"Tony Rouco is really a small piece of the puzzle," former U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Cory Voorhis says about an ICE supervisor who reportedly gave false testimony under oath. "It's most obvious that the wrongdoing is at some level higher."
In some respects, the Voorhis case seems like ancient history. After all, it revolves around an ad by 2006 Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez that attacked Democratic nominee Bill Ritter with information Voorhis obtained from a federal criminal database. But it's still a matter of overwhelming importance to Voorhis, who was acquitted by a jury of unlawfully acquiring this data but subsequently booted from ICE anyhow. Voorhis is hopeful the development will help him in his quest to be reinstated to his job -- but he'd also like an investigation into other culpable parties to ramp up. "People always ask, 'Who was making the decisions?'" he says. "And I tell them, 'I'd really love to know.'"
On September 29, Voorhis sent a 29-page complaint letter to Richard Skinner, Director of Homeland Security, with the alleged Tony Rouco perjury just one of many, many gripes. "People knew Rouco failed a polygraph on July 10, 2008. We're now in October of 2009, and this is only coming out now. Why?"
His answer: "There seems to be a systematic effort to preclude me in the context of my legal case," which will be heard by United States Merit System Protection Board. "I'm a civilian now. I have to go through the legal process like anybody else, and avail myself of discovery requests. And even though the judge ordered discovery in March, I didn't get one piece of information about the failed polygraph until July, and they continue to hide the more egregious stuff."
In addition, Voorhis goes on, "the material in support of the letter in which they proposed to fire me made no mention that Rouco had taken a polygraph, failed the test and confessed wrongdoing. That information was withheld from the people who decided to fire me -- and one of the charges they removed me for was an alleged lack of candor, a really low-level and broad accusation, for statements that were in conflict with Rouco's. And now they've charged him with willful falsification, which is a much more serious charge than lack of candor."
On its face, the surfacing of the polygraph results amid a new rush of publicity would seem to make Voorhis' complaint to the Merit System Protection Board a slam dunk. But at this point, a new hearing hasn't been set (a previous date was delayed due to the illness of Voorhis' counsel) -- and while something's likely to be pinned within two weeks, he remains cautious. "It's hard to guess what a judge would do," he concedes. "Sometimes they like to whittle things down to the simplest terms, and clearly, this is a complex case. The judge has made some decisions already I'm not happy with; I'm sure that's the case with anybody in this situation. But I'm willing to move forward."
Meanwhile, Voorhis continues to suspect that some big names, ranging from Ritter to current District Attorney Mitch Morrissey, may have had more involvement in the move to prosecute him, and to get him kicked off the job even after his acquittal, than anyone's letting on at this point.
"If we were taking this on like a drug case, we would start climbing the ladder," Voorhis says. "Rouco is the bottom rung. But who is above him?"