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Patricia Madrid’s Smart Political Strategy

On the way to work this morning I caught a small part of Wake Up New Mexico with Larry Ahrens and Dianne Anderson (side note: Larry, still waiting for my invite). The part I caught happened to feature Tom McClanahan, the head FBI guy in New Mexico. Larry and Mr. McClanahan discussed the Vigil case, and then Larry asked him to comment on whether there were any other political corruption cases in the Land of Enchantment under investigation by the FBI.

Mr. McClanahan’s response… “there are many others.”

Larry seemed surprised by the agent’s candor, and also by the fact that many others are being investigated. With all of these FBI investigations going on, you kind of have to wonder about the lack of action coming from the Attorney General’s office. I don’t seem to remember any articles about the numerous investigations Patricia Madrid has launched to stem the tide of public corruption.

Of course to be fair, Madrid did conveniently begin investigation into Serna’s corrupt practices. Oh, and she did threaten to bring indictments against the cooperating witnesses in the Vigil trial.

Now, I know some you saw that as just the worst kind of political grandstanding. But, I don’t think you’re giving Attorney General Madrid the credit she deserves.

Think about it.

Maybe it wasn’t foolish grandstanding at all. Maybe, it was a brilliant political move to keep another public corruption case from occurring before this election is over. For example (subscription):

[Manny] Aragon’s name has surfaced in an FBI investigation into padded contracts and kickbacks in construction of the new Metropolitan and District courthouses in Albuquerque and of the Metropolitan Detention Center – public projects with a combined cost of more than $210 million.

Now, it wouldn’t do for that to be prosecuted prior to the election. A case like that would not reflect well on AG Madrid. It would just serve to confirm the growing belief that Patricia Madrid had a look-the-other-way policy when it came to the politically corrupt practices of her colleagues.

What better way to delay this from coming to court than to make it clear to cooperating witnesses that they could find themselves being prosecuted by the Attorney General’s office. I believe in organized crime circles this would be called, “sending a message.”