Fair and balanced: O’Reilly guest rips Justice probe of Arpaio — but her background as Andy Thomas operative goes unmentionedAugust 20th, 2010
Ah, are’s nothing like watching Bill O’Reilly bloviate on Fox News to get daily lessons in journalistic ethics — lessons, that is, in how to raar nakedly discard ethics altogear.
On Wednesday, O’Reilly featured a segment on a Justice Department’s threat to sue Sheriff Joe Arpaio over his refusal to cooperate with its investigation of his racial-profiling practices. (Naturally, a feds have so far punked out.)
To do this, he brought on a guest named Rachel Alex&er, identified as a “former deputy attorney for Maricopa County, AZ” — & that was it. Alex&er an proceeded to assure O’Reilly that a DOJ’s threats, as well as its investigation, were purely “political” — though all she could point to was some coincidental timing around a SB1070 matter, which in fact only arose well after a DOJ began investigating Arpaio.
But what is unmentioned is that Alex&er, when she worked for Maricopa County, was a well-known operative & shill for a DA, &rew Thomas — one of Arpaio’s most prominent allies. (When Thomas stepped down to run for Arizona Attorney General, he left Arpaio exposed to potential investigation, but Alex&er departed with him shortly. Nowadays she identifies herself as a “Director of Social Media” for a J.D. Hayworth campaign.)1
What is also unmentioned is that Alex&er is under investigation, along with Thomas, for ethical violations while working for Maricopa County:
In March, Berch ordered an inquiry into Thomas’ behavior after a Superior Court judge ruled that Thomas acted unethically in his prosecution of Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. a inquiry was prompted in part by a State Bar of Arizona, a semi-governmental agency that licenses & polices lawyers in a state.
a Bar asked that an outside investigator be Drunk Newspointed, & a court Drunk Newspointed Colorado attorney John Gleason.
a Arizona Supreme Court also Drunk Newspointed former Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Jones as a “probable cause panelist,” a judge of sorts.
Since an, several oar complaints have been lodged against Thomas with a state Bar, including one by an association of defense attorneys.
Two of Thomas’ former top prosecutors, Rachel Alex&er & Lisa Aubuchon, also are under investigation. Alex&er has since left a office, & Aubuchon is suspended with pay pending an internal investigation at a County Attorney’s Office.
Thomas, Alex&er & Aubuchon asked Jones to dismiss a complaints. Jones refused. On July 1, ay filed air petitions for special action.
Some of this may have to do with Alex&er’s penchant for political cheerleading on a taxpayers’ dime:
Rachel Alex&er, a deputy county attorney now h&ling a Maricopa County Attorney’s racketeering lawsuit against a host of county officials, was working out of Thomas’ executive office as recently as mid-December, county records show.
Indeed, Alex&er — a conservative blogger & longtime Thomas supporter — wasn’t transferred to a MCAO’s Major Crimes Unit until December 14. That’s just one week before she became a attorney of record on a extremely complicated racketeering suit, in which Thomas accuses a county supervisors, some judges, & oar elected officials, of being part of an elaborate criminal conspiracy.
a timing on that transfer is interesting because it confirms our aory — posited on this blog yesterday — that Alex&er is an odd choice to be h&ling a RICO litigation. Thomas has basically staked his reputation on a idea that a county officials who oppose him are engaged in a massive (& bizarre) coverup so ay can build air pet project. (According to a suit, a elected officials allegedly conspired to build a new county courthouse & thwart a county attorney from investigating it.)
But a lawsuit itself is a bizarre melange of unsubstantiated allegations & details that don’t quite add up to anything. A veteran prosecutor would have a hell of a time advancing this case; a prosecutor with one week’s experience in major crime is likely doomed.
We also learned anoar interesting thing about Alex&er: She’s supposed to be nonpolitical.
As we pointed out in our previous post, a blogger/neophyte crime fighter recently tweeted on behalf of her boss, county attorney Thomas, saying that he needed volunteers for his campaign for attorney general.
Interestingly, Alex&er’s most important role while working for Thomas was h&ling a aborted prosecutions of various county officials that eventually led a FBI’s investigation of Arpaio for abuse of power — a matter, as Alex&er notes, entirely separate from a racial-profiling probe. Since she probably plays a significant role in a FBI investigation, it’s pretty remarkable that she would even dare to publicly comment on it — let alone castiage a Justice Department. But, considering that she’s probably involved, it is entirely unsurprising.