Thursday, July 19, 2018

TIDBITS: Challenge Filed Vs. Outlaw Dirty Money (READ Lawsuit)

7/21, 11am: It turns out that a challenge was filed yesterday afternoon against the Outlaw Dirty Money measure. As Arizona Capitol Media notes, the action is filed by officials of groups that have thrived on the use of monies from undisclosed donors - the Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Scot Mussi and Americans For Prosperity-Arizona's Andrew Clark.

The Complaint relies on challenging the eligibility of the circulators obtaining signatures, rather than challenging individual signors.  Plaintiffs' attorneys Kory Langhofer and Tom Basile tell Arizona's Politics that the case was filed yesterday afternoon, but were unsure why it was not listed in the Court Clerk's database as of late this morning. (Update: as of noon, it is now listed, although no hearing date is shown.)

Here is the Complaint:


(Full disclosure: Arizona's Politics has submitted a ballot measure argument supporting the initiative, although we are not involved with the effort.)

7/20, 5:30pm: The 5pm deadline has come and passed, with evidence of only one court challenge filed against an initiative. (http://bit.ly/AZp1592

This does not mean that @OutlawDirty, the @AARSuccess and @investinedaz groups are home-free, however. 

(1) a court challenge could be filed after-hours*; and 

(2) state Elections Director @Eric_Spencer, and all the County Recorders still complete statutory checks on petition sheets and random samples of sigs.

*Unlikely, but if so, it would not appear on the @MaricopaClerk 's website until tomorrow.
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DEADLINE PASSED: No Possibility Of November Special Election Should Arizona Senate Vacancy Occur

Arizona State Elections Director Eric Spencer issued this statement (via Twitter) this evening:



*

Should long-time Arizona Senator John McCain vacate his seat, it would fall to the Arizona Governor to appoint a replacement to serve until an election is able to be held. Spencer's declaration, of course, would not be the final word on the matter, but it is certainly something that anyone would have to seriously consider before challenging.

*The tweet reads: "Today at 5:00 was the deadline to run as a write-in, which means there is no conceivable possibility of holding a special election this year if a U.S. Senate vacancy were to occur.  So please, just please, let’s not  engage in any further macabre speculation on this issue."


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BREAKING, READ: APS-Backed Entity Says Clean Energy Initiative "Far Short" Of Ballot, Files Court Challenge

The Court challenge is on to determine whether the Clean Energy Initiative will be on Arizona's November ballot. The 47-page complaint was filed this morning in Maricopa County Superior Court and is published in full below.

"This is truly fraud on a massive scale," says Arizonans For Affordable Electricity spokesman Matthew Benson.

A 10:00am Monday morning hearing (July 23) is set in front of Judge Daniel Kiley.

That committee - well-funded by key opponent Arizona Public Service/Pinnacle West - is represented by Snell & Wilmer, and the named plaintiffs in the case are state lawmakers John Kavanagh and Vince Leach; the Arizona Chamber of Commerce CEO Glenn Hamer; Ashley Ragan (as Treasurer of AAE); the Mayors of Gilbert, Buckeye and Mesa (Jenn Daniels, Jackiee Meck, and Dave Giles, respectively; and an individual who is an SRP customer* (Justine Robles).

Leach and Kavanagh had previously filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's Office claiming that the Clean Energy committee was paying circulators an hourly wage but including a signature quota as part of their employment. They alleged - and allege in the court challenge - that that violated the new laws put into place by the Legislature and Governor after the 2016 minimum wage increase initiative.

Besides the general arguments aimed at convincing the court to prevent the initiative from being placed on the ballot, today's complaint goes after individual signatures and sheets of signatures gathered by invalid circulators. (This also indicates that Plaintiffs will likely subpoena many or all of the circulators to testify. Per a 2015 law, if a circulator does not appear, all signatures gathered by him or her would be invalidated. Many of the circulators are from out of state.)

More than 480,000 signatures were turned in, according to the Clean Energy Committee, and nearly 226,000 valid signatures are needed to make the ballot.

AAE claims that their careful review of the signatures finds that more than 374,000 are invalid - or, a 22% validity rate. With that, the initiative effort would be far short. It will be up to the judge (and, would very likely be directly appealed to the Arizona Supreme Court).

Interestingly, AAE spent much effort trying to dissuade Arizonans from signing the initiative by noting that some of the registered circulators were dangerous, convicted felons. Today's complaint only tries to invalidate 168 signatures on that basis.

The Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona is ready to defend their effort in court. Spokesman Rodd McLeod tells Arizona's Politics:
"APS has already spent 10 million dollars of their customers' money trying to deny Arizonans a choice about our future. How much deeper will they reach into their customers' pockets to pay their corporate lawyers to file delusional lawsuits?"



*The Complaint alleges that the Initiative title and summary are misleading because it says "all electricity providers", even though Salt River Project is exempt.

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UPDATE/WATCH: Flake Goes Full Orwell On Senate Floor; Cornyn Nixes Post-Summit Resolution, Says He Believes Trump Misspoke

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and colleague Chris Coons (D-DE) were unsuccessful this morning in their attempt to push through their post-Trump/Putin Summit resolution.

Arizona's Politics published the text of the resolution yesterday and noted that they hoped to pass by unanimous consent. Those hopes were dashed this morning when Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) objected to the symbolic nature of the resolution.

Flake led off his pitch by extensively quoting George Orwell's 1984 and comparing it to the President's comments and actions.
(click on picture to play video)
Cornyn stood to object, after which Flake ad libbed a promise to keep bringing it back until it passes. (He has tried this tactic before when the Republican leadership is opposed to bringing a bill/resolution to the floor.)  Cornyn noted that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein had briefed Trump on the impending indictment of Russian intelligence hackers before the summit; Cornyn therefore believes that indicates that the President did misspeak in Helsinki when he said he wasn't sure whether the Russians were responsible.

Both Cornyn's objection and the Flake response are below:
(click here to play video in new window)



https://cs.pn/2muKYnL
https://cs.pn/2O4G8Kj
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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Reps. Sinema and O'Halleran Vote With Republicans In Rebuking "Abolish ICE" Movement

Arizona Representatives Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1) joined with nearly all of their Republican colleagues in passing a resolution denouncing the "Abolish ICE" movement and supporting all "who bring law and order to our Nation's borders."

The resolution - co-sponsored by Arizona GOP Reps. Paul Gosar (CD4), Andy Biggs (CD5) and Martha McSally (CD2) - passed by a 244-35 margin. Most Democrats (133) voted "present", and only 1 Republican opposed it (Amash).

Both Sinema and McSally are running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake (R-AZ). The cry to "Abolish ICE" has
risen recently among some Democrats opposed to the Administration's policy to separate and detain families at the U.S./Mexico border while deportation and/or asylum proceedings are taking place. Sinema has suggested that major reforms of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency are warranted, but has not joined the call to abolish.

O'Halleran represents a closely-divided CD1, and has also often voted against the prevailing party position.

McSally tweeted her support of the symbolic resolution this afternoon, rattling off ICE drug and gang stats.
Sinema has not commented publicly on her vote.

In fact, while the "action" portion of the resolution is simply denouncing the "Abolish ICE" call and supporting ICE personnel and others enforcing laws on the border, the "whereas" clauses are full of stats and comments noting that eliminating the agency would allow all of the drugs, terrorists and people here illegally to remain in the country - as if there would be a complete halt to any enforcement of laws.

   Text of anti-Abolish ICE House of Representatives resolution by arizonaspolitics on Scribd
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BREAKING, READ: Sens. Flake and Coons Introduce Resolution Calling For Hearings and Release Of President's Helsinki Notes

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Delaware Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE) today introduced a
resolution affirming the findings that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. In addition, however, the resolution calls for oversight hearings on the Trump/Putin Helsinki summit earlier this week, including "the release of relevant notes and information" from the Summit.

Sen. Flake indicated on Twitter that they intend to pass it by unanimous consent tomorrow.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

BREAKING, READ: Judge Should Not Give Trump and Michael Cohen "Indefinite Stay" In Stormy Daniels' Case

Attorneys for Donald Trump, Michael Cohen and Stephanie Clifford (aka Stormy Daniels) filed a joint status report in Clifford's case to be released from her nondisclosure agreement. Michael Avenatti, Cliffords' attorney, argues that Cohen and the President cannot receive an "indefinite stay" simply because Cohen is still being investigated by the government.

The Defendants make their case that Avenatti seems to know more about the possible overlap between the $130,000 payment and the pending criminal investigation of Cohen than they do, and that he should have to share.

The next hearing in the matter is scheduled before U.S. District Court Judge James Otero (Central District of California) on July 27.



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Monday, July 16, 2018

READ: Affidavit Supporting Criminal Indictment of Mariia Butina (Russia/NRA)




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