By Michael Sainato
Last week, the Chair of the California Democratic Party African-American Caucus Darren Parker and Chair of the California Young Democrats Black Caucus Devin T. Murphy announced they will be introducing a resolution to the California Democratic Party calling on all Democrats to return donations from wealthy donor Ed Buck, and to formally recognize Gemmel Moore and all of Buck’s other victims who have come forward.
“Too often there are ills in the African American community that we just don’t discuss,” said Parker in a statement. “These issues that we don’t bring to the surface are starting to define what happens to our people. So I thought it was important—one, as a chair who believes in transparency, who believes in education even in adversity that we have to talk about the things that we’re uncomfortable with or even hearing about.”
On July 27, 2017, 26 year old black escort Gemmel Moore died of a methamphetamine overdose in the home of Ed Buck, who is 63 years old. Though the death was ruled an accident, an LAPD investigation is ongoing. Moore’s family released his personal journal, where he accuses Buck of deliberately getting him addicted to drugs as part of a fetish. The Los Angeles District Attorney granted immunity to several male escorts to speak with detectives about Buck. Moore’s roommate and best friend, Samuel Lloyd, has alleged that Buck targeted struggling men like Moore, who was afraid of Buck
On November 18, the Los Angeles Times reported that Buck’s home was “littered with drug paraphernalia,” which included a toolbox filled with syringes and methamphetamine. The police report noted that someone at the scene “is suspected to be known to exchange drugs for sex.” The investigation into Moore’s death remains active, but no charges have been filed. On the day Moore died, his mother said Buck paid for his plane ticket to fly from Houston to Los Angeles.
Buck has donated at least $250,000 to the Democratic Party and pro-Democrat Super PACs over the past decade. During the 2016 election cycle, he gave $25,000 to the DCCC, $10,000 to the Getting Stuff Done PAC, maximum individual donations of $2700 to Hillary Clinton, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA), Rep. Krysten Sinema (D-AZ), Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), and smaller donations to several other candidates. In 2017, he’s donate $5000 to the DCCC, and maximum individual donations to several congressional candidates. Buck’s largest recipient is the Animal PAC, a California PAC that donates to local and state candidates. Since 2011, he’s given the PAC over $95,000.
“The California Democratic Party under the new leadership of Chair Eric Bauman has not responded to the numerous calls for the Party and it’s members to return money donated by Ed Buck back into a fund for the victims of Buck’s,” said Jasmyne Carrick, a political commentator and activist involved with Justice4Gemmel, in an interview with the Real News Network. “Bauman is a known friend and ally of Buck’s so that’s not surprising.”
A California Democratic Party spokesperson told the Real News Network, “our Executive Board held a moment of silence in memory of Mr. Moore at our summer executive board meeting this past August. Chair Parker’s resolution will be sent to the resolutions committee as soon as it’s introduced, and they will consider it at the next committee meeting.”
So far, Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA) returned her $250 donation from Buck and West Hollywood City Councilmember John D’Amico returned his $25 donation, both toward Moore’s funeral expenses, The Stonewall Democratic Club returned over $13,000 in donations from Buck, and asked him to resign from the Stonewall Democratic Steering Committee.