You often hear of journalists looking outside of media for new employment, but rarely do you hear of a writer looking to the electorate for a new job. But that’s what John Dougherty has done.
Dougherty, an investigative reporter in Arizona, has decided to enter politics, running for Senate as a Democrat in the Grand Canyon State.
“I’ll be 54 next month, and I felt that at this moment in time with the way the senate race was shaping up, that somebody with my background… in Arizona… would be a good candidate to run for the Senate right now,” said Dougherty to the Yuma Sun newspaper.
A 25 year vet of the news industry that included stints at the Phoenix Gazette and the Phoenix New Times, Dougherty now works as a freelancer, writing for various organizations including the New York Times and the Washington Post. On Aug. 24, 2010, he’ll face former Tuscon City Council member Rodney Glassman, former state Rep. Cathy Eden and attorney Randy Parraz in the Democratic primary.
One of the major issues in the 2010 AZ race will be immigration. Dougherty has actually investigated some of the state’s major players on the front lines of immigration, including the controversial Maricopa County Sheriff, Joe Arpaio.
If he manages to pull off the upset in the Democratic primary, Dougherty will then face the winner of the Republican race, which pits Sen. John McCain and former Rep. and current radio talk show host J.D. Hayworth against each other.
Dougherty told Jilted Journalists that he will even hire investigative journalists if he wins the Senate, in order to uncover corruption within government.
However, Dougherty seems to understand his chances. “A politician has a Rolodex filled with people who owe him favors,” said Dougherty to Jilted Journalists. “I have a Rolodex filled with people who are probably pissed off at me.”
Will this hurt or help his career, if he fails to capture the Senate nod?
The latest buzzzzzzzzzAmplify’d from www.switched.com
Highlights from this morning’s other big tech headlines….
- Nonexistent virtual goods produce obscene revenue for online services. The phenomenon, which even attracts criminal activity, is currently helping Microsoft stave off the effects of diminishing video game sales. Forbes estimates that Xbox Live earns the company more than $1 billion annually, primarily through various account upgrades, and from the sale of avatars, costumes, character attributes and other intangible items. [From: Forbes]
- Stumped New York Times writers searching for alternate ways to describe “posted messages on Twitter,” may have just found their “tweet” substitute — by way of a Japanese translation. Now, 16.3-percent of Japanese Internet users “mumble” on Twitter, compared to the 9.8-percent of U.S. Web users. Japanese mumbles also impressively represent 12-percent of total worldwide tweets. [From: The Huffington Post]
- WordPress experienced crippling outages earlier this month, but the millions of online pontificators temporarily left blogless may soon forget those past worries. The official WordPress 3.0 ‘Thelonious’ upgrade, inspired by the jazz musician’s “improvisational wizardry,” apparently now provides subscribers with a variety of exciting features, including bulk updates, customizable style options and a more efficient and navigable interface. [From: Mashable]
By StateBrief Op-Ed Contributors
By Tom Horne
Recently, a court found that Andrew Thomas had prosecuted people for personal political advantage and for personal political retribution. (Court case CR2010-005423-001, February 24, 2010.) This is worst thing that you say about a prosecutor. The following provides some of the back ground for this finding.
The first person who seriously criticized Thomas was Don Stapley. Stapley is a longtime Maricopa County Supervisor, who is known for fiscal conservatism. He criticized Thomas for financial irresponsibility. Thomas had raised the expenditures for the Maricopa County Attorney’s office for outside lawyers from $6 million a year to $16 million a year, almost all of which had gone to lawyers that served on a host committee for one of Thomas’ fundraisers. There was an appearance of repaying political favors with government money.
In addition, Stapley criticized Thomas for wasting $2 million of public money on advertising allegedly to tell people not to use drugs, but actually to promote Thomas’ name and picture. The Goldwater Institute would later make the same criticism, stating “Mr. Thomas’ massive and continuous promotion of his name and image through official publications and communications cannot possibly be seen as aimed at advancing any legitimate purpose.”
Almost immediately, an investigation started of Stapley, which resulted in his indictment on trumped-up charges, all of which were ultimately dismissed. But Stapley went through years of hell, spending over $1 million in attorneys’ fees, and having his health and his wife’s health damaged. The Arizona Republic editorialized that it could see no rational argument for Thomas’ action, other than “raw political payback,” and that “Andrew Thomas is usurping justice.” (Stapley dismissal followed, Court case No. CR2010-00543-001; Goldwater policy brief, May 12, 2009, p. 8; Editorial December 9, 2009.)
Simultaneously, Russ Jones, a legislator from Yuma, got crosswise with Thomas’ allies in the legislature. Jones also found himself indicted on trumped up charges, all of which were ultimately dismissed, but not before Jones had hundreds of thousands of dollars of attorneys’ fees as well. (Yuma Sun, May 21, 2010.)
All of this was a view to intimidation of critics, which worked. A number of legislators, asked to endorse Tom Horne, said they could not consider it until Thomas resigned, because they saw Jones being indicted and they didn’t want to be indicted.
Thomas then got into a conflict with all five members of the Board of Supervisors. Being fiscal conservatives, they had saved money for a badly needed new courthouse, so that it could be built without the county incurring any debt. Thomas wanted them to raid that fund for his budget, and they refused. This may have been a reasonable disagreement, but Thomas pursued it by investigating them with a view to indicting them.
A judge put a stop to it, stating that Thomas’ actions were unethical. The judge pointed out that the County Attorney represents the board of supervisors, and one cannot investigate or indict one’s clients, something that every first year law student knows. Three different judges, in three different cases, would find Thomas’ actions in different circumstances to be unethical. The judge in this case also stated that Thomas’ actions had “the appearance of evil.” (Court Case No. 422GJ350, February 6, 2009.)
The supervisors wanted separate counsel to represent them in civil cases, rather than be represented by someone who had been investigating them. Thomas contested their right to do so. A separate judge ruled in favor of the board of supervisors, finding that Thomas had acted unethically. He stated that when Thomas decided to act ethically, he could resume representing the board of supervisors, but not before. (Court Case No. CR CV2008-033194, August 21, 2009.)
Thomas was losing case after case of these political cases. He had to undermine the appearance of objectivity of the trial judges, so he started accusing the judges. He filed a racketeering case against all five members of the board of supervisors, their lawyers, county officials, and four separate judges who ruled against him in four separate cases. He accused the judges of bribery and extortion, but had not one iota of evidence that any judge had taken a penny in a bribe, or had committed extortion.
When the time came to argue the motion to dismiss, the gunslinger dropped his guns and ran away. He dropped the case. As a cover, he made up a story that the federal government had agreed to pursue the investigation, and that is all that he ever wanted. The next day the head of the Integrity Division of the U.S. Department of Justice said that he was dismayed at what had been stated, in that the federal government had agreed to no such thing. Thomas had made it up. (The Arizona Republic, March 14, 2010.)
Once all of the charges against Stapley had been dismissed, Thomas came up with a new set of charges. He referred these to Sheila Polk, County Attorney in Yavapai County. He chose her because she was a life-long conservative Republican, law-in-order prosecutor. In a brave statement, she stated that she could no longer remain silent, because her silence would implicate her in what she saw as wrongdoing by Thomas. Her words were that she could not longer remain silent in the face of “totalitarian tactics in Maricopa County.” (The Arizona Republic, December 22, 2009.)
The amount of money wasted on these campaigns against Thomas’ critics, all of which failed, has been calculated by The Arizona Republic to be in excess of $3 million, all taxpayers’ dollars, at a time when there has been talk about the possibility of laying off police officers. (The Arizona Republic, June 3, 2010.)
The following is a summary showing that Thomas has lost or dropped all of his political cases:
CASE DISPOSITION 1. Prosecution of Don Stapley Dismissed 2. Prosecution of Mary Rose Wilcox Dismissed 3. Prosecution of Judge Donohoe Dropped 4. Prosecution of Yuma State Legislator Russ Jones Dismissed 5. Racketeering case against County Supervisors, their lawyers, County officials, and four judges who ruled against Thomas in four different cases Dropped on eve of arguing Motion to Dismiss 6. Contesting County hiring its own lawyer because of Thomas’ unethical conduct Lost 7. Court Tower case Lost 8. Challenging Hispanic court Lost 9. Contest of Balanced Budget Act of 2008 Lost 10. Records request battle with County Lost 11. Prosecution of New Times newspaper Dropped 12. Prosecution of demonstrators Lost
Judges are vulnerable, because they have left their law practices, have no clients, and their reputations are everything to them. Judges have said that when they rule against the county attorney’s office, they worry about being personally investigated. If an out-of-control prosecutor can intimidate judges, then no one has any constitutional rights. The Constitution sets up an independent judiciary so that there will be somebody who can protect people’s constitutional rights from incursions by government officials.
Among legislation that has been sought by Thomas, is a bill that would provide that business records could be subpoenaed by county attorneys or the attorney general without the necessity of going to court. Business officials also could be subpoenaed to testify personally, without the necessity of going to court. One can imagine the amount of intimidation of critics that would be possible under those circumstances. As The Arizona Republic stated in an editorial: “But nothing…compares with the abuse of power Thomas is now perpetrating against the Board of Supervisors.” (The Arizona Republic, December 9, 2009.)
If an out-of-control prosecutor becomes attorney general, businesses will not want to move to Arizona, and Arizona will have no economic future.
Currently in his second term as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Horne is seeking the Republican nomination for Attorney General. Horne served in the state legislature from 1996 till 2000. He practiced law for thirty years and was a judge pro tem in superior and appeals courts.
About the Author
StateBrief’s op-ed contributors include local and national opinion-makers, elected officials and candidates.
Start the ball rolling by posting a comment on this article!
Leave a Reply
Over a lifetime of public service, Terry Goddard has fought to improve the lives of Arizonans.
Keeping Arizona Safe
Since taking the oath of office as Attorney General in 2003, Terry has compiled an unprecedented record of successful criminal prosecutions and civil settlements across a wide range of cases that includes border protection, consumer protection, leading the fight against methamphetamines, protecting Arizona’s environment and fighting mortgage fraud. Because of his strong belief in fiscal responsibility, Terry has directed his office in producing more than $267 million—last year alone—in settlements, restitution, penalties and other recoveries for Arizona.
Among his achievements, Terry successfully prosecuted complex fraud cases, including the one against the Baptist Foundation of Arizona, which cheated 11,000 investors out of more than $585 million. He has scored major victories for consumers, such as a $1 million settlement with WalMart, the state’s and nation’s largest retailer, for repeated price-posting violations. Terry continues to fight on the forefront against housing fraud. He recently joined together with federal and local law enforcement officials who will be getting an additional $1.7 million in federal funds this year to fight mortgage fraud in Arizona.
Delivering Results for Arizona
Highlights of Terry’s accomplishments as Attorney General are:
A $94 million settlement with Western Union that provides substantial new resources for law enforcement agencies in the four Southwest border states to combat illegal activity and criminal cartels along the entire U.S. Mexico border.
Sharply cutting the number of meth labs in the state and reducing meth use by more than 50 percent in many age groups.
Bringing in the largest environmental recovery in Arizona’s history—a $12 million settlement to resolve a lawsuit over the destruction of the state’s natural and archeological resources.
Brokering a settlement to protect Luke Air Force Base from residential encroachment which strengthens Luke’s bid for selection as a training base for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the next generation of U.S. Air Force jets.
Leadership on Law Enforcement, Housing, Water Conservation
Terry began his legal work when he was hired by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office as a white-collar crime prosecutor. From 1995 to 2002, he served as Arizona Director for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In 2000, he was elected to the board of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, which manages the Central Arizona Project.
From 1984 to 1990, Terry served as Mayor of Phoenix for four consecutive terms. Under his visionary leadership, Phoenix made significant strides in expanding and modernizing law enforcement and setting up nationally recognized programs in economic development, the arts and historic preservation. He was elected President of the National League of Cities in 1989 and was named “Municipal Leader of the Year” by City and County Magazine.
An Arizona Native and a Navy Veteran
Terry Goddard is an Arizona native, born and raised in Tucson. His father, Sam Goddard, served as Arizona’s Governor in the 1960s. Terry received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his law degree from Arizona State University. He served an active duty tour in the U.S. Navy and retired as a Commander after 27 years in the Naval Reserves. In addition to his passion to protect Arizona citizens, Terry has a long-standing commitment to historic preservation. Terry, his wife, Monica, and their son live in Phoenix.