Feathered Bastard

Constantin Querard's Taxpayer-Paid Bootlickers David Gowan, Steve Montenegro, Carl Seel, Steve Smith, and Kelly Townsend Do Their Master's Bidding

If you're political sleaze maestro Constantin Querard, the Arizona Legislature is practically your own personal Downton Abbey.

Querard's team of taxpayer-funded butlers, bootblacks, and maids is extensive -- at least 20, by his own claim -- in the both the upper and lower chambers.

And on February 21, before the House Reform and Human Services Committee, CQ had five state representatives at his beck and call.

This particular quintet of flunkies included David Gowan, Steve Montenegro, Carl Seel, Steve Smith, and amateur Muppet impersonator Kelly Townsend.

Querard appeared before the committee to pimp a bill near and dear to his heart, one his vassals obediently voted out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation, House Bill 2551.

House Majority Leader Gowan is HB 2551's prime sponsor. Querard ran his campaign last year and made more than $13,000 off the legislator, according to finance reports on the Arizona Secretary of State's website.

(Gowan's not on the RHS committee, but as the bill's sponsor, he spoke on its behalf on February 21.)

RHS committee chair Steve Montenegro ponied up nearly $35,000 for Querard in this last cycle. Well, minus the $848 Querard and his wife, Lisa, donated to Montenegro's campaign.

Vice chair Kelly Townsend paid Querard's consulting firm and printing business more than $24,000 in 2012. Actually, that money came from the Citizens Clean Election Commission, otherwise known as welfare for politicos and their vendors.

Steve Smith was good for $15,643 to Querard's companies, less a $424 contribution from Big Daddy.

Carl Seel bested Smith, forking over more than $20,000 to Querard.

It's good to be lord of the manse. Not only do your minions keep the ducats flowing into your pockets, they'll actually vote for whatever you want, like HB 2551, which reads like a gift to financial pirates, deadbeat dads, scam artists, and assorted other criminals and ne'er-do-wells.

The proposed law would work like this: If a judge or government entity issues a subpoena to examine someone's financial records, the financial institution cannot hand over those documents until 21 days after service.

Meannwhile, a copy of the subpoena has to be sent to the individual, and the individual has 14 days to make a motion to quash the subpoena.

This quashing can be realized for a variety of reasons, all quite subjective: e.g., if the release of the record causes an "unreasonable burden or hardship" or if the government entity is trying to "harass" the individual.

Harassing con men and corporate thieves? Why, that's just plan un-American.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons