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Capizzi Decries 'Hypocrisy' of His Critics

Speech: Those who want case against Baugh dropped also want Latino group probed, D.A. says.


SANTA ANA — Republicans who have criticized him for prosecuting Assemblyman Scott Baugh are hypocritical, Orange County's district attorney said Monday night, because they are now clamoring for his office to prosecute an immigrant rights group for alleged voting improprieties.

"A high degree of hypocrisy" exists among the Orange County conservatives who have lashed out at him for prosecuting Baugh (R-Huntington Beach) and several aides on charges of campaign wrongdoing, guest speaker Michael R. Capizzi said at a quarterly meeting of the California Republican League Orange County chapter.

His detractors, Capizzi said, "are the same ones who are the most outspoken in their demands that we investigate Hermandad [Mexicana Nacional]," the Santa Ana Latino rights organization that has been at the center of a criminal investigation for allegedly registering noncitizens to vote in the last election.

Baugh faces felony and misdemeanor charges of campaign finance fraud. Most of the charges allege that the legislator misreported campaign loans and contributions during the 1995 special election to replace Cypress Republican Doris Allen, who was recalled during that election.

Maureen Werft, his former chief of staff, pleaded guilty in December to one misdemeanor count of voting illegally.

Although he has not formally made an announcement, Capizzi has said that he is interested in running for state attorney general next year. His conservative critics allege that he is trying to use the case against Baugh to further his statewide political ambitions.

Orange County Republican leaders pushed through a resolution at the state Republican convention last month urging him to step down from his post.

The measure was spearheaded by backers of Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Huntington Beach), a mentor of Baugh and one of Capizzi's harshest critics. Among those indicted in the case is Rohrabacher's fiancee, GOP activist Rhonda J. Carmony.

"We have to be evenhanded, and we cannot pick and chose" whom to prosecute, Capizzi said. "We are an after-the-fact agency."

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