Wednesday, January 24, 2007

FROM THE PUBLISHER >>Charge Atilla the Huck for his vandalism

The national media will one day catch up with Mike Huckabee’s vandalism during his last days in office, when the former governor ordered underlings to smash computer hard drives costing Arkansas taxpayers thousands of dollars. “None of it passes the smell test,” Pulaski County Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley told us Tuesday. “That’s public property. Why would you have to overwrite it seven times and then destroy the hard drives?”

Jegley doesn’t know if a crime has been committed, but he said, “I don’t like our hard-earned tax dollars spent that way.”
He said no one has asked him to investigate, but he thought the appropriate agencies would be the Little Rock Police Department, Pulaski County Sheriff’s Office and the State Police. “If the appropriate predicates are in place, we’ll pursue it,” the prosecutor said. “We’ll call it as we see it.”

Jegley, who criticized Huckabee in the past for his wanton pardons and clemencies, is worried there will be gaps in the public record because Huckabee wiped out so much information. The suspicion is the former governor had something to hide, and he didn’t want his successor to find out. Many government officials think computers they’ve used and abused over the years should be theirs for the taking — look at how former Cabot Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh’s staff erased vital information from his computers — but the damage Huckabee did is more serious and deserves at least a preliminary police investigation.

Here’s hoping Jegley, once he has enough to go on, has the guts to pursue Huckabee for destroying state property. Apart from squandering hundreds of thousands of dollars, Huckabee made some of the worst appointments to state agencies. In addition to the notorious Larry Zeno, who had to leave the state parole board for harassing women on the job and storing pornography on his state computer, Huckabee appointed two unqualified people to one of the most important state agencies, the Department of Emergency Management: Bud Harper, who was let go for goofing around on his office computer, and his successor, former Jacksonville Police Chief Wayne Rutheven, who quickly left the agency to pursue “a new professional opportunity.”

Huckabee is running as a niche candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, hoping to capture the religious-right vote, which will probably go for Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is much better known than Huckabee and has shown more character than our ex-governor.

When the Republican faithful across the country find out about Huckabee’s record in Arkansas — computers smashed, office furniture stolen, lavish payoffs to special-interest groups, midnight pardons and paroles — primary and caucus voters in New Hampshire Iowa will wonder just what religion it is that he represents. It’s not one they would join.