Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen many Republican politicians arrested, charged, found guilty and hauled off to jail. So many, in fact, it makes one wonder why.
Oh, there’s an occasional Democrat here and there. But, the majority of the felonious miscreants come from the GOP. So, again, why?
Here in our Arizona desert desolation, we have a doozy. The guy’s name is Paul Petersen. He’s our Maricopa County Assessor - at least that’s his day job. Maricopa County is some 4-million souls. But, Petersen has not been around much lately. A check of the pass for his private spot in the Maricopa County parking lot shows its been used only 59 days this year.
Republican Peterson is now hidden in a federal slammer somewhere looking at 60 felony charges in three states - Arizona, Utah and Arkansas.
The litany of charges reads like this: smuggling 70 women from the Marshall Islands to the above states for private financial gain; aiding and abetting the same; wire fraud; committing federal visa fraud and money laundering. And, he charged each of the women $40,000 for his services!
As I said, county assessor seems to be only his day job.
By education, Peterson is an attorney. So, too, was his father, David. We’ll get to David shortly.
In sum, the 62 counts arise from Paul’s apparent scheme of finding pregnant women in the Marshalls, convincing them to come to the states ( charging $40,000 each), having babies and putting them up for adoption. Then, he charged the parents-to-be a separate fee which, according to indictments, brought his take to several million dollars.
He had a couple of women accomplices; one in the Marshalls to do the scouting and lining up the mothers-to-be and another, stateside, to make medical admissions in the three states and find applicants for the baby sales. We’re told the pregnant women were kept in private houses under very crowded and unsanitary conditions. Near as the feds can tell, this has been going on for about nine years!
Then, there’s David Peterson, the pater. David, another Republican, got himself into the Arizona State Senate, representing Mesa in the ‘90's and rose to the rank of majority whip for a term or two. But, his day job was running a non-profit called Family Services Committee which sponsored - wait for it - adoptions. David even got several bills passed into law that speeded up the Arizona adoption process and got taxpayer dollars to recruit adoptive families.
Then, David was elected State Treasurer. He sent his son, Paul, to college to get his law degree and Paul decided his specialty would be - wait for it again - adoption law.
Father David was also running Arizona Communities of Character Council and Arizona Character Council Foundation where he managed to secure more taxpayer dollars, according to the state’s largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic.
David fielded calls and faxes from his State Treasurer’s office and clocked many hundreds of miles for what he called “community updates” representing his non-profits mixed with some legitimate state treasurer’s business. He kept his personal involvement in the “non-profit” business a closely guarded secret. The Republic described him as a “ pitchman who didn’t understand boundaries between state and personal business.”
After several years, David Petersen’s double life leaked out and he was forced to resign from public office.
Meantime, son Paul became a fixture in state GOP politics, holding several positions before running for - and winning - the Maricopa County Assessor’s office. And he, too, had this “little non-profit business” on the side. Also, “unknown to nearly everyone,” we’re told.
Martha McSally, one of our current U.S. Senators also had run-ins with legal authorities when, in the Arizona Legislature, she messed around with campaign funds for something other than campaigns. She lost her race for the Senate but our GOP Governor appointed her to fill in the remainder of the late John McCain’s term, regardless of the previous voter rejection.
Current U.S. GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, was re-elected in 2018 despite several federal indictments for using campaign dollars for lavish living. Chris Collins, a House member from New York, also was re-elected in 2018 regardless of his guilty plea to insider stock trading. He resigned just before going to jail.
There are other Republicans who’ve been charged with felonies or have otherwise been forced from federal or state offices. As previously noted, there’s been a Democrat or two but the GOP is way ahead in miscreant body count.
It’s also worth noting the national GOPer’s in or headed to the hoosegow. Manafort and Ryan are only the best known of the convicted. There are others. Some have served their sentences. Others await the judge’s decision. Looks like Rudy G. may possibly be headed to involuntary confinement, too. Along with a couple of his co-workers in this country and abroad.
And, who can forget our President. The top Republican himself may be headed the same way. Hard to tell these days with so many details breaking so quickly. The next few weeks and months will largely determine his fate.
Meantime, the federal lockup where Paul Petersen is being kept is a law enforcement secret, I’m told David still resides in the Mesa area. Might be worth one of your famous phone calls, DT. Professional courtesy.