They say that lightning never strikes twice in the same place, but that is not true in politics. For the third time in as many elections, Democratic opponents to Jim Moran have seen their filing petitions shredded by what his detractors are now calling, “The Moran Mafia.”
This year, Bruce Shuttleworth, an Annapolis graduate who rose to become a naval flight instructor at the ultra-prestigious fighter pilot school in Meridian, Mississippi and who saw a lot of jet-propelled action over Bosnia and Somalia, decided to do his patriotic duty and run for Congress against Jim Moran.
In the arcane and quirky world of Virginia politics, candidates must present petitions signed by 1000 registered voters in order to see their names printed on the ballot. The last two candidates who tried to file against Moran saw their petitions torn up and thrown back in their faces. One even found himself facing three (3) felony counts for submitting petitions with (gasp) “forged signatures” ie. clerical editing to make illegible signatures legible. After two years of plea-bargaining, he is now performing community service.
To ensure that he would not encounter such a crude collision with the Moran political machine that defaults to apoplexy whenever anybody makes an attempt to topple their mealticket, Shuttleworth scrupulously and assiduously collected the signatures of nearly 2000 registered voters and submitted his petitions via hand delivery to the local election authorities.
Then Shuttleworth heard nothing, nothing at all except total silence. That is, until 4:45 pm on Monday, April 2nd, when one Ms. Margo Horner, Chair of the Eighth District Democratic Party rang his campaign office and left voicemail that he had fallen a mere 17 signatures short of the magical 1000. No further explanation was offered. The Moran machine rolled implacably on – over Bruce Shuttleworth’s now lifeless attempt to give the people of VA-8 a choice between Jim Moran and a decent Democratic challenger.
Within the next fifteen minutes, Horner working with Moran’s brother, Brian Moran who happens to be State Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia, certified James Moran as the sole eligible candidate for Congress in the June 12th primary.
After hearing the wonderful news that he had no primary opponent, it is rumored that Jim Moran shuffled out of his office then got a haircut and went out for a night on the town visiting his favorite watering-holes and fleshpots in DC, Alexandria and Arlington.
“They fought like cats and dogs!”
James Moran is one of the crustiest crustaceans to populate the Halls of Congress. A two-fisted, hard-drinking Irishman, Moran was a failed stockbroker before he found his true métier: local politics.
After becoming Mayor of Alexandria, Moran continued to indulge in his most beloved pursuits: draining the bars dry and when provoked by the tiniest excuse for violence – fistfights with his local constituents. The mayor was so frequently engaged in bar brawling that the local constabulary learned to ignore complaints that he had broken chairs, jaws, arms and legs in the town. When Moran and his wife fought at their marital home, the neighbors soon learned to ignore the noisome ruckus. Neighbors told reporters, the Morans, “fought like cats and dogs” and “there was always a lot of screaming.”
Since the neighbors quickly learned to cover up Jim Moran’s domestic brutality, Mary Moran felt compelled to dial 911 herself one hot and sweltering night in June, 1999. When the police arrived, they talked to both Morans – then left without filing any charges. One sharp-eyed neighbor with a pair of infrared binoculars said that he saw Moran stuff something into the bulging pockets of the police that night, but he kept that spectacle to himself. The next day fearing for her life Mary Moran filed for divorce citing her husband for physical abuse, aka: ‘wife-beating’ as it was known in a kinder, gentler age.
Now free of his irksome spouse, Moran swaggered through the streets of Alexandria, slapping backs, drinking whiskey and smoking cigars. “I like to hit people,” became his motto and his mantra. Local police heard Moran repeat his mantra so many times, they started repeating it themselves.
Moran-Bush Bankruptcy Act
Mrs. Mary Moran was not finished. In court documents, Mrs. Moran reported that the failed stockbroker was reckless with the family checkbook losing hundreds of thousands of dollars of their hard-earned life-savings. James Moran was labeled a “reckless” stock market gambler who was always teetering on the verge of bankruptcy.
While serving in Congress, Moran ran up staggering losses and was facing margin calls that would have staggered Donald Trump. The temptation was too great. Moran became a habitual inside-trader, converting information he gleaned from representing the people of VA-8 into raw-boned, bare-knuckled capitalism. No worry that the practice of insider trading was illegal for ordinary mortals. This was Jim Moran. Still Moran’s losses mounted. The Congressman who now often “likes to hit people” was himself being hit upon by banks, arm-twisters and who knows, leg-breaking loan sharks allegedly now stalking him through the halls of Congress.
With his back up against the financial walls, Moran made a deal with a white knight in the form of a bank. The bank loaned him a massive amount of money given his credit rating and assets (something approaching half a million dollars when his assets were far below zero). The next day, Moran repaid the bank by authoring what has come to be known in some knowledgeable circles in northern Virginia and Washington as the “Moran-Bush Bankruptcy Act.” Tim Kaine led the calls for a House Ethics Committee investigation into Moran's sweetheart loan.
What does the Moran-Bush Bankruptcy Act do? It protects banks from their own customers by preventing consumers from seeking refuge in bankruptcy when faced with crushing credit card debt – ie. exactly the same situation Moran had been in before his sweetheart loan.
The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act
Now known in Congress as a relentless inside-trader who constantly churns his personal stock portfolio desperate for profits somewhere, somehow, Moran came face-to-face with temptation too great, too awesome, too compelling to ignore. In 2008, Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson held a top-secret briefing for Congress and informed Moran and others that the big Meltdown had finally arrived. The very next day, Jim Moran personally ordered 90 repeat 90 stock transactions – selling Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and a host of other blue, red and green stocks like they were junk bonds.
Hauled before the House Ethics Committee more than once for conflicts of interest, Moran swaggered through the Halls of Congress, red-faced, reckless, uncouth, violent, unkempt and known by his peers as: “not a very nice man” as well as “The Biggest Crook in Congress.”
Eventually, his peers noticed that Moran had become their poster boy for corruption. Beholden to banks and the oodles of cash he shook down from the defense industry, Moran had become an aggressive ear-marker of expensive tidbits for the generous contributors in his district, largely defense contractors.
Sagacious minds in the Obama administration encouraged legislation to put an end to the open crimes of James Moran. The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act (STOCK Act) overwhelmingly passed Congress this year, and the President signed it into law exactly three days ago.
“Ugly, Brutal & Violent” - Throttling an 8-Year Old Black Boy
To cover over his crimes, Moran embarked on a plan to obscure his personal violence, insolvency and insider trading with a flamboyant public ploy: he would arrange to get arrested at the Sudanese embassy along with two dupes: George Clooney and Ben Jealous. People who know Moran in his district were brought to tears of laughter when they saw the red-faced and obviously intoxicated Congressman handcuffed along with the unsuspecting Hollywood star and the unassuming Executive Director of the NAACP. Moran achieved a masterstroke: smokescreening the passage of the STOCK Act, by grandstanding for Sudanese freedom-fighters.
But, fate soon turned the table. In Florida, the case of Trayvon Martin began to stir the memory banks in VA-8. Trayvon Martin was killed in a now legal act of racial profiling as a direct result of the dreadful “stand your ground” law of Florida that converts the palm-draped tropical jungle into the outlaw badlands of Arizona and New Mexico in the late nineteenth century where the gun ruled, and the gun-fighter was king. People in VA-8 recalled a very nasty incident that took place in 1999 involving Jim Moran and an 8-year old black boy.
Unable to afford a car of his own on his paltry Congressional salary, Moran used campaign funds to buy himself a brand new Japanese Toyota Avalon. Proud of his glittering new car, Moran parked it on the streets of Alexandria and popped into his local bar for a bit too much refreshment as was his habitual wont. Upon his alcohol-drenched return to his parking place, he found an 8-year old boy peering at his shining new car. Defaulting to his usual response, Moran “throttled” the black boy, who would tell police that the Congressman “cussed” him while other eyewitnesses said that Moran had assailed the boy with the “N-word” in what was described as an, “ugly, brutal and violent” outburst of Moran being Moran. The story became national news when NBC reported Moran's "racial profiling."
While the profile of Trayvon Martin rose to giddy heights, the memory banks in VA-8 recalled the “ugly, brutal and violent” racial profiling incident of Jim Moran.
There is a new buzz in VA-8, “Jim Moran has got to go.”