So Richard Costigan tells the Sacramento Bee’s Dan Weintraub that he isn’t actually leaving his gig as Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s legislative secretary just yet (and that he will not go to Ameriquest). Although he will leave sometime this year.
I reported Sunday that the former state Chamber of Commerce chief lobbyist “looks headed out the door.” For his part, Jon Fleischman, a good guy, in his popular conservative Republican Flash Report said he had “six confirmations” that his fellow conservative was already gone. Don’t cue the Eagles ‘cause the boy is back, er, never left.
In politics as in science, the act of observation often influences the behavior of what’s being observed.
My sources, who are very reliable, told me tonight that Costigan decided to take a high-paid job with controversial mortgage lender Ameriquest in the middle of last week. Indeed, the same job they say he decided to take six months ago. At that time, as word circulated in Schwarzworld, some Arnistas pointed out that this was not necessarily a fantastic idea. Ameriquest was radioactive, with charges dogging it across the country that its lending practices ripped off the poor and its largesse provided many political perks. And Arnold and Maria wanted him to stay.
Something similar is reported to have happened again this time. When Flash Report declared that Costigan was gone, it did not report two things reported here. Unlike others who have departed in the ongoing shake-up of the Arnold circle, the First Lady, who is not an anti-conservative ogre (nor nearly as liberal as advertised), likes Costigan and wants him to stay. Notwithstanding his ideology, he was not part of any supposed pro-liberal purge of the Brown Suite, er, horseshoe. Nor did Flash mention another important fact. Ameriquest is still quite radioactive. The company just agreed to the second largest settlement of claims for predatory lending in U.S. history. With the Jack Abramoff scandal soiling the Republican national lobbying and Congressional communities, and hence the party’s reputation around the country, and with nagging questions about Arnold’s own staff and consultants, a Costigan segue to Ameriquest would increase a target-rich environment for Democrats in this election year.
So there is one person who hasn’t left. Of course, people who are said to be leaving not infrequently say they are not, but actually do leave. My most amusing incident concerned former Arnold communications director Rob Stutzman. I reported he would be leaving the Governor’s Office after the special election; he said he would be staying. That’s fine. Then when I reported that after he left, he would not be going to Schwarzenegger’s re-election campaign, as it was said he would, I told him of my report and asked him what his comment was. He replied: “Depends who told you.” Fantastic! Last week I revealed that he and former chief of staff Pat Clarey had landed on the state Republican Party payroll. I’d like to discuss a big Democratic soap opera, since I really don’t know Republicans much, but they don’t seem to have one. It’s very disappointing. Maybe one can be provoked.