The Delgaudio scandal, cont.
It’s always good to touch base with the fundamentals, so amid all the smokescreens and coming whitewash “independent investigation” (by someone who will report to the county attorney who in turn reports to the Board of Supervisors), and all the solipsistic assertions about “innocent until proven guilty,” let’s try to remember what has already been admitted on the record by the perpetrator himself and confirmed in documents and e-mails:
• Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling), our hero, admitted on the record that he had been using his county office and county-paid staff to solicit donors for a private charity. That is in itself a violation of county policy and is also quite possibly a violation of the law that prohibits conversion of public resources to private gain. (It doesn’t matter whether it’s a “good” cause or not. There is also completely credible testimony from donors he actually approached that he was in fact seeking contributions for his own political campaigns. But you don’t even need to establish that to establish that he has violated county policy — as well as common sense ethics standards that your average dog, cat, or hamster would perceive.)
• Delgaudio has admitted on the record that he had his county-paid aides spend 50 to 60 percent of their time making calls to large potential donors whose names were taken from lists of established right-wing political donors.
• E-mails and documents show that his homophobic pseudo-lobby cash-cow “Public Advocate,” which rakes in $1 million a year, supervised his county aides and had them attend classes on political fundraising techniques.
• E-mails and documents fully confirm that his county-paid aides engaged in fundraising solicitations and were instructed to hide the fact from other employees and keep the meetings with donors they arranged for their boss off his official schedule.
Now, another fundamental. The fact that someone is innocent until proven guilty in law does not mean that those who have a responsibility for the public trust are forbidden from formulating or expressing a moral judgment on the wrongness of actions which — on their very face — violate the public trust.
Where was the one word of moral condemnation from the other eight members of the board, starting with Chairman Scott York (R-more and more all the time) himself? (Instead, York made jokes about the matter and suggested that the accusations were just politically motivated by Democrats, and that Delgaudio’s documented and admitted malfeasance was somehow analogous to a previous board member’s allowing one of his aides to telecommute, which York felt might have led to “abuses,” although it didn’t.)
Where was the one question posed by the other eight to Delgaudio directly, asking him to acknowledge that his actions were just plain wrong, and asking him whether he will promise to cease such plain violations of county policy and common sense ethics standards, if not of the law?
Where was one word of reproach for Delgaudio’s crazy rant blaming his problems on the Washington Post, liberals, and shadowy anti-Christian anti-football anti-Sterling forces? (Another addition to the growing proof to the rest of the world that our all-Republican Board has made Loudoun County the looney capital of Virginia politics, from committees spending months choosing white plastic Santa cutouts to official pandering to fringe right-wing quack medicine groups.)
The Delgaudio tirade business was particularly bizarre. It was like the crazy aunt locked in the attic that everyone pretends doesn’t exist managed to get downstairs and take a place at the dinner table, and even after she began an unhinged rant about the people out to get her, everyone still tried to pretend that she wasn’t there. (Maybe no one else will notice, either, if we just say nothing!)
SO now, hoping everyone really will forget about it in the meanwhile, the Board pretended that it was an unknown question whether Delgaudio really had done anything wrong at all (York tsked-tsked that the media makes “perceptions become reality”—yes, all those things Delgaudio himself admitted to and all of those documents may just be nothing more than “perceptions”) and that a (no doubt lengthy) “investigation” will be needed (to determine just what he himself has already admitted publicly to, I suppose).
At some point you might think that out of sheer self-preservation the Loudoun Republican Party might realize that Delgaudio had become such an embarrassment even to them that he needs to resign.
But so far York & Co. know no shame.