Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dateline D.C.: More Pete & Heather Woes, Plus: Third Time The Charm For NM Senate? And: Lobo Boosting & Bashing 

Where's a blogger to begin!? With a new email that has surfaced in the Iglesias affair, raising questions whether White House political boss Karl Rove was directly involved in the firing of Iglesias as NM U.S. Attorney? How about with the breaking news that the federal General Services Administration may have been skewing its work to help at-risk Republican congressional reps, including ABQ GOP Congresswoman Heather Wilson? Or should we start with the third attempt by the NM Senate, set for today, to try to convene and begin a special session? Or, perhaps we start with Big Bill Prez developments? Or the new radio ad attacking Iglesias? How can such a small state generate so much political news day after day, year after year? Pretty incredible, isn't it? But enough navel gazing, let's blog....

First, that brief email written by Senator Pete Domenici's longtime chief of staff Steve Bell to White House political boss Karl Rove raising questions as to whether Rove was directly involved in the firing of David Iglesias as NM U.S. Attorney. Newsweek magazine broke the story. Domenici's office is refusing comment as is his newly hired lawyer. Bell's email thanks Rove, but it is not clear for what. Getting rid of Iglesias or for just considering the names Domenici was sending over to the White House for consideration to replace Iglesias? Stay tuned.

Now to Heather and the semi-obscure General Services Administration (GSA). Only it isn't going to stay obscure. At congressional testimony Wednesday it was detailed how in January of this year Karl Rove political aide Scott Jennings may have crossed the line and gave a political briefing to regional directors of GSA on how they could help endangered Republican congressional reps, reps like ABQ's Wilson who was placed fourth on the list of those who needed help. The agency is responsible for awarding billions of federal contracts and maintaining government buildings.

As you can see in this video, the GSA director was royally roasted on Capitol Hill for the alleged political chicanery. She sweated all the way. No testimony was elicited on what favors, if any, Wilson may have received from GSA, but the night is young.

Back to Iglesias. Sometime attorney for the NM GOP, Pat Rogers, excoriates Iglesias in an op-ed piece, again saying his firing as U.S. Attorney was justified because he failed to prosecute voter fraud cases in the '04 presidential election year. Jokes about voter fraud are as old as New Mexico, but should the public accept the argument of Rogers and fellow GOP lawyer Mickey Barnett that such fraud is and was widespread today? How can they when they have yet to see convincing evidence of such activity? And where was the prosecution of voter fraud during the eight years Ronald Reagan was President in the 80's. We had a Republican U.S. Attorney then. Was he looking the other way too, as Rogers, Barnett, Bell, Domenici, and Wilson charge Iglesias?


Last week the Dems put up a radio ad going after Pete and Heather for their attempts to get Iglesias axed. Now a GOP front group is out with a radio ad of their own blasting fellow R Iglesias. A Democratic party spokesman says it's an example of the R's "eating their own." But Pete, and more so Heather, can't let the charges against them go unanswered as both are being weakened by the week.


Is the third time the charm? The NM Senate meets at noon today to decide, for the third time, whether to adjourn or begin the special session called for over a week ago by Governor Richardson. The House has already passed the special legislation he requested. With at least five Dem senators not expected to in Santa Fe today, wall-leaners say we could have a third adjournment and see the Senate come back next week to try again. On the other hand, public pressure is growing for them to meet and vote up or down on the Guv’s bills. If a Republican senator or two sees it that way, the chances improve for an actual session today. We’ll update the story this afternoon.


Looks like Big Bill will be having another rally for that Spaceport tax, and it will be this afternoon in Las Cruces. He added the rally to his southern swing late Wednesday. The election to raise the Dona Ana county gross receipts tax a quarter cent to help finance the nearly $200 million Spaceport is next Tuesday. Check out our Tuesday blog for the latest on the campaign.


Earlier this week we strayed off our usual beat and onto the basketball court to give notice to an emailer who called paying the new UNM Lobo basketball coach nearly $1 million a year "insanity." I agreed, saying former Lobo Coach McKay received big bucks and he couldn't deliver. But reader Jesse Dickson sure didn't agree.

"While 300k is certainly a lot of money to the average wage-earner, McKay most certainly did NOT make "big bucks" relative to his peers. The fact that you didn't include average salaries for Division One coaches suggests that you weren't thorough enough to seek them out...You should have stated explicitly that "big bucks" referred to "Joe Monahan's" opinion, and not the generally accepted norm for a base salary at the D1 level." And again, I'm talking about Coach McKay. So wrote Dickson.

Actually, wasn't McKay's package worth something like half a million bucks? Anyway, our viewpoint did receive support, even from a Lobo Club member.

"Our club is dominated by salesmen...They are susceptible to the hard sell and the over-promising that we have seen too often. This would be laughable were it not for the amount of money we are now paying. You are correct. This is New Mexico not New York. I would also say this is New Mexico not Texas. The academic reputation of Texas Tech was not enhanced by the hiring of Bobby Knight. I fear that new UNM president (David Schmidly) has shown a susceptibility to hype when he was Tech president and now here with the Alford hiring." Wrote our loyal Lobo.

Political passion obviously has nothing over the sports world.


Big Bill has announced what he would do as President of the USA during his first three days on the job. The first day, he would get out of Iraq. The second, he would announce a plan to drastically cut U.S. dependence on foreign oil. On the third day, the issue would be global warming. What about day four? He didn't say, but we would bet it would be abandoning that painful diet that would have helped make him President.

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