Thursday, May 17, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.
May be apples and oranges on some level, but yesterday's bust of State Representative Ben Arredondo after a fairly elaborate FBI sting, got us to thinking about Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his onetime henchman (i.e. chief deputy) Dave Hendershott.
"TIcket Brokering" Ben Arredondo back in the day.
The federal indictment against the veteran Tempe pol claims that he demanded tickets to myriad sporting events and other favors from a fake company invented by the FBI that supposedly sought to do development deals in Tempe.
The sting was reminiscent of the early 1990s AzScam scandal, in which Phoenix police working closely with then-County Attorney Rick Romley ensnared (but did not "entrap") seven legislators, five lobbyists and others in major, money-related felony wrongdoing.
So, what does Ben Arredondo have to do with the two-headed monster AKA Joe Arpaio and Dave Hendershott?
Nothing directly, at least that we know of at present.
But here's our angle:
Several people wound up doing prison time.
AzScam was the biggest political corruption scandal in Arizona history, and it made the more recent Fiesta Bowl brouhaha--Arredondo also was involved in that one, natch--seem small potatoes by comparison.
According to published reports, the G-men (and women, of course) spent more than a year and unknown tens of thousands of dollars luring Arredondo into their web. In so doing, they apparently got their guy to bite like a large-mouth bass, and won some nice headlines.
Whoopee! Another dirty slime-ball legislator bites the dust.
But what about those big kahunas, Arpaio and his longtime-joined-at-the-hip bud Hendershott?
The feds seemingly have been investigating them and disbarred former County Attorney Andrew Peyton Thomas and others for, well, forever.
We're not just talking about the racial profiling and civil rights stuff that garnered headlines
recently after the Justice Department announced a sweeping lawsuit against the MCSO.
We're talking criminal charges, real live felonies.
Alas, the concept of put-up-or-shut-up seems moot at this point.
Collaring low-hanging fruit like Arredondo is fine by us. But going after the MCSO and MCAO big boys for wrongdoing that has been publicized by us and others for going on two decades seems to have been too much for the "vaunted" FBI to execute.