Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Election Fraud? UPDATE

The Albuquerque Metro Crime Stoppers’ Coordinator, Detective Patrica Paiz was improperly elected as a delegate to the Republican Party’s State Pre-Primary Convention in Albuquerque, March 15, according to a Bernalillo County Republican Party ruling.

Long-time Republican Party activist Alan Leonetti seen here, left, with Rep. Steve Pearce at his announcement for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici; in the background is Pearce's wife Cynthia talking to former Lt. Gov. Walter Bradley.

Leonetti of Ward 21, filed a challenge with the State GOP’s rules committee against Paiz’ election. Leonetti’s letter cites the Uniform State Rules that a delegate “…must be a qualified and properly registered Republican voter….” Paiz signed into the Feb. 17, 2008 County’s caucus using an address on Fruit Ave. N.E., in Albuquerque, NM. Paiz was elected to the State convention with the most votes from the ward. Four delegates were selected to attend and Leonetti was fifth on the list with four votes.

The Chair of the Advisory State Rules Committee Lou Melvin sent the challenge to the County Party for resolution.

Bernalillo County GOP Chairman Fernando C. de Baca, left, convened a hearing, March 13, to render a decision. Paiz did not attend but was represented by attorney Colin Hunter and presented Paiz’ affidavit. Hunter worked in Heather Wilson’s Washington office as legislative director until the end of 2007, when he returned to Albuquerque. Hunter claimed he was working only for Paiz and not representing any campaign.

In Paiz’ affidavit, she stated she was registered at the Fruit Ave. address that she owned since 1985. She admitted, “I have been living at this property on and off since 2003.” She went on to state that, “Since November 2007, I have been temporarily residing with my son in a house in Bernalillo county at (number deleted) Durand RD SW, Albuquerque N.M. 87105. This is not my home and I do not plan on living here long term. I am listed co-owner of this piece of property because my son was unable to qualify for a loan on his own.”

C. de Baca ruled that Paiz did not “reside” in Ward 21 and was not qualified as a delegate to the State Pre-Primary Convention. He based his decision using documents availably publicly, including the 2007 Bernalillo County Assessor’s ownership records, which were updated in October 2007.

The State GOP overruled C. de Baca and issued a delegate’s credential in Paiz’ name, though she did not attend.

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This young man, talking to Congresswoman Heather Wilson at the Republican Party’s State Pre-Primary Convention has the voting proxy of Paiz around his next.

Wilson’s Campaign Media Advisor Whitney Cheshire, left, refuses to identify him, because she insists on knowing how the photo is going to be used. In the media, that's not how it works. This elected delegate, with three sets of credentials around his neck has taken on the mantle of a public figure, by legal definition. It is further indication of the state of political affairs, as hired guns try to hide from facts.

The campaigns of Rep. Wilson, for the GOP primary nomination for the U.S. Senate seat vacated by Sen. Pete Domenici, and Bernalillo County Sheriff Darren White, for Rep. Wilson’s job, were well organized for the county caucus. Both campaigns enlisted numerous delegates to attend the convention to assure that they would elect loyal followers to the Republican Party’s State Pre-Primary Convention.

Wilson and White had slates of favored delegates printed on sheets of papers for each of their supporters as voting guides. White’s list was printed on yellow paper and Wilson on white paper. Apparently the names on the two lists were identical for each Ward. There is nothing illegal or improper about this; it is grassroots politics at its best.

It may not represent the wider political thought in the community, but the Wilson and White campaigns sent strong contingents to the State convention.

There were allegations from several wards that some of the delegates said they had been paid to attend and vote for the published slate of candidates. The County’s Ward Caucuses determines 156 of the 437 statewide delegates to the State Party’s Pre-Primary Convention. There are 20 wards that are the same as State House of Representative Districts. The smallest ward in the county, ward 10, represented by Democrat Henry Kiki Saavedra, in a split district with Valencia County, in the South Valley, has only two delegates while the largest ward, ward 27, represented by Republican Larry A. Larrañaga, in the Northeast Heights, has 15 delegates based on Republican voter registration in each ward according to Party boss C. de Baca.

Former New Mexico Governor David Cargo, left, introduced Rep. Steve Pearce at his Albuquerque Senate candidacy announcement. Cargo later distanced himself from Pearce. Cargo complained to 770 KKOB News Anchor Laura MacCallum Radio that there were people at the Ward 31 caucus he had never seen before. Cargo said in past years only a handful of showed up. Fellow blogger Dennis Domrzalski wrote:
Cargo began passing around a sign-up sheet. “'I said ‘I’m going to pass around notebook and would like to have you write down your names and address and phone number so I can call you and put you to work for the party,’ Cargo said. 'Then one gal got up and said, ‘We aren’t working for any party; we’re here only this one time and we won’t be back.’”

Domrzalski wrote a series of articles for his blog on the issue. I contributed photographs and reporting to his series.

Fifty-two Republicans signed-in to vote at the Ward 31 caucus; they elected 14 delegates to the State convention. Cargo was not one of those selected. Darren White’s wife, Jennifer, left, was elected as the 13th delegate, while the sheriff was the 14th delegate according to records obtained from the County GOP.

Cargo attempted to strike a compromise with White to no avail according to C. de Baca who spoke with Cargo and White.

In other Wards there were similarly large numbers of delegates.

The number of caucus attendees in the past was on average about 200; this year, “a little over 700 people attended,” C. de Baca, said in an interview. A $30 convention fee was collected from 521 people to participate he said.

State Sen. Joe Carraro, who was an announced candidate for Congressional District 1 seat was unable to garner enough votes from his own ward to be elected as a delegate to the state convention.

Republican legislators, Senators Carraro, Mark Boitano and Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones were considering running for congress against White and each reported being approached by Party officials attempting to discourage them from running. Party operatives then threatened to smear each.

Carraro was threatened with exposure of being associated as a consultant with Real Turf & Putting Greens. Carraro was so exposed, as if his business dealings were some kind of major ethics violation.

Boitano, above, was threatened with his religious preference. He was married in the Rev. Sun Yung Moon’s Unification Church.

The threat against Arnold-Jones was not direct, but through an adult child who may have upset conservatives, who viewed her associations with dismay.

There was a flurry of activity on the blogosphere, but limited coverage in the mainstream media.

MacCallum resigned from KKOB radio when her boss, Pat Allen pulled the Cargo story, writing:
From: "Pat Allen"
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 09:22:27 -0800


i pulled the cargo stories. i'm troubled by his motivation as he was not selected as a delegate. unless there is an official investigation of criminal wrongdoing related to these meetings then the story is going nowhere.

it's also a very inside politics story that i don't think has much importance to our listeners.
also, don't you think if there was anything to it the bloggers would have picked this up, let alone other news agencies?

this is the kind of story that has to be fully developed and verified before it can air.

pat allen news director 770 kkob radio, Albuquerque
Domrzalski co-hosts “Eye on New Mexico,” a Sunday morning talk program, on KOB TV with Nicole Brady. He invited Gov. Cargo to speak about his allegation of vote buying. Domzalski also invited White and Wilson or representatives from their campaigns; Republican Party officials also declined. However, Attorney Patrick Rogers of the Modrall Sperling law firm agreed to be a guest. As a lawyer, Rogers has previously represented the State GOP and Rep. Wilson. He was a Legislative Assistant to United States Senator Harrison H. Schmitt. Rogers claims to be a First Amendment specialist and represented issues for the State Republican Party. One of his main concerns is fighting “voter fraud.” He is one of the Republican operatives who contacted White House Aide Karl Rove about firing New Mexico’s U.S. Attorney David Iglesias.

Iglesias was fired along with seven other U.S. Attorneys for what appears to be political reasons. Several of the recently fired U.S. Attorneys testified before Congress explaining that each had been removed for either not prosecuting Democrats or for having prosecuted Republicans.

Iglesias revealed in his testimony before both Senate and House committees that he had received a phone calls from Rep. Wilson directly asking the status of possible grand jury indictments in an alleged kickback fraud scheme involving the construction of the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Courthouse. Iglesias also received a phone call from Sen. Domenici.

During the “Eye on New Mexico” program Rogers blasted Cargo saying some Republicans didn’t like Cargo because he was a supporter of Hillary Clinton. Cargo attended a Clinton rally where I photographed him with former President Bill Clinton. Rogers claimed Cargo only made contributions to Democrats, including former New Mexico State Treasurer Robert Vigil, who was indicted and convicted in a investment kickback scheme case. Rogers would later retract his statement.

Rogers also produced an invoice from Lou Melvin claiming she paid Cargo’s registration fee to the caucus four-years earlier. Cargo called it a lie. The invoice was dated March 7, 2008, the day the program was taped.

“There were a lot of people from my ward who were never involved in county party conventions,” State Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones said when she was interviewed about the vote buying allegations. The never seen before group, all of whom admitted that they were from Heather Wilson’s campaign, each had letter size sheet of paper with a slate of people to be state delegates, she said. One young man, tried to introduce the entire slate and that was not going to happen he grumbled and that he “was only paid for 2 hours.” There also was a young lady who told Arnold-Jones that she had not lived in the district for nine years, but still uses her grandmother’s address. Arnold-Jones asked the delegate if she was going to attend the state convention, she said no. She was only there for the day. She couldn’t possibly make it to the state convention because she had guard duty that weekend and was trying to acquire a proxy, Arnold-Jones said.

As disclosed before, I have provided photographs for Arnold-Jones’ 2006 campaign and was scheduled to shoot her current campaign, though she has no opponent in the primary or general elections.

At the Republican Party’s State Pre-Primary Convention, Pat Rogers, right, was spokesman for the credentials committee and made a report to the gathering about trouble the committee was having sorting out the credentials. Rogers said that the problem was due to the current and former Secretary of State’s having fouled up the district lines. Rep. Arnold-Jones, left, was on her feet and challenged Rogers to explain his statement based on the fact that the legislative districts were set as a result of the 2000 census, and had not been changed during the time frame Rogers claimed. Rogers conceded the point and later in the meeting he reported the credentials committee's problem was solved when they located a missing box, which was misplaced after it was put in a pile without emptying its contents. It had nothing to do with the Secretary of State.

Sheriff White was the Bernalillo County Bush-Cheney 2004 chairman and a harsh critic of Iglesias.

White claimed Iglesias, as US Attorney, failed to aggressively pursue voter fraud cases in Bernalillo County.

White took his complaints to Iglesias’ boss at the US Justice Department, Kyle Sampson who was Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' chief of staff.

Iglesias has been touting his book, “In Justice: Inside the scandal that rocked the Bush Administration.”

Iglesias made his first book signing a family affair,with his four daughters greeting the audience of about 300 at Albuquerque Academy, May 18.

His wife Cindi, spoke with the press and members of the the audience, while he signed books .

The national release of the book is today, although advance copies were available since May 14.

Iglesias took on White at a book signing at Bookworks a couple of weeks ago. Jim Kerr provides video of the comment.

White does not have an impeccable record of pursuing voter fraud cases. Last year during the recall effort and ethics hearing against City Councillor Don Harris, a woman in Harris’ district, Ellen Ward learned that her signature had been forged.

Ward, above, filed a complaint with the City Clerk. The Clerk forwarded the complaint to Sheriff White’s department.

Councillor Sally Mayer, left, watches White sign election paperwork making his campaign official. His son Darren II is in the middle. Thanks to Mayer pushing a piece of legislation through council that now requires the identification of the petition gatherer on each petition, identifying the alleged perpetrator should have made finding the offender no problem.

Bernalillo County Sheriff'’s Department Public Information Officer Erin Kinnard Thompson, seen above center in the white blouse, stood behind her boss when White announced his candidacy for Congress. Kinnard Thompson was unaware of the case, said she would look into it, but did not return the results of her Inquiry. However, a check with APD/BCSO Central Records revealed an incident number was generated, but no report has been filed and no case number was issued. Police translation; nothing has been done.

At the Memorial Day ceremonies Monday May 26 at the Veterans Memorial Park in Albuquerque, elected officials were introduced with the noted exception of Sen. Carraro.

Rep. Wilson’s congressional office issued a news release stating the Congresswoman “…gave the keynote address….” However, the official program listed Marine Colonel Dean Triebel as giving the keynote address. Wilson was listed with other Congressional dignitaries under “Memorial Remembrance.”

The Congressional list included Rep. Steve Pearce, Wilson, Sen. Domenici, who was incorrectly identified as a Congressman and Sen. John McCain of Arizona; Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was accompanying McCain.

Sen. McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee gave a 20-minute speech that touched on the campaign.

The State and National Republican Parties endorsed White for the Congressional seat in direct contradiction of Party rules, which are then incorporated into State law when the law requires parties to have rules and the law will enforce them.
Party officers shall not publicly endorse one Republican candidate over another Republican candidate.
President George W. Bush arrived in Albuquerque Tues. May 27, to hold a private fund raiser for White.

White was not at the airplane and the dignitary pool, the Base Commander and staff were hidden by the presidential SUV.

Bush was in public view less than four minutes. His only public business was to award Fran Macintyre the President's Volunteer Service Award, after disembarking Air Force One at Kirtland Air Force Base, before heading to a North Valley fundraiser for Sheriff Darren White's Congressional District 1 campaign.

Macintyre is a volunteer with Roadrunner Food Bank, Friends for the Library and New Mexico AIDS Services.

Upon returning to Kirtland Air Force, stretched out in the rear of the presidential SUV, Bush trudged up the stairs and waved goodbye to a non-existent crowd.

After seven and a half years, I finally photographed Bush. Memorial Day was 42 years since I covered my first presidential event – Lyndon Baines Johnson's Memorial Day speech at Arlington National Cemetery.

The less than two-hour trip, with a lack of public events, typifies this administration's lack of public contact. In the media world, presidential coverage is often long waits, security checks, harsh weather – hot or cold, rain or shine – with brief glimpses.

The media dutifully waits and covers each aspect, even down to what is referred to as "the Death Watch," keeping cameras trained on Air Force One, with tape rolling until the speck in the sky disappears.

Sen. Carraro contends that it is improper for the Party to endorse a candidate in a contested race. He cited the State law at a press conference held at his campaign headquarters Friday May 30. Carraro said he had sought assistance from Attorney General Gary King. “They said there is a Federal preemption,” Carraro said, “but they (the Attorney General’s office) can’t give me a citation.” It might be because, even though it is a federal office, the elections are a state process. Even presidential elections are state run. I would like to see any federal preemption.


I undertook this story thinking it was a case of campaigns paying participants to attend and vote for them. Though there were some irregularities in the Wilson campaign having issued five checks to cover the $30 convention fee. Wilson’s checks were unusual because the County Chairman has a policy of waiving the fee of those who state that it would be a hardship. If the County Party waives the fee, it removes any suspicion that a campaign acted improperly.

It is clear at least in the case of Paiz, that she was unqualified as a resident and her affidavit does not match the public record. I further visited the Fruit Avenue address, which is a two-story, four unit apartment building. I spoke with one of the residents who had lived at the property for more than two years, and he stated that Paiz had not lived on the property since he was there.
B. Conventions: Each participant, Delegate, Officer, or candidate for same, to or of:
any Republican State Convention,
any Republican County Convention,
any Republican Ward Caucus,
or any Republican Precinct Caucus
must be a qualified and properly registered Republican voter in the New Mexico County, Ward, or Precinct involved.
It is apparent that Sheriff’s department is not interested in investigating cases which might touch on White’s political affiliations as another anointed candidate.

UPDATE: Wed. June 4, 2008, 6:15

Bernalillo County Sheriff'’s Department PIO Kinnard Thompson contacted this blog at 6:14 P.M. to indicate that the status of the investigation into the allegations of City Councillor Don Harris recall petition forgery was ongoing. Detective Jeremy Guilmette is having trouble locating victims, but is continuing the investigation. As of Monday, there was no initial report filed. This is highly unusual as sound police practices mandate the filing of a report as soon as possible. In this case there is no reason not to file an initial report. The original complaint was filed with the City Clerk, in front of the media, copies were obtained.

We will monitor Sheriff White and Detective Guilmette on the out come of this investigation. I will take up Kinnard Thompson's offer to check back on the progress of this case.

1 comment:

Robb Hamic said...

Fantastic investigation, pictures and story. Sometimes commonsense just doesn't make sense in New Mexico. You have clearly indicated a few cases. Paiz should get indicted along with all of the other people who committed crimes.

I am glad that you are pursuing your investigations. I also document people committing crimes in New Mexico and the New Mexico government not taking any actions on my blog. It is truly frustrating.