The Department of Justice is currently investigating the conduct of Congressmember Lois Capps’s field representative Mollie Culver in response to allegations made by the Santa Barbara News-Press that Culver acted improperly after her coworker Raymond Morua killed Mallory Dies in a drunken hit-and-run accident the night of December 6. Morua was extremely intoxicated at the time, and Culver has since been accused by Morua — in the pages of the News-Press — of forging his name on documents to enroll him in a rehab facility. Morua was in custody at the time.
Capps spokesperson Chris Meagher — a former Independent reporter — declined to comment on any specific allegations, citing the advice of legal counsel. Dies’s parents have sued Capps, charging that Morua was working for her at the time of the fatal accident and that Capps was legally responsible for her employee’s misconduct. Capps has denied this. “Our office welcomes the DOJ’s inquiry,” stated Meagher, “which will enable the community to move past the false allegations asserted in tabloid media coverage.” Spokespersons for the Department of Justice, the FBI, the District Attorney, and the U.S. Attorney’s office all declined to comment on the record.
Morua attended a Christmas party hosted by The Independent the night of the accident where he became intoxicated at a no-host bar. The accident occurred two hours after that party ended. Whether Morua was representing Capps or not has been the subject of an intense debate. Morua and the Dies family have joined together in an uncommon bond to insist that he was and to pillory Capps for not agreeing. What prompted the Department of Justice investigation remains open to some speculation, but the News-Press ran a five-part series asserting that Capps and her staff engaged in misconduct. Morua, who had two prior DUIs at the time of the accident, was sentenced last month to 20 years to life in prison.