State Attorney General Terry Goddard will leave office without resolving the case against Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Captain Joel Fox and the shady SCA fundraising group.
And that, it's safe to say, means almost no likelihood of criminal charges - on a state level, anyway.
Which would be a shame, because this scandal looked so cut-and-dry: Larry Black, one of Sheriff Arpaio's top aides goes on a fishing trip in Alaska with a few rich folks, including local developer Steve Ellman. The rich folks cut huge checks to help Arpaio. Captain Fox and Black meet with a Republican Party operator, and soon the money (plus more money donated by other top sheriff's officials) is used to create a vicious smear ad targeting Arpaio's political opponent, Dan Saban.
State investigators have been on the case for about a year and a half, interviewing witnesses and seizing Fox's computers. We routinely heard rumors that they were on the verge of announcing an indictment, but it never happened.
Now, with Goddard preparing to turn over the keys to AG-elect Tom Horne on January 3, we thought it was a good time to ask him whether the SCA mess would be resolved on his watch.
"We don't expect to have anything this month," says his spokeswoman, Janey Pearl.
And Goddard won't be AG next month.
Don't tell us that Horne, a Republican, will do anything, either. It doesn't take a political genius to understand that Horne won't begin his new career as AG by attacking Arpaio's office.
Perhaps U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke has something planned. But if not, it looks like Fox and company are off the hook.