Public corruption takes all forms, and in Arizona it can be found on all levels of government. One of the most common forms of public corruption in Arizona these days is hidden under the cloak of prosecutorial discretion.
“Prosecutorial discretion refers to the fact that under American law, government prosecuting attorneys have nearly absolute powers. A prosecuting attorney has power on various matters including those relating to choosing whether or not to bring criminal charges, deciding the nature of charges, plea bargaining and sentence recommendation.” – USlegal.com
To quote 19th century British politician, Lord Acton: “Absolute power corrupts absolutely.”
Because of the nearly absolute powers they wield, candidates for county attorney and state attorney general races rake in the big bucks from very powerful special interests. Those contributions, along with old alliances and associations can, and do, influence whether or not a criminal act is prosecuted.
That is not how it is supposed to be; justice is supposed to be blind. However; too often in Arizona justice only turns a blind eye to the shenanigans of corrupt players.
For those naïve souls, who enter public service believing that public’s trust is to be earned and cherished, learning that justice is reserved for a few can be tough. Such was the case for Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries and his team.
Justice turns a blind eye
When Jeffries took over the helm at DES he was given very specific instructions to clean house and bring the Department up to the “speed of business.” He brought with him a team of professionals made up of civil servants, and business people.
Almost immediately it became apparent that the Department was in poor shape. Jeffries inherited a failing software program through which some of Arizona’s neediest residents fell. Michael Veit was the AHCCCS procurement agent for the HEA Plus project. In May 2016, Veit, and his long-time friend and co-conspirator Michael J. Cameron, were sentenced to prison for stealing $5.9 million from the State of Arizona, reported the ADI.