Thursday, February 15, 2007

If you're trying to keep a master list of waiting-for-indictment Republicrooks, make sure you've got Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons


On the Democratic Party blog, Tracy Russo reports:

Culture of Corruption, Hangover Edition

I bet you thought that the corruption files had been closed. After all, we did get rid of the do-nothing rubberstamp Republican Congress. Well, it would seem these things linger, like a hangover, and are still around the next day.

Take Nevada Governor, Republican Jim Gibbons:

Federal prosecutors are investigating whether Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons accepted unreported gifts or payments from a company that was awarded secret military contracts when Mr. Gibbons served in Congress.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is examining whether any gifts or payments violated federal contracting rules or were offered in exchange for official acts by Mr. Gibbons, people briefed on the investigation said. Mr. Gibbons, a Republican, represented Nevada for five terms in Congress, where he served on the House Intelligence and Armed Services committees, and was sworn in as governor last month.

The close ties between the congressman and the contractor, Warren Trepp, were disclosed in a Nov. 1 Wall Street Journal article, which revealed that Mr. Gibbons accepted private jet flights and a Caribbean cruise from the software-company owner. Mr. Gibbons says accepting the cruise and flight didn't violate House ethics rules.

New evidence has emerged that includes emails to Mr. Trepp-- the majority owner of eTreppid Technologies LLC and the former chief trader for convicted junk-bond dealer Michael Milken--discussing a payment or gift to then-Rep. Gibbons. They also show Mr. Gibbons repeatedly using his congressional office to help the firm seek classified military and civilian contracts.

The emails show that since at least 2003, Mr. Trepp maintained close ties to Mr. Gibbons, who helped eTreppid get no-bid software contracts from the Air Force, U.S. Special Operations Command and Central Intelligence Agency. Messrs. Trepp and Gibbons have denied any wrongdoing, and no charges have been filed; indeed, such investigations sometimes end without official action.

On March 22, 2005, days before Mr. Trepp and his wife embarked on the Caribbean cruise with the congressman and his family, Jalé Trepp sent a reminder to her husband. "Please don't forget to bring the money you promised Jim and Dawn," referring to Mr. and Mrs. Gibbons. Minutes later, Mr. Trepp responds, "Don't you ever send this kind of message to me! Erase this message from your computer right now!" Mr. Gibbons failed to disclose the cruise and travel on Mr. Trepp's leased private jet, as required by House ethics rules. He later asked the House Ethics Committee for an exemption, but left office before any action was taken.
(Emphasis added)

This is the second major story the
Wall Street Journal has published raising questions about whether Gov. Gibbons used his position in Congress to help a contributor secure contracts.

Gibbons has been in office just less than two months, but already he has embarrassed the state with a bizarre midnight swearing-in, little understanding of his own budget, a baffling energy program and an investigation into whether his top campaign advisor tried to pressure a woman into dropping assault charges against Gibbons. The string of gaffes has earned him the nickname among some bloggers as "the nation's worst governor."

There is some good news in the story, if not for Jim Gibbons, at least for the American people:
The FBI declined to comment on the investigation, which appears to be in a preliminary stage. The bureau has stepped up its pursuit of public-corruption cases, and says it now has about 620 agents working on federal, state and local cases, compared with 260 in 2002.

As we said post-election 2006, RIP Culture of Corruption.

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UPDATE: Yes indeed, Jim Gibbons is the guy who was elected governor while under investigation for sexual assault

Thanks to our friend jimmy the saint (see the comments section) for remembering that then-Governor-elect Gibbons was elected last November amid accusations of having sexually assaulted a cocktail waitress the month before, as reported in a Nov. 12 Talking Points Memo post by David Kurtz.

So what happened? The MSNBC website has this undated report (the same news was carried on Huffington Post on Dec. 27, 2006) from KVBC-TV Las Vegas:

DA says case closed against Governor Jim Gibbons

It's case closed against Governor Jim Gibbons. That's the word from the District Attorney who says there's not enough evidence to support any claims that his camp pressured a cocktail waitress to drop assault charges against him.

In October, Chrissy Mazzeo accused Gibbons of assaulting her in a parking lot. The next day she withdrew the complaint, only to re-file it, claiming the then Republican gubernatorial candidate relayed threats and bribes through her one time friend Pennie Puhek.

After reviewing cell phone records and talking to Puhek about the allegations, the DA's Office has decided there's not enough evidence to pursue charges.


At 6:08 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Isn't this guy the same joker who was accused of inappropriate contact by a cocktail waitress during the campaign season last year? Did the DA drop the case? If so, why? I wouldn't be suprised if he had to pay the woman off. He's obviously a stand up guy(not!!!).

At 8:56 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Good question, Jimmy. We'll have to check that out.


At 9:53 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

It is the same guy:

He doesn't know how to keep his nose clean so to speak.

At 9:55 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Cut and paste this:

I didn't realize the other link would get chopped. The above goes to the same place. It's courtesy of Josh.

At 6:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good, someone is after this scumbag.

It is nice to know there is some justice in the world.

At 7:19 AM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Thanks for the help, Jimmy. I think we've got the story up to date now, pending further developments in the colorful case of Governor Jim.


At 4:34 PM, Blogger Jimmy the Saint said...

Your welcome. I guess there won't be much of a way to tell if the waitress was payed off. IIRC there was a surveillance tape in the parking garage, and the tape disappeared for a few days right after the incident. He just knows how to make Nevada proud alright.


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