Thursday, May 23, 2019

What About Our Disaster? McSally Votes No On Bipartisan Disaster Aid Package; Passes 85-8

Arizona Senator Martha McSally was among the 8 Republicans who voted against a supplemental disaster aid package this afternoon, despite President Donald Trump signaling that he would support the measure even without additional border funds.

McSally stated that her no vote was because she "won’t ask Arizonans to pay for disasters in other states without funding the disaster in our backyard."

The 85-8 vote came about after President Trump - who was first balking about additional funding for Puerto Rico, and then asking for additional border funding - told Senator Richard Shelby today that he would support it without the border funding. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had been vowing that the Senate would vote on the package before leaving for the Memorial Day recess this evening. Democrats signaled their support for the present version of the bill earlier today.

McSally sent out her explanation in a pair of tweets. "There is an ongoing disaster at our border — in the past 5 months over 32k migrants have been released into AZ. I support helping those who are impacted by disasters, but won’t ask Arizonans to pay for disasters in other states without funding the disaster in our backyard. Some politicians may want to ignore this crisis – but this is real in Arizona and any compromise disaster supplemental appropriations bill should have included this desperately needed funding."

The status of the package in the House of Representatives is unclear.

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Friday, May 17, 2019

"Save Arizona": Former AZGOP Staffer Starts New Committee To Back Pro-Trump Ideals, Candidates (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

"Save Arizona": Former AZGOP Staffer Starts New Committee To Back Pro-Trump Ideals, Candidates
3:15pm: Robert Maxwell is back, and he plans to "Save Arizona". The former Deputy Communications Director for the Arizona Republican Party who was last in the news in January when he resigned and blasted the state party's then-Chair Jonathan Lines (and the party's coziness with the Ducey re-election campaign) yesterday formed a new federal political committee.

Maxwell tells Arizona's Politics that his "purpose is to save Arizona from it's impeding slide to the ideological left by disseminating strong pro-Trump messaging into the state." He would also like to help House and Senate candidates who match up with President Trump's "America First agenda."

Maxwell released a scathing memorandum on the eve of the vote for AZGOP Chair between the incumbent Jonathan Lines and Kelli Ward. Ward defeated Lines, though it is unclear how many votes were swayed by the Maxwell memo.

Maxwell uses the social media handle "Black Hannity", and declined to answer further questions about "Save Arizona" from Arizona's Politics.

Arpaio Asks Court To Sanction Democratic Representatives For "Bogus" Brief Re: Trump Pardon
1:15pm: Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is asking Ninth Circuit judges to sanction Democratic Representatives for filing a "bogus" brief in his Trump pardon appeal.

Arpaio was found guilty of criminal contempt in 2017. Before being sentenced, President Donald Trump issued his first Presidential pardon. Besides preventing any sentencing, Arpaio would like the conviction to be undone.

24 Democratic Congressmen and Congresswomen filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit earlier this month, suggesting that the judges should protect their independence by not reversing the conviction.

Arpaio struck back this week, saying that the amicus brief is a "sham" and that the Representatives knew or should have known that the President's pardon power is absolute. Therefore, they should be sanctioned - an extremely rare move for an amicus brief.

The complete article is available at our new sister site, ArizonasLaw.org. The amicus brief and Arpaio's motion for sanctions are also published there.


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Friday, May 10, 2019

Arizona Reps. Vote Party Line On Disaster Relief Package (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

12:00pm: Arizona Reps. Vote Party Line On Disaster Relief Package
Arizona's Congressional delegation voted along party lines this morning on the $17.2B disaster aid package. 34 Republicans did vote in favor of it, but Arizona's 4 GOP Reps. were not among the group.

The President had tweeted his opposition to the bill, and the version to be considered in the Republican-controlled Senate is likely to be different.

Here is the text of the bill passed today (before amendments).

10:00am: OFF-TOPIC: Sprout's Gift Card Fundraiser
Shop at SPROUT’S? Arizona's Politics' co-founder Paul Weich  is organizing a gift card fundraiser for Temple Emanuel (Tempe). And YOU can help! 5% of each Sprout's gift card you purchase will help cover the congregation's higher security costs.

The deadline to order is MONDAY, so please email Paul-at-ArizonasPolitics-dot-com, and we'll get you set up. Thanks.

9:00am: OFF-TOPIC: Not Too Late To Join Our Diamondbacks Season Ticket Group
The Diamondbacks are hot! We've been part of a Diamondbacks season ticket group for 20 years now, and a couple of our members had life changes that prompted them to stop participating. We have two seats that are probably the best value in the ballpark. One share is 16 games over the 6-month season, and although we assign the games randomly, everyone is usually pretty accomodating for switches. If you are interested, email me, at Paul @ ArizonasPolitics.com (no spaces), and I'll send you more details.

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

OFF-TOPIC: Sprout's Gift Card Fundraiser

Shop at SPROUT’S? @AZs_Politics' co-founder @PaulW_InAZ  is organizing a gift card fundraiser for Temple Emanuel (Tempe). And YOU can help!

5% of each @Sproutsfm gift card you purchase will help cover the congregation's higher security costs.


Email Paul-at-ArizonasPolitics-dot-com, and we'll send you details. Thanks.

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.  

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WATCH: Reps. Lesko and Biggs At Today's Hearing On Attorney General Contempt Issue

Arizona has three Representatives on the House Judiciary Committee. The two Republican members spoke as the committee was considering contempt of Congress charges against Attorney General William Barr.

Here are the comments from Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) and Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD5).




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Monday, April 29, 2019

NEW: Arpaio Attorney Faults 9th Circuit For Supreme Court Justices Denying Effort To Remove Special Prosecutor On Pardon Effect Appeal (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

4:50pm: (This article originally appeared on sister website Arizona's Law.)

The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's request to remove a special prosecutor in his ongoing battle. One of Arpaio's attorneys tells Arizona's Politics/Arizona's Law* that the 9 Justices "just (don't) have enough time to correct all of the Ninth Circuit's mistakes." (The Supreme Court's declination came without comment or an indication of how each Justice voted.)
Arpaio is fighting to vacate his criminal conviction for contempt of court in the long-running Melendres case regarding racial profiling. After President Donald Trump pardoned Arpaio in 2017, the President's Justice Department declined to fight Arpaio's attempt to vacate the contempt conviction. The court has assigned an independent attorney to step in and argue that the pardon does not erase the conviction.

As Arpaio counsel Jack Wilenchik tells Arizona's Law/Arizona's Politics, the appeal - currently in the 9th Circuit - will continue despite the adverse decision from the Supreme Court.
"The Supreme Court just doesn’t have enough time to correct all of the Ninth Circuit’s mistakes. Appeal goes forward as normal except that the USA now has two sets of prosecutors who don’t agree with each other because the Ninth Circuit ordered that it be so."
The Ninth Circuit appeal was on hold until the U.S. Solicitor General informed the court in January that the government would not appeal the decision. The briefing schedule continued despite the former Sheriff's decision to ask the Supreme Court to get involved. Last week, both the Special Prosecutor and the Department of Justice filed their answering briefs with the Ninth Circuit, and Arpaio's Reply is due later in May.


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Friday, April 26, 2019

BREAKING: "Dirty Trick" By National Republican Group Targeting Arizona Reps Given Pass By Dysfunctional FEC...After Five Years

Five years ago, Arizona's Politics helped report efforts by a "dirty trick" by the National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") against candidates nationwide, including the three Arizona swing-seat Democrats. The FEC finally gave the NRCC a pass and opened the file today.
Screenshot from fake site AnnKirkpatrick.com

The so-called attack microsites launched against Reps. Kyrsten Sinema, Ann Kirkpatrick and Ron Barber (and a couple of dozen other Democrats around the country) spoofed the candidates' websites and tried to trick Googlers into donating to the NRCC.

National articles found a couple of the Arizona spoofs, and Arizona's Politics located the third in February 2014. A follow-up later that month found that the NRCC had changed the donation pages to reduce the trickery level and to add security to its spoofs. (There are lots of images, ironies and fun facts in the older articles that will not be repeated here; please check out the links!)

One month later, national campaign finance watchdogs Campaign Legal Center and Democracy 21 filed complaints with the Federal Election Commission, alleging multiple violations of election law by the NRCC.

Last month, the perpetually dysfunctional FEC deadlocked on the 5-year old case, with the 2 Republican Commissioners voting to dismiss and the Democratic and independent Commissioners voted to approve the General Counsel's recommendation of finding a violation had likely occurred and then entering into a conciliation agreement. The deadlock simply closed the matter without any findings.

Democratic Commissioner Ellen Weintraub today blasted her colleagues' delaying actions and tweeted that "It’s a dirty trick one should expect from Internet trolls and hackers, but not from a national party organization. And it’s a dirty trick that should never have been given a pass by the @FEC’s Republican Commissioners."




During last year's campaign, Arizona's Politics also reported  about how the boot was now on the other foot, and the ways that both Democrats and Republicans made changes to websites attacking their opponents, to stay far away from the (now-blurrier) line.

Here is Weintraub's memo decrying the Commission's inaction.




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Tuesday, April 23, 2019

NEW: Retired 3-Star Army General Starts New "Arizona for America PAC" (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

NEW: Retired 3-Star Army General Starts New "Arizona for America PAC"
5:00pm: Lt. Gen. Jeffrey Talley (ret.) was the Commanding General of the Army Reserve Command. Now, he is taking on a new role as the Chair of a new political action committee, "Arizona for America." He created the PAC on Friday, and tells Arizona's Politics that he intends it be an organization that "educates and promotes civil discourse on the critical issues affecting Arizona and America today and tomorrow."

Talley served as the Chief of the Army Reserve for several years, ending in 2016. He is now a Vice President with IBM, and also has a faculty appointment with University of Southern California. However, Talley is based in the Phoenix area.

He is not yet ready to divulge further details for the Arizona for America PAC.



BREAKING: Fewer Redactions In "Mystery Mueller" Case May Be On Way, Court Orders
4:20pm: ArizonasLaw.org - our new sister site - is breaking news this afternoon of a new ruling about the "Mystery Mueller" - or, "Mystery Grand Jury Subpoena" - case. A 3-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals, D.C. Circuit, is giving the Department of Justice until May 3 to show why more of the case should not be unsealed.

More, and the Court's opinion, can be found at Arizona's Law.


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