As Jim noted earlier, longtime Virginia Democrat Jim Moran announced today that he will step away from Congress and not seek reelection. During his time in the House, Moran’s career has been awfully tumultuous, filled with police investigations, offensive remarks, gaffes, and a naughty son. Here’s a look:
Police in Moran’s home county of Arlington, Va., were called to the scene in 1994 after the congressman grabbed a man for handing out anti-Moran leaflets at one of his events.
In 1995, Moran sparred with California Republican Duke Cunningham on the House floor over Operation Desert Storm. Moran asked him to step outside with him and as the two left the chamber, Moran shoved Cunningham.
After revelations of Bill Clinton’s infidelities with Monica Lewinsky, Moran told first lady Hillary Clinton that if she were his sister, he would have punched the president in the nose.
Moran was plagued with a handful of controversial, questionable financial dealings while serving. A 1998 near-$500,000 loan he received from MBNA Corp. during a time in which he supported legislation backed by the company earned him criticism from Virginia’s Democratic lieutenant governor (and current senator) Tim Kaine. A year later, he borrowed $25,000 from a drug lobbyist who also backed legislation supported by Moran. He, along with other members of Congress, were investigated by the House Ethics Committee for his involvement in granting clients of lobbying group PMA Group government contracts; PMA Group had donated to Moran’s campaign, as well as to his brother’s gubernatorial campaign.
Moran and his second wife filed for divorce after she called police because he pushed her during an argument. Moran claimed he did so in self-defense. Ultimately, no charges were filed.
In 2000, Moran was involved in a physical conflict with an eight-year-old boy, who he claimed was trying to carjack him with a gun in the parking lot of a recreation center. The congressman grabbed the kid and brought him into the center “in a choke hold,” according to a witness; the boy recounted the episode by saying he was “choked” and “cussed at” by Moran. The boy’s mother threatened to sue Moran because all the boy did was compliment the congressman’s car, and he had only a toy baby bottle with candy on him at the time.
In 2003, Moran was pressured to step down from a leadership position after what were considered anti-Semitic remarks: He said the Jewish community’s influence led to the Iraq War. “If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this,” he told an audience.
In 2010, Moran dismissed his Republican opponent Patrick Murray’s 24 years in the military as not amounting to “public service.” “What [Republicans] do is find candidates, usually stealth candidates, that haven’t been in office, haven’t served or performed in any kind of public service,” he said. Moran later apologized and said he misspoke.
The Washington Post endorsed Moran in 2010, but it wasn’t an endorsement to be proud of: “Mr. Moran, a Democrat who has long represented the heavily Democratic 8th District, has embarrassed himself, and his constituents, with ill-considered comments in the past. But he is conscientious and constituent-oriented, and his opposition in this election, as in past contests, is weak.”
When former Florida Republican Allen West, who is black, criticized President Obama, Moran said, that West was “not representative of the African-American community.” Moran went on to say that West was ignoring that he had “climbed this ladder of opportunity that was constructed by so many of his ancestors’ sweat, sacrifice, blood” when he criticized the president’s policies.
In 2011, Moran told the Arabic-language news organization Alhurra that the reason Democrats had lost control of the House that year was “the same reason [during] the Civil War.” “A lot of people in the United States don’t want to be governed by an African-American,” he explained, “particularly one who is liberal, who wants to spend money, and who wants to reach out to include everyone in our society.”
Just a few weeks before the 2012 election, James O’Keefe and Project Veritas released a video of Patrick Moran, the congressman’s son, explaining to an operative how he could forge utility bills in order to vote using the names of inactive voters. The younger Moran resigned that day, but used the excuse that he gave the operative tips out of an “instinct to be helpful.” A month later, the younger Moran pled guilty to an assault after an argument with his girlfriend in which he reportedly slammed her head into a trashcan cage.
When pressed about President Obama’s broken and misleading promise that people could keep their health-care plans under Obamacare last year, Moran said the president was “rightfully excited” about the new law so he “engage[d] in a little hyperbole.” “We’re all human,” he said.