Hot on the heels of Rehberg’s lawsuit against firefighters, the poaching trial of Rehberg State Director Randy Vogel is on the court docket in Virginia City, MT, August 11-12. The trial is especially important in this case because, as Roll Call reported following a House ethics committee inquiry into the matter in April:
The House ethics committee voted Wednesday not to investigate an aide to Rep. Denny Rehberg (R-Mont.) who is accused of illegally killing an elk, deferring to a pending state trial on the matter.
Indeed, according to Roll Call, the ethics committee found that Rehberg has not removed Vogel from the position of state director, rather, Vogel:
is on leave without pay pending the outcome of the trial, the ethics committee report states.
Rehberg’s website does not list anyone in the position of state director, nor has his office has made announcement of a replacement. Though Vogel’s attorney claim that he insisted Vogel take the leave “to focus on the trial,” according to Vogel’s Linkedin account he is currently selling insurance.
I do believe this incident, in a cumulative effect, will drag Rehberg down in a significant way, coming as it does not just on on the heels of the firefighter lawsuit scandal but also in the context of the Flathead boat wreck incident. It’s a big enough story so that it will continue to roll out and embarass the Congressman, and Vogel, as we now see, is going to try to protect his own ass, not Rehberg’s.
Vogel requested a full jury trial, the kind the media loves. That’s not the action of someone who is trying to quietly sweep his misdeeds under the rug to protect his boss. Vogel, a former state legislator himself, may believe he has his own political future to protect. In the aftermath of the boating wreck, the Rehberg spin machine was pretty effective, proving again that Republicans seem to be generally better at that stuff than Dems. But again, as time passes the facts of the accident, not the post-accident spin, is what will be indelible.