Exploring the riddle of California’s 450-mile-long congressional district
Sitting in the room in a quiet corner, John Kappes is deep in thought. His head is spinning from recent revelations about his personal finances as he debates what to do with his new role as chief financial officer for the California Republican Party.
“Oh, God, this is not going to go away,” he said, struggling to control his anger. “I have to sit here and figure this out.”
Kappes (pictured above), who has served as the party chairman of the 906th Assembly District since 2015, is facing multiple investigations launched by the California and state attorneys general.
His name has surfaced in recent days in the scandal surrounding two top Republican Party officials — Assemblywoman Cathleen Galgiani, who is chairman of the Assembly Republican Caucus, and state Sen. John Moorlach, who chairs the state Senate Republican Caucus.
And Kappes is the target of a criminal inquiry.
A day after Galgiani resigned from her leadership position with the Assembly Republican Caucus, Kappes said he would give her and Moorlach “a chance to explain themselves.” Kappes said he “is looking for a reason or two to fire them, but I don’t expect it to come to that.”
But Kappes’ past, which is now a topic of public debate, was on public record the day before this interview. The California GOP chief executive, who has led a $1 million spending boom for the party, was sued three months earlier by his former accounting firm, where he was the controller.
The firm, which did not receive an advance payment for legal fees, sued Kappes, alleging he “withheld important information concerning its accounts and has failed to comply with the disclosure requirements of the Internal Revenue Service Code of Ethics.”
The two sides are now in a court-ordered mediation, which is scheduled for a hearing in late August. But Kappes could be suspended by the party leadership pending a settlement.
The news of his pending suspension, as well as the criminal inquiry, triggered a discussion of Kappes’ personal finances and revealed the