Monday, November 24, 2008

Freedom To Fart!

Farts to Flowers By Brenda And More Goofy Inventions


It’s Christmas time! And as we reflect on the true meaning of Christmas—the birth of Christ, the spirit of joy, compassion, love, understanding, forgiveness and redemption—we must never forget its other true meaning: spending money and shopping.

Yes, shopping! That’s really what this holiday is about—spending money and making retailers and their stockholders wealthy.

This year it’s especially important to shop. The economy is tanking, and if it continues like this, all our jobs will disappear and none of us will have any money left to surrender in the form of taxes to the Tax and Spend liberals in Congress.

It’s also about you. Do you really want to be regarded by your friends, relatives, family members and enemies as a grouchy, loveless cheapskate who refuses to give gifts on Christmas?

Hell no!

That’s why we’re here to help. Brenda Dunagan and I have formed a new company to help you spend your money! S.C.A.M. Inventions, Inc., which we started last night, offers a stunning array of products that already have minimalists, anti-materialists, socialists, commies and global warming proponents ruthlessly stomping over one another in a frenzied rush to spend more and more money.

So people, here are some of the products we’re offering to help you help keep the economy strong:

Farts to Flowers Sheets by Brenda—It happens to even the most disciplined of us. You’re underneath the sheets next to that loved one or pet and, pffffffffffffff! You let one rip. There’s no shame in it—it’s a natural bodily function—but damn, if you’ve been eating the wrong food, whew! You stink up the entire neighborhood, and that loved one or pet runs like hell. Many people just hold that gas in, squeezing tighter and tighter, all the while creating the potential for some serious internal organ damage and a really messy explosion.

Well, worry and hold it in no more. Brenda has the product that will eliminate the embarrassment of farting in bed. In fact, this product is so good that it will ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO LET LOOSE! A HAPPY, HEALTHY BODY IS ONE THAT PASSES GAS WITHOUT RESTRAINT!

These sheets—they’re available in satin, cotton, wool, polyester, burlap and papyrus—have an activated charcoal lining that—you guessed it—absorbs the smell of body gas! Never again will you stink out your partner. Never again will you feel compelled to hold it in. Never again will you be a fart-holder-inner! That, people, is FREEDOM!

Our winter sheets come with a special, chemically-treated, activated charcoal lining that, when contacted by body gas, produces an exothermic reaction that converts the gas to heat! That’s right, heat in the winter from your own farts! The toxic chemicals on Brenda’s summer sheets reverse the process and produce a cimhehtoxe reaction that turns that gas to refrigerated air! SELF-MADE AIR CONDITIONING!

But wait, THERE’S MORE! YES MORE! Those toxic chemicals with which we’ve treated the Farts to Flowers Sheets by Brenda will also generate a FLORIFIC ODOR! That’s jargon for saying THESE SHEETS WILL MAKE YOUR FARTS SMELL LIKE FLOWERS! Daisies, roses, dandelions, you name it, you get it!

And DON’T WORRY. The toxic chemicals we use WON’T KILL YOU right away.

“I was concerned about bringing this invention to market,” Brenda explains, “because the gas, electric, fuel oil, pellet stove and air conditioning companies will go out of business because people will be heating and cooling their homes themselves. I’m a capitalist, and not very big on sustainability, whatever that is. But then I realized that these sheets give people the FREEDOM TO FART! That’s what America’s all about.”

The sheets come in one-size-fits-all.
Price: Summer Sheets, $502.13 Winter Sheets, $727.16

Launder No More Unmentionables—Also known as Three-Legged, Six-Day Underwear. This is another product from Brenda’s brilliant mind that shouts loudly and proudly so all the world can hear: Brenda Dunagan cares about people!

You damn straight she does. That’s why she developed her three-legged underwear. On a camping trip and discover that you brought along only one pair of unmentionables? Not to worry. Step into these things and you’re good for six days! The three leg openings create three separate crotches. Step through different leg openings each day, and you’ve got a fresh crotch! That means you get three day’s wear out of ‘em! Ahhh, but it’s not over. Just turn these babies inside out and you’re good for another three days! SIX DAYS TOTAL FROM A SINGLE PAIR OF UNDERWEAR!

Each pair is multi-colored, meaning each crotch and front are colored differently so no one—not even that INTIMATE SOMEBODY—will suspect that you’ve worn the same garment six days straight!

Here’s the truly wonderful and exciting thing about these undergarments. After being worn for six consecutive days—especially on a camping trip—no amount of soap, toxic chemicals or plutonium will get them clean! So you just toss ‘em! NO MORE LAUNDERING DIRTY UNDERWEAR! No more gingerly digging those mangy things out of the laundry hamper!

Price: Pack of 12, which is 72 days of wear, $73.12

Loaves and Fishes $10 Bill—Everybody, we mean Everybody is going to want these miraculous $10 bills! Why? Because, like the loaves and fishes in the Bible story, these $10 BILLS MULTIPLY AND REPLICATE THEMELVES! Place the bill on any flat surface, ask it to multiply, and yikearooskies! You’ve got a MOUNTAIN OF TEN-SPOTS! You’ll want to be careful, though, because if you don’t specify how many times you want it to multiply, the Loaves and Fishes $10 Bill will replicate uncontrollably, and you’ll be stuck with a HOUSEFULL OF MONEY!

YOU’LL NEVER BE POOR AGAIN! And, you’ll be able to GIVE TO CHARITY WITHOUT FEELING GUILTY that you gave away your liquor and cigar money!

You’ll have to be careful to never lose, misplace or spend your Loaves and Fishes $10 Bill, because only the original that we send you replicates. The offspring are sterile, so to say, and not imbued with the parent bill’s MIRACULOUS QUALITIES.

We must CAUTION, however, that the LOAVES AND FISHES $10 BILL will multiply only if you TRULY BELIEVE IT WILL. Only if you have faith! ONLY IF YOU BELIEVE THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO BE FILTHY RICH! If they don’t replicate and make you FILTHY RICH, it’s your stinking fault.

To order our Loaves and Fishes $10 Bill, just place $100 CASH ONLY in an envelope and address it to: I’M ENTITLED TO MONEY! P.O. BOX $$$$, MONEYVILLE, USA.

As soon as we receive your $100 CASH ONLY, we’ll send you one Loaves and Fishes $10 Bill, and you will be a HUMAN MONEY MACHINE!

Why did Brenda and I invent these wonderful products?
“I thought to myself,” Brenda says, “’wouldn’t it be great to make useful products that can make peoples’ lives better—to better humankind?’

“’Yeah,’” I thought, “’that’d be good. But it would be better to make money by doing almost nothing and selling people stuff they don’t need.’ So that’s my motivation—money!”

And let our making money be your motivation too!

As Brenda says:

“Be a smart feller, not a fart smeller. Buy my Six-day Undies!”

Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Dalai Lama Exposed!

Sometimes coffee is just coffee

Online personality test rankles insecure blogger

A Test for Mr. Lama


By Dennis Domrzalski

If only I had lied about what coffee actually does to me.

I wouldn’t be sitting around moping and thinking I’m some sort of freakish, really pathetic loser.
I’d feel good, who knows, maybe even buoyant. Instead of dressing in black, I’d go all out and throw on a cheerful suit of battleship grey. I’d glare only at ninety percent of everyone I see, and I’d start hanging out in funeral homes instead of cemeteries.

But I blew it. I was honest. I said that coffee made me jittery, nervous, nauseous, sick, was repugnant, that I thought it was mistake for me to have ever put that first drop of the caffeine-laden liquid to my trembling lips, that I’ve rarely had it in life, that the few times I have, I anticipated it with terror, and that because of the way it makes me feel I will never have it again.

Turns out I wasn’t really talking about coffee. No. I was actually describing my attitude toward sex.

It was one of those online personality quizzes that a friend had forwarded, this one the Tibetan Personality Test, apparently from the Dalai Lama himself. There were only four questions—you had to make a wish before answering—and the instructions said that for the four questions to precisely and thoroughly determine your personality you had to answer them honestly. The first answers that popped into your head were the best, the instructions advised.

One question said: Write one word that describes each of the following: dog, cat, rat, coffee, sea.
I went a little goofy when it came to coffee. I described it, not as a stimulant or acidic beverage, but as “jittery.” Then I added in all the other stuff because just a half-cup of coffee will make me dizzy, get me trembling and bouncing off walls. I can’t deal with coffee. Never could.

Then came the killer: the answers. The description of the animals implied the personalities of people in your life, including yourself. Then coffee. “Your description of coffee,” the computer screen said, “is how you interpret sex.”

Stunned and humiliated, I raced to the wife and demanded that she stroke my throbbing ego by confirming that my interpretation of sex was a little more flattering than “jittery.” She cackled.

Out the door and into the car I flew to a dear friend who normally greets me with a hug. I told her what was up (not down), and waited for the usual hug. It never came. Instead, she held her arm and hand out limply (in obvious mockery), turned her head to the side, cast her eyes downward and snickered.

Back home I raced to fire up the computer and redeem myself by taking a slew of online personality and IQ tests—dozens of them. No Dalai Lama eastern spirituality crap for me. The results were depressing. I was either a moron or had no personality at all. Three “lifestyle” tests showed that, based on my habits and attitudes—particularly the attitudes—I died at age three.

Trembling and in need of something stronger than pure, fresh spring water, I staggered to the only “guru” I’ve ever known: Phil.

He laughed as I blurted out the story, tossed me a few cold ones and soothed me with these wise words:

“Who the hell is Dalai Lama? Why would anyone take a test from someone with such a strange name? Only a moron takes those Internet tests.”

“Of which I’m one!”

“How do you know that?”

“All of those personality tests said I’m a social misfit!”

“Well, you are—for taking and believing those stupid tests. Look. Suppose this goofball Lama had substituted beer for coffee? What would you have answered?”

“Sustenance! Love! Ecstasy! Nirvana! Addictive! Explosive! Adventure! Life itself!”

“Yeah. And if he had substituted tofu or sand or mud or toenail clippings for coffee your answers would have been negative. So just because some goof with a funny name decides to use coffee as symbol for sex, we’re all supposed to accept it? That’s crap.”

“But, but, but, what about the other tests?”

“Nonsense made up by academics who are so screwed up that they’ve got to find a way to make every other normal person feel as worthless as they are. I once had a shrink give me a test that asked what I would do if I was in a forest and a giant grizzly bear suddenly charged me. The possibilities were run, play dead or fight the bear. I wrote in ‘Shit in my pants!’ which is what everybody would do if attacked by a maniacal grizzly bear.

“The shrink frowned and said I should have answered ‘Fight the bear’ because the bear represented life’s problems and obstacles. By answering ‘Shit in my pants,’ I was afraid of, and being helpless in the face of life’s problems. I told him that a grizzly bear represented a grizzly bear, not life’s problems. Then I told him he was a problem and that I’d take care of him straight up.”

“And?”

“I choked him ‘till he gurgled ‘Disassociation!” or something like that, and tossed him out the third-story window.

“Another shrink gave me a test that asked what I’d do if I went to a wine and cheese party and the room was full of a hundred people I didn’t know. Would I stand in the corner by myself and wait ‘till someone talked to me, or would I go around the room and introduce myself to as many people as possible?

“When I wrote in that I’d leave and go to the corner tap because I hate wine and only drink shots and beer and beer and shots, he accused me of being paralytically shy and afraid of people.

"I dragged him to the tap with me. He puked after his first shot and ran out the door when everybody laughed after he started babbling about cognitive dissonance.

“So here’s a one-question quiz you can put on the Web.

“Your interpretation of sex is expressed by:

A. How much whipped cream, baby oil and coleslaw you fantasize about slathering over that hunk or babe who's in front of you this very second?

B. Your admiration of, or desire for, overgrown zucchinis?

C. What you daydream about doing with strawberries, cherries and grapes?

D. How frantically you pant at even the slightest sight of skin?

E. How often the word “consume” comes to mind when eying that hunk or babe?

F. How many thousands of dollars you’ve spent at the love products store?

G. Your one-word description of an acidic beverage that rots your stomach lining?


"Now let's see what Mister Lama has to say about this."

Monday, April 7, 2008

War Stinks!

LANL scientists are developing the most grotesque weapon ever imagined

This sick device will make pacifists teary-eyed for nukes


By Dennis Domrzalski

War is hell. Ask anyone who's seen their buddies' heads blown off, frozen in a foxhole or been shot at by angry men screaming insults at them in foreign languages.

But for the past several years, the big brains at Los Alamos National Laboratory have been working overtime to make war even more sick and gruesome than it already is. The people who gave you strontium‑90 in your milk and blue snow are developing yet another weapon that'll have humans diving under desks and cowering in basements and in bathrooms. And when the horror of this device is known, even pacifists will be teary‑eyed for old‑fashioned, city‑vaporizing nukes.

The spooks are developing so-called non‑lethal weapons. Things like super glues that make planes stick to runways and chemicals that turn truck tires into powder. The idea is that these weapons will incapacitate humans, but not kill them.

Listen to the generals and scientists and you get the idea that non‑lethal weapons are gifts from God, sent down so we can still wage war but not hurt each other. It's not so.

Some of these non‑lethal weapons are lasers that explode eyeballs and microwaves that cook internal organs. Those are bad enough. But the pocket protector crowd is busy on a gadget that is so grotesque that if used, we can forget about calling ourselves humans. A news article explained the horrible device:

"Ifrasound: Very low frequency sound generators could be tuned to incapacitate humans, causing disorientation, nausea, vomiting or bowel spasms."

Bowel spasms! Soldiers suffer enough trauma in war, what with having to watch bodies being ripped apart and having to eat cold food. Must we subject them to more pain?

One of the most embarrassing things that can happen to a human is having someone discover that you went in your pants. Ask any second grader. Not only will we subject brave soldiers to the trauma of losing control, but also to the humiliation of having millions know that they couldn't hold it.

That's sick. Our enemies will get the weapon, too. And rather than having snappy parades of returning soldiers who are maimed but proud, we'll have sorry lines of vets hanging their heads, shuffling their feet and scrunching their bottoms. Better to take a bullet in the spleen than to have a crushed self‑esteem.

We'll be waging wars where the deciding factors will be, not which side has more ammo, bigger bombs, more courageous soldiers, smarter generals, or better tactics, but who has more Pepto Bismol and toilet paper.

Some believe in the glory of the valiant charge toward the strongly held enemy position while being splattered with pieces of your comrades. With this machine, glory will be redefined as who made the quickest dash into the woods.

Strategic targets will no longer be rail centers, ports or industrial cities, but toilet paper factories. Rather than the shouts of "medic" and "morphine," future battlefields will ring with calls of, "Underwear! Underwear!"

The scientists don’t know it, but they’re wasting time and money in developing the bowel spasm machine. That's typical. When scientists work themselves into patriotic frenzies and develop nation‑busting bombs, species‑destroying germs and other science‑advancing wonders, they usually fail to think about the terrible consequences of their work or how impractical and unusable their gadgets are.

It happened with nukes. After blowing up lots of big ones, making noise and intimidating the Russians into building bigger nukes than we had, scientists finally realized that "Hey, if we use these things, we'll destroy the globe, and that means us, too."

They're making the same mistake with the bowel‑spasm machine. They haven't thought about the consequences, or about whether this terrible machine will lead to victory, which it won't. Because, non‑lethal weapons or not, the enemy must still be cleared from the field to ensure victory.

But what the spooks haven't figured is this: After you've caused millions of enemy soldiers to have bowel spasms, who on earth is going to want to take them prisoner?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Financial Bailout

Bush League Money Problems

Phil’s posture was worse than ever.

His shoulders were a little more hunched, head even more bowed, and legs a lot wobblier than usual. His tired and dreary shuffle had gotten to the point where his feet were actually carving long slide marks into the hard tile floor.

Not even my usual—and always successful—method of cheering him up worked. He refused the warm can of discount beer, and didn’t even look at the women’s underwear catalogue that I held open down in front of his face.

“What the hell is wrong? You down to your last half-gallon of whiskey?” I growled.

“Way worse than that,” he mumbled in reply.

“Jeeze! The wife has decided to stay married to you!”

“Worse. I’ll probably lose everything—the car, the home brewing equipment and the bowling ball. I’ve been irresponsible with my money.”

“Irresponsible? Have you been giving to charity again?”

“Hell no!”

“Buying clothes for the kids?”

“No.”

“Investing in 'socially responsible' companies?”

“Nooooooo!”

“Then what?”

“I’m in debt—credit card debt, the mortgage, the second mortgage for the bill consolidation, back income taxes to the feds, back taxes to the state. It’s a mess. The cars are starting to go and I don’t know how I’ll pay to get them fixed. The interest rate on the mortgage is high, but I can’t get it down because no one will refinance me because my credit is so bad. I’m just going to go under.”

“How much do you owe?”

“Forty-five thou’ on the mortgage. Fifteen on the debt loan and maybe five on the credit cards.”

“So a total of sixty-five, maybe seventy thousand?”

“Yeah. I can’t keep up. I can’t make the payments. Bill collectors keep threatening me. The IRS is after me. They’ll probably slap liens on the house. And worse, Louie at the tap won’t give me credit anymore. Can’t even get a pitcher of beer when I’m out of money.”

It didn’t take long to truly understand Phil’s problem and to gently and sensitively recommend a solution.

“You’re an idiot,” I said.

“That I know.”

“But not for the reasons you think. Your problem is that you’re not in debt enough! You don’t owe enough money. Seventy grand is worse than chicken feed. It’s nothing. The reason those bill collectors and the IRS are coming after you is because you’re inconsequential to the national and the global economies. If you fail and go under, no one but you and your family will really be hurt, and no one but you and your bartender will care. So they hound you for the little money you owe them.

“You want to get these people off your back? Hell, want them to offer to bail you out when you go bust, just like they bail out all those billion-dollar hedge funds and Bear Stearns? Want the federal government, every bank and every pandering politician to throw money at you? I mean, throw money at you?”

“Yeah. But how?”

“Go out and borrow more money. Borrow so much money and get into so much debt that even computers won’t be able to count it all. Borrow tens of billions—even trillions—of dollars. Borrow more money than anyone or any company or any government has ever borrowed ever in the history of ever.

“And then, and here’s the key, mismanage and waste all that money. Put it into reckless and irresponsible investments. Hell, buy yourself a light beer brewery.”

“How do I do that?”

“Pretend you’re a government official or a politician.”

“Then what?”

“Default on your loans, declare that you are hopelessly insolvent and that all those trillions of dollars are gone.”

“Won’t they put me in prison?”

“Hell no. Prison is for petty borrowers like you and me—people who owe almost nothing. No. They won’t throw you in prison. You know what they’ll do to you if you mismanage and waste trillions and trillions of dollars that aren’t yours?”

“What?”

“Give you more money!”

“They’ll give me more money?”

“Yeah. The government just found billions to bail out Bear Stearns, a Wall Street financial firm that was going kaput. A bunch of years ago the feds brokered a billion-dollar deal to rescue an incredibly risky hedge fund that was failing because of risky and irresponsible investments.

“And you know why they threw money at these frauds and crooks? Because they couldn’t afford to let them fail. If these people and companies collapsed, the world’s economies would collapse. So rather than throwing them in prison for being crooks and frauds, they give them more money.

“The key is to make yourself indispensable to the world’s economies. You do that by owing everybody money. If you owe enough and are indispensable enough, they can’t let you fail. Now go out and borrow the money you’re entitled to.”

Phil bucked up after the short lecture and lesson on global economics. He popped the beer and paged through the underwear catalogue. He shuffled off in a much better mood.

A couple of months later Phil had undergone a total transformation. He stood up straight. There was a bounce to his step. He no longer needed underwear catalogues because he had svelte, scantily-clad babes on each arm. Giant diamond rings weighed down each and every one of his fingers. He puffed hundred-dollar cigars, sipped the world’s most expensive whiskey and said that he had recently paid $25,000 for dessert at a New York City restaurant.

“So you went out and borrowed money?” I asked.

“You damn straight.”

“How much?”

“Well, a few weeks ago I was worth a couple of trillion. I almost bought myself a turnpike, but decided on cigars instead.”

“You were worth a couple of trillion?”

“Yeah. Lost it all. Made the stupidest investments ever. Sunk trillions into canal building and horse-and-buggy factories.”

“But canals and horses and buggies are obsolete. No one uses them.”

“I know. I just wanted to test your theory. It works. I wasted all that money, and now they’re all throwing more money at me. They won’t let me fail. They’re running the printing presses full time just to bail me out. They say I’m the biggest money waster the world ever has seen, or will ever see—a total fraud and incompetent.”

“And based on that they now want you to?”

“Run for president!”


Monday, March 24, 2008

Grade School Candy Pushers Thwart the Nanny State

Grade school candy bans create little entrepreneurs

Teachers trying to kill the entrepreneurial spirit


Apparently there is still hope for America. And that ray of hope comes from, of all places, California.

The Daily Press of Victorville reported last week that the sugar and junk food ban in California schools has created an underground economy where kids are buying and selling candy bars and sodas at big profits:

“It’s created a little underground economy, with businessmen selling everything from a pack of skittles to an energy drink,” said Jim Nason, principal at Hook Junior High School in Victorville.

This has become a lucrative business, Nason said, and those kids are walking around campus with upwards of $40 in their pockets and disrupting class to make a sale.

Schools have been individually banning junk-food sales for years, and enforcement was increased in 2005 when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger passed legislation to combat childhood obesity, according to the office of the governor.

Since then, schools have slowly adjusted by offering more healthy alternatives, such as baked chips and granola bars.

But Nason said that he sees just as much candy and soda as ever, because students still bring it from home — for lunch, and to turn a profit.

“I think it’s original purpose was pretty good, but it doesn’t seem to be making that big of a difference,” said teacher Rolayne Allen of the junk-food ban.

Teachers are instructed to confiscate candy when kids have it in class, Nason said, and the punishment for making sales can be detention.


That last paragraph is typical of the Nanny State control freaks who want to control every aspect of our lives. They refuse to understand that we don't want to live by their rules--that we want our chocolate, grease, eggs, booze, smokes and anything else that tastes and feels good. And, they're making little criminals out of these budding entrepreneurs by giving them detention for selling candy!

Kids used to get detention for mouthing off to teachers, starting fights or trying to burn their schools down. And you can see where some of those detentions might have been justified. But detention for selling candy!

A judge once told me that the way everything is being criminalized and banned in this country, pretty soon all kids will be stamped with parole numbers at birth.

I think he's right.

But until then, God bless those grade school candy pushers.

Friday, March 21, 2008

NM Democrats buying votes, too

NM Democrats are buying votes, too

Lujan and Wiviott offer delegates food and motel rooms

Dave Cargo says AG won’t investigate vote-buying charges because he doesn’t want to hurt Dems

By Dennis Domrzalski

Former New Mexico
Gov. Dave Cargo says he now knows why the state Attorney General’s Office seems to be dragging its feet in investigating allegations of vote buying at the February Bernalillo County Republic Party’s pre-primary nominating convention.

Democrats have been engaging in the same kind of vote-buying behavior, and Democrat AG Gary King doesn’t want his party to get caught up in the mess.

The Espanola-based Rio Grande Sun reported Thursday that at least two candidates for the Third Congressional District seat being vacated by Rep. Tom Udall, D-NM—PRC Commissioner Ben Ray Lujan and Developer Don Wiviott—were rewarding delegates who voted for them at the Party’s March 15 pre-primary convention with food and hotel rooms.

The AG’s Office said last week that it wasn’t investigating the allegations of GOP vote-buying because political party elections are private affairs that aren’t covered by the New Mexico Election Code.

Cargo sees another reason for Democrat King’s refusal to investigate:

“They don’t want it to slip over into the Democrats,” the former governor said. “I’ve said that if they looked at the Republicans they’d have to look at the Democrats. It’s amazing that they aren’t cracking down.”

Here’s what the Sun reported:
Gifts for Delegates

The financial disparity between the top two candidates for Udall's seat and the rest of the field was made evident at the convention. Lujan has received broad support with the help of his powerful father, state Speaker of the House Ben Lujan (D-Nambé).

Lujan's staff swarmed the Santa Ana Star Center with ear pieces and walkie-talkies and handed out food coupons for pizza and hotdogs to delegates who voted for him.

Wiviott's staff and volunteers also took measures to ensure Wiviott's delegates were well looked after.

San Juan County delegate Ivan William Pfeifer had arrived the day before the event and stayed the night at a Holiday Inn Express in Bernalillo, care of Wiviott's campaign.

"We were very much surprised it was even offered," said Pfeifer, who donned a blue Wiviott shirt at the convention.

Caroline Buerkle, Wiviott's campaign spokeswoman, said the campaign provided rooms for about 20 delegates. Two-hundred delegates voted for Wiviott, who has used his own money to build a war chest worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"The overwhelming majority of delegates got here completely on their own," Buerkle said.

Nothing in campaign finance law explicitly prohibits candidates from providing lodging for delegates, and the Secretary of State’s Office deferred any questions on the matter to the Attorney General’s office.

“We have a similar situation regarding the paying of registration fees at the (Republican Convention),” Secretary of State spokesman James Flores said. Buerkle said the campaign was not worried about any perception the rooms brought.

"What do you do for the delegate who can't afford to come?" Buerkle said. Pfeifer said he had not been swayed by the free lodging.

Cargo, a Republican who brought the allegations of Republican vote buying to the news media and to the state Secretary of State’s Office, said what Lujan’s and Wiviott’s campaigns did at the convention amounted to vote buying.

“I consider it vote buying. What else did they pay, their back taxes?” Cargo asked. “It amounts to blatantly buying votes.”

The AG’s Office told us last week that it doesn’t think the Republic vote-buying scandal warrants an investigation because political party elections are private affairs that aren’t covered by the New Mexico Election Code. The election law says it is a fourth-degree felony to offer someone a bribe to vote a certain way, or to accept a bribe to vote.

King’s office might be wrong in its opinion that party elections aren’t covered by the state’s election law. Here’s what the Election Code says about party elections:

1-7-1. Political parties; condition for use of the ballot. (1969)
All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.

Cargo has been pushing for an investigation into allegations of the Republican vote buying efforts. Heather Wilson’s U.S. Senate campaign has admitted that it paid the $30 registration fees for five people to attend the Bernalillo County GOP’s mid-February convention in Albuquerque. Attendees to the convention elected delegates to the state GOP’s March 15 nominating convention.

NM SoS Mary Herrera, a Democrat, has been trying to investigate the allegations of Republican vote buying. But her office is represented by the AG, and any charges in the matter would have to be brought by the AG.

“I did hear back from the AG and they told me that they don’t have a date when they will make a determination,” Herrera said Thursday. “Our legal counsel (from the AG’s Office) says he is still meeting with his authorities and that they don’t have a determination yet. There’s nothing I can do until I get a determination from the AG.”

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Albuquerque Journal fails miserably again

Journal can't be trusted to deliver a story on time or accurately

New Mexico's largest news operation took 16 days to cover this hot story

Another journalistic disgrace



By Dennis Domrzalski

The Albuquerque Journal today proved once again why it can't be trusted to inform the public.

Today the paper finally published a story about the allegations of vote buying at the mid-February Bernalillo County Republican Party's pre-nominating conventions. And what a lame, disgraceful story it was. Read this stupid lead:

A registration fee for rank-and-file Republicans to attend their county convention— a fee candidates sometimes pick up— might be the root of a behind-the-scenes political flap in Bernalillo County.
Naaah! Really? A registration fee might be the root of a behind-the-scenes political flap?

How about allegations of criminal vote buying are ripping the party apart? That would be more accurate. How about this story has been raging in the national blogosphere for weeks and has contributed to a massive swell of anti-Heather Wilson venom? How about former KKOB Radio afternoon drive time news anchor Laura MacCallum broke the stories in late February and resigned in early March when her idiot news editor killed them because bloggers hadn't picked them up? How about this blog broke the MacCallum resignation story and put the vote-buying allegations on the Internet on March 3, more than two weeks ago?

You'll never read about those things in the Journal because they're the truth and that paper is incapable of telling it.

This is typical Journal arrogance, though. If they're too lazy or too stupid or too biased to break a story, then, in their minds, it isn't a story. It doesn't become a story until they say so.

At The Albuquerque Tribune years ago we routinely beat the Journal on big stories. When it could, the idiot paper ignored the story for a week or two. Then it published its own version and pretended like it had found the news. The Trib, which is now gone, was by far the better newspaper.

The Journal's not-so-ace political reporter Jeff Jones failed to mention an even bigger issue in the state GOP: The threats that were made to at least three people who once considered running for the First Congressional District seat being vacated by Congresswoman Heather Wilson.

Jones quoted New Mexico Attorney General's Office spokesman Phil Sisneros as saying the AG's Office wasn't investigating the vote-buying allegations because political party conventions are private affairs that aren't subject to the New Mexico Election Code. Sisneros told us that last week. But we at least found a part of the election code that contradicts Sisnersos' logic. Here's the law:

1-7-1. Political parties; conditions for use of ballot. (1969)
All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [
1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.


Other sections of the election law say it's a fourth-degree felony to buy a vote or to accept a bribe to vote a certain way. Jones didn't bother to include that in his story either.

This isn't the first, nor will it be the last time the Journal has failed and will fail to fully inform its readers. It buried its story about MacCallum's resignation.

There might be one bright side to the Journal's finally running the vote-buying story. Two lame bloggers might finally recognize the story as news. Heath Haussaman and Mario Burgos both Republican Party apologists, said the vote-buying scandal was never a story. Now that the Journal has declared it news, these two might finally see a story.

You can read the Journal's story here. But why waste your time?





Sunday, March 16, 2008

Brenda Dunagan: Master of the Ballroom!

Albuquerque Dance Instructor Brenda Dunagan Gets Her International Dance Diploma

All of Humankind Cheers

An Awed World Wonders: What's Next For Brenda Dunagan?

Sick of hearing about lying, thieving, sneaky politicians and idiot celebrities? Care to hear about some of the remarkable, talented, smart, hard-working and inspiring people who actually deserve honor and acclaim? Of course you do. I said so.

So here’s Brenda Dunagan. Brenda is a dance instructor, performer, magician, choreographer, scholar, jokester, inspiration and just one incredible human being. She chases dreams and catches them. Read her professional bio here (page 6).

Last week, Brenda got what amounts to her Master’s Degree in ballroom dance instruction: her Licentiate Diploma from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She and Albuquerque dance instructors Bill Zimmerman and Anita McBride went to Los Angeles and took grueling, two-day exams from the snooty Brits who run the Imperial Society. The three, who teach dance at Albuquerque’s Enchantment Ballroom, all passed. They studied and practiced with each other for the exams for more than a year, cheerfully dragging themselves into the studio at 10 o’clock on Saturday mornings--no easy thing for dancers because they're always working into the early morning--to rehearse and meticulously go through each and every step. They also spent untold hours each week studying and memorizing instruction manuals and dance steps. In the week before the exams, Brenda spent more than 30 hours rehearsing.

Brenda is also a tenacious scholar. In December she got her B.S. in biology from the University of New Mexico, with minors in philosophy and chemistry. That came after 11 straight years of going to school part time--never missing a semester--and while working full time as a dancer, instructor and performer. She's performed in all 50 states and 11 countries.

My wife and I have been taking lessons from Brenda for the past year. In that time I’ve gotten to see just how much hard, hard work, dedication and practice—yeah, practice, practice and more practice—it takes to make gliding around a ballroom floor look effortless. And I've gotten to know Brenda. Brenda is a friend, and one of those rare people in life who, because who and what they are, spark you. She has sparked me, and I'm grateful and thrilled for it.

So here's to Brenda, Bill and Anita. Congratulations!


Here's a story I wrote last year about Brenda. It initially appeared in Accent Albuquerque Magazine


By Dennis Domrzalski

“Rock step forward, cha, cha, cha. Rock step backward, cha, cha, cha,” Albuquerque dance instructor Brenda Dunagan encouragingly repeats over and over as she gently coaxes her stiff-jointed, middle-aged student into simple steps and movements that are far beyond his limited ability to comprehend and execute.

The balding student tries, but for someone with the grace and agility of a plodding brontosaurus, it’s a tough and clumsy go. The student manages, with a studied and anguished deliberation, to mechanically place one foot where it’s supposed to go.

It’s not the effortless, fluid and exuberant step that Dunagan would like to see, but it’ll get there. And in a few weeks the student will be gliding across the wooden dance floor of the Enchantment Ballroom dance studio trying desperately to erase the humiliation of a time when he was so painfully shy that the mere thought of dancing made him nervous enough to vomit.

Photo: Steve Bromberg

The student will succeed because Dunagan won’t quit. The 34-year-old dream chaser never has. That’s why, after 11 straight years of taking at least two courses a semester—all while working full-and part-time—Dunagan will graduate in December from the University of New Mexico with a B.S in biology and minors in chemistry and philosophy. That’s why this entrepreneur, stage magician, professional dancer, choreographer, linguist, kick boxer, yoga practitioner, self-starter, movie extra, tutor, model, lover of knowledge, performance artist and passionate individualist will find a new level to climb to after she graduates. She wants to teach, write and continue in academia. Whatever she does, Dunagan will succeed, and in doing so, she’ll inspire others to do the same.

That’s because Brenda Dunagan is contagious. Spend just a little time with this five-foot-three, 115-pound, laugh-loving, category-five human tornado, and you’ll be thinking about goals set and never fully pursued, time wasted in orgies of self-pity and procrastination, and obstacles never sidestepped or smashed to pieces. And in just a little while you’ll be energized and thinking once again about the possible and dusting off those old goals and dreams and saying to yourself, “Dammit, I can do it—No. Dammit. I will do it!”

“People should never give up on what their dream and goal is—if they want to dance or go to college or do anything else that everybody in their life has told them what they couldn’t or shouldn’t do, or aren’t going to able to do. They should disregard that and pursue their dreams,” Dunagan says while using a double-handed clasp to raise a mug of coffee during an interview on a recent day off.

“I’ve had students with one leg learn how to dance. I’ve had people in wheelchairs come up and say, ‘I love music. I love to move. I want to have fun with my wife. Help us choreograph a dance in a wheelchair.’ A lot of people keep from doing things they really have passion for because they say, ‘You know, I’m really not intelligent enough. I’m not young enough. I’m not thin enough, or I’m not physically capable.’

“It is magical and so wonderful to see people overcoming their obstacles and their boundaries and realize that they can catch a dream and celebrate being alive.”

That might seem easy to say for someone who has won countless dance awards, performed in all 50 states and 11 foreign countries, owned her own dance studio and met President George W. Bush, but it comes from experience. Dunagan wasn’t always the beautiful, graceful, high-spirited, funny and charming dancer, artist and determined scholar and philosophy club junkie that she is now. At Manzano High School in the late 1980s she was a skinny nerd whose glasses were almost as big as her head.

“When I was a teenager I didn’t get a lot of dates. I was really awkward and nerdy and I had big, hooter-owl glasses, and I was skinny, skinny,” Dunagan laughs with a confidence that respects a past that tempered the pain of awkwardness with the comfort of isolation.

“On weekends I would stay at home and watch old black and white Hollywood movies—Frank Sinatra, Gene Kelly, Fred Astaire. It was kind of pathetic, but that was my social life. Those were my dates. So I fell in love with old Hollywood—big-band music, women in beautiful, feathery dresses and suave, debonair men in their tuxedos.”

Determined to bust out—and maybe get a date or two—Dunagan nurtured a dream: She would be a singer. She wanted to join Manzano’s Swing Choir. To do so she took some dance lessons at age 17 to make the choir’s dance auditions. It was then that Dunagan realized something about herself: She loved movement and music. It was exciting, and it seemed as if she was born to do it.

“Dancing came very naturally to me,” she says. “When I was 18 I started taking professional ballroom lessons, and started teaching when I was 20. After two years they asked me to teach. It’s funny, because I had never planned on being a dancer.”

During those first few years of teaching dance, Dunagan held onto another goal: She wanted to go to college. No one in her family had ever done so. Her mother and father, Jeanette and Phill Dunagan, ran an appliance business (they still do), and they knew that their daughter would do quite well dancing, performing and jaunting around the world using her talents to transport audiences into fairytale worlds in which they too were gliding effortlessly across ballroom floors with handsome or beautiful partners.

Fate intervened, though. At age 23 Dunagan was in a bad car accident. Ligaments and tendons in her neck were torn. She got a settlement and took three months off to decide what to do with the rest of her life. It was then that her self-starting and self-motivating side really took hold.

“That’s when I taught myself trigonometry,” Dunagan laughs. “I went back and reviewed all the high school crap I had never learned. I was dyslexic and I had always scored horribly in math. I realized that in learning how to dance and learning how to memorize directional movement that I was thinking differently than other people. I bet that I could teach myself math. So I went and got some tutoring books and taught myself algebra, trigonometry and pre-calculus. Then I scored a 98 percent on the college entrance exam. I can write in opposite directions with both hands and I can write with one hand in English and one hand in Spanish (she also knows French) simultaneously.”

Dunagan quit dancing, took a waitressing job and enrolled in college.

“Dancing has always been a means to an end for me. I’d say, ‘Okay, I’ll take this job here and that job there to make enough money to pay my tuition this semester,” she says.

In 1995, after she had quit dancing to fully concentrate on going to college, fate stepped into Dunagan’s life again when she was waitressing at the Great American Land and Cattle Company.

“I was at the restaurant and an old dancing partner of mine was roller skating on rollerblades outside. He broke a wheel on his skate and came in and said, ‘Didn’t you used to dance?’ I said, ‘Yeah, but I don’t dance anymore.’ He said, ‘Oh my god, we’ve got a job at the Kimo Auditorium in two weeks and one of my dancers broke her leg. Can you replace her?’ I said, ‘I quit dancing two years ago and I don’t do that.’”

The former partner persisted and Dunagan began rehearsing with the group. She performed with them at the Kimo.

“There were talent agents in the audience, and the next thing I know I’m getting calls for this show and that show and I’m performing every weekend for the rest of my life,” she says with a “Sometimes, I still can’t believe this” laugh.

In 1999 Dunagan was hired by The Pink Flamingos as a Ginger Rogers impersonator. She toured the country and world with them for two years. Even though she was on the road, Dunagan always made time for school.

“I would always do a correspondence course or fly back and go to school on Tuesday’s, Wednesday’s and Thursday’s and then go back on the road on Friday,” she says.

In 1998 Dunagan became an assistant to Albuquerque magician and escape artist Rick Maisel, the man who, in handcuffs and leg irons, stuffs himself into a front-loading wash machine, turns on the wash cycle and escapes before the deadly spin cycle begins and whirls him into a heap of broken bones. Since then she has bought and sold her own dance studio, helped care for her 92-year-old grandmother, become an on-stage magician, been involved in countless dance and performance productions, including dance and music videos, and donated dozens of dancing lesson packages to various charities. She is studying again with the prestigious Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance of Blackpool, England to get her Licentiate, or Masters teaching certificate (she already has an Associate certificate), in Ballroom Dance. When she gets it, Dunagan will be the only female dance instructor in New Mexico to have one.

Although Dunagan is a fireball and an inspiration, she isn’t flawless.

“I drink copious amounts of coffee,” she says. “That’s my only vice.”

“Only one vice?” the disbelieving interviewer demands.

“I’ll sound like Bill Clinton, here, but define vice,” Dunagan says while laughing.

Dunagan has a favorite saying: “Whatever you do every day is what you will be able to do most of your life. The activities you put off doing are what you lose the ability to do.”

It looks like Brenda Dunagan won’t ever lose the ability to do anything.


Saturday, March 15, 2008

New Mexico's Economy Tanking

Despite a 3.1 percent unemployment rate, things are looking bad

Year-to-year job growth only .5 percent



New Mexico's economy slowed dramatically in the past year. Job growth was only a half percent, or 4,400 jobs. Just about all industry sectors showed weak growth.

We'll talk about the slowing economy on Sunday's Eye on New Mexico program.

Nicole Brady and I will be joined by economists Larry Waldman of the University of New Mexico's Bureau of Business and Economic Research, and Gerry Bradley from New Mexico Voices for Children.

The show airs at 10 a.m. Sunday on KOB-TV, Channel 4

Friday, March 14, 2008

NM SoS Says Vote-buying Probe Still On

Mary Herrera Says She Hasn't Seen AG's Memo Vote-buying probe still on Mary Herrera Says She Hasn't Seen AG's Memo

Vote-buying probe still on


By Dennis Domrzalski and
Mark Bralley

Photos by Mark Bralley

New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera said late Friday that she hadn't seen a memo from the state Attorney General's Office saying it would not investigate allegations of vote buying at the recent Bernalillo County Republican Party pre-primary conventions and that her office was still pursuing the vote-buying allegations.

The AG's memo, which AG spokesman Phil Sisneros said was sent on Wednesday, said there was nothing the AG could do about the allegations because political party conventions are private affairs that aren't governed by the New Mexico Election Code.

"We have not seen a memo from the Attorney General's Office," Herrera said. "We have been trying to get hold of them all day."

Herrera added that her Bureau of Elections Director Daniel Miera had been unable to contact the assistant attorney general who is assigned to represent her office. The AG's Office is the SoS's lawyer.

As we reported earlier today, the AG might have gotten it wrong in saying that party conventions aren't subject to state election law. According to the state election code:


1-7-1. Political parties; conditions for use of ballot. (1969)

All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [ 1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.

AG Office spokesman Sisneros said he couldn’t release the memo because of attorney-client privilege concerns.

Sisneros did leave open the possibility that the AG's Office will take up the investigation again.

"They ( SoS) need to do their due diligence and provide us some evidence," Sisneros said. "They are supposed to do the initial inquiry. So far, that is what we are we are waiting on."



NM AG Might Have Gotten Law Wrong

NM law says that political parties have to abide by the election code when nominating candidates


Former NM Gov. Dave Cargo says law is clear; AG got it wrong

By Dennis Domrzalski and
Mark Bralley

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office might have gotten it wrong this morning in saying it can’t investigate allegations of vote-buying at the recent Bernalillo County Republican Party ward conventions because political party nominating conventions aren’t subject to the state’s election code.
New Mexico Attorney General Gary King--Photo by Mark Bralley

According to the New Mexico election code, political parties have to abide by the code when determining which candidates get on ballots. Here’s the relevant part of the election law:

1-7-1. Political parties; conditions for use of ballot. (1969)
All nominations of candidates for public office in New Mexico made by political parties shall be made pursuant to the Election Code [
1-1-1 NMSA 1978]. No political party shall be permitted to have the names of its candidates printed on any election ballot unless and until it has qualified as provided in the Election Code.

Other sections of the election code say it’s a fourth-degree felony to pay for a vote and to take money to vote a certain way:

1-20-11. Offering a bribe. (1969)
Offering a bribe consists of willfully advancing, paying, or causing to be paid, or promising, directly or indirectly, any money or other valuable consideration, office or employment, to any person for the following purposes connected with or incidental to any election:
A. to induce such person, if a voter, to vote or refrain from voting for or against any candidate, proposition, question or constitutional amendment;
B. to induce such person, if a precinct board member or other election official, to mark, alter, suppress or otherwise change any ballot that has been cast, any election return, or any certificate of election; or
C. to induce such person to use such payment or promise to bribe others for the purposes specified in this section.
Whoever offers a bribe is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

1-20-12. Accepting a bribe. (1969)
Accepting a bribe consists of knowingly accepting any payment or promise of payment, directly or indirectly, of money, valuable consideration, office or employment for the unlawful purposes specified in
Section 1-20-11 NMSA 1978.
Whoever accepts a bribe is guilty of a fourth degree felony.

Former New Mexico Gov. Dave Cargo brought the vote-buying allegations to the news media. He said that certain campaigns paid the registration fees of some attendees to the Bernalillo County GOP’s March 17 pre-primary nominating convention. The delegates elected at the pre-primary nominating convention will determine which candidates will appear on the Republican Party’s June primary election ballot. Those include candidates for the U.S Senate and the House of Representatives.
Dave Cargo and Gary King--Photo by Mark Bralley


Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s U.S. Senate campaign has admitted that it paid the $30 registration fees for five convention attendees.
The 79-year-old Cargo said this morning that he was “appalled” when he heard of the AG’s decision to not investigate the vote-buying allegations.

“It’s as clear as a bell. They (political parties) have to abide by the law,” Cargo said. “Otherwise, how do they control expenditures, accounting, reporting and all kinds of other things. There is nothing private about a public election. You talk about a plain reading of the statute, how could it be any clearer?”

Cargo has argued that the Republican pre-primary convention is subject to the election code because it was the first step in the process to officially name party candidates for federal, state and local offices.

Another section of the election code also appears to support Cargo’s argument:

1-7-2. Qualification; removal; requalification. (1995)
A. To qualify as a political party in New Mexico, each political party through its governing body shall adopt rules and regulations providing for the organization and government of that party and shall file the rules and regulations with the secretary of state. Uniform rules and regulations shall be adopted throughout the state by the county organizations of that party, where a county organization exists, and shall be filed with the county clerks. At the same time the rules and regulations are filed with the secretary of state, the governing body of the political party shall also file with the secretary of state a petition containing the hand-printed names, signatures, addresses of residence and counties of residence of at least one-half of one percent of the total votes cast for the office of governor or president at the preceding general election who declare by their signatures on such petition that they are voters of New Mexico and that they desire the party to be a qualified political party in New Mexico.
B. Each county political party organization may adopt such supplementary rules and regulations insofar as they do not conflict with the uniform state rules and regulations or do not abridge the lawful political rights of any person (Emphasis mine).)Such supplementary rules shall be filed with the county clerk and the secretary of state in the same manner as other rules are filed.
NM AG says there’s no GOP vote-buying probe.

Says that party conventions are private affairs that are not subject to the state’s election code


By Dennis Domrzalski

The New Mexico Attorney General’s Office said today that it is not investigating allegations of vote-buying at the recent state GOP pre-primary conventions because party conventions are private matters that aren’t subject to the state’s election code.

AG spokesman Phil Sisneros said the office sent a memo to the Secretary of State’s Office saying that unless there is more to the allegations there’s noting to be investigated.

Secretary of State Mary Herrera said on Wednesday that her office was working closely with the AG’s Office to finish the investigation before the state Republican Party held its statewide nominating convention on Saturday. Herrera said at the time that she had never heard of people having to pay to attend party nominating conventions and that she thought the practice was “very odd.”

“We sent them a memo saying that they need to come up with more information before we can do anything,” Sisneros said. “Because for us, the Republican convention is not under the state election code. It’s the same thing for the Democrat Party’s caucuses. They’re private organizations and they do not come under the state election code. It is really going to be a party issue.”

SoS spokesman James Flores confirmed that Bureau of Elections Chief Daniel Miera had received the AG’s memo.

The vote-buying allegations stem from the Bernalillo County Republican Party’s pre-primary convention on Feb. 17 in Albuquerque. Former New Mexico Gov. Dave Cargo, a Republican, said attendees had told him that their $30 registration fees had been paid by certain campaigns. Cargo also said he had been told that some campaigns might have paid attendees $35-an-hour to be at the convention.

Attendees to the convention elected delegates to the state GOP’s statewide convention to be held on Saturday. Those delegates will decide which candidates will be on the party’s June primary election ballot.

Cargo, a lawyer, said the allegations, if true, amounted to vote-buying and bribery, which under state law are fourth-degree felonies. Cargo was not immediately available for comment Friday morning.

Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s U.S. Senate campaign initially refused to answer questions about whether it had paid people to attend the conventions. Later it admitted it paid the $30 registration fees of five people who attended the conventions.

Bernalillo County GOP records show that Wilson’s campaign paid four people’s fees by check—two from Ward 31, and one each from Wards 23 and 24.

The vote-buying allegation story was broken by then-KKOB Radio drive time news anchor Laura MacCallum. She quit her job after station News Director Pat Allen pulled the stories. Allen said in a memo to MacCallum that he didn’t think the story was valid because bloggers and other news outlets hadn’t picked it up.

State GOP officials have said that the party has charged registration fees to convention attendees since the mid-1990s. They said the fees help pay the overhead costs of running the conventions.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Heather Wilson Vote-buying Scandal Paper Trail

NM Secretary of State Marry Herrera is racing to complete the probe into the state GOP's vote-buying scandal

Herrera said she's never heard of campaigns paying for people to attend party conventions; calls the practice "very odd."

Exclusive interview with Herrera!


The paper trail: Copies of the checks that Wilson's campaign wrote to convention attendees are headed to the AG's Office.

Those checks might be the reason Wilson's Senate campaign fessed up to paying



By Dennis Domrzalski

New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera said her office is working closely and quickly with the state Attorney General’s Office to finish the investigation into the state Republican Party’s vote-buying scandal.

The agencies want the investigation completed before the state GOP’s statewide convention on Saturday, Herrera said late Tuesday in an exclusive interview with this blog.

Herrera also said she was troubled by the allegations that the
campaigns—including Congresswoman Heather Wilson’s U.S. Senate campaign—had paid people to attend the Bernalillo County GOP’s ward conventions on Feb. 17 and vote for certain delegates.

“It’s something new—people being paid to get to conventions. I’ve never heard of it. I’ve been attending (Democratic Party) ward and state conventions since I’ve been 18 and I’ve never heard of anything like this. Now we have paying people to do it. It sees very odd,” Herrera said during the face-to-face interview in Albuquerque.

And new evidence emerged in the case that offers a reason why Wilson’s campaign suddenly admitted to paying for five people to attend the conventions after initially refusing to comment on the allegations of vote buying at the Feb. 17 Bernalillo County GOP’s ward conventions: a paper trail.

Wilson’s campaign paid at least four people with checks. Those checks went to four people to attend conventions in Bernalillo County wards 31, 23 and 24.

The AG’s office is expected to get copies of those checks today.

“We are working fast because their convention is Saturday, and we are working closely with the Attorney General’s office,” Herrera said.

GOP Party Chair Confirms Investigation

Bernalillo County Republican Party Chairman Fernando C. de Baca confirmed that he had been called by the Secretary of State’s office on Tuesday morning about the vote-buying allegations and that he talked to Bureau of Elections chief Daniel Miera for more than an hour about the issue.

“I was called by the head of the Bureau of Elections. He asked me about the convention procedures and asked if I had seen any checks written by Heather Wilson’s campaign and if the checks had any names,” C. de Baca said.

“I told him that there were four checks, that they were made out to the Bernalillo County Republican Party and that they had no names. He told me he would need copies of them, that he would be meeting with representatives of the Attorney General’s Office and that they were conducting an investigation.

“I informed this party’s executive board about the allegations and that there was an ongoing investigation of the matter by Secretary of State’s Office.”

Wilson’s Campaign Checks

Copies of the checks written by Wilson’s Senate campaign exist because the Bernalillo County GOP keeps meticulous records of all money it receives. All checks the party receives, as well as all large amounts of cash—are photocopied. That’s right; the party even photocopies large bills and records their serial numbers! In most cases, the party can trace specific bills to specific donors.

The investigators have asked for all the county party’s convention records so they can try to match Wilson’s check numbers to specific attendees. The party’s records include lists of all convention attendees, if they paid, and how they paid—whether by check or cash. So it shouldn’t take long for investigators to match the checks with names.

Wilson’s checks were written to the county GOP. Each one was for $30, which was the convention registration fee, and none mentioned that the purpose of the money was to pay for people to attend the conventions.

Two checks were received from Ward 31 in Albuquerque’s Northeast Heights, and one each came in from Wards 23 and 24.

The checks were the large, business-type design. The check from Ward 24 was numbered 7291, while the one from Ward 23 was numbered 7292—which shows they were written in sequence. The two from Ward 31 were numbered 7254 and 7263. That interruption in sequence could lead investigators to ask whether Wilson’s campaign wrote checks to convention attendees in other counties. It’s not clear if the checks were written on the day of the convention. If they were written days before the convention, investigators might start looking at just how premeditated the vote-buying effort was.

Dave Cargo Vindicated

The Wilson campaign checks vindicate former New Mexico Governor Dave Cargo, whom the state GOP has tried to smear in recent days as a disloyal Republican who was angry because he wasn’t elected a delegate to the March 15 convention.

Dave Cargo and his wife, Ida Jo (left)--photo by Mark Bralley


The 31st Ward is where the controversy over the vote-buying scandal erupted. Cargo was the ward’s chairman, and he’s the one who went to the news media with allegations that certain campaigns had paid people’s registration fees for the conventions, which were held to nominate delegates to the state GOP’s March 15 statewide nominating convention. Those delegates to the statewide convention will vote on which candidates will be on the party’s June primary election ballot. Cargo also said he heard people at his ward convention say they had been paid by certain campaigns $35-an-hour to attend the function.

State GOP officials blasted the 79-year-old Cargo after he made the allegations. And, when then-KKOB Radio afternoon drive time news anchor Laura MacCallum aired stories about Cargo’s complaints and the alleged vote-buying scheme, state party officials and Wilson campaign operatives called the station to complain that Cargo was a disgruntled loser who had no credibility.

KKOB News Director Pat Allen eventually killed MacCallum’s stories on the subject, saying in a bizarre memo that the stories weren’t valid because other news outlets and bloggers had not picked them up.

MacCallum resigned in protest.

Cargo has also said that the vote-buying scheme is a fourth-degree felony under New Mexico law. The law says it's a crime for someone to over a bribe for a vote and to accept a bribe to vote a certain way.

Cargo said the checks vindicate his allegations and prove that state Republican Party operatives "are a closed little group who operate on the basis of hate."

"This happened right in my ward, which is what I said," Cargo added. "They pait me as being disloyal and they were the ones doing the corrputing. Instead of admitting what they did, they tried to smear me."

And the Ward 24 caucus was where state Rep. Janice Arnold-Jones, R-Albuquerque, said she had that people had been paid by certain campaigns to attend.

State GOP officials have said that the convention fees were legitimate charges because they paid to rent a ballroom at the Albuquerque Marriott where the conventions were held.

Checks Could Cause Wilson Reporting Problems

How Wilson’s campaign reports the checks on its campaign finance reports to the Federal Elections Commission could eventually be of some interest. Will it call them donations to the Bernalillo County Republican Party, or will it be honest and say the money was paid for people to attend ward conventions and vote a certain way?

Cargo says that in the eys of the FEC, "buying votes is not a legitimate campaign expense."

Investigators might eventually be looking at that, as well.