Gary’s Italian Mafia Holiday

Paulie and TonyAttorney General Gary King is cracking down on the seething, Mafioso cesspool in New Mexico by taking a trip to Italy next week.  Granted, King has been working with law enforcement officials from Mexico as of late to combat crime that is trickling over the border, yet is it really necessary to go all the way to Italy to learn about ways to combat organized crime?  I figure he would do just as well going to Jersey and hitting up Tony Soprano and Paulie Walnuts  for that info, so he could come back and spend more time in New Mexico.

I’d also figure the Attorney General would want to experience the entire week-long conference, seeing how much he wants to learn about fighting organized crime, instead of the mere three days he plans on attending (here and here).  For anyone who’s attended long conferences like these, you know the first few days are mostly full of jet lag, intros, and mixers anyways.

And it’s obvious that other border states are just as interested in learning about Italy’s infamous crime fighting ways as the other state AG’s who are attending are from Idaho and North Dakota.  It definitely makes me wonder why AGs from border states California, Arizona, and Texas decided not to attend. Perhaps they figured out that they could get the same information from an upcoming and very similar conference being held by California’s Attorney General. Or shoot, why not even take the two-hour flight to, I don’t know, how about Mexico, to learn about border crime.

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The Karma of Quack: Gary King and Pay-to-Sue

duckbillNew Mexico Attorney General Gary King was singled out for a special scolding by the mighty Wall Street Journal yesterday over the so-called “pay-to-sue” practices allegedly common among some state Attorneys General.

Yesterday’s editorial was triggered after King called the paper to complain about being mentioned in a previous WSJ editorial called The Pay-to-Sue Business.

That April 16th editorial focused on the questionable practice of state attorneys general accepting large campaign donations from law firms, then turning around and retaining those firms in no-bid contracts for “off-the-shelf” suits that require little original work.  Most of the editorial focused on Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell and donations he accepted in 2006 from the firm of Houston attorney F. Kenneth Bailey, who was later given a no-bid, contingency-fee contract to sue a pharmaceutical company on behalf of the state.

But the piece, in listing other contributions made nationwide by the Houston firm, also mentioned a $50,000 campaign donation the firm made to King shortly before his election in 2006.

In yesterday’s editorial, titled Mr. King and His Courtiers, the WSJ explained how King’s explosive reaction to merely being mentioned in the story compelled them to look more closely at operations in King’s office.

“Some public officials are touchier than others. Take Gary King, the New Mexico Attorney General, who reacted to our recent passing reference to him by denouncing us and calling our pay-to-play facts nothing but politics. That sounded like an invitation to investigate Mr. King further, and, sure enough, he deserves an editorial all to himself.”

The editorial goes on to dig into the details regarding the donation to King from the Houston firm and notes that the firm was later retained by the state of New Mexico to sue a pharmaceutical company in a suit similar to others the firm had tried. It also uncovers some embarrassing irregularities regarding the contracts and ultimately, forces King to defend the practice of contracting private law firms altogether.

The knock on King has not gone unnoticed in New Mexico.

Perhaps the most interesting response comes from conservative blogger Mario Burgos, who references widely-ridiculed statements that King has made in connection with his definition of political campaign intervention, an issue that is currently in the courts.

“There’s an old saying that if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then its probably a duck,” say AG King. “And I think we know a duck when we see one.”

I’m quite certain King is hoping no one decides to use the old “quacks like a duck” legal standard on him in this case.

Week’s End Flashback: Open ConCom Bill signed, Health Care Reform, polluter bailouts, more Monahan mashing, King v. Balderas and a Pot Poll

As we plunge into a new week, here’s a flashback on some of the stories/posts we found interesting from last week’s fare:

Governor Richardson signed Open Conference Committees bill

Marjorie at M-Pyre speculated on the Gov’s game of cat and mouse.

Steve Terrell told us so and paid tribute to the late Bob Johnson.

Peter St. Cyr makes strong  case for health care reform
Sweeping Good Government Reform Bill Awaits Governor’s Signature.

Dr. John Fogarty warns of another corporate bailout
Polluters are pushing for their own massive bailout

APS and the Office of Circumlocution
Burque Babble translates the hidden meanings in an APS press release.

Who’s Twittering?  Matt has the answers.
New Mexico Twitter users

Attorney General Gary King uses subpoena power against political rival
Haussamen:  AG, auditor engage in a legal food fight

Monahan got skewered again and again over SunCal avoidance,  anonymous sources and blogger credentials

Inkstain:  Anonymous Sources

Monahan ignores SunCal news

Linthicum-Monahan feud continues

And self-appointed defender of the blogosphere Monahan refuses to doesn’t have a NM blogroll.

National blogger Nate Silver gave us some generational polling on pot
Why Marijuana Legalization is Gaining Momentum

And finally, in the Val Kilmer for Governor Watch
Val Kilmer gets the support of fellow actor Russell Means.