On Wednesday, a federal indictment of State Representative Ben Arredondo was released.
It alleges that Arredondo accepted slightly less than $6300 in tickets to sporting events and charity events in exchange for influence used on behalf of the givers of the largesse, FBI agents working undercover as representatives of a fake company seeking to do business in Tempe.
The matter is still unfolding, and more news will break before it is over.
Arredondo will have his day in court, and as someone who knows and likes him, I hope he is innocent and fends this off. However, if he's guilty, he should face the appropriate penalty.
Senate Minority Leader David Schapira, from Tempe, like Arredondo, has called for Arredondo's resignation, while House Minority Leader Chad Campbell of Phoenix expressed both shock at the charges and that Arredondo should be held accountable to the fullest extent of the law.
Having said all that, I've got a few thoughts on this:
- While if the allegations in the indictment are proven true it will be more than a little disappointing, it won't be all that surprising. Arredondo was one of a number of elected officials named in the report from the Fiesta Bowl organization concerning its scandal. The elected officials received trips and tickets to college football games prior to voting on matters that affected the Fiesta Bowl.
- Speaking of the Fiesta Bowl scandal, most or all of the electeds named in that report are probably finding that their digestive systems have turned into masonry production systems (aka "they're $hitting bricks") right about now. Wednesday's indictment may not be related to the Fiesta Bowl scandal, but the behavior cited in it is very similar. Just a guess here, but many of them
- The next elected on the feds' menu may not even be a state legislator. They're still going "round 'n round" with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, an investigation of Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne relating to some interesting campaign finance activity, and Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu is the subject of an investigation into allegations that he had some PCSO employees do campaign work, for his now-abandoned run for Congress, while they were on the job.
- Assuming that there is merit to the feds' allegations, the question will become "who's next, and for what?" After the Fiesta Bowl scandal broke, a number of bills were introduced by the Democrats in the legislature to tighten the ethics rules on gifts, etc. from people with an interest in matters before the lege.
Turns out some of the other legislators *really* like their freebies - the Republicans killed each and every attempt to clean up the legislature.
In other words, it's not "if" but "when" there will be a next time.