Investigative reporter and five-time Emmy Award winner Peter Lance has investigated government cover-ups in some of the biggest stories—such as 9/11, TWA 800, and the Oklahoma City bombing cases. His recent work has been probing the office of Rep. Lois Capps (D-CA) for The Santa Barbara News-Press, in a case that reaches all the way up into the Office of General Counsel for the U.S. House.
Lance is facing obstacles in this case, like many others he’s covered, but is determined to reveal the complete truth and demand justice for the family of a young woman whose death was caused by a congressional staffer employed by Capps.
Lance tells Accuracy in Media that he is troubled by the general failure of the national press to cover the unfolding corruption scandal.
He is not new to controversy. Former Chicago U.S. Attorney and Valerie Plame Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald spent 20 months, beginning in 2007, trying unsuccessfully to kill Lance’s HarperCollins FBI counter-terrorism book Triple Cross. Lance had argued in his book that Fitzgerald and other senior Department of Justice and FBI officials failed to properly follow up on hard evidence about al-Qaeda activities on U.S. soil.
In this case, Mallory Rae Dies, a 27-year-old University of California, Santa Barbara graduate, was struck and killed by one of Capps’ district representatives, Raymond Morua, after he had been drinking heavily. Morua fled the scene, after stopping his vehicle and looking down at the body, and finally crashed after an 80-mph chase.
The Office of General Counsel of the House of Representatives took the position, as Capps did, that she had no responsibility for the actions of her aide on the night of the hit-and-run murder.
Yet, the facts show that Morua was an Iraq War vet who made dozens of public appearances with Capps and handled “constituent liaison,” and other matters, for the congresswoman. One photo shows Capps and Morua together in a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle during the 2013 4th of July parade in Santa Barbara. Appearing in uniform, as he often did at such events, Morua carried his signature Captain America shield.
It is understandable why Capps would want to distance herself from Morua, considering the horrendous nature of what he did. But she employed him. What’s more, citing incriminating documents and messages, the Lance series makes it absolutely clear that Morua was indeed working on the congresswoman’s behalf when he got drunk and killed Mallory Rae Dies.
The record, as documented by Peter Lance in his five-part series of articles, is that these efforts took the form of maneuvers to first protect the staffer from prison time, and then to completely avoid legal responsibility for what is obviously official business on Capp’s behalf.
The case represents some of the sleaziest conduct ever alleged and documented about the actions of a member of Congress and her staff, who were clearly determined to protect the representative from negative fallout and bad press.
They didn’t count on a journalist with Lance’s reputation to get to the bottom of the scandal.
Incredibly, the congresswoman continues to deny any official role and responsibility for Morua’s conduct, and further claims that she was unaware that Morua had two prior DUI convictions and a hit-and-run on his record, not to mention a conviction for grand theft embezzlement. From now on, she insists, employees will undergo criminal background checks—as if this is supposed to take care of the problems in her office.