Rep. Bob Filner is now calling for the resignation of San Diego U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy due to her involvement in the San Diego mayoral race.
The Democratic mayoral candidate called for Duffy’s resignation in debates on both Wednesday and Thursday, and follows an email she sent to the DeMaio campaign in reference to an exchange between Filner and his Republican opponent, Councilman Carl DeMaio, at a political forum Duffy organized at her temple.
Filner claims the email shows Duffy is in violation of the Hatch Act, a federal law from 1939 that restricts the political activities of judges and other federal government employees.
“The U.S. Attorney should resign, because she got involved in a campaign,” he said, during an NBC7-sponsored debate. “That’s against certainly the spirit of the law if not the, if not the exact letter of the law.”
Filner doubled down on the call for resignation in a small business-focused debate Thursday, saying political donations from Duffy and her comments in the email constituted clear political action. Political donations aren’t restricted under the Hatch Act.
Duffy’s email, sent from her personal account, came after an exchange at Temple Emanu El on Oct. 14.
During the forum, DeMaio challenged Filner to forego the $120,000 pension he’s accrued through his years of public employment. The figure includes his city, state and federal pensions; only $46,000 would come from the city of San Diego, according to a Voice of San Diego calculation.
“I wanted this to be a civil debate, but he’s a liar. He knows he’s lying,” Filner said, before being interrupted by an event organizer reminding him not to interact directly with his opponent.
“He just attacked me, and I’m going to answer his attack,” he said. “I’m answering the question, but he lied right in front of this, in this temple. He knows I have no such thing as a $120,000 pension. He knows that, he just lied to you.”
Duffy’s email to one of DeMaio’s campaign staffers came into the media’s hands when it was inadvertently forwarded to reporters, along with a clip of the forum, in an attempt to generate coverage of the dust up.
“Our apologies that Filner had to be admonished about his uncivil ‘debate-style’ remarks,” she wrote, according to coverage by UT-San Diego. “If it is any consultation, (sic) I heard more than one temple member express their view that he embarrassed himself and that they thought Carl appeared far more mature and capable of addressing the challenges San Diego faces. Good luck in the final days of the campaign.”
During a debate a few days after the temple-hosted forum, DeMaio touted the campaign contribution from Duffy, referring to her as a U.S. Attorney, and referring to her displeasure with Filner’s behavior, while listing the support he’s received from moderate San Diego leaders, such as Mayor Jerry Sanders.
At the Wednesday debate, DeMaio said his campaign would not use Duffy or her title as part of his candidacy.