Mario Burgos

Clear thinking and straight talk from the top of a mountain.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Who Would Vote for Jerome Block Jr?

Looks like Attorney General Gary King is going to move forward with an investigation into Jerome Block Jr's dishonest use of public financing funds (subscription):

Attorney General Gary King said investigating a Public Regulation Commission candidate who has acknowledged lying about an expenditure he made with public funds is a "front-burner" issue for his office.

But King said he's not sure when a decision will be made about whether to pursue charges against Jerome Block Jr., the Democratic nominee for a PRC seat in northern New Mexico's District 3.

Block in a campaign finance report said he paid $2,500 to a band — whose members include the San Miguel County clerk — for a performance at a May campaign rally.

When news organizations questioned the expenditure, Block repeatedly insisted the performance had occurred. He admitted this week that he had lied, saying he had wanted to avoid further publicity and was unsure how to reflect a refund.
I had wondered late last month when heads would begin to roll this election cycle for the "questionable" (read: illegal) campaign activities. My only concern is here is that the Attorney General is making this a "front burner" issue. I'm not sure how "front burner" compares to "top priority," but if they're equal Jerome Block, Jr, may well have collected $180,000 in salary before the investigation is complete.

How do I figure that? Simple. Investigating the Housing Authority fraud was a top priority for this Attorney General, and that investigation started 24 months ago without anyone being indicted to date.

Now, of course, there is one way to make sure that Mr. Block, Jr. doesn't get to collect that cushy salary - don't elect him. Obviously, I'm not in his district, so I don't really have a vote here, but considering the facts to date. I can't imagine how anyone in their right mind would vote to elect this guy. It looks like his troubled legal history is not even close to behind him.

As a closing note, please remember this guy is running on our dime. This is a publicly financed campaign. Those who argue for public financing of campaigns love to say that one of the reasons for having them is to encourage those who might not otherwise be able to run be given a chance. With candidates like Jeorme Block, Jr., I'm inclined to think we might all be better off if certain types of candidates couldn't run.

If proponents of publicly funded campaigns are going to keep ramming this thing down our throat. Could they at least change the law, so that anyone with a criminal record is prohibited from getting publicly funded. Is that too much to ask?

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