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Gary King goes on the defensive

The Attorney General is accused of conflicts of interest

July 15, 2011, 12:10 am
By Joey Peters

 Neck deep in allegations of ethic violations, Attorney General Gary King channeled Paul Harvey last month by telling reporters "the rest of the story."


King's press conference, snippets of which were posted today on the attorney general's website, centered around conflict of interest allegations from former Republican state Sen. Victor Marshall. Marshall is an attorney for Frank Foy, the former chief investment officer for the Educational Retirement Board who filed two lawsuits alleging pay-to-play schemes at the ERB and the State Investment Council.

A defendant in both lawsuits is former ERB Chairman Bruce Malott, who served as treasurer of King's failed 2004 campaign for congress. King is attempting to take over the corruption allegations against the State Investment Council. The Albuquerque Journal reported on June 18 that King's office filed two new lawsuits "seeking damages from more than a dozen people."

Marshall deems King's involvement a conflict of interest because of his political relations with Malott. Malott was filing campaign reports for King through last year.

A June 18 editorial from the Santa Fe New Mexican heavily criticized King's actions, asking whether he's "trying to foul up the case against a bunch of power-abusing Democrats who might include former Gov. Bill Richardson."

On the relationship between King and Malott, it continued: "That's clearly a conflict of interest, and Marshall argues with good reason, that King should recuse himself from the case. We'd go a step further, suggesting that he consider recusing himself from office." 

But another conflict of interest pops up here: Marshall is a legal counsel to the New Mexican. But that's another story...

In last month's press conference, King acknowledged that it's easy to make the conflict allegation between him and Malott.

"A lot of times the campaign treasurer is a close friend or a big fundraiser or a big financial supporter of the candidate," King told reporters at the time. "In this case Mr. Malott was none of these things."

King went on to say that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee recommended he "not use a friend or a big supporter or someone like that to be the treasurer" for his 2004 run for Congress, but someone with experience as a treasurer in federal campaigns.

King maintained that Malott isn't involved in any of the cases his office has been involved in, making it "impossible for there to be a conflict." Malott isn't a defendant in the AG's new lawsuits because they deal only with the State Investment Council, not the ERB. But Foy still accuses some of the defendants in the AG lawsuit of conspiring with Malott on ERB investment deals. 

"If I allowed everybody to knock me off a case just by alleging that I had some interest or conflict of interest, I wouldn't be a very good attorney general," King told reporters.

He also used his office's prosecution against former Secretary of State Rebecca Vigil-Girón as evidence that he's "not afraid to prosecute or pursue actions against somebody just because I know them politically."


 

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