By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
The affair got fishier. Neither Rackauckas nor Forde nor Agran publicly disclosed the arrangement in a timely fashion. In violation of California law, the DA waited 10 months to reveal he owed the Forde/Agran slate $25,000, mislabeled the reason for the cost and post-dated the deal by at least five months. Forde and Agran were mum for an entire year.
Fishy turned odorous. According to dozens of reviewed campaign-finance-disclosure reports housed at the Orange County Registrar of Voters and the California Secretary of State's office, Forde and Agran did another huge favor for the DA. They let him wait until December 2006—a whopping near-five years—to fully repay them for the February 2002 campaign expense.
Odorous then turned toxic. Records of alleged payments from Rackauckas to the slate mailer don't match. Forde reported he took $4,000 from the DA between Jan. 20 and March 13, 2006. Rackauckas' campaign reports show he paid just $3,000 during the period.
Between March 18 and May 20 of that year, the DA claims he gave Forde $2,000. The slate mailer records no payments for that period.
Then, Forde reported he took $3,000 from Rackauckas on June 19, an alleged transaction that never appears in the DA's disclosure filings.
Finally, Rackauckas reported in January 2007 that he paid the slate mailer $5,000 from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2006, and owed no more cash. Forde reported he received $1,000 less during the period but also said the debt was satisfied.
Innocent mistakes or not, something else happened in 2006 when the DA was in debt to Agran/Forde. I discovered a record that proves Agran violated state law on independent campaign expenditures. That document, an election mailer, was supposed to have no tie to the Irvine Democrat, but it contained Agran's handwritten editing marks as well as signature.
Simple curiosity might have driven an independent prosecutor to ask questions after the revelation. Six years and seven months have passed. Rackauckas never asked to see a copy of the smoking gun.
This column appeared in print as "The Trouble With Tony: DA Tony Rackauckas owed Larry Agran's political machine $25,000 when he said he saw no corruption in Irvine."