Goudinoff assails ‘railroad job’ on Mecham

January 17, 1988

By Jim Erickson
The Arizona Daily Star

A Democratic state legislator said yesterday that House Republicans are trying to “railroad” Gov. Evan Mecham, and he vowed to vote against impeachment if the GOP insists on having its own way.

“There is no question that this man is totally incompetent and that he must be gone as quickly as possible,” Rep. Peter Goudinoff of Tucson said yesterday.

“But I am very fearful that what we are seeing in the House of Representatives is your basic railroad job,” Goudinoff said at a meeting of the Arizona Federation of Democratic Women.

At the same luncheon, Democrat Carolyn Warner, who lost to Mecham in a three-way election in 1986, called on Democrats to pity the governor and give him justice. Warner repeated her vow to run again if a recall election is held.

Goudinoff accused House Republicans of pushing for a quick vote on impeachment to end the political embarrassment caused by Mecham and to minimize damage to their party.

He added that the House investigation will be delayed by Speaker Joe Lane’s refusal to allow the Democrats their own special counsel.

Lane, R-Wilcox, named William P. French last October to investigate alleged violations of law by Mecham. French presented his report Friday to the entire House.

“He (Lane) has slowed down the process by being so recalcitrant,” Goudinoff said. “As a result, we’ll be spending next week and the week after that just ascertaining what the law is in this case.”

Lane could not be reached for comment yesterday. But he said last week that “all we’re trying to do is essentially what a grand jury would do, and that’s determine probable cause.”

Lane said last week that the trial “is supposed to take place in the Senate. And when you have a trial, that’s when you’ve got witnesses on both sides and you’ve got your attorneys and it’s a big deal.”

Goudinoff’s comments came a day after French reported that Mecham may have broken 14 laws, including 11 that can be felonies.

“As of this moment, I cannot support impeachment,” Goudinoff said yesterday.

“I need some legal advice as to what some of this means. And I’ll tell you, I’m going to vote no if I think that there has not been justice served,” he said.

Warner, who spoke after Goudinoff, expressed similar sentiments.

“I know how we all feel, and I know that many of us feel that we were cheated in one way or another, but we cannot join in a lynch mob,” Warner said.

“I am a supporter of our system of government and believe in it so strongly that if it is violated I will come out and support Mecham,” she said.

Goudinoff said he studied about one-third of the French report and has concluded that “it doesn’t look good for the governor.”

“If I had to guess, I’d guess that there will be a resolution of impeachment, but I don’t know if I’m going to vote for it,” he said.