Real Progressive: John Dougherty
Goddard hails Dougherty’s courage
John Dougherty

John Dougherty gets congrats from Goddard

AZ Attorney General Goddard lauds "courage" of U.S. Senate candidate John Dougherty in probe of FLDS frauds and abuses

Remarks boost energetic grassroots Dougherty campaign

Green Valley, Ariz.(Aug. 16) — Arizona Attorney General and Democratic candidate for Governor Terry Goddard on Sunday hailed fellow Democrat John Dougherty’s "courage" in exposing "fraud" in the face of extreme danger during Dougherty’s groundbreaking investigation of the fundamentalist polygamists in Colorado City.

"There were people in that community, and many of them, that would have cheerfully eliminated his life for simply being there and questioning their style of life," Goddard told Democrats gathered for a fundraiser at the home of Nan and Richard Walden. "And it’s for courage like that that I think we owe John a great debt of gratitude."

Goddard’s remarks provide a powerful boost to Dougherty’s surging grassroots campaign to win the Aug. 24 four-way Democratic Senatorial primary.

Goddard said Dougherty’s investigation "showed there was fraud and abuse in the school system and basically showed it was being run as a wholly owned subsidiary of the FLDS, which he showed, in a number of articles."

Dougherty began his investigation of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (FLDS) in 2002 while working as a journalist for the Phoenix New Times. It was the first in-depth inquiry in more than 50 years into the isolated community on the Arizona Strip. FLDS religious leaders have a long history of routinely ordering underage girls to enter into "spiritual marriages" with already married men.

Dougherty’s investigation of the Colorado City school system uncovered a litany of financial abuses. Goddard used the information uncovered by Dougherty to lobby the Arizona Legislature to pass a law that allowed the Attorney General’s Office to place the Colorado City school district into receivership. The school district is now operating outside control of the FLDS.

The school investigation was just one of more than a dozen stories Dougherty wrote on the sect that culminated with the arrest of FLDS leader Warren Jeffs. Dougherty covered Jeffs’ 2007 criminal trial for the New York Times.

Dougherty’s grassroots Senate campaign is focused on bringing accountability to Washington and ending systemic corruption fueled by huge campaign contributions and excessive influence of lobbyists on legislation.

"I have worked in the public interest for more than a quarter century with proven results," Dougherty said. "I am battle-tested and ready to lead Arizonans and America to a better future, where the public interest always comes first. I am the only Democratic candidate who can defeat John McCain."


Dougherty’s investigations have a played a central role in Arizona politics for the last 25 years. His coverage for theDayton Daily News triggered the Keating Five Senate Ethics Committee hearings that forever branded John McCain as one of the "Keating Five".

Dougherty’s series in early 1990s in the Phoenix New Times exposed the financial wrongdoings of former Arizona Gov. J. Fife Symington, years before Symington was convicted on bank and wire fraud charges in U.S. District Court and forced to resign in September 1997.

Dougherty, while also working for Phoenix New Times, exposed the financial and human rights abuses of Sheriff Joe Arpaio in the early 2000s, at a time when no one else dared to confront the powerful sheriff. Arpaio retaliated and subjected Dougherty to a frivolous five-year criminal assault investigation and a grand jury probe.
Originally published August 17, 2010