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Fallout Continues for Babeu

22 February 2012  
Babeu attempts to ride out the scandal.

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Fallout

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Readers of Prescott eNews seem to agree. In an admittedly unscientific poll which asked, "What do you think about Paul Babeu now?"

  • 44% chose "He didn't show good judgment in posting pics,"
  • "Who cares?" was the selection of 19% of the respondents.
  • "I will vote for Paul Gosar instead," was the answer for 14%
  • 11% chose, "He is still the best candidate for CD4."
  • 8.3% responded, "I question whether he can be gay and conservative"
  • 2.8% answered, "I will vote for Ron Gould instead"

Before the events of this weekend, a previous poll had Babeu with a strong 10% lead over Congressman Paul Gosar.

Investigation?

It didn't take long for political adversaries to call for an investigation into Babeu, but on Monday Babeu's attorney and campaign manager, Chris DeRose, was quoted in AzCentral, "...if the ex-boyfriend, identified only as Jose, believes his allegations against Babeu are credible, he should be the one to take them to law enforcement for investigation. The sheriff, he said, will not...'This is all just silliness,' DeRose said. 'It's not even something we've seriously considered.'"

AzCentral also points out, "Although Babeu claims that he, too, is a victim -- in this case, of identity theft by Jose -- Babeu has also declined to press charges."

But Democrat Pete Rios, who also serves as Chairman of the Pinal County Board of Supervisors, and is an outspoken Babeu critic, appeared to be committed to an investigation. Lydia Guzman, Director of Respect Respeto, sent a request to the Department of Justice seeking an investigation into allegations of abuse of power.

By Tuesday afternoon, Tim Gaffney, Director of Communications sent out a press release stating that the Gila County Sheriff (a Democrat) and the Gila County Attorney (a Republican) had agreed to conduct an investigation of Babeu and 'Jose,' his former gay lover. His letter to the Gila County officials read:

"Dear Sheriff Armor and County Attorney Flores,

"I am requesting the assistance of your offices to conduct a joint comprehensive investigation into the recent allegations made publicly against me and my office including possible crimes committed against me personally. I request that your investigation look into allegations of human rights violations, threatening and intimidating, misuse of public resources, theft of property, theft of identity, fraud and impersonation.

"Your immediate attention and assistance with this investigation is requested. I have instructed my Sheriff’s Office and political staff to fully cooperate with your inquiry in an effort to settle these allegations made against me. Respectfully, Paul R. Babeu"

In less than two hours, Gaffney put out a correction,

"Sheriff Babeu had spoken with Sheriff Armer and County Attorney Flores both of Gila County earlier today regarding the investigation he was asking them to complete. Both had stated they would conduct the investigation but after further review, they both told our office they don't have the resources to conduct it at this time. Sheriff Babeu has now spoken with Attorney General Tom Horne who has agreed to take on the independent investigation.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, "Attorney General Tom Horne is the top prosecutor in the state. I feel that he and his staff will conduct this comprehensive investigation into all allegations made against me and my office, as well as possible crimes committed against me."

Opinions Expounded

In the meantime, pundits from all over have offered their perspective and hindsight advice. Highground Public Affairs Consultants offered "Five Things to Learn From Sheriff Babeu's Press Conference Today." The advice, while a bit late to help Babeu, is still a valuable piece of advice for Babeu or anyone in public office, or even considering a run for an elected position.

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Lynne LaMaster