Last month, Doug Ose was in Cleveland helping smooth Donald Trump’s path to the Republican presidential nomination.
On Thursday, the former Sacramento-area congressman had matters closer to home to attend to. Ose was at the downtown federal courthouse to see the 83-year-old father of Democratic Rep. Ami Bera be sentenced to a year in prison for election fraud involving the finances of his son’s campaign committee.
In a letter to the judge, Ose, who challenged Bera in 2014, more than two years after the crimes took place, said he considered himself a victim and thus should be able to address the court. A wealthy businessman, Ose argued that money is fungible, so some ill-gotten gains from Babulal Bera carried over.
Attorneys for the elder Bera disagreed, contending Ose is not a victim because he has suffered no cognizable harm.
“Mr. Ose is simply a former congressman and unsuccessful candidate currently in search of a platform for publicity,” they wrote in a tart reply.
While U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley agreed, barring Ose from speaking in his court, he wouldn’t be denied his time in front of TV news cameras. As the elder Bera ducked into his ride, Ose was telling news crews there’s simply no way the congressman was unaware of his father’s crimes, a line also employed by Bera’s current Republican opponent, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones. Prosecutors say they’ve found no proof that the younger Bera knew.
“I would have said you cannot too fiercely defend our electoral process. And when an activity like this occurs you need to throw the book at them,” Ose said outside the courthouse, suggesting the sentence was too lenient. “We failed that test today.”
After loaning himself millions to fund two rejected campaigns, “Doug Ose has some gall to talk about the integrity of campaign finance,” Bera campaign manager Jerid Kurtz said.
“Judge Nunley rightfully noted Ose isn’t a victim and has never been harmed,” he said. “And the U.S. attorney has been crystal clear that neither Rep. Bera nor his campaign had any knowledge of his dad’s activities, so I’m sure voters will trust federal authorities instead of some armchair quarterback.”