Former Aide Says Working for Laura Richardson Is Worse Than War

Veteran Brenda Cruz also accuses the California lawmaker of ethics violations.

Posted: 03/26/2012 05:50 PM EDT

Here’s a rap that can’t be easy to bounce back from: A former aide to Rep. Laura Richardson said in a blistering resignation letter that she’d “rather be at war in Afghanistan” than complete her fellowship in the California lawmaker’s office, Politico reports.

 

Brenda Cruz, a disabled veteran who worked in Richardson’s office as part of a Wounded Warrior Project program, resigned earlier this month because “the constant harassment, bullying and abuse” was more than she could take.

 

“As a service connected-disabled veteran it is sad that I [would] rather be at war in Afghanistan than work under people that are morally corrupt,” she wrote.

 

That’s got to hurt, but it’s not the most damaging part of the letter.

 

Cruz also accuses the congresswoman of having her staff work on campaign activities while in her district office, which violates congressional rules. They’re free to volunteer to do political work outside the office on their own time but cannot use government resources during those activities.

 

It’s the second such allegation, adding another chapter to an ethics investigation into whether Richardson and her aides have routinely violated the rule, which they’ve categorically denied. But according to Cruz, who also was pregnant during part of her tenure with Richardson, the congresswoman directly instructed her to “illegally work on [her] campaign by assisting with packets to influence the California Commission, when I should have been fully focused on helping my fellow veterans and the backlog of cases you have in your district.” She also said that she witnessed a senior staffer regularly perform campaign and other political duties.

 

Richardson is a victim of redistricting, which has forced her to run for re-election in the same district as Democratic colleague Rep. Janice Hahn. Isadore Hall, an African-American state assembly member, at one point tried to make it a three-way race, but withdrew and threw his support behind Hahn. In addition, Politico reports that several former Richardson aides now work for the white lawmaker.

 

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