Is Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg Strategizing With Arizona’s Maricopa County Sheriff Arpaio?
NBC KECI news reported last night that Missoula County Attorney Fred Van Valkenburg is refusing to cooperate with the Department of Justice investigation into the handling of rape and sexual assaults by the University of Montana, the city police and the Missoula County Attorney’s office.
You’ll remember that Mr. Van Valkenburg was “deeply disturbed” over the investigation when the DOJ came knocking back in May.
Some of you might be familiar with Sheriff Arpaio and his latest civil rights violation? The arrest of a 6-year old which also violated a Presidential executive order?
Most Montanan’s probably don’t realize the connection that both Fred Valkenburg and Joe Arpaio have..and if history is any indicator, Mr. Van Valkenburg might want to reconsider his relection bid for Missoula County Attorney in 2014.
First off, remember Thomas Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice? Not only is he heading up the civil rights investigation into the University of Montana/Missoula rape and sexual assaults – announced May 1st – he’s the same guy who’s been investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio since 2008 for civil rights violations. That’s back when George Bush Jr. was president.
Small world, huh?
In that investigation, Perez has recently filed suit against Arpaio’s department for a “pattern of unlawful discrimination” by law enforcement officials.
Leading up to that – keeping in mind the DOJ has been down in Maricopa County since 2008 – Perez has dealt with a very uncooperative Sheriff Joe Arpaio, having to sue the guy into cooperation. The New York Times reported “Obama administration officials called the suit the first time in 30 years that the federal government had to sue to compel a law enforcement agency to cooperate with an investigation concerning Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.”
Looks like Fred Van Valkenburg is gearing up for the same sort of lawsuit – and one has to wonder just how much his bloviating reticence is costing the taxpayers. Not only that, what does he have to hide?
Why wouldn’t an attorney cooperate with the deputy of the highest law officer in the United States?
Is this how a county attorney should behave? Why should I, for example, cooperate with Fred Van Valkenburg if he came knocking? Is this really the example of a county attorney that we want here in Missoula? In Montana?
And again – Where in the world is Montana’s Attorney General Steve Bullock on this DOJ civil rights investigation? Doesn’t Montana have civil rights laws?
I’ve also always been told that a county attorney is also a deputy of the state’s attorney general. If that is the case, what does Bullock have to say about Van Valkenburg’s lack of cooperation?
And consider that last April Fred Van Valkenburg welcomed the feds into town as they came in a attacked the state’s medical marijuana laws.
Add him to that hypocrite tag, I guess.
Per the KECI report (make sure to watch, as Fred is in fine form whining about how he’s not going to be bullied) reporter Will Wadley waves around letters from both Van Valkenburg and the Department of Justice. Kind of a shame that he doesn’t link them on line. It’s not like they were one liners – he shows multiple pages with lots of little words and legal arguments. Would be nice if KECI would share that with the general public. I kind of think Fred’s letter would be quite interesting. Let’s see the guy’s defense.
Hell – Maybe Fred should put his response to the DOJ up on his website. Inquiring taxpayers want to know!
Still, Wadley breaks a good story – and I’m glad to have seen it. Frankly, I hope the national media picks up on it, too.
For Missoulians? This is your tax dollars at work. It’s also your vote at work, since Van Valkenburg is an elected official, accountable to the voters.
We’re in for a long haul folks – I’ve had numerous conversations and most people seem to be operating on an assumption that we’re going to seem some resolution to this investigation sometime in the near future – the end of summer…soon. If history is any lesson here, Perez is going to be coming to Missoula for many many visits…and with Van Valkenburg pulling an Arpaio on the whole DOJ investigation, the DOJ is going to be at it for years.
Missoulian reporter Jenna Cederberg has her report on Van Valkenburg’s refusal to cooperate with the DOJ. Her story includes links to the letters between Van Valkenburg and the DOJ.