Bribery, Money Laundering, and Public Corruption
One might think you would read about the ongoing criminal investigation of the Sweetwater Union High School District, but this is about politics in the normally quiet coastal community of Carlsbad.
Recently, Rostra ran a series of posts questioning the personal finances of Carlsbad City Councilwoman Farrah Douglas, which became an issue in her campaign seeking election to the California State Assembly for the newly drawn 76th District. Those posts, considered controversial by some, resulted in responses from the Douglas campaign including one from a bankruptcy attorney which represented her when her private residence entered the foreclosure process.
In addition to reporting on Douglas’s personal finances, the information posted to Rostra also included what appeared to be financial irregularities and possible conflicts of interest regarding the candidate’s campaign finances and service on the Carlsbad City Council. The Fair Political Practices Commission eventually acknowledged receiving a compliant and subsequently determined that they would not be investigating the claims of alleged financial wrongdoing.
With all the questions that have been raised about Douglas’s personal and political finances, this author is bewildered that she would associate herself with a convicted felon that was referred to in court papers as the “quarterback” of Arizona’s most notorious public-corruption case. That association was significantly more than just a casual acquaintance. Douglas considered the former Arizona legislator as a political confidante, who also served as treasurer for her campaign to be elected to the Carlsbad City Council, where she currently serves as a council member.
On May 4, 2012, the U-T San Diego reported that Donald Kenney, 73, of Carlsbad was a former Arizona legislator that was sentenced to five years in prison (Encinitas broker was ‘AzScam’ convict). Kenney was convicted of bribery, money laundering and other felonies after accepting a gym bag from an undercover police officer that was filled with $55,000 cash in a sting operation involving the attempted legalization of casino gambling in Arizona. The U-T San Diego’s investigative journalism should be applauded for uncovering the fraud Kenney has been perpetrating on North County residents while illegally practicing real estate and tax law; however, it is equally important to inform voters of Kenney’s relationship with local politicians, especially when that relationship is an intimate one involving campaign finances.
It is important to know about the type of individuals that our elected officials intend to surround themselves with in their inner circles. In the case of Douglas, an elected official seeking higher office, this is especially important considering the critical issues that she would have to face in Sacramento, if elected. Kenney was not simply a campaign volunteer. He was Douglas’s campaign treasurer, responsible for the handling of significant amounts of money that contributors donated.
As was stated in a prior post, North County voters need to do their homework before deciding who to send to Sacramento. This author calls upon Douglas to fully explain her relationship with Kenney, and how a convicted felon of one of the most notorious Arizona public-corruption cases could be allowed to serve in a critical position within her campaign. Kenney has proven that he was willing to gamble with the future of Arizona and paid the price by serving time in prison. Douglas needs to provide an explanation because voters of the 76th Assembly District can’t afford to gamble with the future of our state or who they will be sending to Sacramento.
As for the Fair Political Practices Commission’s decision not to investigate Douglas’s campaign finance irregularities, only time will tell if that issue will be revisited considering this new information.