And it is a Republican Primary in the Arizona Attorney General’s race, which has caused so many “conservatives” and self-proclaimed sophisticates, to turn a blind eye to the revelation that an FBI agent; an agent of Eric Holder’s DOJ, provided false testimony against Arizona’s duly elected Attorney General.
While political enemies turned a blind eye to abuses, in administrative law Judge Tammy Eigenheer’s courtroom; justice was blind.
The tape didn’t seem important at the time
Eigenheer found that Attorney General Horne and Kathleen Winn, who was heading up an independent expenditure, did not violate state election laws. Political enemies had alleged that Horne and Winn had illegal communications about a purportedly independent campaign backing Horne’s 2010 election campaign.
Few dispute claims made by lawyers for Horne that Agent Brian Grehoski lied in Eigenheer’s courtroom in March. According to the court record, Grehoski lied when he claimed that he had asked real estate agent Greg Tatham, if Horne consulted Winn on a personal real estate deal. Read court transcript here..
He did not ask Tatham, and what had been considered an insignificant recording of a conversation between Grehoski, became evidence of the government’s abuse of process and power.
The recording had been taken by Tatham. It had not been mentioned early in the case, and wouldn’t have ever been entered into evidence had Grehoski told the truth.
The truth was that Grehoski had never asked Tatham if Winn, a real estate professional who had offered advice to her friend Tom Horne over the years, might have talked to Horne about a real estate sale that pending at the time.
Apparently, Horne was having difficulty with commercial real estate property he was selling. Winn, a licensed mortgage broker, attempted to secure financing for a previous buyer of the property and subsequently Horne turned to her when he came up short for closing costs in a 1031 exchange, according to the Court’s record.
Her phone logs which were provided to the FBI at the onset of the investigation, which showed that she had been helping Horne on the deal, in a difficult commercial lending market, since March 2010.
The agents and the political enemies ignored them as it contradicted their own preconceived conclusion. It was as inconvenient truth that was brushed aside as unhelpful to the political agenda.
Winn and Horne claim that the calls that occurred between the two of them were about the pressing real estate deal. Political enemies say that the calls were about a television ad Winn’s IE was preparing for air against Felecia Rotellini, Horne’s democrat challenger in the 2012 General election.
Political enemies, through Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, sought to sell Judge Eigenheer on the notion that Winn and Horne discussed whether Rotellini’s name should be mentioned 3 or 4 times in the advertising spot.
The judge was supposed to believe that Winn, who after studying radio and television at the University of Arizona, and who upon graduation, took a job as a television reporter, and who then started her own marketing company, was now taking advice from the socially-inept-egg-headed-absent-minded-professor-type Tom Horne.
There was no tape recording of Winn and Horne’s conversation. There were no witnesses to the conversation except Winn and Horne. Both Horne and Winn denied that they were talking about the ad. Winn’s consultant testified that he made changes to the ad at the suggestion of Winn, not Horne. There was a real estate deal pending at the time.
Still, political enemies brought before the Court a circumstantial case based on a lying federal agent, and a case he has built lying to employees of the Arizona Attorney General’s Office.
The nonexistent secret bank account
During their interviews with agents, the law enforcement professionals at the Arizona Attorney General’s Office were told that Winn had a secret bank account. It was implied that if they were in any way involved with Winn, they too would be considered part of a conspiracy involving the ominous secret bank account.
However, there was no secret bank account. As sophisticated as they were in the ways of interrogation, it is likely that the AG staff understood that they were being played by the very agents they considered colleagues.
Had they been involved in some vast conspiracy to make a 30 second ad, they could have been found in violation of an Arizona election law that prohibits coordination between campaigns and Independent expenditures, among other civil violations. They would have been liable for tremendous civil penalties.
More importantly, the highest law enforcement officer in the State of Arizona would have been guilty of breaking the law he had sworn to enforce.
Winn and others knew the laws. When Horne won in 2010, he took over from Terry Goddard. Horne’s staff, specifically Kathleen Winn, had had to call Goddard’s staff as a courtesy, and have them remove Goddard’s campaign materials from the AG’s offices. Horne’s staff was surprised that Goddard and his team were so reckless in ignoring campaign laws.
As a result, they had been careful to make sure they used their lunch hours and other off time to work on campaign related matters. They had to be very cautious because unlike Goddard, who enjoyed the benefits of a press willing to ignore his and his staff’s lack of good judgment, Horne, as Republican, was a prime target.
Putting truth aside
On a side note, it wasn’t until Judge Eigenheer found no credible evidence that Horne and Winn had violated the law, did the political enemies trot out more allegations through what is described as a disgruntled employee. That accuser has ties to political enemies in the Republican Party establishment as well.
And it appears that the Republican Party establishment is the driving force behind the witch hunt by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, in the forefront, and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery behind the scenes.
While the question about the IE, Winn and Horne was first brought out as a result of an investigation called for by Horne himself, the establishment of the Republican Party wants to drive Horne out of office. And the Democrats are happily watching the Republicans engage in their favorite blood sport; eating each other.
According to the conservative website Seeingredarizona.com, the republicans fueling the attacks are “McCain Machine mouthpieces” and include power hungry hopefuls like little know state legislator Paul Boyer and the way up to Congressman Matt Salmon who support “the hand-picked McMachine candidate — Mark Brnovich who can advance, and in turn advance” the establishment‘s agenda.
While Horne won conservative support for his work defending the state of Arizona laws in the Supreme Court, he won the chambers-of-commerce-republican-establishment ire for his work in the U.S. Airways merger. One financial planner in the Republican Party told the AZDI at the time of Horne’s appearance on CNBC to discuss the case, that Horne would and should be destroyed for siding with consumers and not investors. Those investors, according to the planner, had lost a lot of money and his actions on behalf of consumers would not be forgotten or forgiven.
Money talks, and the enemies of Horne have a lot of money and use it generously to destroy enemies when necessary. He may have won some support from independents and moderate democrats or the move, but he made some greedy enemies.
Putting politics aside, if that is ever really possible in this case, the fact that a federal agent could provide false testimony while under oath before a duly seated judge, should scare the hell out of anyone say courtroom observers.
In her decision, Judge Eigenheer relied on the fact that the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office openly acknowledged that it had marginal circumstantial case and no witnesses or evidence that the content of phone conversations or the e-mails between Winn, and Horne concerned campaign issues.
Democracy requires truth to power
In March, FBI spokesman Manuel Johnson told the Arizona Republic, that “our office is that we not just support Grehoski, but all agents who have the assignment of working with public corruption.” Johnson said public corruption probes can be difficult.
Democracy can be difficult when civil liberties are compromised. If federals agents are discovered to be agents, whether inadvertently or deliberately, for the political enemies of the highest elected law enforcement officer of a state, then we are facing difficult times for all.
Note: On Friday, Winn and Horne filed an appeal in Superior Court due to the fact that Polk refuses to accept did not except Judge Tammy Eigenheer’s. It is unlikely that Polk will accept any truth until after the Republican Primary Election.