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Celebrating a Culture of Corruption

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.


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.