Two Dead Black Men is 1 Too Many for Ted Lieu

@THE GUSS REPORT-Well that took long enough! On January 8, Southern California Congressman Ted Lieu (Photo above-right) finally announced he washed his hands of $18,500 in tainted campaign donations he received from controversial Democratic fundraiser Ed Buck. 

A member of Congress since 2015, Lieu walked away from the money after the likely drug overdose death a week ago of Timothy Dean, a gay black man in Buck’s West Hollywood apartment. But Lieu should not be applauded for (finally) doing the right thing because he failed to return the very same money after the drug overdose death of Gemmel Moore, a gay black male escort, in Buck’s apartment a year and a half ago on July 27, 2017. 

In his journal, Moore (the first victim) blamed his drug addiction on Buck, alleging that the Democrat operative with ties to Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama not only injected him with crystal methamphetamine, but correctly predicted that his continuing to do so would eventually lead to his death.  

The death of Dean (the second victim) was predicted by LA political activist and media commentator Jasmyne Cannick, who intimated that local political protectionism and law enforcement’s failure to thoroughly investigate Moore’s death in Buck’s drug den would inevitably lead to others dying there.  Cannick, whose tireless efforts single-handedly kept Moore’s death in the media spotlight, tragically turned out to be correct. 

Some say Lieu was finally motivated to get rid of Buck’s campaign cash not because of the suspicious death of another gay, black man, but because questions about those deaths were overwhelming his cable news appearances and incessant presence on Twitter, where his tirades about President Trump are now met with questions about Lieu’s relationship with Buck. 

Lieu, who claims to be “a leader in Congress against ethnic and racial profiling, and discrimination against the LGBT community,” has not explained his failure to act after Moore’s death back in 2017.   Nor has he explained his failure to call for more intensive law enforcement investigations into both men’s deaths. 

But last week, protestors outside Buck’s apartment did exactly that. 

They point out that had a white male escort overdosed in the home of a black political figure, law enforcement’s response would not have lagged as it did here. They add that because the victims here are black and gay, and that the political figure is white and gay, the first death was essentially a freebie. 

Buck’s own Congressman, Adam Schiff, who is white, is believed to have coughed up a year ago the thousands of dollars donated to him by Buck. Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey, who is black, and would have purview over a prosecution of Buck, has long since disposed of the relatively paltry $100 Buck donated to her in 2012. 

Lieu’s failure to act smacks of his 18th century Congressional predecessors as they decided how to account for the slave population in the United States. Then, slavery proponents wanted their slaves to count as whole members of the population, not out of benevolence, but in order to have more seats in the House of Representatives (to which Lieu belongs today) and greater influence in the Electoral College. Those who opposed slavery only wanted the population to count free people, i.e. southern states would have less Congressional influence because significant portions of their populations were not free human beings. Eventually, the cruel 18th century solution known as the Three-Fifths Compromise counted each black person as just 60% (i.e. 3/5ths) of a white person in the population…or essentially half. 

It is equally outrageous that it has taken two black deaths to get the same law enforcement scrutiny that only one white death would have garnered. 

Lieu wants to be applauded for ridding himself of Buck’s money now, in January 2019. But he needs to explain why he didn’t act sooner, and why he still hasn’t called for a more intensive police investigation, as many of his peers did.


(Daniel Guss, MBA, is a member of the Los Angeles Press Club, and has contributed to CityWatch, KFI AM-640, Huffington Post, Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Los Angeles Magazine, Movieline Magazine, Emmy Magazine, Los Angeles Business Journal and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter @TheGussReport. Join his mailing list or offer verifiable tips and story ideas at TheGussReport@gmail.com. His opinions are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Prepped for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.