FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, May 31, 2012

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: GOP-philic SuperPACs Continue Campaigning Against Ron Barber In Special Election

American Crossroads and American Action Network, two leading Republican-philic SuperPACs, continued their independent expenditure campaigns opposing Ron Barber this week.  Election day in the Special Election to replace retired-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is June 12, and early ballots are being cast at high rates.

And, while groups spending money on independent expenditures are forbidden from coordinating with a candidate, they are permitted to coordinate with each other.  And, these groups that used to share the same office space, appear to be doing just that.  One is working the mailers while the other concentrates on calling prospective voters.

American Crossroads - the well-funded organization pounding Democrats across the country founded by Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie - has spent $100,000 ($99,252, to be exact) in the past 8 days on three rounds of mailers.  Two were opposing Barber - a former District Director for Giffords; the one that went out yesterday was supporting Republican nominee Jesse Kelly.

Meanwhile, American Action Network, led by former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman, has been working the phones calling early voters with messages opposing Barber.  It made two payments of more than $12,000 each this past week.

If you have copies of any of the mailers and/or recordings of the phone calls, please forward them to Arizona's Politics - we have produced Fact Checks on ads put out by groups on either side of this election.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

UPDATE: Trent Franks' Bill To Restrict Sex Selection Abortions Fails To Gain 2/3 Majority; WATCH: Yesterday's Debate; AP Gets Article Wrong

Trent Franks' bill to restrict any abortions that may be requested for the purpose of "sex selection" failed to gain a 2/3 majority in the House of Representatives this afternoon.  It received a 246-168 majority, far short of the 290 votes that would have moved it on to the Senate.

Not surprisingly, the bill was overwhelmingly (226-7) favored by Republicans and nearly-as-overwhelmingly (20-161) opposed by Democrats.  Arizona's delegation voted along party lines.

Arizona's Politics reported yesterday on the surprise postponement of the vote after debate.  Shortly afterwards, ABC's Jake Tapper reported that President Obama opposed the bill.  The Republican leadership brought it for a vote this morning.  Franks' office failed to respond to an Arizona's Politics request for an explanation of the timeline, a reaction to the postponement, and details on the last-minute revision of the bill.  The revision eliminated Franks' effort to restrict race-based abortions.

Here are highlights of yesterday's debate, as presented today by C-Span:


The entire debate is embedded after the jump.

Interestingly, the Associated Press inaccurately characterized the vote in the lead paragraph of its initial story.  The "House Republicans" were certainly not responsible for defeating the bill, as only 7 of its members voted "nay" and the measure was 44 votes short of gaining the necessary margin.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Maricopa County Hires Outside Counsel To Fight U.S. Racial Profiling Suit; Counsel Contributed To County Attorney Montgomery Campaign

From the Arizona Republic, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors narrowly approved hiring local counsel Richard Walker and national firm Winston & Strawn to represent the county in the United States' racial profiling suit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and the county.  County Attorney Bill Montgomery recommended the attorneys; Walker contributed to Montgomery's campaign.

The campaign contribution two weeks before the election was only $250.00.  Mr. Walker does not appear to be a frequent contributor to political campaigns; quick searches of state and national databases turned up no other contributions.

This is not to imply in any way that Walker is not qualified or was only recommended by Montgomery because of the contribution;  Walker is without a doubt an excellent attorney and will represent the county well, and many good attorneys contributed to Montgomery's campaign.

We do not yet know who will represent Arpaio and/or the MCSO in the suit, although occasional MCSO outside counsel William Jones from Jones, Skelton Hochuli was copied by the U.S. in a recent filing.

By the way, that recent filing was the U.S.'s response opposing the intervention of a Gilbert man.  Scott Huminski wanted to join in the case to raise his unrelated allegations against Arpaio.

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UPDATE: Trent Franks' "Sex Selection Abortion" Bill Postponed

At the conclusion of debate a few minutes ago on Rep. Trent Franks' (R-CD2) bill to restrict "sex selection abortions", the Chair yanked the bill before House members' votes could be recorded.  The bill is now "postponed".

Franks, who had already seen the bill get stripped down from its original intent to criminalize any abortions shown to be performed for the purposes of sex selection or if they were race-based, had asked for the "yeas and nays" to be recorded.  The Chair began to ask for the recorded vote, but suddenly changed his mind and "announced that further proceedings on the motion would be postponed."






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LIVE, WATCH: House Debate On Trent Franks' Watered-Down Bill To Restrict Gender-Based Abortions

The House is currently debating Rep. Trent Franks' (R-CD2) bill to crack down on gender-based abortions.  The bill initially was formulated to criminalize abortions that "discriminate... against the unborn on the basis of sex or race."  It was re-worked last week and put on the calendar by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-OH).


http://www.c-span.org/Live-Video/C-SPAN/

Here is the initial text of the bill, which was co-sponsored by the other Republican members of the Arizona delegation except Ben Quayle.  Here is the watered-down version currently being debated.

The initial bill noted that Arizona was one of only three states to have clamped down on the sex-selection and race-based abortions.  Here is that law on Arizona's books.  No reports on results from the new law yet.

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Friday, May 25, 2012

UPDATE: Pro-Latino SuperPAC Spends $29,000 On Anti-Romney Ad In Arizona

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported on the new pro-Latino SuperPAC called PAC+ and its plans to run ads opposing Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Arizona in 3 Arizona TV markets in English and Spanish.  We noted that their had not yet been an FEC filing for the ad and that the PAC had only raised $6,000 when it filed its first fundraising report (through March 31).  Today, the new group filed with the FEC, indicating that it has spent $28,700 on the ad.  Not a large amount, but enough to make it more than just a web-only or publicity push ad.

Watch the ad here.


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WATCH, FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: NRCC, Dem SuperPAC Match Dollar For Dollar

The main independent expenditure (IE) campaigns currently running ads in the CD8 Special Election (June 12) matched each other dollar for dollar in FEC filings today.

The National Republican Congressional Committee  ("NRCC") filed first, indicating that they were spending a little bit on 2 or 3 of their ads opposing Democratic nominee Ron Barber, and a little bit more on surveying and research;  the total spent today was $67,011.56, bringing the NRCC's total to 2/3 of a million dollars ($665,608.72).

Then, the House Majority PAC, a SuperPAC funded by labor unions and investors, filed its report, indicating that it was spending an additional $65,924.30 on its "Screens" TV ad opposing Republican nominee Jesse Kelly.  Their total is now $297,173.75.

You can view some of their current ads in our earlier post.   Here is an NRCC ad that we have not yet embedded in our blog:


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Thursday, May 24, 2012

WATCH: New "SuperPAC" Gets National Attention For Anti-Romney Ad It Plans To Run In AZ

The Los Angeles Times is reporting that a new, "pro-Latino" SuperPAC is airing a new anti-Romney TV ad in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma markets.  "PAC+" has posted the new ad, slamming Romney on immigration policy, on YouTube, but has not yet filed a spending report with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC").  It uses Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to get viewers' attention.


http://youtu.be/uOQ56cJCzlE

The SuperPAC is a newcomer to the scene - having just filed an amended statement of organization earlier this week, and had $6,000 in its bank account as of March 31, 2012.  Its intent to run the TV ad for several weeks in multiple TV markets, in English and Spanish, either indicates that it has received a substantial sum of money recently, that it is overly optimistic, or that it is seeking to get free airtime and publicity.  (If you see the ad airing, please drop Arizona's Politics an e-mail or phone call.)

As noted earlier today, Brewer and Arpaio would - according to recent polling data - drag down Romney in Arizona.




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ROMNEY'S VP: Joe Arpaio, John McCain, Jan Brewer Would Hurt Romney... In Arizona!

Arizona is currently widely thought of as a "toss-up" state in the 2012 presidential contest, and important in the electoral college math for the Republicans.  Traditionally, that might indicate that the nominee might look to that state's politicians for a possible VP running mate.  Not this year.

The Public Policy Polling ("PPP") polling information on the Obama-Romney race that came out yesterday featured some very interesting information that has not appeared to make its way into most news coverage:  Arizona's three best-known Republican office-holders would drag down presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney if they were added to his ticket.  That is, they would drag him down... in Arizona.

Romney polled a 50%-43% lead against Obama (approximately 8% undecided), with a margin of error of 4.4%.  However, if Arizona Governor Jan Brewer were added to the Romney national ticket, his Arizona lead would shrink to 48%-44%.  If he instead chose to add his former rival and 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, Romney's lead here would be almost as precarious - 48%-43% (with a few more people choosing "undecided".

But Romney's worst "favorite son" choice in this swing state would be our self-touted America's Toughest Sheriff.  Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio would make the state a virtual toss-up, with Obama only trailing by 44%-46%.

The pollster, in their automated telephone interviews of 500 Arizonans, also asked for "approval/disapproval" impressions of Brewer's and McCain's "job performance", and "favorable/unfavorable opinion".  Brewer (47%-45%) and Arpaio (46%-45%) broke even, while McCain was likely dragged down by low approvals of Congress generally and lingering bad feelings among some Republicans (36%-54%).

PPP is a Democratic-leaning pollster that - as noted earlier - uses automated telephone polling.




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FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: American Crossroads Mails It In, Spends $33,000 On Anti-Barber Mailer

American Crossroads, one of the better-known outside organizations spending money on campaigns the past two years, has jumped into the special election battle to replace retired-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8), sending out a $33,000 mailer attacking Democratic nominee (and Giffords' district director) Ron Barber.

American Crossroads is headed by big-name Republican operatives Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie, and has been funded by big-money contributions.  The mailer, which was paid for on Monday and late-filed/disclosed with the FEC yesterday, is probably hitting mailboxes in southern Arizona about now.  (If you have a copy of it, please e-mail it to Arizona's Politics at the address below.)

Outside groups have already spent heavily on both sides of this special election, and several more "Following Money In Arizona's Politics" bulletins are expected before election day on June 12.


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Richard Carmona's Former Boss (While He Was Surgeon General) Blasts Him

Politico, an online political news source, has published a front page (near top of home screen) article today refreshing accusations that Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Richard Carmona visited his former boss in middle of night, banging on her door and screaming about an issue which they disagreed about.  Politico interviewed Cristina Beato for the article and she reiterated her allegations that Carmona had trouble working for a female supervisor, and that he had abused travel privileges.

Carmona's campaign acknowledged that he had to reimburse the government $3,580 for some travel expenses, but that they were innocuous incidents.  They deny that he visited her apartment in the middle of the night.

The investigation in which the allegations were leveled in 2007 by Beato was a Congressional look into the politicization of the Office of Surgeon General;  it reached no conclusions - on either the politicization or Beato's allegations.

It is not well-known that the U.S. Surgeon General actually reports to the Assistant Secretary of Health in HHS.  Beato served as acting Asst. Secretary for several years, and was not confirmed by the U.S. Senate.  Carmona was appointed by the Bush Administration to be Surgeon General and was approved by the Senate on a 98-0 vote.  Carmona reported to Beato between 2003 and 2005.


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Saturday, May 19, 2012

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS UPDATE: NRCC, Democratic Super-PAC Double Down In Tucson, Another GOP Super-PAC Starts Calling Arizonans

On Monday, Arizona's Politics posted new attack ads from both sides airing in Tucson for next month's special election to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  The totals for the National Republican Cogressional Committee ("NRCC") and the Democratic-philic House Majority PAC Super-PAC stood at approximately $300,000 and $128,000, respectively;  on Friday, both groups filed reports acknowledging that they have nearly doubled those totals.

The House Majority PAC - primarily funded by labor unions and wealthy investors - doubled its ad budget for the ad titled "Screens" attacking Republican nominee Jesse Kelly.  The $108,282.90 buy brings its total in the race to $234,565.80.

Meanwhile, the NRCC may have a new ad about to come out targeting Democratic nominee Ron Barber.  The filing shows that it paid National Media & Research Planning & Placement $265,376.10 for media.  This is a different firm than they had paid for the previous ad, although they also paid that firm - Revolution Media Group - another $18,674.93 for media.  This brings the NRCC spend to $598,597.16 in the CD8 race.

Finally, another Republican-philic group, the American Action Network, filed today that it has spent $20,400 on "live-auto phone calls" on behalf of Kelly.  The AAN is a group founded by former Minnesota Senator Norm Coleman and led by a former chief of staff for House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

The special election is June 12, and vote by mail ballots went out this past week.

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Friday, May 18, 2012

WATCH: Citizens' United's Biggest Ad Buy (So Far) This Year Is In Southern Arizona

Citizens United's Political Victory Fund made its single largest ad buy of this campaign season this week, spending $100,000 in southern Arizona to support Jesse Kelly (R) in his special election battle against Ron Barber (D) in CD8.

The FEC filing on Thursday explains that the ad will run as early ballots hit mailboxes during the next 1 1/2 weeks (May 16-25).  The ad is titled "Jesse Kelly Will Repeal Obamacare", and repeats a lot of claims about the healthcare reform law signed two years ago that many Fact Checks - including on this site - have found to be false.  (Cuts Medicare, Guts Medicare Advantage, Increases Deficit, etc)



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Thursday, May 17, 2012

McCain Slammed As "Confused" On Front Page Of NY Times...By Former Advisers Wanting Super-PAC To Go Super-Negative

No sooner do we write about Senator John McCain (R-AZ)  talking with Democrats about reviving a bill that would regulate the flood of Super-PAC money and influence in federal elections, than the front page of the New York Times features an article about a proposal for a Super-PAC to go Super-Negative.  The pitch - by some of McCain's 2008 advisers - starts off slamming the 2008 GOP nominee as "often seem(ing) confused" and wrong for not allowing the independent expenditure campaign to run ads based on the relationship between Obama and Rev. Jeremiah Wright.


In the opening paragraphs of the proposal, the Republican strategists refer to Mr. McCain as “a crusty old politician who often seemed confused, burdened with a campaign just as confused.”
“Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama’s opinions of America and the world were formed,” the proposal says. “And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees.”
The proposal was leaked to the New York Times.  It is a pitch to the conservative founder of TD Ameritrade for $10.0 million to pursue the Obama-Wright relationship in a big way, including trying to literally overshadow the Democratic National Convention.  The entire proposal is now published on the Times' website.

*****
Commentary:  One aspect I find very interesting - especially for purposes of this Arizona-focused blog - is that McCain rejected this plan four years ago.

(A) Strong hints that coordination between candidates' campaigns and independent expenditure campaigns takes place as strongly as everyone involved in politics figures that it does.  (Remember, Arizona's Attorney General Tom Horne is currently in hot water for such coordination, too, and leveled allegations that his opponent coordinated even more.)

(B) Will Romney (Romney's campaign) surreptitiously - or, openly - put the kibosh on such IE campaigns as his high-profile supporter did four years ago?




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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

McCain Meets With Whitehouse, Other Dems On Campaign Finance Reform (DISCLOSE Act) (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) acknowledged today that he has been discussing new campaign finance reform measures with Democratic colleagues.  From Alexander Bolton's report on TheHill.com today, it would appear that this year's DISCLOSE Act (last year's was unsuccessful) is the basis for the discussions on how to manage the flood of outside money from wealthy individuals, corporations and labor unions.

Good-government advocates who worked with McCain in the 1990s and early 2000s had begun to think he’d given up on the issue. But McCain said Tuesday he could join Democrats once again to form a bipartisan coalition, even though it would annoy the Republican leadership.

“I’ve been having discussions with Sen. [Sheldon] Whitehouse [D-R.I.] and a couple others on the issue,” McCain told The Hill.
McCain said he wants to ensure the legislation is balanced to cover labor union activity as well as spending by corporations and rich individuals.
“I want it to be balanced and address the issue of union contributions as well as other outside contributions,” he said.
McCain said the legislation drafted by Democrats does not ensure regulatory parity between corporate and union activity.

Whitehouse reintroduced the DISCLOSE Act this past March and hearings were recently held.  The bill has 43 Democrats who co-sponsored it. 

Whitehouse said he is excited about the prospect of having McCain as an ally.
“He has a really remarkable record of courage and dedication in this area, so it’s a question of working to make sure the technical issues he wants to address and the technical issues that we want to address make a match and we can find something to agree on,” Whitehouse said. “We are beginning those discussions, but they’ve come to no conclusion yet, other than they are going forward amicably.”
A Democratic leadership aide said the bill is stalled without Republican support and said it might or might not reach the floor this year.
McCain’s support would boost its prospects immediately.
“That would change everything,” said the aide. “That would breathe new life into it.”

As discussed on Arizona's Politics most recently on March 30, McCain has been speaking out more and more about the coming scandal(s) that today's anything-goes environment will cause.  Now we know that he gave that interview to NPR at just about the same week that Sen. Whitehouse was filing the new bill and that discussions were likely taking place or about to take place.  (Once we get a better idea of the timeline, we will update.)

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

LISTEN, (sorta-)WATCH: Supreme Court Arguments On Arizona's SB1070 Illegal Immigration Enforcement Law

Cleaning up some odds and ends last night, I noticed that I had left a loose end by not posting the audio of the Supreme Court oral arguments from the Arizona v. United States SB1070 case last month.  Let's remedy that by putting up C-Span's version of it, matching the audio to pictures of the Justices and attorneys who are engaged at the moment.  (If it was Comedy Central or Craig Ferguson, they would no doubt make the pictures look like they are doing the talking, which would raise the entertainment bar even higher.)

Reading along with the audio is usually pretty helpful: here is a link to the Supreme Court's transcript of the argument.  (Arizona's Politics previously provided excerpts of the portions where Justice Anthony Kennedy was involved.)





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Monday, May 14, 2012

WATCH: New Ads From NRCC, Democratic SuperPAC Hammer Kelly, Barber; Dems Go Six Figures, NRCC Goes Small (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The national Democratic-affiliated SuperPACs and Republicans are pouring more money into southern Arizona this week, although the National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") only made a $10,500 ad buy.  The Democratic-affiliated group called the House Majority PAC spent that on production alone and spent and additional $108,000 (plus) on airtime.

We will do a Fact Check on both ads later, but here are the ads in order of their FEC filings.

First, the NRCC filed its notice on Friday, totalling $18,750.  As noted, the NRCC had already spent approximately $300,000 on this race (much of it pre-primary, attacking Barber while the Republican candidates were pummeling each other).



Next comes the House Majority PAC ad.  This SuperPAC is primarily funded by labor unions and wealthy investors (including the infamous George Soros), and is a newcomer to the Arizona CD8 race to replace retired Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  This PAC boasts that it spent $400,000 in a special election in New York, and it seems poised to do the same here.




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Thursday, May 10, 2012

WATCH: Asst AG Thomas Perez Comments On Suit Vs. Arpaio, MCSO, Maricopa County


Earlier, we posted the text of the opening statement from Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez, from his news conference this morning, announcing the filing of the lawsuit against Maricopa County, the Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  Here is video of the latter half of that statement (the video begins at the 16th paragraph, beginning with "A hallmark of our..."):

 

 

 

 

 

 

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READ: Links to Arpaio's Attempted Pre-Emptive, DOJ's Complaint

Knowing that the U.S. DOJ was about to file its lawsuit against Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the MCSO released its attempted pre-emptive document yesterday, entitled "Integrity, Accountability, Community".  The Sheriff wrote in it that it is necessary because "perception can be more powerful than fact":


"I do not tolerate racist attitudes or behaviors. We at the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office do not foster a “culture of cruelty.” But because perception can be more powerful than fact, I want to address these concerns openly and focus on community-based goals and procedures which affirm our commitment to the highest professional standards."
 The lawsuit was filed this morning.  Here is a link to it, as posted by the Department of Justice.  Here is a summary, as posted in the DOJ's news release.

We earlier posted the DOJ's opening comments at this morning's news conference.

The Sheriff has not yet posted a response to the filing of the lawsuit.


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READ: Assistant A.G.'s Comments Re: Arpaio Suit: Only 2nd Time Local Law Enforcement Hasn't Cooperated

The Department of Justice filed a complaint against the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office and Sheriff Joe Arpaio today, alleging unconstitutional law enforcement practices.  The Assistant A.G. who is leading the action for the Civil Rights Division, Thomas Perez, also alleged in his morning news conference, that it was only the second time that the local law enforcement agency has forced the DOJ to file a contested legal action instead of working out a settlement before litigation.

Here are the complete comments from Perez to open up the news conference:


Today, the Department of Justice did something it has done only once before in the 18-year history of our civil police reform work; we filed a contested lawsuit to stop discriminatory and unconstitutional law enforcement practices. In our police reform work, we have invariably been able to work collaboratively with law enforcement agencies to build better departments and safer communities. Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Arpaio have been a glaring exception. Attempts to forge solutions to address the serious civil rights and public safety concerns have proven elusive.

In June 2008, the Department of Justice began its initial inquiry into allegations that the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Joseph Arpaio were violating the constitutional rights of people in Maricopa County. In September 2010, following repeated unsuccessful efforts to obtain MCSO’s and Sheriff Arpaio’s voluntary compliance with its legal obligations to provide information in connection with our investigation, the department took the virtually unprecedented step of filing a lawsuit to force MCSO to comply. This lawsuit successfully caused MCSO to meet its legal obligations and it was settled in June 2011.

Six months later, in December 2011, the department issued its letter of findings detailing the results of our investigation. Our investigation found that there is reasonable cause to believe that MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio engage in: 1) a pattern or practice of discriminatory policing of Latinos, 2) discriminatory jail practices against Latino prisoners with limited English skills, and 3) a pattern or practice of unlawful retaliatory behavior against perceived critics of MCSO through baseless criminal charges, unfounded civil lawsuits and meritless administrative actions.

After we issued our findings letter, we tried to reach a negotiated settlement. The United States is not seeking, and has never sought, monetary damages or attorney’s fees in connection with our case, though Title VI authorizes the termination of federal funding. Rather, we sought, and continue to seek, to accomplish one important goal: to fix the problems identified in our investigation and ensure that the necessary policies, practices and oversight are in place so that MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio comply with the Constitution and laws of the United States.

We traveled to Phoenix in early February and met with lawyers for MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio as well as with the county attorney, where we discussed the parameters of a potential settlement. We made it clear, orally and in writing, that a settlement would require an independent monitor. Later that month, we gave MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio a 128-page draft settlement agreement, which we hoped would serve as the framework for further discussion. Unfortunately, these further discussions were brief, and negotiations broke down, primarily because MCSO and Sheriff Arpaio would not agree to any settlement that included an independent monitor.

A monitor, in general, and specifically in a case of this nature, is not a new requirement. Monitors have been critical components of our settlements in other police cases, from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh to Cincinnati, and they play an important role in ensuring that reforms are carried out in an effective, fair and sustainable fashion. Ronald Reagan was correct: trust but verify. Monitors do not usurp the function of sheriffs; in fact, there was a provision in the proposed agreement that stated, “The monitor shall not, and is not intended to, replace or assume the role or duties of the defendant, including the Sheriff.” Monitors work collaboratively with sheriffs’ offices, police departments, courts, communities and the Justice Department to provide necessary support and assistance to ensure that the problems are fixed in a sustainable fashion. Unfortunately, this provision was unacceptable to the Sheriff and MCSO and they ended negotiations.

Left with no choice, earlier today we filed a civil complaint in the United States District Court against Sheriff Arpaio, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and Maricopa County.
 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

How To Make People Wonder: Vernon Parker Touts Presidential Endorsement, Leaves Out Money Quote

The e-mail hit our inboxes  just before 2:00 this afternoon: "President George H. W. Bush Endorses Vernon" screamed the subject line and the headline.  The e-mail was in the form of a signed letter from Congressional candidate Vernon Parker, one of six currently vying for the Republican nomination in the new 9th District in Arizona.  Even though he worked for the President as a young man, the endorsement seemed a bit surprising.

The wording of Parker's letter - and the failure to attach the entire Bush letter - makes one wonder if the elder George Bush is actually endorsing Parker for the Congressional seat or just praising him.  Parker's letter can be found in its entirety at the bottom of this post (after the jump).

The only quote that Parker provides in the letter is "Vernon is a good man who served honorably in my Administration." Vernon is a leader who demonstrates conservative values, love for country, and commitment to excellence in all that he has done."  It certainly could have come from a simple courtesy job recommendation letter, especially since Parker's e-mail does not note when the President had written those words.

Arizona's Politics searched on the website for more details, searched on the internet for more details, and sent messages to the campaign for more details.  Finally, we located a post that indicates that a news release was apparently sent out - it is similarly worded but may have attached the April 13 Bush letter.  And, at the very bottom of the release, are the words that should have been included in Parker's letter to supporters and potential supporters:
"President Bush letter to Vernon Parker ended simply by saying:  “I encourage you to vote for Vernon Parker.” All the best, George Bush






Wednesday, May 2, 2012

DELUSIONS: Administrator For JT Ready's (Sheriff) Campaign Facebook Claims "Unconfirmed Reports...Cartel Assassination Squad" Responsible For Mass Killing In Gilbert

The horrible news this afternoon about the four-plus-shooter people - including a toddler - in Gilbert is too much for some white supremacists to believe, apparently.  The shooter has been identified as J.T. Ready, a well-known border militia figure, reputed neo-Nazi and candidate for Pinal County Sheriff.  Ready's campaign Facebook page featured this post at approximately 3:44pm:


Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered JT Ready and several of his friends and family this afternoon in Gilbert Arizona. This page's admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible.

The Facebook page features several other rants by either the Administrator or Ready, in addition to more normal campaign material.



We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

UPDATED FACT CHECK: Dems Go Old (2010) In Anti-Kelly Ad; Grade Raised After Citation Located


(UPDATE: 3:00pm, May 2:  Though the DCCC has not responded to call or e-mail, the Center on Budget Policy & Priorities did some further checking - thanks! - and found the report that the DCCC was likely citing.  This is the new (and, hopefully) improved Fact Check.  The previous version can be seen here.)

The DCCC ("Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee") released an ad yesterday attacking Jesse Kelly, the Republican nominee in the June special election to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  In it, they rehash three of the more controversial comments that Kelly made in his first bid for the office in 2009-2010.  Although Kelly's campaign says that his current positions on Social Security and Medicare are not fairly represented by his previous statements, the statements are accurate; the third claim is much hazier.

The ad can be seen in our previous post.  Here is the Arizona's Politics transcript of the ad:

(serious-sounding male announcer): "Is Jesse Kelly listening to you? Was Jesse Kelly listening to you when he said on Social Security: 'I'd love to eliminate the program.'  Jesse Kelly said he would work to eliminate Medicare over time.  Was he listening to you then?  How about when Jesse Kelly said at the same time he'd cut taxes in half for millionaires?  Is Jesse Kelly listening to you?  Just listen to Jesse Kelly.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertisement."
The Kelly quote and comment on Social Security and Medicare come from the same section of a printed version of an interview conducted by the Tucson Weekly's Jim Nintzel in December 2009.  Here is that section, with context (highlighting added):


(Kelly talking about where to cut government spending) ...And last but not least, we can’t forget entitlement spending. If we don’t start getting some entitlement reform in this country, we’re buried. Medicare and Social Security have a $104 trillion unfunded liability. People who are getting Medicare and Social Security right now have earned it, so that’s a big problem. They earned it. They worked their tails off their whole lives, so we can’t cut it right now. We’d better find ways to reform it and privatize it in the future. We simply don’t have the money. Social Security is about to bankrupt in 2017, Medicare in 2016, and those dates are getting closer because we’ve spent so much.
How do you go about reforming those?
That is the tough question. It starts with reforming our health-care system in this country, and not reforming it by offering a government option, which will just bankrupt the private sector. We need reform to offer individuals the same tax credits that we offer small businesses. When individuals can start owning their own insurance, then they’re in less need of Medicare in the future, thus getting off the public dole and staying on their own individual insurance. It’s one of the biggest problems that not enough people talk about right now. Individuals need to have the power of their own insurance. Otherwise, when you get fired, you do lose your insurance. Or you can’t leave jobs. I can’t leave my job today. My wife and son won’t have health insurance. It would be much better if we owned our own as a family. We need to give people the tax credits to incentivize them to purchase their own. Now there’s some of that out there, but it’s not near enough.
You could purchase your own insurance now, but it would cost a lot more money.That’s exactly right. You need to incentivize that with tax credits so families can do that because families simply can’t afford that. Individual insurance is expensive, very expensive. And that, in turn, in the future, will help save Medicare dollars because you won’t be on the public dole and you’re phasing that out.
You’d have people, as they retire, continue to purchase their own health insurance rather than get on Medicare.
Yes. We’re talking in the future here. There’s so much that needs to be done to ever get there, and you may never get there. Ronald Reagan—my favorite, probably not yours—said the closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program. That’s the problem with these. They only get bigger and you can’t ever get rid of them, especially now that people have earned them. People getting Social Security and Medicare checks have earned them. Now we have to pay it and we don’t have the money to pay it.
So you would look at eliminating the program over time. Not tomorrow, but eliminating it so there was no Medicare in the future and people would be responsible for taking care of their own health-care bills as they grew older.Yes. But to say you’re going to do that instantly would be disingenuous and not realistic and not fair to the people who have earned it.
Same sort of thing with Social Security? Work toward eliminating it?
If you have any ideas on that, I’m all ears. I would love to eliminate the program. I’d love to take steps to let people opt in and opt out of it. Privatize it. The trust fund, as you know, is bankrupt. It’s not there anymore.

When you say privatize, do you mean you’d still pay Social Security taxes but you’d have the option of paying some of it into a private account that could be invested into the stock market?
Yes. I do think that’s a good idea. Now people may say, “Some people don’t know how to invest their money in the stock market.” And that may be true. But we don’t know that the individual can or can’t invest their own money wisely. We know the government cannot. They’re bankrupted it. They’ve ruined it. They didn’t invest anything. They took our money and spent it and now they don’t have it to give it back. They didn’t invest it in anything. They blew it.

Kelly's spokesman John Ellinwood notes that those are not the candidate's current views, that Kelly supports "preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare."  So, even though the Medicare comment was an agreement by Kelly - the ad does not make it into a quote - both ad claims accurately reflect Kelly's opinions at that time.

The third claim about Kelly saying he would cut taxes in half for millionaires is much more problematic.  The ad makes two citations (on screen) for that claim: "KMSB, 8/26/10", and "CBPP, 7/07/10".  It was difficult to locate the materials referenced in those cites.*  It is possible that it is referring to a KMSB ("TucsonNewsNow") report updated on OCTOBER 26, 2010 about a debate between Giffords and Kelly (on the 18th).  In that debate, Giffords criticized Kelly for his support of the Fair Tax, which proposes a flat income tax and a tax on purchases.  Kelly said after the debate, "She's lying about that too, that's how I explain that. I believe in a ten percent, flat income tax with the elimination of the other taxes,"


It is more likely that the KMSB cite has Kelly supporting the budget roadmap that Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan had released before that.  Because the CBPP report focuses on that "Roadmap for America's Future," and notes that an analysis by the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center (TPC) found that "the Ryan plan would cut in half the taxes of the richest 1 percent of Americans — those with incomes exceeding $633,000 (in 2009 dollars) in 2014." 


The problem with using that claim is that it ignores the paragraph below, which discusses that the Ryan roadmap also included a consumption tax (read: sales tax).  It appears that the DCCC is likely hanging its ad hat on Kelly's comment that he believes in a flat income tax along "with the elimination of the other taxes".    


It is hard to dock the DCCC any points for the first two claims - it was less than two years ago, circumstances have not changed in such a way that would explain why Kelly is changing his positions, and the comments are accurately reported.

The third claim is a little slippier, but once the CBPP was able to find the report on the Ryan Roadmap (we had been searching for a flat tax analysis), the DCCC's path is more clear.  It is a slightly less relevant comment without any flat tax (or, Fair Tax) proposals currently being discussed in the public forum. (Kelly does mention on his website that he wants to reduce personal income, investment and business-ownership taxes, but he did not mention the flat/Fair tax.)  And, it is not entirely clear that Kelly really intended a flat tax to replace our current income tax without a replacement.  (

The ad does miss an "A" grade because it does not note that the candidate has changed his views since those statements were made.  (Who knows, a flip-flop ad may already be in the DCCC's hopper.)  And, it loses a couple of points for its apparently-shoddy citations and its interpretation - which may or may not be correct - of Kelly's comments.

Arizona's Politics grades this DCCC ad out at a "B".








* The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-partisan organization which analyzes tax policy issues, also could not locate a report or article that it was responsible for that fit the quote. (Updated on May 2, because the CBPP did locate the report.)

Analysis removed in the May 2 update follows:

It is extremely unlikely that Kelly specifically said he wanted to cut taxes in half for millionaires.  So, it would seem that the DCCC is taking his flat tax support and using some analysis to come up with the effect on millionaires' tax burden.  While the CBPP citation does not seem to pan out, Arizona's Politics searched for other analyses which might make that claim.  While almost all analyses agree that a flat tax would result in those with higher incomes paying less taxes than under the current system, the only one meeting the claim was from an article on the Citizens for Tax Justice site.  It claims that a family with an income of $500,000 would see a tax cut of 50% or more.  CTJ has been described by the New York Times as a "liberal research group."



A Wikipedia article on the distribution of the Fair Tax burden does not come up with any cutting in half analyses. The flat tax proposal that the CTJ analysis was looking at called for a flat rate of 17% (the Armey plan); Kelly had discussed a flat tax with a rate of 10%.  That would seem to favor the wealthy more than the earlier proposal.


. . .



So, the citation problems on the third claim do cause problems for Fact Checking and assigning a final grade.  Arizona's Politics left messages for the DCCC's communications department but has not yet heard back.  (We will update as necessary.)  And, smooshing together Kelly's support for a flat tax with some (possibly biased) analysis is misleading.  


We are going to apply "shoddy" and "misleading" labels to that third claim, and give the ad an overall grade of "C".  (That grade is subject to change if the DCCC can provide checkable citations that support the claim.)




We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

(old) FACT CHECK: Dems Go Old School In Anti-Kelly Ad, Can't Back Up Halving Millionaires' Taxes Claim


(UPDATE: 4:00pm, May 2:  Though the DCCC has not responded to call or e-mail, the Center on Budget Policy & Priorities did some further checking - thanks! - and found the report that the DCCC was likely citing.  The NEW Fact Check can be found here.)


The DCCC ("Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee") released an ad yesterday attacking Jesse Kelly, the Republican nominee in the June special election to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  In it, they rehash three of the more controversial comments that Kelly made in his first bid for the office in 2009-2010.  Although Kelly's campaign says that his current positions on Social Security and Medicare are not fairly represented by his previous statements, the statements are accurate; the third claim is much hazier.

The ad can be seen in our previous post.  Here is the Arizona's Politics transcript of the ad:

(serious-sounding male announcer): "Is Jesse Kelly listening to you? Was Jesse Kelly listening to you when he said on Social Security: 'I'd love to eliminate the program.'  Jesse Kelly said he would work to eliminate Medicare over time.  Was he listening to you then?  How about when Jesse Kelly said at the same time he'd cut taxes in half for millionaires?  Is Jesse Kelly listening to you?  Just listen to Jesse Kelly.  The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is responsible for the content of this advertisement."
The Kelly quote and comment on Social Security and Medicare come from the same section of a printed version of an interview conducted by the Tucson Weekly's Jim Nintzel in December 2009.  Here is that section, with context (highlighting added):


(Kelly talking about where to cut government spending) ...And last but not least, we can’t forget entitlement spending. If we don’t start getting some entitlement reform in this country, we’re buried. Medicare and Social Security have a $104 trillion unfunded liability. People who are getting Medicare and Social Security right now have earned it, so that’s a big problem. They earned it. They worked their tails off their whole lives, so we can’t cut it right now. We’d better find ways to reform it and privatize it in the future. We simply don’t have the money. Social Security is about to bankrupt in 2017, Medicare in 2016, and those dates are getting closer because we’ve spent so much.
How do you go about reforming those?
That is the tough question. It starts with reforming our health-care system in this country, and not reforming it by offering a government option, which will just bankrupt the private sector. We need reform to offer individuals the same tax credits that we offer small businesses. When individuals can start owning their own insurance, then they’re in less need of Medicare in the future, thus getting off the public dole and staying on their own individual insurance. It’s one of the biggest problems that not enough people talk about right now. Individuals need to have the power of their own insurance. Otherwise, when you get fired, you do lose your insurance. Or you can’t leave jobs. I can’t leave my job today. My wife and son won’t have health insurance. It would be much better if we owned our own as a family. We need to give people the tax credits to incentivize them to purchase their own. Now there’s some of that out there, but it’s not near enough.
You could purchase your own insurance now, but it would cost a lot more money.That’s exactly right. You need to incentivize that with tax credits so families can do that because families simply can’t afford that. Individual insurance is expensive, very expensive. And that, in turn, in the future, will help save Medicare dollars because you won’t be on the public dole and you’re phasing that out.
You’d have people, as they retire, continue to purchase their own health insurance rather than get on Medicare.
Yes. We’re talking in the future here. There’s so much that needs to be done to ever get there, and you may never get there. Ronald Reagan—my favorite, probably not yours—said the closest thing to eternal life on earth is a government program. That’s the problem with these. They only get bigger and you can’t ever get rid of them, especially now that people have earned them. People getting Social Security and Medicare checks have earned them. Now we have to pay it and we don’t have the money to pay it.
So you would look at eliminating the program over time. Not tomorrow, but eliminating it so there was no Medicare in the future and people would be responsible for taking care of their own health-care bills as they grew older.Yes. But to say you’re going to do that instantly would be disingenuous and not realistic and not fair to the people who have earned it.
Same sort of thing with Social Security? Work toward eliminating it?
If you have any ideas on that, I’m all ears. I would love to eliminate the program. I’d love to take steps to let people opt in and opt out of it. Privatize it. The trust fund, as you know, is bankrupt. It’s not there anymore.

When you say privatize, do you mean you’d still pay Social Security taxes but you’d have the option of paying some of it into a private account that could be invested into the stock market?
Yes. I do think that’s a good idea. Now people may say, “Some people don’t know how to invest their money in the stock market.” And that may be true. But we don’t know that the individual can or can’t invest their own money wisely. We know the government cannot. They’re bankrupted it. They’ve ruined it. They didn’t invest anything. They took our money and spent it and now they don’t have it to give it back. They didn’t invest it in anything. They blew it.

So, even though the Medicare comment was an agreement by Kelly - the ad does not make it into a quote - both ad claims accurately reflect Kelly's opinions at that time.

The third claim about Kelly saying he would cut taxes in half for millionaires is much more problematic.  The ad makes two citations (on screen) for that claim: "KMSB, 8/26/10", and "CBPP, 7/07/10".  Neither of those citations appear to be accurate.*  It is possible that it is referring to a KMSB ("TucsonNewsNow") report updated on OCTOBER 26, 2010 about a debate between Giffords and Kelly (on the 18th).  In that debate, Giffords criticized Kelly for his support of the Fair Tax, which proposes a flat income tax and a tax on purchases.  Kelly said after the debate, "She's lying about that too, that's how I explain that. I believe in a ten percent, flat income tax with the elimination of the other taxes,"


Kelly's spokesman John Ellinwood notes that those are not the candidate's current views, that Kelly supports "preserving, protecting and strengthening Social Security and Medicare"

It is extremely unlikely that Kelly said he wanted to cut taxes in half for millionaires.  So, it would seem that the DCCC is taking his flat tax support and using some analysis to come up with the effect on millionaires' tax burden.  While the CBPP citation does not seem to pan out, Arizona's Politics searched for other analyses which might make that claim.  While almost all analyses agree that a flat tax would result in those with higher incomes paying less taxes than under the current system, the only one meeting the claim was from an article on the Citizens for Tax Justice site.  It claims that a family with an income of $500,000 would see a tax cut of 50% or more.  CTJ has been described by the New York Times as a "liberal research group."


A Wikipedia article on the distribution of the Fair Tax burden does not come up with any cutting in half analyses. The flat tax proposal that the CTJ analysis was looking at called for a flat rate of 17% (the Armey plan); Kelly had discussed a flat tax with a rate of 10%.  That would seem to favor the wealthy more than the earlier proposal.


It is hard to dock the DCCC any points for the first two claims - it was less than two years ago, circumstances have not changed in such a way that would explain why Kelly is changing his positions, and the comments are accurately reported.


So, the citation problems on the third claim do cause problems for Fact Checking and assigning a final grade.  Arizona's Politics left messages for the DCCC's communications department but has not yet heard back.  (We will update as necessary.)  And, smooshing together Kelly's support for a flat tax with some (possibly biased) analysis is misleading.  


We are going to apply "shoddy" and "misleading" labels to that third claim, and give the ad an overall grade of "C".  (That grade is subject to change if the DCCC can provide checkable citations that support the claim.)


* The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities is a non-partisan organization which analyzes tax policy issues, also could not locate a report or article that it was responsible for that fit the quote.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

WATCH: National Democrats Spend $169K On Anti-Kelly Ad In Special Election To Replace Rep. Giffords (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

It is the national Democrats' turn to air drop money into the southern Arizona special election to replace retired Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-CD8).  Earlier, Arizona's Politics detailed independent expenditure campaigns from the Arizona GOP - which likely received the funds from the Beltway - and the National Republican Congressional Committee.  Those IE efforts have totaled approximately $421,000. Yesterday, the DCCC ("Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee") spent a comparatively piddling $169,000.

Here is the ad that is now showing on a TV screen near you (if you live in the Tucson market):


A Fact Check will follow.  The NRCC ad received an "F" grade yesterday.  (Triple F, actually, for "False with Freakin' Frequency.")


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.