Friday, April 3, 2020

Sen. McSally's Call To Shut Down "Wet Markets" In China Echoed Today By Dr. Fauci (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

12:30pm: In her telephonic town hall yesterday, Arizona Senator Martha McSally emphatically told listeners that China should not be allowed to re-open their "wet markets". Such a location is where the current pandemic is believed to have started.

Today, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, made that call loud and clear. "It boggles my mind how when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface, that we don't just shut it down. I don't know what else has to happen to get us to appreciate that."

McSally did indicate in the town hall that she had been on a conference call with Dr. Fauci earlier in the day. And, the subject of the wet markets was raised by fellow Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC). Fauci reportedly called it a "crazy decision" to reopen them.

The wet markets are only one aspect of the pandemic response that Senator McSally has been devoting some of her attention to; in addition to the Arizona issues and the latest Congressional rescue package, she also has set her sights on forcing China to forfeit $1T worth of U.S. Treasuries and calling for the diretor of the World Health Organization to resign for "parroting" and "praising" China.


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BREAKING: SuperPAC Starts Hitting McSally On Fox News For Early Covid-19 Remarks, CDC Vote (WATCH AD)

An anti-McSally SuperPAC begins airing a new ad on CNN and Fox News tomorrow, hammering the Arizona Senator for her March 6 remarks that not going on Spring Break would be "too much of a panicked reaction."

The 30-second spot from the union-backed committee starts airing tomorrow, with a "five-figure buy". (The ad is embedded below.) It follows their distinctive early January effort that featured a "McSally's" burger joint with yellow arches. The SuperPAC's full name is Middle Class Fighting to Restore Arizona’s Unity and Decency, although it goes by its acronym.

In addition to the Spring Break remarks, the ad focuses on a vote she cast in the House in 2017 that would have cut $1B from the CDC's budget, and it juxtaposes it with her telling a TV interviewer this year that "we've increased funding to the CDC and the NIH over the last couple of years."

Arizona's Politics has asked the Senator for a response and will update this article as warranted.



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Saturday, March 28, 2020

READ: President Trump Tears Up Part Of His Deal With Congress, May Censor Special IG's Accountability Reports

Although Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin proclaimed he reached a "Deal!" with the leaders of both Houses of Congress - and he knew of the accountability provisions included in the deal - President Donald Trump ripped up a key part of that deal two hours after signing it into law.
The smooth-yet-gutless trick came in the form of a rare presidential "signing statement". However, this statement was not released until the Congressional leaders and Cabinet members left the Oval Office signing ceremony. (No doubt, Democratic leaders are even more glad that they were not invited to stand behind him.)

The key provision that the signing statement demolished was that the Special Inspector General for Pandemic Recovery (the actual title) would report to Congress every three months. That report is to include "a detailed statement of all loans, loan guarantees, other transactions, obligations, expenditures, and revenues associated" with the monies spent abroad.

This was one of the provisions that Democrats held out for in the early part of the week. It is inconceivable that Mnuchin had not signed off on it before either the Senate or the House had voted. Not so fast, people who are concerned with this accountability. The Signing Statement says that the President can censor the report before it goes to Congress.

"I do not understand, and my Administration will not treat, this provision as permitting the SIGPR to issue reports to the Congress without the presidential supervision required by the Take Care Clause, Article II, section 3."

That is the Clause in the Constitution that says he shall "take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed" allows him to censor the Special IG's reports. He is treating that *very* expansively, to say the least.

(The impacted accountability provisions are set forth on page 540 of the Bill.)

The Signing Statement unilaterally changes his deal in a couple of other ways, and those are set forth in the annotated copy of the Statement below.

Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego reacted today on Twitter, saying "He is not a king."





*The picture/meme is from Mnuchin's Instagram. (Highlighting added)



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Thursday, March 26, 2020

Anti-Trump Group To Spend $600k Running Controversial "Hoax" Ad In Arizona (WATCH ad, READ cease and desist)

An anti-Trump Super PAC announced this morning that it will spend $600,000 in Arizona over the next few weeks to air an ad that the President's campaign is demanding stations not air.

Priorities USA Action responded to yesterday's cease and desist letters in other battleground states by doubling down and buying air time in Phoenix and Tucson for the ad. (The ad is below.)

Guy Cecil, the Chair of the committee, was defiant: "The fact that Trump is going to such great
lengths to keep the American people from hearing his own words adds to the urgency of communicating them far and wide. Trump doesn't want voters to know the truth. We will not be intimidated."

The Trump campaign made its cease and desist letter public yesterday and noted that Fox News agreed not to air the ad. It claims that the President's well-publicized "hoax" comment referred to the Democrats' politicization of the crisis, and not the virus itself. The letter leans heavily - without irony - on several articles from mainstream media fact-checkers that presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's campaign misleadingly tried to make it seem the comment referred to the latter. (The cease and desist letter is below.)


At the SC "hoax" rally
As transcribed in the Trump letter, here is the "hoax" statement by the President at a rally. (It would appear both sides have an argument.)
"Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? Coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs, you say, “How’s President Trump doing?”, “Oh, nothing, nothing.” They have no clue, they don’t have any clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa, they can’t even count. No, they can’t. They can’t count their votes. One of my people came up to me and said, “Mr. President, they
tried to beat you on Russia, Russia, Russia.” That didn’t work out too
well. They couldn’t do it. They tried the impeachment hoax. That was
on a perfect conversation. They tried anything, they tried it over and over,
they’ve been doing it since he got in. It’s all turning, they lost. It’s all
turning, think of it, think of it. And this is their new hoax. But you know
we did something that’s been pretty amazing. We have 15 people in this
massive country and because of the fact that we went early, we went early,
we could have had a lot more than that."
Priorities USA Action discloses its donors, and its two largest are well-known contributors Donald Sussman and George Soros' Democracy PAC.

Here is the ad, followed by the cease and desist letter





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Wednesday, March 25, 2020

BREAKING: Pro-McSally Group Reserves $7.7M TV Ad Buy For Autumn; Most Expensive Race In The Nation, Indeed

Arizona is, indeed, going to be home to the most expensive Senate race in the nation. Further evidence comes today with this information that the largest pro-McSally SuperPAC has reserved $7.7 MILLION in TV ad time during the last eight weeks of the campaign.
A notorious mailer from DefendArizona, 2018

DefendArizona - which spent more than $22M trying to help Martha McSally defeat Kyrsten Sinema to fill Jeff Flake's Senate seat - snatched up $2.2M on Tucson's stations, and nearly $5.5M in the Phoenix market. KNXV (Ch.15, Phoenix) alone, received an order for more than three-quarters of a million dollars in 30-second bites.

DefendArizona (aka DefendMcSally, or aka AttackKelly) started out in 2018 as a locally-funded committee to support McSally in both the primary and the election. However, the McConnell-affiliated Senate Leadership Fund quickly became took it over as its Arizona affiliate in the general election, pouring more than $16.5M in the final weeks of the battle for the open seat.

DefendArizona spokesperson Barrett Marson declined to tell Arizona's Politics where the funding will be coming from in 2020, but this week's reservation came on the same day that the Senate Leadership Fund made similar reservations in Colorado, Maine, Iowa and North Carolina. (And, in Kentucky, through an apparently-affiliated group.)

The Democrats have their own SuperPAC set up. Advancing Arizona already spent in seven figure territory in the latter 1/3 of last year. Presumptive Democratic nominee Mark Kelly is the best-funded Senate candidate in the nation and has been running his own ads, too.

Other groups on both sides of the heavyweight air war have also been running ads.

(h/t and thanks to Advertising Analytics for computing the total size of the ad reservation.)


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Monday, March 23, 2020

ANALYSIS: Governor's New Executive Order Prevents Mayors From Taking The Lead (READ Exec Order)

This afternoon's news coverage of the new Executive Order from Arizona Governor Doug Ducey seems to miss the point. The Governor is not setting out a broad list of "essential businesses" "just in case" he issues a shelter-in-place or lockdown order as the Covid-19 outbreak worsens in the state.

Rather, Ducey is explicitly preempting and tying the hands of mayors who may want to get out ahead of him and shut down more businesses in their communities. That intent is clear not just from the title and the opening "therefore" paragraph, but in more subtle ways. The entire Executive Order is reproduced, below.

The title of the Executive Order is "Prohibiting the Closure of Essential Services". If this was intended to define essential services for a statewide lockdown, it could and would be included in such an order. The first action paragraph spells it out: "No county, city or town may make or issue any order, rule or regulation that restricts or prohibits any person...."

The 2nd paragraph is a bit trickier, though. It requires any Mayor (or county) from issuing any order or proclamation without coordinating with the state in advance, and as long as it is "consistent" with the state's "advice".

And, finally, the list of what the Governor has deemed to be "essential businesses" is quite broad, and includes golf courses, trails and other outdoor recreation, hotels/motels, photography stores, appliance stores, and so on.

This comes on the heels of divergent approaches to the crisis by Ducey and Mayors of several Arizona cities. Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff mayors led the way in closing bars, dine-in at restaurants and more.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego took a not-so-veiled swipe this evening, noting the controversy about crowded hiking trails and that city attorneys are "researching whether today’s Executive Order from the Governor limits our ability to restrict access."

The Governor apparently did not fill mayors in on the Executive Order in his briefing call this morning. And, when asked at the press briefing this afternoon what was in the Order, he declined to go into specifics.

This preemptive action also comes as several states and communities around the nation have ordered people to shelter in place or to be locked down in order to help prevent an overwhelming spike of cases. And, as Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and others urge Gov. Ducey to take more aggressive action.

*






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BREAKING: Mark Kelly Campaign Resumes TV Advertising With Broad Attack On Prescription Drug Costs (WATCH)

Arizona's presumptive Democratic nominee for this November's heavyweight battle for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Martha McSally is launching a new TV ad tonight. It broadly attacks Congress for protecting Big Pharma while promising to fight to lower prescription drug costs.

Mark Kelly's campaign - with the biggest campaign war-chest in the country - is spending approximately $75,000 running the 30-second spot over the next couple of weeks. In it, he notes that he is not taking money from corporate PACs, "will push for Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices and make cheaper generic drugs more available."

Earlier this month, Senator McSally introduced her own bill which would permit Medicare to negotiate lower prices on certain prescription drugs, among other provisions. Below the surface, the devil between her bill and what Kelly would prefer may be in the details.

A check of Open Secrets compilation of the Senator's campaign contributions over the past five years indicates that her committees have received only $65,000 from pharmaceutical industry PACs - a mere rounding error in the $12.4M she has received during that period.

The healthcare and prescription drugs issue is sure to be on the minds of many voters after this pandemic crisis subsides and November gets closer.

Here is the new ad:



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Sunday, March 22, 2020

MONDAY MORNING UPDATE: Arizona's Senators Agree On One Thing Today - Their Swimming Colleague Was "Absolutely Irresponsible"

11:05am: Arizona's two Senators agree about at least one thing: their colleague was "absolutely irresponsible" for using the Senate gym and pool yesterday as he was awaiting his Covid-19 test results. Confronted with the news about Rand Paul's Sunday workout, Kyrsten Sinema (D) took to Twitter - a familiar venue for her during this pandemic crisis - to strongly denounce it. "I’ve never commented about a fellow Senator’s choices/actions. Never once. This, America, is absolutely irresponsible. You cannot be near other people while waiting for coronavirus test results. It endangers others & likely increases the spread of the virus."

Last night, Martha McSally (R) tweeted her complete agreement. "I couldn't agree more @kyrstensinema. As we ask all Americans to sacrifice their livelihoods and alter their behavior to save lives, we must ourselves model appropriate #coronavirus behavior. No one is too important to disregard guidance to self-quarantine pending test results."

11:00am: Senator Sinema's explanation for her "no" vote: "We must get 2 things done in this legislative package: ๐Ÿ”˜Help small businesses, which are 94% of all Arizona businesses ๐Ÿ”˜ Funding for our health system so we can take care of Arizonans with coronavirus I'm urging Congressional leaders to get this done immediately for Arizona.

Still "No Deal"; Arizona Senators Again Split Along Party Lines On Moving Forward With 3rd Coronavirus Relief Package
10:55am: A new cloture vote this morning - still taking place - is yielding the same results. Arizona's Senators split along party lines, and the vote is not going to receive the necessary 60 votes to close debate. The vote in progress is currently 39-31.

Arizona's two Senators both voted their party lines on whether or not to move forward with Congress's 3rd coronavirus relief package. The cloture motion needed 60 votes; it failed 47-47.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi for blowing up a deal he believed had been reached, while Minority Leader Chuck Schumer blamed McConnell for moving forward before the deal was reached. Schumer says the $1.4T package still has "many problems."

Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D) voted against closing debate, while Sen. Martha McSally (R) voted "aye".

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