Posts Tagged ‘Attorney General’

Bizarre Attorney General Behavior

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

Scandal plagued ACORN has been having government contracts canceled left and right and for good reason:

After a series of undercover videos surfaced showing ACORN employees giving advice to conservative activists posing as a prostitute and a pimp, opponents in Congress have sought to cut the group’s sources of federal money. In recent weeks, both the U.S. Census Bureau and the Internal Revenue Service have also ended partnerships with ACORN.

Celebrating a Culture of Corruption

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

I didn’t think it was possible, but I think we’ve hit a new low in New Mexico politics. Maybe it’s just the fact that there have been so many corruption scandals in recent years that people have started thinking, “What’s the big deal? Forget feeling shame, let’s start celebrating our corruption.”

Consider the startling fact that a former State Supreme Court Chief Justice and numerous other current and past elected officials think nothing of showing up for a going to jail party for one of their own. Let me repeat that: “A GOING TO JAIL PARTY!”

This is like something out of a Scorsese film. Can you imagine any other state in the nation where elected officials running for office would think nothing of showing up for a going to jail party?

Also attending the Manny farewell, according to our Senior Gators, was former Bernalillo County Commissioner Steve Gallegos, current Bernalillo County Commissioner and ABQ City Council candidate Alan Armijo; former state Senator Shannon Robinson; former Grants State Rep. Toby Michael; veteran political player Guy Riordan and another big name–former Ambassador to Spain and longtime NM politico Ed Romero.

This is beyond troubling. This is downright scary. Tomorrow, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will be in Albuquerque to unveil President Obama’s 2009 National Southwest Border Counternarcotics Strategy. That’s all fine and dandy, but the biggest threat to our state and homeland security right now is from within.

When the lives of corrupt politicians are being celebrated by the political establishment, our society is seriously threatened. When subpoenas after subpoenas are being issued and no one is being indicted, law and order is endangered. And, this is not simply a local problem. When political appointees think nothing of shutting down the efforts of career prosecutors fighting to protect our freedoms, we are headed down a dangerous path.

Justice Department political appointees overruled career lawyers and ended a civil complaint accusing three members of the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense of wielding a nightstick and intimidating voters at a Philadelphia polling place last Election Day, according to documents and interviews.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=neGbKHyGuHU]

Where does this leave us? The answer is that it leaves us in a very scary place. Someone needs to stand up and start questioning those in charge. If the political appointees were willing to shut down the prosecution of such an obvious case of intimidation, what will they do in New Mexico when the sitting Governor and those in his inner circle are facing indictments?

Will U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder overrule the career prosecutors who have been trying to stem the growing tide of corruption in New Mexico, or will he push to protect our homeland security by encouraging the aggressive prosecution of the elected and appointed thieves in our state government? If I was a reporter at tomorrow’s press conference, I’d be asking this question. President Obama promised Change. The administration can start by rooting out corruption. That’s a non-partisan issue.

Sole Sourcing Off-The-Shelf Lawsuits

Tuesday, April 28th, 2009

Just when you think the pay-to-play scandals in New Mexico can’t get any worse, they do. Apparently, flowers are not the only things that bloom during the spring season in New Mexico.

Last week brought news that Governor Bill Richardson’s campaign and political action committees received nearly $200,000 from money managers and brokers who were seeking access to the state’s multibillion dollar pension funds.

Okay, I know, old news. But, this same editorial takes a deeper look at the ethically questionable behavior coming out of the Attorney General’s office. Mind you, we were hopeful that when pay-for-access AG Patricia Madrid left office, things would get better. But, it now looks like the players may change, but the game remains the same.

As for Mr. King, he is underselling his political talents. Campaign records show that in the month before his 2006 election, his campaign received $50,000 from Houston lawyer Kenneth Bailey and Mr. Bailey’s previous law firm in two $25,000 installments, one of which came within a week of Election Day.

And, what does $50,000 buy these days?

However, you have to wonder just how vital this particular lawsuit is, since it was marketed to New Mexico and many other state AGs as an off-the-shelf product by the Bailey firm.

It would seem it is the going price to bring win the right to sue in the name of the State. When law firms are able to buy the right to sue companies on behalf of the state in exchange for a political contribution. We’re all in trouble.

Now, in all fairness, some of you may think I’m jumping to conclusions here. These campaign contributions, and the resulting “gift” to the law firm may just be coincidental. For those of you feel this way, I’d suggest you look no further than Attorney General Gary King’s own analysis regarding appearances:

“There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its probably a duck,” say AG King. “And I think we know a duck when we see one.”

Well, I guess duck hunting season is starting a little earlier this year..

Things That Don’t Make Sense

Monday, January 12th, 2009

Sometimes you encounter things that just don’t make sense. Usually, they are lone encounters that leave you shaking your head and wondering. But, sometimes they come one after another.

Gary King announced today that he will support several ethics reform proposals in the upcoming legislative session, and Gov. Bill Richardson, whose administration is the subject of a federal pay-to-play investigation, promptly did the same.

Ok, let’s state the obvious first. A Governor who has had to turn down a presidential cabinet appointment and retain a prominent attorney in light of the unethical pay-to-play conduct of his administration, has no business announcing his support for ethics reform. In a moment of rare candor on national television, that may come back to haunt him, Richardson admitted that donors have been able to buy “an edge” in his administration [a MUST READ ARTICLE]:

For his part, the governor, who declined to be interviewed, has maintained that campaign donations do not influence his decisions. In at least two cases, he canceled state contracts his political supporters had won after the deals became public. He also gave back a $10,000 contribution from a company that won a contract to provide health care to prisoners.

Yet in an interview on NBC in 2007, Mr. Richardson acknowledged that giving money to a politician gives the donor “a little bit of an edge.”

“I don’t give any extra access to somebody that contributes,” he said. “But I’ll remember that person, and I’ll say: ‘Jeez, that guy helped me. Maybe I can help them.’ ”

Of course, you can’t conduct this style of government without the tacit consent of our top prosecutor. That’s why our current Attorney General, like the one before him, should also not be making announcements regarding ethics reform proposals. Since being elected, Gary King has made a lot of noise about investigations, but any real law enforcement in the way of indictments has been sorely missing. If the Attorney General is not going to enforce the current laws on the books by putting criminals behind bars, then he has no business pushing a new set of laws.

Speaking of ridiculous new laws. Take a look at what the Farmington City Council is proposing:

The Farmington City Council is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to outlaw “high gravity beer” — beer with an alcohol content of more than 7.9 percent — and on a ban of selling “fortified” wine containing more than 14 percent alcohol in an effort to curb public drunkenness, the Farmington Daily Times reported.

Somebody please sit these folks down for a drink and explain the realities of life. A drunk is a drunk. We’re talking about someone with a dependence on alcohol. They will drink until fully inebriated regardless of the alcohol content of a particular beverage.

Sometimes, you really have to wonder what these elected officials are drinking thinking.

Attorney General Seeks to Raise Taxes

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

Apparently, someone forgot to tell Attorney General Gary King that his job is to prosecute bad guys – not raise taxes. I guess oil and gas revenue must be really looking bad since the Attorney General has decided his initiatives for the upcoming legislative session are to raise taxes (subscription):

Impose a higher state tax on “alcopops,” which are typically fruit flavored and sweetened malt beverages. [Attorney General Gary] King proposes to tax the drinks at a rate for distilled spirits rather that the current practice of taxing them at the lower rate for beer. California regulators have already taken such steps. The drinks include brands such as Mike’s Hard Lemonade. King estimates that the higher tax rate could generate $2 million a year for programs to prevent underage drinking.

It has been widely acknowledged that alcohol is a recession proof industry. So, it is probably not surprising that Democratic Attorney General Gary King is seeking to increase state revenue for government run programs by taxing the industry. The problem is: It’s not the industry that he is taxing. It is you and me.

In case you’re planning on voting Democrat in the upcoming election, this is a good indication of what is to come if the Democrats win in November – tax, tax and more tax.

Busy Season for the Attorney General

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

This should be a busy election season for Attorney General Gary King. He has already had to push the Secretary of State to act on Eli Lee’s creatively questionable use of not for profits, and now it remains to be seen whether he will begin investigations in the other efforts going on in New Mexico to undermine our elections.

I have long held that we don’t need to create ethics laws. We just need to enforce the laws on the books, and I believe it is up to the Attorney General to put partisanship aside (justice is neither Republican nor Democrat) and fully prosecute those who break the law.

Dave Maass of the Santa Fe Reporter has a recent article about PRC candidate Jerome Block Jr. writing check after check to a county clerk:

The money in the fund comes from inspection fees placed on utilities and a tax on insurance premiums. In other words, publicly-financed candidates receive their money from the state government.

In Block’s case, some of it ended up in the San Miguel County Clerk’s Office.

According to Block’s campaign records, a few days after the June 3 primary election, Block cut a $300 check to San Miguel County Clerk “Pecos” Paul Maez for “campaign coordination.”

San Miguel is the only county Block won in the six-way Democratic primary. Block used Maez’ official clerk’s office address on the report.

That same day, Block also cut a $2,500 check to the country-western band Wyld Country, in which Maez is a guitarist. According to Block’s campaign, the payment was for a rally in San Miguel County just prior to the primary election. Block deferred questions to his recently appointed campaign manager Jonathan Valdez.

Block used nearly 10% of his taxpayer funded (not government funded Mr. Maass) campaign funds to write checks to the county clerk in the only county he actually won in a primary. If this doesn’t scream for an investigation by the Attorney General, then I don’t know what does.

Oh wait. I do know something else that is just as atrocious…

Election season after election season the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) gets a pass as it strives to undermine the election system by paying people to turn in fraudulent voter registrations or intimidate voters. And, Scott Sandlin’s recent article shows that this year is no different:

Clovis native Rebecca Sitterly registered to vote soon after returning to her native state in 1979 and jumped right into Democratic politics about the same time.

So the former Bernalillo County district judge was surprised to get a July 3 call from a community nonprofit that was checking on her new registration.

When Sitterly said she hadn’t filled out a registration form � indeed, she’d been regularly voting in the same place on Mountain Road NW in Albuquerque for nearly 20 years � a supervisor with the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now promised to destroy the card, Sitterly said in a phone interview.

“He said, ‘Don’t worry, it won’t go anywhere,’ ” she said.

More surprises were in store. She got a call from the Bureau of Elections in the Bernalillo County Clerk’s Office three weeks later, asking again about the registration card, which was missing its required Social Security number.

“They were finishing out the card � they weren’t calling about the fraud,” she said.

Sitterly went to the sixth-floor clerk’s office, got a copy of the card and discovered that it understated her age by three decades.

So, let’s review, shall we?

We have a “former” Democratic political consultant, Eli Lee, running not for profits and pledging to spend a million tax deductible dollars to “educate” voters. We have a Democratic candidate for the PRC [side note: there is no Republican in this race, so I don’t have a partisan motive here] writing big checks to sitting county clerks to help him win the election. And, we have ACORN continuing their well documented efforts to pay good money to submit fraudulent voter registration forms in an effort to undermine the election process.

My only question… When is someone going to jail?