Even the GOP chair has leaped into the spotlight to seize the news that Jerome Block Jr and his father had been indicted by a grand jury on a total of 12 criminal charges relating to....
Well, relating to what? The New Mexican is providing this link to the indictments. Deborah Baker at AP had the best round-up by the evening. (KRQE had the worst, identifying Sandy Jones as Sandy Johnson and including the line, "if convicted he faces up to 36 years in prison." Really? I mean, really? That's the sort of sentence they give to serial armed robbers who pose as DEA agents. And even then, the judge suspended half the sentence.)
In short, Jerome Jr is accused of violating the Voter Action Act, a law governing how candidates use public money in their campaigns. Jerome Jr is also accused of conspiring to violate the Voter Action Act and tampering with evidence and conspiring to tamper with evidence.... And finally, Jerome Jr is accused of two counts of embezzlement of state dollars.
The first count is easy enough to figure out.
According to the indictment, he's accused of embezzling $2,500 from the public election fund on June 9, 2008.
According to Jerome Jr's campaign finance reports, he paid $2,500 to a country band on June 9, 2008....that was Wyld Country, a band never played.
Count 1 = Wyld Country. Got it.
The second count, though, is an enigma.
According to the indictment, Jerome Jr. is accused of embezzling $1,700 on June 23, 2008. I've got nothing in my file that corresponds to the date or the amount. I'm at a loss.
What happened on June 23? Is there a second Wyld Country cover act? How come the Secretary of State missed it?
I'm also stumped by the other obvious question: What is Jerome Block Sr's role in this?
He's been indicted on four charges:violating the Voter Action Act, conspiring to do it, tampering with evidence and conspiring to tamper with evidence. Remember, Block isn't just a father, but an employee of a regulated telecom.
Anyway, if we see any of these questions answered in Thursday's papers, I'll be seriously impressed.
UPDATE: On Thursday morning, both dailies (Journal, New Mex) mention the $1,700 question and suggest that it might be related to the $700 Block Jr donate to Hillary Clinton's campaign to clear up her debt. This is unlikely: according to Federal Election Commission reports, Block made that contribution on August 22, two months after the charge as identified in the indictment. However, Clinton's reports do show Block making the payment out of his own pocket, not through his own campaign committee. The dailies also point out that Block Sr. is a registered lobbyist for regulated entities; his involvement in his son's campaign maybe inherently problematic.