Breaking the usual campaign lull after the June primary, Rep. Robert K. Dornan (R-Garden Grove) has launched his first attack against his Democratic opponent, with a mailer linking Assemblyman Richard Robinson (D-Garden 0rove) to the W. Patrick Moriarty political corruption scandal.
In a personalized letter sent last weekend to voters of Dornan's 38th Congressional District, Dornan's wife, Sallie, described "very disturbing charges involving sex for hire, bribery and horrible abuse of women" that allegedly involved Robinson.
She then recounted a January, 1985, allegation by a former Moriarty associate that Robinson had accepted prostitutes from the former Anaheim fireworks manufacturer in exchange for political favors.
Saying that Robinson has "never asked that his name and the honor of his Alabama family be cleared," Sallie Dornan asked voters to join her and her husband in requesting U.S. Atty. Gen. Edwin Meese III to investigate Robinson or announce that he would not do so.
Robinson said last week that the Dornan mailer "descends into the gutter. I was hoping the campaign could be run on the issues and the relative accomplishments of both of us."
Instead, Robinson charged, Dornan is trying to divert attention from his frequent travels to the Third World and "get down into the mire and wallow."
Robinson has never been charged with any crime as a result of the broad federal investigation into political corruption that has led to 11 indictments. Moriarty himself has received a seven-year prison sentence for mail fraud and laundering money to politicians.
Robinson has said that he was interviewed once by the FBI about the prostitute allegation, but he has repeatedly described the charge by former Moriarty associate Richard Raymond Keith as "ludicrous."
Still, if Dornan's first major campaign mailer focused on the allegation, "there's no damage done," Robinson contended. "The voters have already rejected that campaign charge." He was referring to his June 3 victory over David O. Carter, a Superior Court judge. Carter sent Democratic voters a brochure that claimed--falsely--that Robinson had been charged with a crime in the Moriarty affair.
Enclosed with Sallie Dornan's letter was a postcard addressed to Meese that was to be signed by the voter. "Did He (Robinson) or Didn't He?" it asked. "I want to know the truth about my congressional candidate before election day!"
In addition, the mailer included a copy of a Dornan letter to Meese requesting an investigation, plus a copy of a Jan. 21, 1985, Los Angeles Times story that detailed Keith's allegation that Robinson and other government officials had been entertained by prostitutes paid for by Moriarty.
The 38th Congressional District runs from Cerritos to Garden Grove to Santa Ana.