December 9 - Did Gaddi Vasquez mislead the Senate?

Peace Corps Online: Peace Corps News: Directors of the Peace Corps: Peace Corps Director Gaddi Vasquez: The Gaddi Vasquez Nomination to Peace Corps Director: Gaddi Vasquez's Confirmation Vote in the Senate (12/22/01): December 9 - Did Gaddi Vasquez mislead the Senate?
By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, December 09, 2001 - 3:39 pm: Edit Post

Letter written to Senator Dodd

Gaddi Vasquez testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on November 14 and his testimony is a matter of public record. The Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps has stated in a letter mailed to Senator Chris Dodd on November 27 that Mr. Vasquez misled the Senate in his testimony in three respects:

1. Investment practices of Orange County were called into question well before Orange County went bankrupt. Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise.

2. A formal, official recall process to remove Supervisor Vasquez from office was begun before he resigned. Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise.

3. Mr. Vasquez testified to meetings with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Orange County and Los Angeles. After calling RPCVs in Orange County or Los Angeles, no meetings could be verified.

The Risky Investment Practices of Orange County were known

Numerous newspaper articles from the Orange County Register show that it was a matter of common knowledge months before the bankruptcy that the Orange County Treasurer had invested in risky financial instruments. The articles show that in June 1994, six months prior to the bankruptcy, the county election for treasurer focused primarily on the risky investments conducted by the treasurer and the county. In fact, even Mr. Vasquez's defender, California Congressman Christopher Cox, in his statement read into the committee record admitted that:


"I was the chairman of the campaign to unseat the County Treasurer months earlier, and that campaign's single-minded focus was on the Treasurer's risky investments."

[Page 2 of Congressman Cox's Statement to the Committee]

Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise to the Committee

In Mr. Vasquez's answer to a question from Senator Sarbanes regarding his responsibility for the Orange County bankruptcy he stated that


"We were a group of experienced supervisors and at no time was anything that was provided to us suggest that there was something wrong with the Orange County Investment Pool." (sic).

[Page 62 of the Committee Transcripts]

The Recall Campaign to remove Mr. Vasquez was begun

Orange County residents met to discuss a recall campaign against Mr. Vasquez in January, 1995. The notice of intention to circulate a recall petiton against Mr. Vasquez was filed with the County Clerk as required by law. The California Procedure for Recall of State and Local Officials provides an overview of the necessary steps of the recall process, under point B, Preliminary Steps, #5 Content of Notice of Intention, states:


The Notice of Intention must contain all of the following: a) the name and title of the officer to be recalled; b) the statement, not over 200 words in length of the reason for recall; c) the printed name, signature, and business or residence address of each of the proponents. The number of signers shall be equal to 10 or equal to the number of signatures required to be filed on the nomination paper of the officer sought to be recalled, whichever is greater. Each proponent must be a registered voter in the electoral jurisdiction; and d) the provisions of Election Code 11023 which permit incumbents who are the subject of recall to file an answer to the notice prescribes the methods for doing so.

The document also indicates that in order for the first official step of the process to take place, required signatures have to be in place before the document can be presented to the person being recalled. These signatures were on file - thus the first official step in a recall movement was made.

The Los Angeles Times also stated in an article after the papers were served that:


"OC Supervisor Vasquez Faces Recall Attempt"

"Vasquez, 40, was served with the documents-the first official step in a recall movement-as he attended a Chapman University forum Wednesday..."

[July 25, 1995]

The Orange County Register also conducted a telephone call-in poll after the papers were served beginning the recall campaign. There were 1,791 responses to the question "Should Orange County Supervisor Gaddi Vasquez be recalled?" An overwhelming majority (76%) said "Yes", he should be recalled. Mr. Vasquez announced his resignation and left office before the recall campaign could proceed.

Mr. Vasquez testified otherwise to the Committee

In Mr. Vasquez's answer to a question from Senator Sarbanes on the recall campaign to remove him as County Supervisor, he stated:


"Senator there was no recall campaign that had been under taken. There was a notice that was handed to me in a meeting of an intention to file a petition, but there was never a formal process of recall or an election that was held. To my knowledge there was no gathering of signatures."

[Page 53 of the Committee Transcipts]

Were there Meetings with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Orange County and Los Angeles?

In Mr. Vasquez's statement in response to a question from Senator Dodd regarding working with RPCVs, he stated that:


"I will tell you, Mr. Chairman, that since my nomination was public I have made it my priority to sit down with Returned Peace Corps Volunteers in Orange County and in Los Angeles to get their perspective, to get their experience, to get some constructive input on what they experienced, how they think we can improve the program."

[Pages 78 and 79 of the Committee Transcipts]

However, the Committee for the Future of the Peace Corps stated in their letter that:


After numerous calls to both the RPCV group leaders and individuals in Orange County and LA, we cannot find one RPCV who has had a meeting with Gaddi Vasquez. We do know that he met with Dane Smith of the National Peace Corps Association in Washington in August of 2001. The Committee would like to request that Mr. Vasquez provide information as to when these said meetings took place, where, with whom and the topics of discussion.

No Response from Dodd's Office

At the time of the filing of this story, Senator Dodd's office had no response to the letter or whether they would investigate these discrepancies in Mr. Vasquez's testimony before the Committee makes their vote.

By Larry Koff on Wednesday, December 12, 2001 - 4:42 pm: Edit Post

Mr. Vasquez is not fit for public office. He has lied about his record and does not have the required experience to grow the Peace Corps into a fully funded organization of at least 10,000 volunteers as is now required by the events of 911..

By John Woods on Thursday, January 03, 2002 - 11:56 am: Edit Post

In my opinion, Gaddi Vasquez will be confirmed, and despite Senator Dodd's lack of response to the points made above, they will come out eventually. I predict that Mr. Vasquez will have a relatively short tenure at the Peace Corps. This agency will not tolerate an incompetent head and Mr. Vasquez will soon enough find he is in over his head.

By celia bosworth on Thursday, January 03, 2002 - 10:47 pm: Edit Post

I suspect that Vasquez is not in the least interested in running the Peace Corps but is using the position instead as a steping stone to higher office. Perhaps to run for congress. That he is using an alturistic agency like the Peace Corps for his own selfish ambitions is, to say the least, really upsetting and an insult to the Peace Corps. Hopefully it also means that he wn't be around the Peace Corps long enough to do too much damage. In the meantime, keep letting your senators know what you think.

By Dan Miller on Friday, January 04, 2002 - 3:31 pm: Edit Post

I feel very strongly that Sr. Vasquez should not have even been considered for any responsible position given his record at Orange County and later at Edison. To inflict him on the Peace Corps would be at odds with Mr. Bush's attempt to involve the youth of America in public service and to "win the hearts and minds" of people in the developing world. If his political donations win him the position, I devoutly hope that his feet will be kept to the fire, and at the first sign of failure in his duties, he will be removed.

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