About John

25 years ago, John Moorlach gained the nation’s attention by guiding Orange County out of crippling bankruptcy and putting the County on a long-term path to success. Then, during the Great Recession, he led policy changes that helped the County avoid the fiscal disasters experienced in other regions.

Now he’s leading the charge to help California get back on its feet.


A steadfast protector of the people and their tax dollars, Senator John Moorlach is known as the “fiscal conscience” of the California Legislature.

He began his public career in 1994, when as a CPA and Certified Financial Planner, he warned that Orange County’s highly leveraged investment strategies would lead to fiscal disaster. Orange County filed for bankruptcy protection that December, incurring an historic $1.64 billion in investment losses. The incumbent County Treasurer resigned in disgrace and would be convicted and serve time.

Appointed to turn around the mess, John Moorlach quickly reorganized the Treasurer’s office, lowered risks, cut costs, and made it more efficient and transparent.  As an officer of the County, he assisted in its exit from Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 18 months without the need of a sales tax hike. Moorlach also played a significant role in obtaining more than $800 million in litigation settlements, the largest in U.S. history at that time.


John Moorlach’s sound planning and diligent work ethic helped bring Orange County back to fiscal health and restored the peoples’ trust. He earned a national reputation as an accessible expert in municipal finance.

Grateful voters twice re-elected John Moorlach as Treasurer-Tax Collector, then in 2006 to the first of two terms as an Orange County Supervisor. In 2015, he won his State Senate special election outright in the Primary.

In the Senate, Moorlach has warned that serious problems lurk behind California’s seeming prosperity. He produced balance sheet analyses of all California cities, counties, and school districts, communicating how pension and retiree medical liabilities are putting hundreds of budgets at risk for fiscal distress, should an economic down cycle occur. The effort has been one of measuring the fiscal conditions in order to manage toward sounder financial policies.

Building on a concern for policies on mental illness, including leading the state’s implementation of Laura’s Law and funding for psychiatric hospital beds, John Moorlach is a recognized leader at the state and county in working for solutions to homelessness.

John and Trina live in Costa Mesa and are proud grandparents. When his children were younger, John and his family spent family vacations traveling all over beautiful California, visiting every county and photographing nearly all its 1,114 historical landmarks.


  • Energy, Utilities and Communications (Vice Chair)

  • Governance and Finance (Vice Chair)

  • Public Safety (Vice Chair)

  • Budget and Fiscal Review

  • Budget Conference

  • Budget Subcommittee 5 on Corrections, Public Safety & the Judiciary

  • Housing

  • Insurance

  • Joint Rules

  • Joint Legislative Audit

  • Select Committee on Mental Health

  • Select Committee on Governor’s 2019 Report: Wildfires and Climate Change – California’s Energy Future

Contact Us

Moorlach for Senate 2020
ID # 1392543
2014 Quail Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Phone: (949) 274-7734


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