All whistleblowers are not created equal. Both reformers and administrators agree that for every whistleblower case that is a legitimate case of retaliation, there are about three of questionable merit. According to former state assistant attorney general Tom Rogers, it is these "whistleblowers from hell" who have top administrators afraid of whistleblower reforms.
In 1984, the chief inspector for the Arizona Livestock Board claimed there was a massive cattle theft ring in Arizona and that the Livestock Sanitary Board was not taking proper action to solve the problem. He claimed thousands of head of cattle were being stolen each year. An investigation found the claims to be bogus, but that didn't deter the inspector.
In a 24-day hearing in front of Arizona's State Personnel Board, the man suggested that because he had proof there was some criminal activity in the cattle industry and because board members were involved in the cattle industry, then board members were guilty of criminal activity. He went on to argue that because former governor Bruce Babbitt was "connected" to the cattle industry, Babbitt was connected to another man connected to the cattle industry, Kemper Marley. Therefore, the inspector said, Bruce Babbitt was "connected" to the notorious murder of investigative reporter Don Bolles, because, the inspector said, "everybody knows Kemper Marley killed Don Bolles."
Tom Rogers represented the Livestock Board in the hearing before the State Personnel Board. Near the end of the hearings, Rogers presented this line of questioning to the inspector:
"Using your logic," Rogers said, "if you have a girl who is a goddaughter of somebody in the cattle industry, then, logically, she could be connected to the murder of Don Bolles. Is that correct?"
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The inspector said yes.
Rogers then revealed the identity of the potential female conspirator.
It was Rogers' own six-month-old daughter.