Thursday, March 29, 2012

Rep. Gosar "Proud" Of Chamber's Award; He's Not Alone

First-term Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1-running-for-new-CD4) issued a news release today touting his Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He declared himself "proud" to receive the "prestigious" award, and quoted the Chamber CEO as saying “while many in Congress were busy playing politics, Representative Gosar was working to protect and advance the interests of America’s job creators.”

The only quibble with these proud declarations is that EVERY Republican member of Congress except one received the exact same award (and probably the exact same quote). Even several Democrats voted the way the Chamber - which does not necessarily reflect the views of local and state Chambers of Commerce - wanted them to vote on about a dozen key votes (16 in the House, 11 in the Senate).

Gosar did vote the Chamber way on 15 out of the 16, matched in the Arizona delegation only by Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5-running-for-new-CD6) and topped by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-running-for-the-exits), who was a perfect 11-for-11.

The ONLY Republican - House or Senate - who did NOT receive the prestigious Chamber award for 2011 was Walter Jones (R-NC). He was a 50-50 Chamber voter. (It would be interesting to learn whether he is as "proud". Alas, his news release today is focused only on attacking the Obama Administration's "new illegal alien policy".

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Gabrielle Giffords Gives Arizona Some Balance In Battle Between Comics and Cartoons

Heard on KJZZ (91.5FM, Phoenix) this morning that there is going to be a comic book featuring/profiling resigned Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8). The report featured audio with - if I recall correctly - the creator of the comic.

Unfortunately, KJZZ has not yet posted the story. But, Tucson's Channel 13 has posted its text. And, we can also provide you with this link to the actual Amazon listing. (Apparently, it is only available in digital form so far, although the traditional comic book form is promised, for $3.99.)

This certainly proves that there is a clear distinction between comic book figures and cartoonish characters, and now Arizona's political scene has at least one of each.

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THOUGHT OF THE DAY IN CONTEXT: Gertrude Stein Said TMI Can Cause Loss Of Common Sense

From time to time, I like to check out daily quotations and thoughts of the day - usually at the handy website. The oft-frustrating thing about such quotations, however, is that they often epitomize the out-of-context problem that I have with so much of today's news reporting. (One of the primary issues that I try to address with this Arizona's Politics blog, actually.) So, an innocent 30-second trip to quote-of-the-day territory will often kick off a mini-research and learning adventure. Occasionally, I will try to post those findings here.

Today's Thought of the Day on comes from American writer/poet Gertrude Stein:

"Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense." - Gertrude Stein

Sounds like it comes from today's society. Only we know that Stein is no longer with us. So, it cried out for some digging. I found that it came from a short piece she wrote (or spoke) shortly before her death (1946). It was published after her death in the Yale Poetry Review:

Gertrude Stein, "Reflection on the Atomic Bomb" (1946)
They asked me what I thought of the atomic bomb. I said I had not been able to take any interest in it.
I like to read detective and mystery stories. I never get enough of them but whenever one of them is or was about death rays and atomic bombs I never could read them. What is the use, if they are really as destructive as all that there is nothing left and if there is nothing there nobody to be interested and nothing to be interested about. If they are not as destructive as all that then they are just a little more or less destructive than other things and that means that in spite of all destruction there are always lots left on this earth to be interested or to be willing and the thing that destroys is just one of the things that concerns the people inventing it or the people starting it off, but really nobody else can do anything about it so you have to just live along like always, so you see the atomic [bomb] is not at all interesting, not any more interesting than any other machine, and machines are only interesting in being invented or in what they do, so why be interested. I never could take any interest in the atomic bomb, I just couldn't any more than in everybody's secret weapon. That it has to be secret makes it dull and meaningless. Sure it will destroy a lot and kill a lot, but it's the living that are interesting not the way of killing them, because if there were not a lot left living how could there be any interest in destruction. Alright, that is the way I feel about it. They think they are interested about the atomic bomb but they really are not not any more than I am. Really not. They may be a little scared, I am not so scared, there is so much to be scared of so what is the use of bothering to be scared, and if you are not scared the atomic bomb is not interesting.

Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense. They listen so much that they forget to be natural. This is a nice story.

Gertrude Stein, 1946

[first published in Yale Poetry Review, December 1947]
(as cited on this University of Pennsylvania page)

Not sure I agree with the late Ms. Stein that it displays a loss of common sense to be interested in the development and proliferation of new weapons of mass destruction. But, it is certainly food for thought, and it certainly is of interest (to me, anyway) to learn the context of her quote.

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Sunday, March 25, 2012

WATCH: Senate Candidate Carmona Interviewed On MSNBC About Politicization Of Health Issues

Richard Carmona, the former U.S. Surgeon General who is now running for the Democratic nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl, was interviewed Thursday night by MSNBC's Rachel Maddow. Most of the conversation was about the bills currently in the State Legislature regarding abortion and contraception issues, and the candidate explained why he believes restrictive measures would be "deleterious" to women's health and to the goal of reducing unwanted pregnancies.

Carmona also explained that he chose to run for office because he was upset with the politicization of science, health and technology issues, and that he chose to affiliate with the Democratic party because he did not see a home for himself in the Republican party because of those issues and immigration.

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Saturday, March 24, 2012

Sheriff Arpaio Holding New "Press Conference" On President Obama Birth Certificate; Supporters To Petition For End Run Around Governor, Legislature

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has set up his next press conference/event/meeting (it is described as all three) on the alleged President Obama citizenship document forgeries. He and his Tea Party supporters will take over a Sun City church next Saturday (March 31, 1:00pm).

The "historic event" will feature updates by both Arpaio and investigator Mike Zullo*, according to the post (on a site called the Western Center for Journalism**) by a co-organizer, the Surprise Tea Party group. (The other co-organizer is listed as the Sun City West Tea Party group.) The release claims that Arpaio and Zullo will present the preliminary findings and will update; it does not promise that there is any new information or action.

As an additional draw, however, the organizers say they plan to petition Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (Repub.) and the Legislature to request that the Democratic National Committee provide documentation validating the President's citizenship "satisfactory to Sheriff Arpaio and the Cold Case Posse, the Arizona Legislature, and the Arizona Secretary of State’s office". This would appear to be designed to be similar to the proposed law which Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (Repub.) vetoed last year, and which is presently being considered in the current Legislature. The fate of that bill (currently in the form of a strike-everything amendment to HB2480) is unclear at this time.

Last week, Sheriff Arpaio gave an interview to talk show host Roger Hedgecock, and announced that he would investigate the President's Selective Service registration document for fraud, and would arrest whoever he finds responsible for the allegedly forged birth certificate and other documents which were released by the white House last year.

* Zullo was initially listed as "to be confirmed", but Surprise Tea Party spokesman Brian Reilly confirms his attendance in the comments to the post.

**The Western Center for Journalism was set up by Joseph Farah, the "brains behind", which has been instrumental in publicizing Arpaio's investigation into the (very) early life of Obama.

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Friday, March 23, 2012

WATCH: Sen. John McCain With Greta Van Susteren Last Night - Re: STOCK Act: "If It Makes People Feel Better, Fine."

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was relaxed in his 952nd (estimated) interview with Fox News Channel host Greta Van Susteren. He joined with her in mocking the need for Congress to pass the STOCK Act, which passed the Senate unanimously yesterday and prevents members of Congress from benefitting financially from nonpublic information they learn in the course of their work.

McCain said, "Well, one would think (laugh) that this act was not necessary and we could respect ethics rules we have, ethics committee we have but if it makes people feel better, fine."

However, as reported by CBS News (which attracted a lot of attention to the issue last year on "60 Minutes"), the newly-passed law headed for the President's desk was stripped down by the House (from the version previously passed by McCain and the Senate).
In order to pass both Houses of Congress, the legislation was pared back from its original form. The final bill dropped a provision passed in the Senate last month, which would have given prosecutors new tools to investigate and prosecute criminal conduct by public officials. The final version also left out a provision that would have required those employed in the burgeoning "political intelligence" industry to register with Congress in the same way that lobbyists do. In the political intelligence industry, people with access to insider information sell their knowledge of political developments to Wall Street investors, who then use it to make investment decisions.

The political intelligence provision was stripped in the House after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said there should be more study of the issues involved. He also said the issue was outside the scope of the bill and wondered if the amendment could have negative consequences.

McCain and Van Susteren also discussed the healthcare insurance reform law headed for the Supreme Court next week.

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WATCH: Sen. Kyl Says "Lot Of Small Business" Not Hiring Until "Obamacare" Mandate Done Away With; "Dampening Effect On the Economy"

Outgoing Senator Jon Kyl (R-Arizona) stated that "a lot of small business folk" are not hiring as many people as they would otherwise because they do not want to go over the threshold where the mandate provisions of the two-year old healthcare insurance reform law would apply to them. Thus, the law has had a "dampening effect on the economy, on economic growth and on job creation."

Kyl made the remarks while being interviewed by Greta Van Susteren for her Fox News Channel show on Wednesday. The Fox-provided transcript (typos and all) is below the video.

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 21, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Two years after President Obama signed his health care plan into law, we are finally getting closer to finding out if the law's constitutional or not. Next week, the Supreme Court begins hearing arguments about the individual mandate, but right now, Republicans are gearing up for a fight in November. What is their game plan for taking on President Obama and changing health care?

We spoke with Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl earlier tonight.


VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, nice to see you, sir.

SEN. JON KYL, R-ARIZ.: Thank you, Greta. Good to be with you.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, here's the hypothetical. Assume that the Supreme Court does not declare the national health care law unconstitutional and that it's going to go forward. Between now and November, is there anything that the Republicans in the Senate plan to do or can do vis-a-vis the national health care bill?

KYL: Well, of course, the Democrats control the Senate. So we're not going to be able to pass a bill that repeals any part of "Obamacare" in the U.S. Senate. But if it is not unconstitutional, it will become the biggest issue of the campaign. And you can rest assured that we will try to bring attention to what's happened in any way we can. And we do that by offering of amendments or floor speeches, those kinds of things.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now -- let's assume hypothetically that Governor Mitt Romney then is the candidate, the Republican nominee. How can you make that an issue and an effective issue for the Republican Party in light of the fact that Massachusetts has a state health care that is very much similar to the national health care?

KYL: I think that if that occurs, Mitt Romney's going to have to be very specific and say, Look, the Court has spoken -- by the way, I'm hoping the Court will rule the other way, but let's take your hypothetical forward, that the Court has said it's constitutional.

Then I believe that candidate Romney at that point has to say, Look, we need to repeal the whole thing, and here are the three reasons why. If we can't do that, we need to repeal this piece and this piece and this piece, and here are the reasons why.

In other words, it can't be general because they did something like that in Massachusetts. So people are going to be skeptical unless he can be very specific about what he's talking about and why.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, how can anyone, though, as a viewer, have great confidence in that? Because I mean, he was an advocate for the system in Massachusetts. And I realize that's a state, not the federal government, but he was an advocate. And if that's what the Republicans are really sort of aggressively going to go at the president with, if he -- if he's got sort of in his back yard this issue, just saying, I'm now going to do away with it, may not be particularly persuasive.

KYL: Yes, and that's the point that Rick Santorum has been making. And the answer to it is, as I said, I think -- and I'm not his campaign manager and I'm not the smartest campaign guy -- but I think you have to be very specific.

And if you say, Here are two specific things or three specific things that are wrong, and that's why we have to repeal it and I am committing to do that, then the public begins to see that you're serious about it and you've got something concrete.

Now, what he would have to do then is to say, And that's unlike Massachusetts, or, One of those things is actually a little bit like what we did in Massachusetts, and I don't see it working out so well. He'd have to have, in other words, a reason to distinguish it from what happened in Massachusetts.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything implemented now that -- that we -- that the economy or we're feeling under this national health care?

KYL: Well, great question. And I think that the experts would say just the fact that it's hanging over our head and about to be implemented in most of its pieces -- some of it is being implemented, but the big pieces are yet to be implemented. The fact that that's hanging over our head is having a dampening effect on the economy, on economic growth and on job creation.

A lot of small business folks are saying, Why would we add more people to our rolls, when if we do that, we exceed the threshold, and then "Obama care" applies to us? Other people are saying, Why should we continue to apply -- or to buy health insurance for our folks when as soon as "Obamacare" comes in, we're going to have to scrap that, go to a whole different kind of plan, or pay a $2,000 fine as an alternative?

That's why the way -- by the way, why people are going to leave the private sector because it'll be cheaper for these companies to spend $2,000 on a fine than it is to spend $10,000 or $15,000 or $20,000 per family purchasing insurance.

VAN SUSTEREN: One of the things that Republicans object to in this plan are these advisory boards that will have some control over prices and services. Do you oppose those -- IPAB, I guess, is what they're called, IPAB.

KYL: That's the second worst thing about the whole bill, the IPAB. IPAB a board which is appointed by the president. He could make recess appointments. It doesn't have to be politically balanced.

These people have one job, and that is to make sure that some arbitrary number that is assigned for Medicare payments is not exceeded. In other words, here's the budget, and everything has to fit within it.

And if it turns out that there are people that need more care, they have to find a way either to delay that care into the next year or reduce the amount of care so that it fits in with the money part of the budget.

It's a little like Indian health service. I represent a lot of Native Americans, and there's a saying in Arizona, You better get sick before July. What do they mean? They're on a budget. And if you get sick in the latter part of the year, they probably pretty much run out of money and you're going to have to wait until next year to get your operation or your care.

So it's a kind of a sick joke, but that same thing could apply to Medicare with the IPAB. They're going to have to keep the costs within the arbitrary amount, and that means they're going to have to ration care.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, now, there are a lot of people in this city that make decisions who are not elected. And I understand that. But in this instance, these are decisions on the budget, essentially. These are budgetary decisions. And these are made not by members of Congress. So you know, if we don't like it, we can't throw you out, in essence. They are made by appointees of a president -- in this instance, President Obama and the next president may be President Obama.

Is there any objection to the fact that it's non-elected officials who would serve on this?

KYL: Sure. I mean, that's one of the problems. The first problem is that, inevitably, whoever you put in that position will have to ration care. And that should not be in America. We shouldn't have a government program that has -- that is contained in such a way that the only way to make it work is to ration health care. You ration either by...

VAN SUSTEREN: We're rationing now, though, don't we? I mean, don't we really...

KYL: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... ration it -- I mean, some people on Medicare, some don't. Some have better medical care than others. I mean, we -- don't we ration it a little bit?

KYL: Very good care. Very good question. In Medicaid, which is the program for poorer people, we pay doctors even less than we do in Medicare. And guess what? Those are probably the last people in the waiting room to be taken care of if the doctor gets around to them. A lot of people say that care is being rationed to some extent in the Medicaid program because we don't reimburse the hospitals and the doctors enough. So naturally why would they want to do that work?

That will creep into Medicare and become a big part of Medicare with the IPAD. It will to do the same thing that is being done with Medicaid to a little extent. We are trying to prevent that. It's already happening with the Indian health service.

VAN SUSTEREN: Senator, thank you, sir. Nice to see you.

KYL: Thank you, Greta.


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Thursday, March 22, 2012

LISTEN: Joe Arpaio Will Make Arrest On Obama Birth Certificate Once He Figures Out Who Forged Documents

"When I go to the toilet, I make international news." With that comment, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio bemoaned what he called "probably the biggest censorship blackout in the history of the United States."

In the radio interview last week, he also reiterated that he found "probable cause" that President Obama's birth certificate and related document are fraudulent; when asked if arrests were forthcoming, he said that he first needs to find out who is responsible.

He made the comments on Roger Hedgecock's radio show.

Arpaio also has asked the Director of the U.S. Selective Service System to produce the President's registration form from 1980, and to conduct its own investigation into whether it is forged. Here is the Sheriff's official news release:

Date: March 21, 2012
(Phoenix, AZ) Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has sent a letter to the Director of
the U.S. Selective Service System headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The Sheriff is
asking the agency to conduct an investigation of Barack Obama’s Selective Service
registration form from 1980 after the preliminary findings of the Sheriff’s six-monthlong
investigation determined that it may be a forgery.
The letter also asked Director Lawrence Romo to produce the original form so
forensic document examiners can analyze the document to determine if it is authentic.
(letter attached)
Because of inconsistencies on the form itself including an unusually incomplete date
stamp, Sheriff’s investigators suspect the form, which was allegedly filled out in
Honolulu, Hawaii in 1980, may be a forgery.
Sheriff’s investigators were able to replicate the alleged forgery by obtaining a circa
1980 pica stamp and a circa “2008” date plug. Investigators were able to clearly
demonstrate the “80” (which should have actually read 1980) in Obama’s Selective
Service Registration form resulted from cutting out the “08” from an authentic “2008”
date plug, and inverting the “08” to read “80” when the cut plug was loaded into the
year slot on the 1980 pica stamp. (see form attached)
Sheriff Arpaio is asking Director Romo to respond to him within 30 days on whether
or not his national office will provide the Sheriff with the original document and if his
office will move forward with an investigation of its own.
Lawrence Romo, who was appointed as Director to the U.S. Selective Service System
in 2009 by President Obama, reports directly to the President.
“While my office will continue pursuing this investigation, I have spoken of the need
to enlist the aid of other agencies. As a first step to that end, I am now requesting the
assistance of the U.S. Selective Service System asking them to conduct a concurrent
investigation to verify the authenticity of this document,” Arpaio says.
Arpaio says he foresees the need to ask for the assistance of other agencies as well to
ultimately determine whether the President’s birth certificate and Selective Service
registration form are in fact forgeries.
“Failure to register or otherwise comply with the Selective Service registration
process is a serious offense,” Arpaio says. “The law says a person who fails to register
can end up with a $250,000 fine, five years imprisonment and is ultimately prohibited
from holding any job in government.”
Arpaio, a Korean War veteran who served in the U.S. Army, believes strongly in the
importance of registering for the selective service. He even started a program in 2004
to encourage inmates, including non-U.S. citizens, to register. Since then, about
40,000 inmates including 9,000 non U.S. citizens have registered for the selective
service. END

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IRONY & CHUTZPAH ALERT: Schweikert Campaign Running With Club For Growth "Endorsement", Slams Quayle

Well, the Club for Growth says it wants to stay neutral in the Republican primary contest between freshman incumbents David Schweikert and Ben Quayle, but the Schweikert campaign is using yesterday's demand letter as an endorsement.

One day after the letter which Quayle described as "astonishing", the Schweikert campaign sent out an "ICYMI" (in case you missed it) fundraising e-mail, touting the CFG letter as evidence that "Schweikert has always had the courage to stand up for our shared conservative principles - even when members of his own party are on the other side.
(italics added).

Since Quayle and Schweikert are typically on the same side of most votes, and since Quayle has had a higher ranking from the Club than Schweikert, it is worth emphasizing the last part of that campaign e-mail quote.

The next, call-to-action quote is similarly noteworthy:

"With way too many politicians refusing to get government spending under control and lacking the commitment to reduce the size of government, we need someone who will stand up!" (That is a clickable sentence which takes the clicker to the contribute page.)

Campaign e-mails may be held to a different - lower - standard, and hyperbole may be de rigeur. But, the chutzpah and irony of a campaign turning a neutrality demand letter into an endorsement is certainly worthy of mention here.

Here is the body of the e-mail (a fundraising update and the AP article is appended but not included here):

Yesterday, the powerful anti-tax group Club for Growth fired a warning shot across the deck of the Washington establishment.

The Associated Press, along with other national news outlets filed stories on the Club's warning to House GOP leadership. Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said:

"We will not sit back and allow House Republican leaders to invest resources with impunity against an incumbent fiscal conservative like Rep. David Schweikert... [who] stands for the principles of economic freedom even when members of his own party pressure him to do otherwise."

David Schweikert has always had the courage to stand up for our shared conservative principles - even when members of his own party are on the other side.

With way too many politicians refusing to get government spending under control and lacking the commitment to reduce the size of government, we need someone who will stand up!

Can David Schweikert count on your help TODAY?

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Three of Arizona's 8 House Members Singled Out In New "Family Affair" Ethics Report For Questionable Reimbursements, Earmarks; Reps. Flake, Pastor, Quayle

Three Arizona Congressmen were included in a new ethics report released today by the non-partisan Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington ("CREW") and database site LegiStorm. It singled out Rep. Ed Pastor (D-CD4) for his repeated earmarking to non-profit organizations at which family members are employed/involved, dinged Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3-running-for-new-CD6) for his campaign renting a facility from his father's company, and harangued Rep. Jeff Flake (CD6-running-for-Senate)for using campaign funds to reimburse himself (and his wife) for travel expenses.

The entire 347-page "Family Affair" report can be found here. It includes 248 members (out of approximately 435, depending on whether they included resigned members such as Gabrielle Giffords), some for seemingly-minor expenditures and some for serious offenses that have already prompted legal and/or ethics actions.

The section on Rep. Pastor sets out some of the earmarks items that have already been publicized by the Washington Post and others, and add a bit more. Pastor has earmarked $1.8 million to programs administered by Chicanos Por La Causa, where his wife had previously been on the Board of Directors, and his nephew had previously been (there might have been an overlap in 2008) employed.

ED PASTOR (D-AZ) is a ten-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 4th
congressional district.1 He is a member of the House Appropriations Committee, as well as chief
deputy whip.2
Rep. Pastor’s campaign committee, Pastor for Arizona,3 donated to a program affiliated with his
daughter and paid catering fees to a company that had employed his niece. In addition, Rep.
Pastor has earmarked to his family members’ employers.
Verma Mendez Pastor (wife) and Carlos Pastor (nephew):4
• Ms. Pastor was a member of the Board of Directors of Chicanos Por La Causa from 2005
until 2007.5 In addition, Mr. Pastor was the vice president of marketing for Chicanos Por
La Causa in 2008.6 In fiscal year 2008, Rep. Pastor earmarked $490,000 to Chicanos Por
La Causa.7
• In fiscal year 2009, Rep. Pastor earmarked $625,643 to Chicanos Por La Causa.8
• In fiscal year 2010, Rep. Pastor earmarked $700,000 to Chicanos Por La Causa.9

Laura Pastor (daughter):10
• Ms. Pastor has been the director of the Achieving a College Education (ACE) program at
South Mountain Community College in Arizona since 2005.11 An internal investigator
for the college found she was hired despite scoring lower on hiring evaluations than at
least one other candidate, though the investigation found her hiring did not violate any
regulations.12 The college approved two salary exceptions at the time of her hiring,
putting her at the top of the pay scale.13 Rep. Pastor steered over $1,000,000 in federal
grants to the program four months after his daughter was hired.14
• In fiscal year 2008, Rep. Pastor earmarked $984,000 to the ACE Program.15
• In fiscal year 2009, Rep. Pastor earmarked $951,500 to the ACE Program.16
• In fiscal year 2010, Rep. Pastor earmarked $1,000,000 to the ACE Program.17
• Ms. Pastor participated in the class of 2010 Emerge America Arizona program, dedicated
to developing and electing women leaders.18 During the 2008 election cycle, Rep.
Pastor’s campaign committee gave a $500 donation to Emerge Arizona.19
Sonya Pastor La Sota (niece):20
• Ms. Pastor La Sota was a senior government relations representative for Salt River
Project from 2008 to 2009.21 During the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Pastor’s campaign
committee paid Salt River Project $537 for catering.22
Rep. Pastor defended the ACE earmarks in the Washington Post article:

“The perception is that you helped your daughter, but if you evaluate the kids who benefited from this, it was worth doing,” the congressman said. “I believe thousands of kids have a better life today because of this program.”
. . .
“She was never my motivation,” Pastor said. “I wasn’t aware she was applying. If I knew, I would have contacted the chancellor and said, ‘What kind of position does this put you and me in?’ ”

Rep. Pastor has been asked for a response to this report.

* * *

Rep. Flake has already been sniped at by his primary opponent for publicly-paid trips he's taken as a member of Congress. This new report notes that Mr. and Ms. Flake have received nearly $21,000 in campaign committee monies to reimburse them for travel expenditures.

JEFF FLAKE (R-AZ) is a six-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 6th
congressional district.1 He is a member of House Appropriations Committee.2
Rep. Flake’s campaign committee, Jeff Flake for Congress,3 reimbursed the congressman and his
Jeff Flake (self):
• During the 2008 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Rep. Flake
$3,719 for travel and other expenses.4
• During the 2010 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Rep. Flake
$14,714 for travel, meals, and other expenses.5
Cheryl Flake (wife):6
• During the 2008 election cycle, Rep. Flake’s campaign committee reimbursed Ms. Flake
$2,487 for airfare, travel, and event expenses.7

Such reimbursements are legally and ethically questionable under FEC (Federal Elections Commission) and House Ethics rules and regulations. The House Ethics Manual repeatedly warns members to be careful when reimbursing themselves or family members for travel. Finally, it notes that even "mixed use" trips - where there is both a personal and a campaign purpose - may be violative unless there is a reimbursement from the member to the campaign committee for the portion allocated to personal use.
The regulations also address two ―mixed use

Campaign-funded that includes both campaign-related activities and
personal activities; and
Use of a for personal purposes in an amount that is more
than de minimis.
In both of those situations, the person(s) benefiting from the personal use
must reimburse the campaign in an appropriate amount within 30 days.
Arizona's Politics has asked the Flake campaign whether there was such a reimbursement.

* * *

Finally, the report points out that Rep. Quayle's campaign committee paid $250 to a company of which his father (former Vice President) is chairman of a subsidiary. (Classifying this as a de minimis note, Arizona's Politics is not requesting a response.)

BEN QUAYLE (R-AZ) is a first-term member of Congress, representing Arizona’s 3rd
congressional district.1 He is the chairman of the Technology and Innovation Subcommittee of
the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, as well as the vice chair of both the
Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet Subcommittee of the House Judiciary
Committee and the Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee of the House Homeland
Security Committee.2
Rep. Quayle’s campaign committee, Quayle for Congress,3 paid a company affiliated with his
J. Danforth “Dan” Quayle (father):4
• Former Vice President Quayle is now the chairman of Cerberus Global Investments,
LLC, which is part of Cerberus Capital Management.5 During the 2010 election cycle,
Rep. Quayle’s campaign committee paid $250 to Cerberus Capital Management for
facility rental and staffing services.6

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Rep. Quayle Responds To "Astonishing" Club For Growth Letter And Its New Role As "Imperious Referee"

Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3-running-for-new-CD6) fired back this morning at the Club For Growth, calling yesterday's laying down the law letter from the conservative pro-growth group "astonishing" and questioning its new role as being "the imperious referee of Republican support in primary races."

The Club for Growth issued its letter to the House leadership yesterday, demanding that they equalize their support for Reps. Quayle and David Schweikert (R-CD5-running-for-new-CD6) in the primary race and then maintaining neutrality. The text of CFG's short letter is here.

Quayle has received a $10,000 contribution from House Speaker John Boehner, but fellow conservative frosh lawmaker Schweikert has not yet received his.

Quayle calls on the Club's board to make a "full inquiry" into why CFG President Chris Chocola suddenly issued his demand, and notes that he, Quayle, is more deserving of the Club's support, anyway. Here is the text of Quayle's letter:

The Honorable Chris Chocola

Club for Growth

2001 L Street, NW

Suite 600

Washington, DC 20036


Dear Mr. Chocola,

I have reviewed the letter you sent House leadership yesterday regarding the primary race in Arizona’s newly-drawn 6th Congressional District. The correspondence is astonishing on several levels.

First, as you well know, I have received a higher legislative score from the Club For Growth than Congressman Schweikert, to go along with a higher ranking as well from the National Journal, which found there to be no more conservative member of Congress than me. It is therefore quite a contortion for you, as the Club’s president, to now threaten on any basis the provision of financial support to my primary opponent.

It is still more of a contortion for you to so threaten on the basis of leadership support for my campaign. First, I have been under the impression that the Club For Growth was formed by its founders, funded by its members and directed by its board to support pro-growth candidates. I was not aware that the Club's mission includes dictating to high-ranking officials who they may and may not support. It is ironic that an organization founded in principles of freedom and limited government could have come to such a dictatorial turn.

This new, self-appointed role for the Club raises a number of questions. For example, Sen. Jon Kyl, a member of Senate leadership and perhaps the leading Arizona exponent of pro-growth and conservative policy since Barry Goldwater, has enthusiastically endorsed my candidacy in this race. Can Sen. Kyl now expect a similar cease-and-desist letter from you and the Club, together with a threat to shower my lower-rated opponent with Club funds, should he not withdraw this support?

So far as House leadership is concerned, moreover, it seems that your fears may be badly misplaced. In the most recent policy matter in which Congressman Schweikert and I differed -- Barack Obama’s misbegotten payroll tax deal -- it was Schweikert, not I, who voted with the leadership and Obama. I cast the more pro-growth and fiscally responsible vote, in this case a “no.” Schweikert, alone among Arizona Republicans, voted for this non-growth, deficit-expanding policy that is contrary to sound economic and tax policy. Isn’t this exactly the kind of voting behavior that the Club was founded to discourage and marginalize in favor of more reliable representatives in Congress?

Your correspondence points out that both Congressman Schweikert and I have pro-growth voting records, and I will not quibble over that. Nevertheless, you neglect to mention in correspondence threatening to throw him financial support that my legislative rating from the Club is in fact higher than his. This cannot be a mere oversight and must be a contrived omission.

I urge you and your board and members to reconsider the path your letter seems to set for the Club. Your mission is important and the work of the Club has borne fruit, over time, for the free-market and limited government principles which we share and for which I have fought hard in Congress. In light of my superior Club rating I would expect, if anything, to receive the Club’s support over my opponent in this race; it is certainly odd to read instead this letter, apparently delivered to the media prior to its delivery to the leadership. I hope that the Club will maintain its vital mission, rather than seek for itself some highly questionable role as the imperious referee of Republican support in primary races, and I further hope that your board will make a full inquiry as to exactly how this correspondence came about.


Congressman Ben Quayle

This fascinating battle is just starting to heat up. Both between Reps. Quayle and Schweikert, AND between the Club for Growth and the Republican leadership. In many ways, the CD6 primary race is simply a battlefield in what is becoming a national war in the Republican party.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Gov. Brewer To Have Ears Of Most Of Arizona's U.S. House Delegation On Obama's "War On Arizona's Jobs"; WATCH: Rep. Gosar On War

Most of Arizona's Congressional Republicans will take hearing testimony from Governor Jan Brewer (R-AZ) tomorrow in downtown Phoenix. The lone House Republican not confirmed to attend the hearing tomorrow is Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6-running for Sen.).

The hearing is being put on by the Congressional Western Caucus (the "CWC"), of which all of Arizona's GOP Congressmen are members. They have titled the hearing "Washington Barriers to Prosperity and Property Rights in Arizona," and their media advisory indicates that the witnesses "will examine the Obama Administration's environmental and natural resource policies and their impacts on jobs, economic growth and private property rights across the West and specifically in Arizona."

In his address on behalf of the CWC, Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD1-running for CD4) discusses the Obama Administration's "war on Arizona's jobs." Given that the hearing "will shed light on specific examples, the extent of the problems, and help facilitate a discussion on what needs to be done to fix them," and Gov. Brewer's repeated comments about the Obama Administration, it is expected that she will support the notion of a federal war against Arizona.

Gov. Brewer will have the witness table to herself, and will be followed by a panel of representatives of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the Arizona Farm Bureaus, the Irrigation & Electrical Districts Association of Arizona and the Mohave County Board of Supervisors.

The hearing begins at 10:30a.m. in Senate Hearing Room 1 at the State Capitol.

The Congressional Western Caucus website currently features Rep. Paul Gosar as their (periodic) "Weekly Address", speaking about how the Obama Administration is waging "war on Arizona's jobs".

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Sheriff's PR Pros Must've Abandoned Him On Birth Certificate News Release

I'm thinking that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's well-paid media team must have abandoned him when it came to writing up the news release for today's big press conference on the not-quite-conclusive results of the investigation into President Barack Obama's birth certificate. The five-page news release seems more akin to something written by birth certificate expert Jerome Corsi.

And, the paid PR staff likely would not have inserted section headings into the release, ending with one titled "Conclusive Remarks". Especially, when the next sentence is anything but conclusive:

Conclusive remarks
Sheriff Arpaio stresses that these are preliminary findings....

Much more troubling than who wrote the news release and whether they inadvertently used a word that indicates that Arpaio has reached a conclusion on the evidence, is why any Maricopa County resources are being used in this matter; here is a post shedding more light on that.

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Why Is Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio Using ANY Taxpayer Resources On Obama Birth Certificate Investigation?; Also, Promoting Private, Political Interests

The following post raises some questions based upon facts observed in reviewing this story. This blog is not intended to be opinion-driven, but will label posts as "commentary" when necessary.:

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is proclaiming loud and often that taxpayers funds are not being used to investigate the birth certificate of President Barack Obama. However, there is no question that county resources are being used to publicize the sheriff and his findings.

He set up the Cold Case Posse, which is a registered 501(c)(3) and does collect donations. It reportedly absorbed all the costs of the investigation.

But, he then proceeded to use his County offices to release the report, issue a news release about the report, use his official Twitter account to promote the report, and so on. The press conference was promoted by World Net Daily and was used to collect monies by them. The news release promotes videos shown at the news conference that were posted on YouTube by a private individual(s) billed as "TeaPartyPowerHour".

The lines are blurry, but walking along such lines certainly raises questions. Questions about the appropriateness of spending any public resources promoting an investigation into which Maricopa County's jurisdiction is limited, to say the least. Questions about whether there is a tit for tat element, or a bargaining chip element to this, or an implied threat element to this. Questions about whether the sheriff now has an obligation to try to pursue charges now that he has found "probable cause" that there is a forgery and that someone or someones in the White House lied last April.

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