Friday, March 12, 2010 at 6:17 p.m.
Remember the big news yesterday when Andy Thomas and Joe Arpaio claimed "victory" for convincing the U.S. Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section to investigate myriad claims they've been making about alleged "corruption" in Maricopa County?
It should come as no shock that the spin, as manufactured by Joe and Andy and their big-shot -- and big-waisted -- Washington D.C. attorney Robert Driscoll (pictured with Arpaio in the photo at yesterday's press conference), was deliciously duplicitous:
We don't need to sue all those bad guys anymore (paraphrasing here), the trio chortled; we don't need to do anything. We just gave the feds -- our newly beloved feds whom we now trust like never before -- everything we've been working on for so long.
Watch them get to the bottom of everything!
They'll take care of the bastards, and if they don't, well, we'll just add `em to our ever-growing list of conspirators trying to bring down this great jurisdiction -- by which we mean us, Joe and Andy.
The increasingly Orwellian-sounding County Attorney Andy Thomas called it a "victory." Yes, Andy. War is peace. Love is hate. A loss is a win.
Well, not so fast.
Here's the second-day story, straight from the 202 (the Washington D.C. area code, not our local highway).
We just got our hands on a copy of a stern letter written to Arpaio's attorney, Driscoll, by Raymond N. Hulser, the acting chief of said Public Integrity Section. We've linked to it here
Acting chief Hulser reminded Driscoll that when they spoke "briefly" on March 1, Hulser had told him that they agency is "always willing" to look at potential criminal information.
Hulser also alerted the attorney that "we would not interfere in any way with the ongoing investigation being conducted [into the affairs of both Arpaio and Thomas] by the U.S. Attorney's Office" and that his section would share any information they got with the Arizona feds.
Hulser wrote that, based on that March 1 conversation, his expectation was "that you would provide a "written summary" of the alleged federal criminal violations against Maricopa County officials and others.
But to Hulser's surprise, Driscoll sent over "virtually the entire file" from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office -- thousands of pages of documents and electronic media.
"That production was not called for, and we do not intend to review the entire file," Hulser wrote.
The chief noted that he had become aware that Andy Thomas recently convinced Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores to look into some of the same issues that Arpaio/Thomas mouthpiece Driscoll have been yipping about for some time.
"We do not intend to interfere with Flores' review, nor with any other ongoing investigations," Hulser wrote.
But Hulser reserved his testiest comments for near the end of his two-page letter.
"In these circumstances," he told Driscoll, "I was dismayed to learn that your mere referral of information to the Public Integrity Section was cited and relied upon in a pleading in federal court [the now-ended Arpaio/Thomas civil RICO lawsuit] and then used as a platform for a press conference."
Welcome to our world, sir.
"Let me reiterate what I believe I conveyed to you on March 1," Hulser concluded. "If you have information regarding potential federal criminal violations by any public officials, you are welcome to provide that information to the Public Integrity Section.
"You should provide your information in writing, in the form of a summary. We will share that information with the United States Attorney's Office, and determine whether any further action is warranted."
Time to take back that victory lap, boys.