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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Monahan Ignores Realities, Sticks to Spinning for Old Guard; AG King Now Issuing Threats in Blogosphere

SnakeoilI wonder if Joe Monahan gets paid on the side by the forces of darkness that are gathered together in unity to keep the voting records of legislators a secret from their constituents, or if he merely kisses their bottoms so he can be privy to "insider" leaks. You know -- so he can continue to be a member in good standing in the good ol' boys club, enjoying grand entrances into dark lounges and sleazing along Roundhouse hallways to get the "inside scoop." Well, somebody's inside scoop anyway -- with that somebody almost always being a politico out to protect his or her hold on big campaign cash and all the other perks of old guard turf control.

Lately, I haven't had much time to think about the travesties of the political shill who calls himself -- with a straight face -- the best political blogger in New Mexico, but this post at m-pyre got me back in the swing of things. Marjorie rightly points out the selectiveness (and oily language) with which Monahan reports on issues to do with ethics, campaign finance reform, the power of incumbency and the right of nonprofits to educate the public.

Monahan Ignores Lawsuit Dismissal
I've been wondering myself why Joe's readers were never alerted to the fact that the juvenile, poorly written lawsuit filed by fallen Dem incumbents Sen. Shannon Robinson, Sen. James Taylor and Rep. Dan Silva against certain nonprofits and the winning Dems had been dismissed in its entirety. After all, the suit was a laughing stock in both the legal and political communities, even though Joe and way too many of his alligators thought it was peachy keen for the vanquished to try and get their primary contests overturned on the basis of, well, nothing that makes sense.

ImagesThese old school types have a habit of foaming at the mouth in reptilian excitement whenever the forces of darkness try to hold back reform and renewal in the Legislature. They are that into protecting the cozy and lucrative relationships that have long made it worthwhile for some of them to stay in the game in Santa Fe -- representing monied interests to the detriment of the needs of ordinary people in the state.

The Voter Awakening
The enemies of reform (and their mouthpieces) have been more than a bit upset of late because voters seem to be catching on that they do, indeed, have the power to get rid of out-of-touch incumbents and elect lawmakers who will represent their interests -- not merely those of big donors. It helps that the public is getting more and more access to info on how the lawmakers are behaving in the Roundhouse, and why. The voter awakening means that reformers are starting to come into their own in the New Mexico Legislature -- so much so that the old guard is petrified they're losing their clout, and may soon lose their power perches.

The last straw was probably the November 4th election. It must have been frightening for the powers that be to witness the defeat of Senate Minority Whip Leonard Lee Rawson, along with other status-quo defenders like Sen. Diane Snyder and Sen. Steve Komadina, both Republicans -- especially after three Dem reformers won seats in the June primary. Some in the old guard also seem alarmed that Senate Pro-Tem Democrat Tim Jennings is being called on the carpet for publicly supporting Republican Sen. Rawson in his losing race against reform Dem Stephen Fischmann. This bunch was no doubt upset that the word got out to voters that Rawson arranged a tasty appropriation to pave a road outside his business, located in a district other than his own.

Monahan to the Barricades with AG King
Images-3Enter Joe Monahan, who can always be counted on to defend the cronies and leak their spin about those who dare to take them on. Unfortunately, it seems that our (now) nominally Democratic Attorney General, Gary King, may well be in on the action in the darkness in some way, and is willing to do his part to keep the lights out. King, you may recall, issued a secretive opinion to the Secretary of State about the actions of the nonprofit New Mexico Youth Organized, which had sent out info on legislator voting records two months or more before an election.

The only public info we have on King's basis for claiming NMYO is a PAC is his now infamous declaration to the media that, "If it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it's a duck." Classy. King avoids questioning from the media or the public, yet is perfectly comfortable commenting about the official business of his office via wacky press releases and ... Joe Monahan?

Monahan was cranking away in spin mode today, revealing that King is going to "act" on the "nonprofit mess" by year's end. Monahan claimed that NMYO has "refused" to register as a PAC, as directed by the Secretary of State. Well, except that the last anyone heard, NMYO had been informed they didn't have to comply with that demand by the stated deadline because common sense negotiations would be undertaken between the parties. You can read Monahan's blather here, but I can't give you a direct link to the post because Joe evidently hasn't learned how to set up his "blog" in the proper manner yet.

AG King Now Announcing Legal Intentions Via Political Blog
Anyway, Monahan reported that AG King "told" him the $21,000 in fines that were levied by the Secretary of State on PRC candidate Jerome Block Jr. for his violations of public campaign finance law should be seen as an example of the kinds of fines King "has in mind" for nonprofits if he decides their actions violate state laws. That kind of statement sounds more like it originated in a mob den than in a New Mexico Attorney General's office.

First of all, am I the only one that finds it odd -- and unacceptable -- that our Attorney General is using a blog known for rumor-mongering to reveal his views on a legal matter currently being considered by the Attorney General's Office and the Secretary of State? Secondly, since when does the Attorney General levy fines? It's my understanding that the Secretary of State's office levies fines in cases like this, not the AG. Gary must either be feeling his oats -- or is so scared he doesn't have a leg to stand on that he's sunk to issuing threats in the blogosphere to try and put a "chill" on efforts to educate voters. Either way, this is getting more like a bad melodrama by the week -- pumped up by the well-placed leaks and "hit list" language of Joe Monahan.

Worries Plague "Pro-Business" Lawmakers
Monahan also "reveals" that certain lawmakers with what he calls a "pro-business bent" are worried about whose voting records and campaign contributions will be outed next by issue advocates. Joe predicts that Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez will be a "key player" in some kind of "action" to ice the nonprofits that dare to do the job they're legally sanctioned to perform. This I want to see. Democrats and voters in general have had it with the old, business-as-usual ways of doing things -- and the damage that is done by public servants using government to serve the wealthy elites and increase the profit margins of corporate interests. We're having some eureka moments out here in little-people land, and we've only just begun. Wait and see. And time -- and younger voters -- are on our side.

November 18, 2008 at 06:06 PM in 2008 NM State Legislature Races, Civil Liberties, Corporatism, Ethics & Campaign Reform, Government, Local Politics, Progressivism | Permalink

Comments

It seems like just a few years ago officials had news conferences and answered reporter's questions. Oh how I miss the good old days of direct Q & A in the public.

Posted by: Peter | Nov 18, 2008 6:31:23 PM

Tell it like it is.

Posted by: KG | Nov 18, 2008 7:31:19 PM

I love that snakes like Monahan, Scarantino and Gary King are finally getting called out for what they are. They are used to operating in the shadows with no one getting what they are really about. Thank god for the blogs that go where the Albuq. Journal and TV news fear to tread.

Congratulations to all the progressive reformers pushing out the muck of the past. It's a dirty job but somebody has to do it and fast.

Posted by: Reader 458 | Nov 19, 2008 1:20:21 AM

For me, Monahan's shtick has always been centered on the idea that realpolitik is fascinating, and that those who question backroom deals and corruption are naive bumpkins.

It's a sort of Willie Stark moral bankruptcy that Monahan sees as being "normal" and "American"...while those who would rather our government/politics be something more than Manny Aragon-esque are a threat to this twisted "American Way of Political Life".

It's pretty apparent Monahan has this deep-seated need to be accepted by the good 'ol boys he so obviously admires, and considers sycophancy a necessary entree to a world full of dashingly flamboyant, morally bankrupt deal-makers.

In the parlance of 2008, he's simply a poser, both in terms of "journalism" and in his role as lapdog lackey of the Manny Aragon crowd. Of course, since his whole neurosis is the need for attention, this thread and countless others serve to both feed his psyche and galvanize him with the antiquated Willie Stark types he idolizes.

Let's just admit he doesn't really exist and he'll go away.

Posted by: scot | Nov 19, 2008 6:51:54 AM

Many good points, scot, as usual. I know I'm helping to aggrandize Joe in a way by writing about him. On the other hand, I think it's important to knock down some of his more underhanded smears and conspiracy theories. Always a tradeoff.

You always make me chuckle with your wit. Makes my morning cuppa joe even better.

Posted by: barb | Nov 19, 2008 10:37:08 AM

Barb,

I don't think I've ever laughed so hard. You have such a way with words. Den of mobs indeed!

But seriously, you point out a really salient issue here--why is Gary King letting rumor about supposed plans his office has to impose big fines on small non-profits drift out through a blogger? Why is he not open and above board? It's a very serious question.

Bizarro.

Posted by: marjorie | Nov 19, 2008 4:03:14 PM

Thanks for the kind words. And it IS a salient question about why King would be revealing his intentions on a blog. Very strange indeed.

Posted by: barb | Nov 19, 2008 8:11:52 PM

I hate to disagree with you Marjorie and Barb, but I don't see it as a salient question about Gary King "leaking" this to a blog.

Joe's treating his blog like any other news outlet. This might have been as simple as Joe emailing King and asking him about it, or King picked a media outlet he wanted to release the information to first. If bloggers want to be considered on par with reporters, then this is kind of a moot point.

So he (might have) leaked it to a blog. But to be fair, I heard this same thing floating around a week or so ago.

Posted by: Benson | Nov 20, 2008 4:23:39 PM

Monahan is not a journalist or a reporter. He writes a gossip column that is often wrong. He spreads rumors. He lies.

This is not just some minor story being broken on a blog. It is about official legal business of the Attorney General's office. You don't have a leg to stand on Benson.

Posted by: Josie | Nov 20, 2008 7:10:24 PM

Josie,

Yeah, actually I have more than a leg to stand on here, I have a rock solid foundation. Just because you don't like what Monahan writes about makes him no less of a journalist than any of the NMI writers, or a writer for the Journal.

What about V.B. Price? He writes a weekly column for a Web site. Is he a journalist? What about LP at FBIHOP? He writes (damn well by the way) from primarily one point of view. Is he not a journalist?

That's the great thing about the Internet, it opens up a world of of possibility for civic journalism and content creation.

Posted by: Benson | Nov 20, 2008 7:53:12 PM

You're missing the point Benson. Legal views from any attorney general's office are serious business with often huge ramifications and are never to be treated frivolously, like King did with the Monahan plant.

In your definition, I guess Drudge is a journalist too.

If bloggers write stories using journalistic principles, then they can be considered journalists or reporters on those stories. Monahan doesn't do that. He spins, lies and leaks in the most sneaky way.

Posted by: GH | Nov 20, 2008 8:34:30 PM