Thomas A. Fuentes, chairman of the Republican Party of Orange County, Thursday denounced a campaign mailer that was sent to some voters in the Saddleback Community College District and that said it was "distributed by Orange County Republican Taxpayer Federation."
Fuentes said such a group "is not affiliated in any way with the official Republican Party of Orange County, nor is it affiliated with the California Republican Party."
Unethical Behavior Claimed The mailer attacks two incumbent trustees on the Saddleback Community College Board, Bill Watts and Robert Price, and also Mike Eggers, a candidate for the board. The mailer says that the "Price, Watts, Eggers Triad Seeks Control of College Tax Money."
The mailer also accuses Eggers of unethical behavior and connection to admitted political corruption figure Patrick Moriatry, an Anaheim fireworks company executive.
Eggers, who is an aide to Rep. Ron Packard (R-Carlsbad) and runs Packard's office in Mission Viejo, formerly handled a public relations newsletter for 3,000 charitable organizations that sell fireworks. Eggers said Thursday that he has never had direct relations with Moriarty and that the mailer was "a smear."
Eggers is one of four candidates in Tuesday's election seeking the Saddleback Community College District seat being vacated by incumbent Eugene McKnight, who is retiring.
'Very Inflammatory' Fuentes said the mailer was "trying to utilize the good reputation of the Republican Party to lend credibility to . . . very inflammatory charges."
Fuentes noted that the "Orange County Republican Taxpayer Federation" listed a Placentia address but no officers of the alleged group. "This kind of tactic demonstrates a blatant disrespect for the voters and for the Republican Party," he said.
Eggers said the mailer was part of the teachers' union's campaign to win control of the Saddleback Community College District board in Tuesday's election.
The mailer was in the form of a newsletter of the "Consumer Action Council," which listed Earl H. Carraway as its chairman. Carraway is the husband of Saddleback College faculty member Sharon MacMillan, immediate past president of the Saddleback Faculty Assn., the teachers' union.
Properly Registered Carraway could not be reached for comment, but in a press release that he sent to news media Thursday he said the "Orange County Republican Taxpayer Federation" is a political action committee that is properly registered both with the state and the Orange County registrar of voters.
Carraway's press release added: "I and other Republicans who paid to distribute the Consumer Action Council newsletter are concerned about protecting the good image of the Republican Party in Orange County; we feel that Mike Eggers is bad for that image."
Eggers said the mailer, by linking him to Moriarty, "is probably costing me a thousand votes." He said he has received questioning calls from voters, "but after they hear the facts, they're angry about the mailer and are promising to work for me."
'Do Not Know' Moriarty Eggers, 37, said that from 1982 to mid-1983 his private public relations firm, Mica and Associates, wrote the newsletter for Organizations for Safe and Sane Fireworks. He said that group consisted of 3,000 charities from 345 communities in the state, all of which sell fireworks around the Fourth of July.
"I do not know, nor do I have any relationship with, Pat Moriarty," Eggers said. "I've seen him twice, both at social occasions. He was never directly involved in the organization that hired me to write its newsletter."
In addition to Eggers, three other candidates are seeking McKnight's trustee seat. They are Iris Swanson, a retired college executive assistant who has been endorsed by the teachers' union; Cal State Fullerton sociology professor Perry E. Jacobsen, who has been endorsed by McKnight, and Ian Doyer, who is retired.