Opinion: Mike Carroll‘s Ruse, Corruption, and Stealing of an Election
By Katherine Daigle –
Precisely three weeks after election night, Vice Mayor Mike Carroll is in a hurry to legitimize his appropriation of taxpayers’ money – if the fiasco of November 3rd wasn’t enough to taunt the democratic fabric of our country, this news only adds to the utter minimizing of political ethics. We’re talking about $70,000 worth of taxpayers’ money being directed away from the purposes for which it ought to have been allocated.
The issue first came to light with Councilmember Melissa Fox’s complaint that she raised with California’s lead campaign finance watchdog. This, of course, wasn’t followed up and the matter of concern was relieved of scrutiny, thus emerging as an unwarranted advantage for Carroll. Through this display, the Vice Mayor has not only put his own office and duty to disgust, but also resorted to deceptive tactics which are, under law, acknowledged worthy of punishment.
Mike Carroll has scheduled to get the consent for the transfer of $30,964 during the council meeting set for November 24th. There are numerous aspects to this meeting that cause worry for the general public – deviations from the norm are plenty and cannot be easily set aside.
The meeting, for one, is planned to commence at 2:30PM which is uncommon. But, more importantly, the transfer of fund from the Council Executive Assistant to the City Council mail and postage accounts has been listed as a consent calendar item which gives it the loophole of escape since these aren’t subjected to discussion on an item-to-item basis. The votes are instead cast collectively for all listed subjects, which in this case amounts to fifteen in number. This is a cunning move by Carroll and his aides in burying a highly relevant item amongst the rest, therefore marring the very idea of transparency that as members of a democratically elected organ of governance, one is always expected to stick to.
It is rather ironic that Carroll is the very man who pledged to protect taxpayers’ money and put it to apt use as guarded by the law. Commenting on the endorsement that he had received from the OCTaxPAC, he had said that, if elected, he would “continue [his] service on the Council” and “support policies to protect our Irvine taxpayers and the local economy”. With the latest revelation of his unethical action, there is little doubt as to what he is actually determined to support – and this is far from the stated objectives of putting people first.
But, one may also think of what amount of accountability we should be expecting from what was an unelected councilmember. After all, Carroll was appointed as Vice Mayor than being elected by the people of Irvine.
This is where more instances of misleading the voters come to prominence – Carroll has wronged in his electoral campaign more than just once. It isn’t restricted to just the misappropriation of funds. Mike Carroll also led the voters into thinking that he was an elected member – cleverly not mentioning the term “appointed” on ballots, was just one of the many devices that he turned to for aid in this respect.
Residents are now angered at the blatant untruthfulness and deceit of Carroll’s actions and are questioning how much this would weigh on our democracy. His array of deceptive electoral politics only gets furthered, the more you read into his campaign. The mailers that were sent from his office under the pretense of connecting with residents and uniting them all in knowing more about efforts to fight the pandemic, were in fact doing more to pitch for a continual term for Carroll.
He collected the personal data of citizens without their permission. Sending the mailers was an out-and-out violation of law: he has gone against the State Government Code 8 which bars the utilization of public funds for campaign activity. In doing so, an unbiased investigation would surely find him deserving of punishment under Section 424 of the Penal Code – under this, the wrongdoer would have to serve four years in the state prison and may also be disqualified from office.
But what is keeping the normal course of justice from rolling out now?
Why is Carroll getting away with the malice that he’s helped unfurl?
He’s spelt out the fact that law cannot hold him accountable by any means. The confidence that he’s treading on can also be attributed to the number of votes (38,590) that he received this year.
It is indeed unfortunate that bodies of the government are letting these acts go undetected – or should one say, selectively overlooked? Ethical behavior from public officials is what people expect most from them. If this cannot be guaranteed and is repeatedly put on vulnerable grounds by someone, no substantiation would be enough to get them perfect grades in the reports of political performance.
Whether elected or not, accountability is a must for officials in any democracy. The day this ceases to exist, there will be no less than anarchy. Such degradation cannot be allowed.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of Irvine Watchdog or any of its volunteers. If you would like to submit an Opinion article, please review our guidelines and send it to us here.
Scott HansenNovember 23, 2020 at 5:11 pm
My sense is this article has gone too far. The writer, Katherine Daigle, is a politician who just lost an Irvine election. Consider the source.
More significantly, like other recent hit pieces against Carroll, the article fails to cite a single law he’s broken. This matter was submitted to the Fair Political Practices Commission. (See our recent article about use and abuse of FPPC complaints. https://bit.ly/3lYs6KJ). One was initiated by Councilmember Fox (Complaint COM-08302020-01528). The FPPC rejected it. The Commission itself initiated the second complaint (Complaint COM-09042020-01615). The Commission decided not to move forward with that one either. You can search Commission complaints here: https://bit.ly/2HufSe1.
The Commission does not say why it decided not to pursue this matter. I suspect it has to do with State law regarding publicly-paid mailings. There is a set of rules that kicks in if a mass mailing occurs within 60 days of an election. https://bit.ly/33acJrt. From what I can tell, Carroll’s city-related mailing was sent out more than 60 days from the election. So those rules don’t apply.
In fact, the FPPC explicitly addresses this situation:
“Q. A State Senator plans to send a town hall meeting announcement by mail. One side of the item will include the meeting details and include one use of the Senator’s name. The reverse side will be prepared with the Senator’s name only in the return address of the mailer. Is the mailing permissible?
A. Yes, so long as the mailing is not sent within 60 days of an election for which the Senator is on the ballot. Each mention of the Senator’s name falls within applicable exceptions (meeting announcement and letterhead/envelope)” (go to the FAQ section at https://bit.ly/3m3YewE)”
So, with FPPC suggesting in its own standard literature that what Carroll did is ok under The Political Reform Act of 1974, what’s left? The City’s policy on sending mailers is, at best, unclear. And Carroll’s mailer concerned a public meeting about the City’s response to the Covid crisis – an issue that thousands of Irvine residents (including me) want to learn about.
Language like “corruption” and “stealing an election” are over-the-top. If it’s “corruption,” point to the law he’s broken and give us some analysis. “Stealing an election” is nuts and an insult to the 35,000+ Irvine residents who just voted for him. (Full Disclosure: I personally did not vote for Carroll, but I do feel he’s done a number of good things as a Councilmember). Some are concerned that developers appear to have donated a lot of money to PACs that support him. So…that’s a good reason to monitor how he votes on development issues going forward.
Some have said Carroll “misappropriated City funds.” “Misappropriation” is a legal concept. My sense is misappropriation usually arises when a public official has used public funds to build a swimming pool in their own back yard, or used a City credit card to take their friends on a luxury trip to Fiji, or the like. That’s not the case here. Carroll was promoting an issue of public interest during a time of crisis. He didn’t enrich himself personally, even if the mailers might have helped his campaign.
Perhaps adding a position at City Hall might help prevent issues like this from arising. Former Mayor Beth Krom says that during her 16 years of public service in Irvine, the City had a Council Services Manager. They provided internal oversight over budgets designated for City Council members. Maybe it’s time to hire a Council Services Manager again. And perhaps institute an Ethics Commission to provide ethics training to public officials and candidates.
But I feel shallow and biased hit pieces like this aren’t helpful. They are the proverbial “boy who cries wolf.” If the boy sees a small coyote, and screams to the town that he’s seen a big dangerous wolf, who will listen to him in the future if a real wolf does come? That is, I feel publications (Irvine Watchdog included) should be a bit more careful about the opinion pieces they publish about this mailer matter. Otherwise, when a big issue arises, the public may see them as biased and unreliable.
Irvine VoterNovember 24, 2020 at 4:30 pm
Scott is correct. This is a work of fiction at best.
The FPPC dismissing a complaint is written off as “wasn’t followed up and the matter of concern was relieved of scrutiny, thus emerging as an unwarranted advantage for Carroll.” Aside from being very poorly written legalese, to suggest that the finding of no violation is without “scrutiny” is a stretch at best and pure political doublespeak. Scott did a great job pointing to the facts above. Irvine Watchdog is about transparency and communication and Carroll communicated to the public with transparency. If the Council ratifies the budget adjustment (unspent staff budget for mail budget) then there is no issue whatsoever, but I’ll bet that the ad hominem attacks will continue.
deefoxDecember 20, 2020 at 2:50 am
Scott Hansen obviously doesn’t know or is just lying to make his comments seem believable. Just reading the beginning of his long story, right off the bat, he has it wrong. MIKE CARROLL did break the law and it was cited in the article… Section 424 of the Penal Code – under this, the wrongdoer would have to serve four years in the state prison and may also be disqualified from office.
As far as running for City Council, Katherine Daigle was running for Mayor, Mike Carroll ran to hold on to his appointed seat. Two different positions. Scott Hansen always has a way of trying to distort the truth. The FPPC did not investigate this because it was not a conflict of interest issue. This matter is for the Orange County District Attorney. The FPPC does not get involved with theft of public funds.
Mike Carroll has had no REAL job for any length of time. His background lists a few firms that don’t exist or cannot verify his employment. He took SEVEN YEARS off to write a book. He claims the book, LAB 257, is factual. However, people that have worked at this lab claim it is Mike Carroll’s imagination of what he thinks happened at this lab. In other words, he needed money, so he wrote a book. He made up story with no facts to back it up. He visited the lab, I believe it was seven times until they kicked him out. Why? Because they found him to be trying to capitalize on things that never happened. The guy is a lot of talk, gets in with people that will get him advanced, and then sees how he can make money. He is doing his “thing” now with a Community Choice Energy Program. But the thing is, it’s not a community choice, it’s a Mike Carroll choice. He wants people to leave Southern California Edison and sign on with him to his “green” new deal. Problem is, the program has no oversight. So Mike Carroll hooks up with these companies, he sets the rates and the people have to go along with it. Meanwhile he gets kickbacks from these companies and makes himself a lot of money at our expense. Also, what he neglects to us is SCE has a fee they charge when customers opt out, and it’s a monthly fee that is ongoing. People who sign up with this will be paying more then they are now for electricity. Also, SCE already supplies us with over 30% renewable energy so why would we want to go with this program when we don’t even know what we are getting? Mike Carroll just wants us to TRUST him in selecting companies that he feels will benefit us. Yes, let’s believe a thief who stole $72,000 of taxpayers money and thinks what he did was okay. This guy should not be in charge of anything for our city. He is a loser and needs to be held accountable, instead he is protected by big businesses that want him right where he is so he can make them a lot of money. Do your due diligence people before you listen to MIKE CARROLL.
deefoxDecember 20, 2020 at 2:57 am
And like MIKE CARROLL stated at a city council meeting, anonymous comments have no merit for being credible. So who is the ‘Irvine Voter”?
deefoxDecember 20, 2020 at 3:08 am
Also, I noticed Scott Hansen is involved with the IUSD, same as Carroll’s wife. Hmmm…..looking to score points Scott?
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