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The author of this blog has moved his efforts over to a new group blog. Please visit The Arizona Growler.

O'Hara Factor
Monday, January 23, 2006

What I didn't know about DeConcini

First off, yes there is an article in the Wildcat about the mandatory student union fee proposal. More important duty calls.

John Fund in OpinionJournal today mentions the previous activities of newly-appointed Arizona Regent Dennis DeConcini, a former U.S. Senator, in light of the Jack Abramoff scandal.

Some universities end up employing or being run by the very people who bring them this largesse. Last month Democratic former senator Dennis DeConcini was given a prestigious appointment as a regent of the University of Arizona. Mr. DeConcini retired from the Senate in 1995 after being tarred as one of the "Keating Five," a group of senators who improperly intervened with federal regulators on behalf of corrupt savings-and-loan owner Charles Keating. Mr. DeConcini then became--no surprise--a Washington lobbyist. He now admits he needs to be brought up to speed on education issues. But he had a ready explanation for his appointment: "I used to be very close to the universities. I was able to secure them millions of dollars when I was in the Senate."

The office of Gov. Janet Napolitano, who appointed Mr. DeConcini as a regent, agrees with his assessment. Spokeswoman Jeanine L'Ecuyer told the Arizona State University newspaper that the former senator "was selected for his experience on Capitol Hill, where he helped Arizona universities secure federal funding for research."

Greg Patterson, a Republican former Arizona state legislator, calls the DeConcini appointment outrageous: "Imagine if a former senator was appointed to the board of Boeing and said 'Golly, I don't know much about planes, but when I was in the Senate, I got Boeing a ton of contracts and now I've got this really cool job.' "

That's why I remember DeConcini's name! And that's why I don't remember why; he retired in '95. Seems we Arizona bloggers and commentators missed something!

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