Monday, January 3, 2011

New Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar Hires Staffers Solidifying Links With Palin; Gosar Glad "To Be Mired With... Classy Lady" But Still His Own Person

New Arizona Representative-elect Paul Gosar (R-CD1) is gaining some attention from the national media for his staff choices;  his new chief of staff and his legislative director/deputy chief of staff both hail from Alaska and have close ties with former Alaska governor and possible presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

This is the second time in the past week that Arizona's new Congressional representatives are in the news for their staff choices.  Last week, Rep.-elect Ben Quayle hired as chief of staff a woman who had held the same position for an Indiana Rep. who resigned after the chief of staff revealed his adulterous affair.

Quayle's choice revealed personal and Indiana ties, and Gosar's choices of Rob Robinson and Thomas Van Flein (for chief of staff and leg director/dep. chief of staff, respectively) reveal personal and Palin ties.  Roll Call newspaper features Gosar's choices on its website this morning.

Robinson is a retired dentist who worked with Dr. Gosar on American Dental Association lobbying activities (and was Gosar's campaign manager).  Drilling down deeper, Robinson was heavily involved in politics in Wasilla, Alaska and introduced Wasilla's best-known resident, Sarah Palin to Gosar.  (Palin endorsed Gosar and he spoke highly of her.)

Thomas Van Flein is Gosar's choice for legislative director and deputy chief of staff.  Van Flein was in the national news in 2008 when he was Palin's counsel in the so-called Troopergate incident.  He is also the Palin's family attorney and represents the Alaska Dental Society.

Roll Call interviewed Rep.-elect Gosar for the story.  A couple of quotes were included explaining why he chose Robinson and Van Flein, but the one at the end of the report on his strengthening network of connections with former Vice Presidential candidate Palin is the likely attention-grabber:

 "I know Gov. Palin is a classy lady and has her head on straight.  When it comes to politics, it's nice to be mired with Sarah Palin. But I'm Paul Gosar. I'm my own person."

Also, the Roll Call article notes that five out of seven of Gosar's top contributors are dentists;  it fails to note that American Dental Association entities also spent nearly $200,000 in independent expenditures to campaign for their new favorite son.

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