Thursday, November 11, 2021

NEW: Dems To Introduce Censure Resolution Against AZ Rep. Gosar Over Violent Anime; Would Be 24th In History (READ Resolution)

UPDATE (11/16, 3:00pm): Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva joined Gallego as one of the original co-sponsors of this resolution. CNN is reporting that the House will vote on the censure resolution tomorrow (Wed.) and that they will also move to remove Gosar from the House Oversight Committee.

Democrats will introduce a resolution tomorrow to censure Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar for his social media posting of a violent anime cartoon which depicts his character slaying fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and threatening President Joe Biden.
(Gosar character preparing to kill Ocasio-Cortez character)


Rep. Ruben Gallego confirms to Arizona's Politics that he will be among the group introducing the resolution.

Censure is the worst punishment - short of expulsion - available to the House of Representatives. If passed by a majority vote, Gosar would be the first Congressman censured in 10 years, and would be only the 24th in U.S. history.

The resolution (below) notes that Gosar used official resources in publicizing the video, posting it on his official Instagram account. (On Twitter, he also used his "official" account.) It also references the violence of January 6, but does not mention Gosar's alleged involvement in encouraging the events of that day.

It also makes a point of noting that the depicted killing is against a woman and that that is especially dangerous.

Whereas depictions of violence can foment actual violence and
jeopardize the safety of elected officials, as witnessed in
this chamber on January 6, 2021;
Whereas violence against women in politics is a global phenomenon
meant to silence women and discourage them
from seeking positions of authority and participating in
public life, with women of color disproportionately impacted;

Cleverly, the proposed resolution also cites Gosar's public defense of the video and attempts to use it against him: 

Whereas Representative Gosar issued a statement on November 9, 2021, defending the video as a ‘‘symbolic cartoon’’ and spreading hateful and false rhetoric about immigrants;

Arizona's Politics has asked members of the state's Congressional Democrats whether they will be co-introducing the resolution, and will update as warranted. 

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Friday, October 15, 2021

CAMPAIGN FINANCE SNAPSHOTS: Mark Kelly In Higher Orbit

Jim Lamon Stays At Trump Hotel, Nabs Jeff DeWit Endorsement

In July, Senate candidate Jim Lamon spent the night at the Trump hotel in Washington, spending $3,165. While he has not received the big payoff yet, he did receive a solid endorsement from Jeff DeWit, a former Arizona State Treasurer and Trump campaign CFO.

However, so far, it has not translated into campaign financial success, as the Lamon campaign is $1.4M under water. Last quarter, Lamon - a former solar energy company executive - lent his campaign $2M. As the 3rd quarter was coming to a close, he wrote another IOU for $3M, so that his report would look positive on the surface. (Without the loan, he raised $135k and spent $727k.)





Blake Masters Raises $1.0M In 3rd Quarter...In Addition To Separate Thiel Fund

Blake Masters showed some fundraising chops in his first full quarter of his campaign for the U.S. Senate, raising more than $1M from donors not named Peter Thiel. Masters shows net cash on hand of $768,000. (He has chosen not to immediately reimburse himself and a couple of the campaign's employees for out of pocket expenses, which explains the "debts owed" figure below.)

His main consultant expenses are to a trio of Phoenix-based groups (Marson, Saguaro Group, Summit).

Of course, as has been widely reported, Masters is receiving a huge boost from Peter Thiel. In fact, earlier today, Thiel's "Saving Arizona PAC" dropped $63,567 on an ad attacking GOP front-runner Mark Brnovich.



Mick McGuire Struggling To Maintain Altitude, Gets Assist From Fox News
One of the primary GOP opponents for the Mark Kelly seat is retired Gen. Mick McGuire. However, McGuire had to lend $50,000 to his campaign in the 3rd quarter, bringing his personal outlay to $249,500 this year. His net cash on hand as of September 30 was $66,000.

Most of his outlays this past quarter went to his political consultants (Lincoln Strategy Group) and to legal counsel (Snell & Wilmer and Holtzman Vogel).

McGuire is battling AZ AG Mark Brnovich, Blake Masters and several others for the GOP nomination.


McGuire received a Fox News boost yesterday, gaining a coveted spot on Fox & Friends to talk about how "the radical left is tearing this country apart."

Mark Kelly In Higher Orbit
Mark Kelly's liftoff already having taken place, Arizona's junior Senator continues to achieve higher and higher orbits. Here is his 3rd quarter snapshot, in which added $5.4M to his campaign's reserve of rocket fuel. Kelly now has $13M ready to keep him in the U.S. Senate beyond next year's election.
(Mark Kelly's 3q21 snapshot)


(Please check back later for full reports and further analysis.)


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NEW, BREAKING THE BANK: Sinema Fundraising Juggernaut Continues, Raises $1.1M In 3rd Quarter, Cash On Hand $4.5M (REVIEW Report)

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema turned in a gargantuan fundraising haul in the 3rd quarter of 2021, raising $1.1M and growing her campaign coffers by $900,000 (to $4.5M) more than three years away from her next election.

For perspective, the numbers are nearly identical to her previous quarter. And, in the comparable off-year quarter of 2019, Arizona's senior Senator (D-AZ) netted *only* $200,000.  

Sinema has been criticized by some for her fundraising from pharmaceutical and other corporate interests. Although the number is made up of monies from different types of PACs, Sinema raised $191,600 from the Political Action Committees in the 3rd quarter, bringing her haul for the election cycle to more than $1.5M.

There are several other key things to suss out of the 671-page report, and many will be looking at it closer. (If *you* see noteworthy items, you can email them our way.)


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Tuesday, October 12, 2021

A BIT OF PERSONAL NEWS: Arizona's Politics Co-Founder Announces Run For State Legislature

The mainstays of both Arizona's Law and Arizona's Politics for the past 11 months have been legal wrangling about the 2020 election, the State Senate's subsequent subpoenas and "audit", and the Legislature's new laws limiting voting options (without balancing increases in election accuracy). Those are also among the key reasons why I am announcing today my candidacy for the State House of Representatives.*

As readers of these two news blogs know, I have been dedicated to reporting news as objectively as possible. This reflects my previous life as a news reporter (primarily in Tucson) and my ethos to add some straightforward coverage to issues that I believe to be important. 

I moved from journalist to being an honest advocate for my clients, and in recent years have spent time pursuing both of these passions. Since 2010, I have worked to deliver reporting that people would view as credible no matter where on the ideological spectrum they may currently rest; my conversations with R's, D's and everyone in between leads me to believe I was close to that mark. 

Today's announcement will not make it more difficult for me to write non-partisan articles on these news blogs, but it will make it more difficult for some readers to view them as factual, honest articles. 

I will continue to report on legal and political news as time permits, and will fully disclose my candidate status as warranted. I will also be looking to others to assist with coverage of Arizona legal news - and will label that as "news analysis" or "commentary" where appropriate. (Let me know if you are interested.)

Thanks to everyone who has read and/or shared our articles to date, and I hope you will continue to find them worthwhile. (And, a special thanks to those who have provided feedback - positive *or* negative.)

Although my campaign website (and, Twitter account) will be up and running within the week, if you are interested in receiving updates, you could contact me here, or you could email me at "Paul Weich 4 AZ @gmail.com" (no spaces)

--Paul Weich

P.S. h/t to the sharp-eyed @KC_Haas at Yellow Sheet Report for "breaking" this story yesterday!

* I reside in the Ahwatukee portion of the current Legislative District 18. The boundaries of the new legislative district are not yet known, but I will be running in whichever district encompasses my address.


If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. http://bit.ly/AZpDonate We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

NEW: Double the Fun(ds) - Sinema Sets Up Joint Fundraising Committee To Ease Increased Contributions (SINEMA-TIC)

On the heels of the New York Times' article about Kyrsten Sinema holding a fundraiser with business lobbying groups this afternoon, Arizona's Politics has learned that Sinema set up a new joint fundraising committee last week. That "Sinema Leadership Fund" will make it easier for those lobbyists to double their contributions to the Arizona Senator.

The invite was from the Democrat's principal campaign committee ("Sinema for Arizona"), and it appears to have been planned weeks ago (according to her committee). However, last Thursday, the committee filed an organizational statement for the JFC, indicating that Sinema for Arizona would fundraise together with Sinema's leadership PAC ("Getting Stuff Done PAC").

This would permit contributors to simply write one check to the JFC instead of separate checks to each of the two committees. For one of the lobbying group hosts, that would make it easier to give her one $15,000 check, and individual lobbyists could nearly double their impact to $10,800 ($5,800 to the 2024 primary and general election campaigns and $5,000 to the GSD PAC).

The meeting with the business groups comes as Sinema is holding a pivotal position in negotiations on infrastructure, budget reconciliation and other measures of interest to the fundraising hosts.


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Monday, August 23, 2021

NEW, TAKING BIPARTISANSHIP TO THE BANK: Sinema Chips In To Pay GOP Colleague's $490K Legal Fees For Pre-COVID Stock Selloff Investigation (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

5:30pm: TAKING BIPARTISANSHIP TO THE BANK: Sinema Chips In To Pay GOP Colleague's $490K Legal Fees For Pre-COVID Stock Selloff Investigation

Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema sent $2,000 to the legal defense fund for one of her Republican colleagues earlier this year. Richard Burr was then part of the bipartisan group to push the hard infrastructure bill through the Senate.

The investigation into Burr's $2.3M of stock sales shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the economy was closed by the US Department of Justice in mid-January. However, he had incurred $490,000 in legal bills and set up the legal defense fund (permitted under Senate rules).

Forbes' Zach Everson first reported on the Sinema contribution, in addition to the other 36 current and former lawmakers who picked up more than half ($280,000) of the attorneys' tab.

The other Democrats who chipped in were Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Warner (D-VA) and Angus King (I-ME). (King caucuses with the Democrats and even matched his committee's contribution with $5,000 of his personal funds.)

Such across-the-aisle contributions are very rare. And indeed, the $2,000 contribution from Sinema's leadership PAC ("Getting Stuff Done PAC") is the only contribution the GSD-PAC has made to a Republican.

Sinema's leadership PAC currently has $335,000 in the bank, and her main campaign committee has $3.6M.



8/23, 11am: NEW: Sinema Digs In Hard On Fellow Dems' "Soft" Infrastructure Bill, Tries To De-Couple It From Her Bi-Partisan "Hard" Bill
Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema is digging in her heels on opposing the Democrats' two-track infrastructure plan.

After getting Senate approval for the bipartisan "hard" infrastructure bill that she helped negotiate, she is warning the House of Representatives that she is opposing the $3.5T "soft" infrastructure bill that President Biden and Democratic leadership saw as an inextricable companion measure.

Politico reported this morning on the warning shot from the 1st term Senator (who is not up for re-election until 2024):
The $550 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill “is a historic win for our nation’s everyday families and employers and, like every proposal, should be considered on its own merits,” said Sinema spokesperson John LaBombard. “Proceedings in the U.S. House will have no impact on Kyrsten’s views about what is best for our country - including the fact that she will not support a budget reconciliation bill that costs $3.5 trillion.”

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Monday, August 9, 2021

BREAKING: Maricopa County Supervisors Calls Meeting Tomorrow Afternoon To Discuss Election "Audit" Subpoenas; 20th Snap Meeting of the Year

UPDATE, 10pm: It is NOT just the subpoenas that are on tomorrow's executive session agenda. As it turns out, the Supervisors will ALSO get an update from the County Attorney's Office about the Attorney General's investigation of them regarding their subpoena responses. That investigation was prompted by Sen. Sonny Borrelli's referral.

The 3rd agenda item is to receive legal advice about the County's "authority and responsibility re: COVID-19", and "compliance with state laws and executive orders". The County Schools Superintendent is NOT listed as being part of this agenda item, as more school district governing boards have been considering whether or not to require the wearing of face masks.

Here is the full agenda:
 
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has called a snap meeting for 24 1/2 hours from now in order to discuss the current situation with the State Senate's election "audit" subpoenas. This is the 20th time this year that the GOP-dominated Board has held special or emergency meetings to discuss the ongoing post-election mess.

The Board has to call it an "emergency" meeting if they post it less than 24 hours before the starting time; there have been 11 such meetings this year.

Tomorrow's executive session is set for 3:00pm tomorrow, and notice went out at 2:40pm. The substantive agenda was not yet posted.

The County has provided some information responsive to the latest round of subpoenas sent out by Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Chair Warren Petersen. However, they have filed a number of objections to most of the demands for data.

Here are the both the subpoena and the County's response and objections to it.

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Wednesday, August 4, 2021

SUMMARY of the SIX Referenda Petitions Being Circulated By Two Different Groups


Longer version, with official summaries - and, links at the bottom:

Referendum definition – Arizona Is one of only 23 states where voters have the right to *refer* a law (after the Governor signs it) to the ballot. The law does not go into effect unless the VOTERS pass it. (It only goes to the ballot IF enough valid petition signatures are collected.)

Initiative definition – Arizona voters can collect enough valid signatures to place a proposed law onto the election ballot.

(The referendum petitions each need 118,823 valid signatures turned in before September 28, 2021. The initiatives need 237,645 valid sigs before July 8, 2022.)

1.      “PEVL Purge”, SB1485. Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better

The best known of the passed/signed voting suppression bills, it turns “PEVL” into “Evil”.

Overview: "This petition seeks to refer SB1485 to the ballot for a vote. This bill substantially changes the Permanent Early Voting List (PEVL), now used by most Arizonans to vote. It renames the list and purges it periodically. Government notices would be sent to people based on their frequency of early voting. People who are mailed notices would be required to respond to stay on the list. If enough people sign this petition, the people of Arizona will be able to vote to prevent this bill from becoming law and keep the Permanent Early Voting List. "

 

Summary: SB1485 is trying to fix a non-existent problem.   The effect is to make it more difficult for citizens to participate in the election process… for no valid reason. For example, if a person is an infrequent voter (votes only  in presidential elections) and misses one presidential election, they can be taken off of early voting/PEVL. NOTE:  There are laws already in place to clean up the PEVL list of people who have moved (etc), and there is no “fraud problem” this law would fix.

 

2.      HB2569. Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better

This referendum would allow counties to receive private grants to help with voter registration or early voting efforts. The Legislature does not always provide requested funding.

Overview: "This petition seeks to refer HB 2569 to the ballot for a vote. HB 2569 stops elections officials from receiving private grants to help them run elections or register voters, even if the Legislature provides inadequate funding for elections administration and voter registration. Election officials have used grant funds to purchase equipment used to provide timely and accurate election results. If enough people sign this petition, the voters will decide whether election officials should be allowed to accept private grants. "

 

Summary: In the last election cycle, grants were given to counties to support early voting. For example, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg gave grants supporting early voting efforts in Maricopa County (i.e. providing more drop box locations, etc.). The grant – with non-partisan conditions - was approved by the County Board. This new law would prevent grants being accepted in the future. The referendum’s purpose is to continue allowing grants to be accepted to fund early voting (etc) efforts in the future.

 

3.      SB1828 (Sxns 13, 15). Sponsor: Invest In Arizona

This is one of the three measures passed to try to un-do the Invest In Ed initiative passed by voters. It is the “flat tax” law.

Overview: "This petition seeks to refer sections 13 and 15 of 2021 Laws, Chapter 412 (SB 1828). Sections 13 and 15 together create new income tax brackets and rates that apply when state general fund revenue exceeds certain amounts."

 

Summary: This massive budget bill reduces state revenues by $1.9B/yr. It gives wealthiest Arizonans the biggest tax break by making flatter tax brackets. This referendum would prevent the legislature from circumventing the will of the people to fund our public education.

 

4.      SB1827 (Sxn 4). Sponsor: Invest In Arizona

This is the 2nd anti-Invest In Ed law pushed by Gov. Ducey. It cuts K-12 spending by $250M+/yr.

Overview: "This petition seeks to refer Section 4 of 2021 Laws, Chapter 411 (SB 1827). Section 4 creates a maximum combined individual income tax rate of 4.5%, inclusive of the regular income tax imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1011 and the 3.5% income tax surcharge imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1013 (which was approved by Arizona voters in 2020 as Proposition 208). If a taxpayer's total tax rate exceeds 4.5%, the regular income tax rate imposed by A.R.S. § 43-1011 would be automatically reduced to cap the taxpayer's total tax rate at 4.5%."

 

Summary: This budget bill would prevent our state from collecting money from the wealthiest Arizonians – to fund education. It would shrink the general fund by almost $500M/yr and cut K-12 spending by $250M+/yr. This referendum would prevent the legislature from circumventing the will of the people to fund our public education.

 

5.      Anti-voting omnibus bill. SB1819 (Sxns 4, 5, 21, 25, 33). Sponsor: Arizona Deserves Better

This picks out several of the worst election measures thrown into a budget bill. Many of these had failed to pass the Legislature earlier under regular procedures. Here’s a summary:

1a) Ordering Arizona Game & Fish Department to conduct voter registration efforts;

1b) allowing the Legislature to designate an individual or company to have access to voter registration databases and make sure that registrants who do not provide proof of citizenship can only vote for President and Congress;

2) calling for ballot paper to contain watermarks, bar codes and other *possible* anti-fraud measures;

3) spends $500,000 to investigate social media platforms and search engines to see whether they help some candidates and/or hurt others;

4) tasking the Auditor General to report on voter registration and outreach events attended by the Secretary of State and the Maricopa County and Pima County Recorders (item one also would require those elected officials to publicly report their event calendars);

5) removes Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ authority to defend court cases about elections, and gives it to Republican Attorney General Mark Brnovich. (Really! It shifts back after they leave those offices!)

 

6.      “Small business” tax credit bill. SB1783. Sponsor: Invest In Arizona

This clever effort to un-do Invest In Ed redefines “small business” to include nearly every wealthy individual, and allows them to take a “small business tax credit” for the amount that would have gone to education funding.

Overview: "This petition seeks to refer 2021 Laws, Chapter 436 (SB 1783). The principal provisions of this bill would: (a) allow "small business taxpayer[s]," as defined in the bill, to elect to report certain forms of income as "small business income" and pay taxes on that income at rates set by the bill and (b) establish new income tax brackets and rates for trusts and estates."

Summary: This bill would stop more than $290M/year from K-12 education – one-third of the Invest In Ed funds.

 

7.      Initiative: Voters’ Right To Know. Sponsor: Stop Dark Money

Overview: "This Voters' Right to Know Act secures for Arizona voters the right to know who is trying to influence Arizona elections using paid, public communications. It eliminates dark money barricades. Any person spending over $50,000 on statewide campaigns or $25,000 on other campaigns must disclose the original sources (people or corporations who actually earned the money) of contributions over $5,000. They must also disclose their largest donors on campaign materials. The Act will also protect local policymakers' ability to require additional disclosures. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission, a non-partisan, voter-established body, will enforce this Act. Violations could incur substantial penalties."

 

8.      Initiative: Predatory Medical Debt Collection Protection Act. Sponsor: Healthcare Rising AZ

Overview: "Caps interest rate on "medical debt," as defined in the Act; applies this cap to judgements on medical debt as well as to medical debt incurred. Increases the value of assets -- a homestead, certain household possessions, a motor vehicle, funds in a single bank account, and disposable earnings -- protected from certain legal processes to collect debt. Annually adjusts these amended exemptions for inflation beginning 2024. Allows courts to further reduce the amount of disposable earnings subject to garnishment in some cases of extreme economic hardship. Does not affect existing contracts. Does not change existing law regarding secured debt."

 

--To read full texts of any of these laws or initiatives – as well as the others on file – use this link to an updated page of the Arizona Secretary of State’s site: https://bit.ly/AZInitsAndReferenda

--Sponsoring organizations: ArizonaDeservesBetter.com, InvestInAZNow.com, StopDarkMoney.com, HealthCareRisingAZ.org

-- Explanatory Articles: Election omnibus referendum: https://bit.ly/AZp1925; PEVL Purge referendum: https://bit.ly/AZp1921; Invest In Ed referenda: https://bit.ly/AZp1926, https://bit.ly/3wuSQH9

--Prepared by Marion and Paul Weich (Questions/suggestions 602-908-9132)


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