The Morning Report
Get the news and information you need to take on the day.
Election Day is less than a month away and they call it the silly season for a reason.
At a press conference earlier today, Francine Busby called on Rep. Brian Bilbray to disclose whether he’s currently the target of a grand jury investigation. But the Busby campaign can’t offer any solid proof that the investigation actually exists.
Earlier this week, the San Diego Democratic Party sent out a mass e-mail saying that it had “recently heard reports” that the San Diego District Attorney’s Office has impaneled a grand jury to investigate a grievance filed by the political party in May.
In its complaint, the local Democratic Party alleged that Bilbray may have committed perjury or voter fraud when he claimed Carlsbad as his residence in his official candidacy papers. Bilbray, who also owns houses in Imperial Beach and Virginia, has claimed those homes as his residences in other documents unrelated to his candidacy.
Bilbray’s campaign spokeswoman didn’t return a call but Bilbray told the North County Times that he hasn’t been subpoenaed by any grand jury and has no knowledge of the existence of an investigation. Bilbray told the newspaper that he lives in Carlsbad with his mother and that the Democrats were employing a “last-minute political tactic.”
Ray Drew, Busby’s campaign manager, denied that Democrats fabricated the existence of a grand jury investigation as an attempt to draw media attention to struggling campaign. Acknowledging that he has no concrete proof, Drew said in an interview that “my standards have been met and I’m going out with the news.”
Drew said he’s became convinced that the District Attorney’s Office was investigating Bilbray after he started receiving anonymous telephone calls about the alleged grand jury inquiry last month. Drew said he has since had conversations with six different unidentified callers.
Drew began informing the local Democratic Party about the calls last week.
Drew also refused to name an attorney who he said told him about the investigation during an in-person conversation. The attorney represents a neighbor who was called to testify before the grand jury, he said. The attorney confirmed the existence of the investigation with Patrick O’Toole, a district attorney investigator, who asked the attorney not to make the information public, Drew said.
In an interview, O’Toole said he could neither confirm nor denying the existence of an investigation.
Mikel Haas, the county registrar of voters, said that no one from his office has provided testimony or documents related to Bilbray’s residency to any grand jury.