times. They might find themselves being reported to the D.A.: “She keeps going in and out, in and out, in and out. It’s very unusual. I’m thinking, what are they doing in there?”
Another trustee, Anna Piercy, calls Smith’s suspicions “ludicrous.” And she’s right.
But what isn’t ludicrous is that Smith has now put a stain on Jordan Brandman’s reputation, accusing his of misusing district resources and his opponents’ can now send out mail saying “Brandman is being investigated by the District Attorney’s office.”