FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, July 27, 2012

YEAH, WE'RE LAUGHING AT YOU, ARIZONA: Romney's Olympics Gaffe Prompts Poke At Utah Prompts Joke At Arizona (WATCH)

Even when Arizona elected officials are not getting the state in the national (or, international) news - hey, the Arpaio trial did not feature any blockbusters yesterday - our state manages to be (part of) the butt of a joke.

I had not noticed it before, but Politico posts a video in the morning of some of the political jokes from the previous night's TV shows.  A 30-second bit from the Colbert report (starts at the :30 mark, too) is what prompted me to re-post this - it has to do with presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney's remark about the London Olympics' "disconcerting" preparedness, which prompted Prime Minister David Cameron's retort about Romney's Salt Lake City Winter Olympics:



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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

WATCH, ARCHIVES: Fmr. AZ Rep. John Shadegg's Baby-Holding Healthcare-Opposing Speech On House Floor

In light of yesterday's CBO ("Congressional Budget Office") report on the effects of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision on Obamacare/Affordable Care Act, as well as its letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) about how much repealing the law would increase the budget deficit (and debt), here is a speech that lives on in people's memories from the Congressional debate.

In fact, former Arizona Rep. John Shadegg (R-retired) was featured on the Huffington Post's site yesterday, as the number one *video slide*(?) in the list of "Crazy Examples of Congressional Theatrics" (includes Democrats and Republicans).  While bouncing an infant up and down and rocking from side to side, Shadegg still managed to look at his notes and deliver his clever anti-healthcare reform mini-speech in the voice of the 7-month old Maddie.  It deserves another look:


Snippet:  "But most of all, Maddie says don't tax me to pay for healthcare that you guys want.  If you want healthcare, pay for it yourselves.  Because it's not fair to pass your healthcare bills on to me and my grandchildren."

Check out the comments after the applause for clever, dry quips from the guy controlling the gavel, and Democrat Henry Waxman (as the speaker who had to follow Shadegg).


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Monday, July 23, 2012

OMG! No, Gabrielle Giffords Did NOT Just Go Mountain Climbing In the Alps! But, Still! (PHOTO)

The headline startled me: "Gabrielle Giffords, Mark Kelly Scale The French Alps".  The photo took my breath away.  But, NO, she did not "scale" the peak.  The Reuters story makes it
 clear that she took a "two stage cable car" up to this Aiguille du Midi peak.  


Giffords accompanied her husband and several other astronauts on the trip, which was to commemorate "the 100th anniversary of the discovery of cosmic rays by Victor Hess in 1912. The event also marks the 14th month anniversary of the installation of the cosmic ray detector on the International Space Station (ISS) by the astronauts during the last mission of the space shuttle Endeavour, code-named STS-134, when they flew the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS) for the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) to the ISS."


So, she's not (yet) mountain climbing;  hopefully, it is a small indication that her efforts to
 recover from the would-be assassin's bullet has not yet *peaked*.
Even without climbing, that picture is something!





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Saturday, July 21, 2012

YEAH, WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU, ARIZONA: New York Times Applauds Those Who, "In Arpaio’s Arizona, They Fought Back"

In tomorrow's (Sunday's) New York Times, editorial writer Lawrence Downes singles out six Maricopa County residents (and five *honorable mentions*) who have "fought back" against Sheriff Joe Arpaio over the last few years.  The signed piece is titled "In Arpaio's Arizona, They Fought Back," and the online version includes professional portraits.

The list includes two elected officials, County Supervisor-and-bullet-in-Arpaio's-butt Mary Rose Wilcox (D) and State Senator-running-for-Congress Kyrsten Sinema (D).  Activists Lydia Guzman and Salvador Reza are recognized by the Times, as are videographer Dennis Gilman and ACLU-Arizona Legal Director Dan Pochoda.

With Sinema's inclusion and brief reasoning, Downes strayed a bit from those fighting Arpaio and those fighting SB1070 and other aspects of Arizona's running battles surrounding illegal immigration.  Downes tries to tie her in by claiming that SB1070 was "the state's radical, Arpaio-inspired immigration law.

The New York Times ran an editorial earlier in the week expressing their hope that Arpaio's feet are held to the fire in the civil rights trial that has begun and will continue with the Sheriff's testimony this coming week.

Sunday's plaudits - along with the honorable mention list - can be found below the jump.

BREAKING: Most Expensive Mailer In Arizona Political History? Club For Growth Spends Big (Again) For Jeff Flake (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

This would have been a very large media buy.  But, when Arizona's Politics pulled up the details on Club For Growth's new independent expenditure supporting Rep. Jeff Flake's (R-CD6) Senate run and saw that the $416,213.94 was for a mailer(s), it gained in significance.

Club for Growth's total raised and spent on behalf of Flake now tops $1.6 Million - including TV ads hammering primary foe Wil Cardon, amounts donated by CFG members to Flake through the Club's conduit, and more - and is likely to go much higher as new reports come in shortly.

The mailer was likely sent to Arizona Republicans and independents (who can vote in either August 28 primary).  This assumption is made because the Club for Growth paid local political consultant Chris Baker (Blue Point, LLC) to send out the mailers, instead of their national mailing vendors.

Even with a nice multi-colored, fancy piece, and even with postage going up each year, that is a LOT of pieces of mail.

(If you receive one of these mailers, please provide Arizona's Politics with a copy, at the e-mail address listed at the top of this page.)



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WATCH: New Super PAC Supporting Matt Salmon; Largest Contributor To "National Horizon" Prominent Washington Lobbyist/Former White House Counsel; Ad Attacks Adams For Breaking No-Tax Increase Pledge (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

A new, Arizona-focused super PAC is entering the GOP primary battle for CD5, running an ad attacking Kirk Adams for breaking his no tax increase pledge.  The super PAC supporting Matt Salmon has raised more than $250,000 and received its largest contribution from prominent Washington lobbyist and conservative activist C. Boyden Gray.

Here is the ad which super PAC National Horizon is beginning to run in the Phoenix area. They paid $8,835 to produce the ad and have made a $19,995 media purchase:


Although Arizona's Politics will follow up with a Fact Check of the ad later, we will briefly note that it compares/contrasts former Arizona House Speaker Adams' alleged breach of his Americans for Tax Reform Pledge with former Rep. Salmon's alleged keeping his pledge to only serve three terms in the House.

National Horizon was formed in April with about $40,000 in seed money from six Arizonans.  It kicked up the fundraising efforts in June, capping the month off with a $50,000 contribution from C. Boyden Gray.

Gray is a former White House Counsel (under George H.W. Bush), and is a prominent Washington player/lobbyist who contributes heavily to Republican candidates and causes - this election cycle, he contributed $50,000 to the Jon Huntsman-supporting super PAC and followed up with an equal donation to the Mitt Romney-supporting super PAC.  This Salmon super PAC is the first non-presidential candidate to receive a $50,000 contribution from Gray, though he has sent more than $270,000 to GOP causes and candidates this year.  Gray is also the co-Chairman of the prominent Tea Party organization Freedom Works. (This is not Gray's first foray into Arizona's congressional races; last election cycle, Gray hosted a Washington fundraiser for then-candidate/now-Rep. Ben Quayle.)


Other major contributors to National Horizon are (all Arizona-based, unless otherwise noted): Plastic Products, Inc. (Lisa and Ed Parker, $25,000), Jerry Hayden (IL, $25,000), Patricia Herbold (WA, $20,000), Gregory Winn ($20,000), and Robert and Annette Schwab ($12,500).




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Friday, July 20, 2012

WATCH, READ, REACTION: Tucson Reactions To Aurora Massacre

(Updated, 7/23/12, noting that no video of CNN's Morgan/Barber interview is available, but adding the transcript.)

Tucson's two Congressmen both handled today's massacre in Aurora, Colorado with class.  The first e-mail to hit my inbox was from Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD8).  Not surprisingly, his statement did not even mention that he was shot last year in the assasination attempt/massacre in Tucson.  The text of his statement is below the jump.

Longtime Tucson Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) also e-mailed a statement, and he did not explicitly raise the Tucson shooting (in which six people died and 13 others hit by bullets).  His statement is also below the jump.

Both Barber and Gabrielle Giffords' husband, Cmdr. Mark Kelly, were interviewed tonight on CNN.  Barber clearly expressed his emotional response, and also gently told CNN host Piers Morgan that tonight was not the proper time to be discussing gun control - as Morgan was unabashedly intent on doing.  Morgan did not argue with Barber, as he had earlier argued with a guest:.

Morgan had asked Barber whether he thought there would be anything passed in Congress.  Barber did not take the expected tack, instead noting that there will not be substantive policy decisions between now and November.  (CNN has not released the video of the interview, but the transcript is below the jump.)


Kelly also beautifully expressed his emotions and urged the Denver community to come together to help each other get through this:




Thursday, July 19, 2012

READ: Dr. Seuss/Mr. Bryan Finishes Healthcare Speech For Dr. Seuss Gosar

Sometimes, we are a little slow here at Arizona's Politics, or something noteworthy flies under our radar.  This story is a little of both.

Last week, we transcribed and posted Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-CD1) House floor speech urging repeal of Obamacare/Affordable Care Act.  Dr. Gosar decided to channel the late Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) to get people's attention.  We noted that Geisel/Seuss would not likely rhyme in favor of repeal, and knew then that it was practically begging for a pro-healthcare reform advocate to rebut.

Blog for Arizona's Michael Bryan was up to the challenge, citing our transcription and adding rhymes that better-comported with the good doctor's (Seusses', that is) political views.  Here they are:


I will NOT try Obamacare, Sam I am.
I do not like it like it now or then,
I'm going to repeal it, yet again!
You do not like kids getting care?
You do not want to make insurance fair?
You want not to cover conditions which pre-exist?
You wish to allow a no-coverage list?
You hate the mandate, or so I hears,
But you were FOR it for twenty years!
So repeal it all, root and branch you say today,
But to millions now covered what would you say?
You were given care yesterday, but not today!?
Ask you friend, Romney, called Mitt.
Before he was against it, he was all for it.
Try it! Try it!
And like it again you may.
Try it now, and you may, I say.

Very nicely done.  And, if Geisel's estate was to threaten to sue anyone in this back-and-forth, I think we all know who it would be... legislative immunity be damned!


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WATCH: Grijalva Calls For End To War In Afghanistan: "Cost To Our Future Is Too Enormous"

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) took to the House floor yesterday calling for a "responsible" conclusion to U.S. military action in Afghanistan.  He noted that it is costing our country "the ability to recover and prosper." 


Grijalva, who is also the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, concluded his speech thusly: "Be responsible, but end it. The cost to America, the cost to our future is too enormous to continue on the path we're on.  A path that has no end."


  

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WATCH: Flake Passes Amendment To Clamp Down On Earmark For $17,000 Drip Pans

Yesterday, Arizona Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6-running-for-Senate) successfully added an amendment to the Defense Department's appropriations bill that would require competitive bidding on the infamous Blackhawk leakproof drip pans.  The $17,000 per drip pans were brought to the public's attention in May through a New York Times article about the 2009 earmark added by Kentucky Congressman Harold Rogers (R-KY), and ironically benefiting a company called Phoenix Products.

Flake's amendment requires competitive bidding for the drip pans should the military order more.



The House is continuing its process of amending and debating the Defense Department appropriations bill today.



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WATCH, READ: McCain's Floor Speech Defending Abedin Against Franks' Attacks: "They Need To Stop Now"

As has been well-documented, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) came strongly to the defense of Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.  Abedin came under attack by Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) and four other Congresspeople, including Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), when they wrote a letter alleging that Abedin and family members have connections with the Muslim Brotherhood and are influencing U.S. policies.

McCain delivered a blistering seven-minute denouncement of the letter-writers:  "These attacks have no logic, no basis, and no merit.  And, they need to stop.  They need to stop now."  Another quote:  "When anyone - not least a member of Congress - launches specious and degrading attacks against fellow Americans on the basis of nothing more than fear of who they are, ignorance of what they stand for, it defames the spirit of our nation and we all grow poorer because of it."




The text of McCain's remarks is below the jump.  Here is a copy of the letter.  McCain's strong speech has prompted a flurry of reaction, including a repudiation by House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH).  (Although the cited article highlights a "condemnation" by Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rubio was on NPR earlier today and repeatedly declined to condemn the letter-writers, simply saying he would not have made such allegations.)

(UPDATE: Intended to, but forgot to add the context of McCain and Franks being on opposite sides of the GOP primary battle between Rep. Jeff Flake and Wil Cardon to attempt to replace Sen. Jon Kyl.)


WATCH: Quayle Says Obama's Administration "Completely and Totally Destroys the Constitutional Framework Of Our Country"

Arizona Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) had five minutes yesterday to question former Arizona Governor and current Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.  He stated that the Administration's prosecutorial discretion when it comes to immigration laws "completely and totally destroys the constitutional framework of our country of separate but co-equal branches of government."

Quayle did not give Napolitano a chance to respond because he was nearly out of his allotted five minutes, but Napolitano had noted that discretion has always needed to be exercised because no U.S. Attorney is able to enforce every violation of every federal law.




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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

FOLLOWING (lack of) MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Arizona Makes *Big* Time As U.S. Chamber of Commerce Targets Senate Races In Small Western States

The mighty U.S. Chamber of Commerce released some of its big dogs today, spending more than $1.25 Million in U.S. Senate races in five smaller Western states;  Arizona is not one of them.*  (Arizona's Politics is counting the nearly $100,000 spent late last month supporting Utah's Sen. Orrin Hatch.)

The five states are Nevada, Hawaii, New Mexico, North Dakota and Utah (three border Arizona).  In Nevada alone, the U.S. CoC dropped $489,500 supporting Sen. Dean Heller.  All the money is either listed as supporting the Republican candidate or opposing the Democratic candidate.

The large ad buys are especially significant in these states with smaller television markets, as it is much easier to saturate coverage.

The U.S. CoC's FEC reports were filed the same day that the Senate was discussing - during the filibuster - the DISCLOSE Act.  The U.S. CoC is one of the largest spenders to not disclose all of its members or donors, and many of its members are foreign businesses.

*Arizona IS larger than their neighbors listed here; however, the reason the U.S. CoC did not spend any money in Arizona yet is that there is a hotly-disputed GOP primary battle still going on.


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FACT CHECK: David Schweikert: You Said "He Said What?" Graded: "F+"

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD5-running-for-CD6) had a major debate with primary opponent Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3-running-for-CD6) last night, but his campaign office decided to send out a fundraising plea/e-mail today focused on the latest talking point from the Romney Campaign/NRCC ("National Republican Congressional Committee).  The only problem: it requires creative editing, and is therefore false.

President Barack Obama (D) spoke at a campaign rally for 42 minutes in Virginia on Friday.  Near the end, he was talking about not extending tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.  He riffed on the ways that the U.S. government has helped build the American economy into the world's largest, and how that helps Americans to succeed in our private business endeavors.  Here are the three key paragraphs (transcript provided by White House):


There are a lot of wealthy, successful Americans who agree with me -- because they want to give something back.  They know they didn’t -- look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own.  You didn’t get there on your own.  I’m always struck by people who think, well, it must be because I was just so smart.  There are a lot of smart people out there.  It must be because I worked harder than everybody else.  Let me tell you something -- there are a whole bunch of hardworking people out there.  (Applause.)
     If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help.  There was a great teacher somewhere in your life.  Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive.  Somebody invested in roads and bridges.  If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen.  The Internet didn’t get invented on its own.  Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet.
     The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.  There are some things, just like fighting fires, we don’t do on our own.  I mean, imagine if everybody had their own fire service.  That would be a hard way to organize fighting fires. 

The Romney campaign (Mitt, presumptive GOP nominee) began today to focus on these two sentences: " If you’ve got a business -- you didn’t build that.  Somebody else made that happen."  The NRCC and numerous others took up the charge - the former even starting a clever hashtag for it ("#YouDidntBuildThat")  


Unfortunately, Schweikert became the first elected official in Arizona (that we know of) to grab on to it.  With an e-mail subject line ironically asking "He Said What?!", Schweikert - it is over his signature, even though he likely did not write it - edits the quote to eliminate the first four sentences of the 2nd paragraph that make Obama's meaning in the next two sentences clear.  (The full text of the e-mail is below the jump.)


Schweikert then touts his commitment to help stop Obama - .  (Both Schweikert and Quayle are attempting to portray themselves as fighting Obama rather than each other.)


Besides the incorrect set-up - Obama made the statement on Friday, not yesterday - the selective editing is the essence of misleading the reader and making the communication false.  


Schweikert receives an "F+" for his deliberately deceptive edit.  The ironic subject line "He Said What?!" is just the extra little kick that prompted us to give him a "+".

WATCH, READ: Sens. McCain, Whitehouse Spar On DISCLOSE Act; McCain Says It Would Give Unions Upper Hand

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) took to the floor today to explain his opposition to the newest version of the DISCLOSE Act (" ").  McCain cited a new report from the Wall Street Journal as the main basis for his  conclusion that unions are favorably treated in the bill even though the restrictions apply to both unions and corporate-affiliated organizations.

With McCain's opposition, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) was unable to get any Republicans to support the Act, and the GOP has successfully filibustered it.  The vote yesterday to proceed to an up or down vote on the bill failed 51-44, with no Republicans joining colleagues across the aisle to reach the needed 60 votes.

McCain said the bill allows organized labor "to fly below the Federal Election Commission's regulatory radar."  As support, he noted that "unions spend millions of dollars yearly paying teams of political hands to contact members, educating them about election issues and trying to make sure they vote for union-endorsed candidates."  The WSJ analysis added those millions and other monies spent buying bratwursts for members, etc., and determined that unions are a strong counterweight against super PACs. 

Whitehouse then praised McCain's history on the issue of campaign finance reform, but disputed today's position.  Whitehouse notes that former Republican Senators found the current bill's version is fair on its face (McCain also stated that), that he had adjusted the disclosure triggers upward to answer complaints by the National Rifle Association (McCain stated it was to benefit the unions), and that neither McCain nor other Republicans had proposed any amendments.


As noted in May, McCain had been meeting with Whitehouse on trying to come up with a bill that he (and, presumably, other Republicans) could support.  At the time, he told The Hill that "I want it to be balanced and address the issue of union contributions as well as other outside contributions."


Arizona's Politics live-Tweeted McCain's speech this morning, and then - after the Senator Tweeted that he had posted the text of the speech - Tweeted a series of questions to McCain:
1) So, were previous reports on your meetings w/ Sen Whitehouse incorrect, or did discussions just break down over unions?
2)  Were you still in Chamber when Sen Whitehouse complimented you afterwards, and talked about compromises made?
3) Any new talks w/ Sen Whitehouse today about revisions, or is it done for the year?
4) Finally, any comment on news re: Cardon family bankrolling Super PAC attacking Rep. Flake? 

The Senator has not yet addressed those questions, but we will update when he does.

Transcript of McCain's Speech, provided by the Senator's office, is below the jump:

Monday, July 16, 2012

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLIITICS: Rep. Trent Franks Hosting D.C. Fundraiser For Senate Candidate Wil Cardon

Republican candidate for U.S. Senate Wil Cardon will be the beneficiary of a Washington, D.C. fundraiser hosted by Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD2) next week.

Roll Call is reporting the July 24 shindig.  It also notes that GOP front-runner Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) just picked up the key Arizona Congressional endorsements of Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl (whose retirement is prompting this primary battle), and that the other GOP members of the Arizona delegation (Schweikert, Quayle, Gosar) have not endorsed.

Cardon is largely self-financed, and is also the beneficiary of a super PAC funded by family member Patrick Cardon.

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YEAH, WE'RE LOOKIN AT YOU, ARIZONA: New York Times Editorializes On "Sheriff Joe On Trial"

The New York Times ran an editorial about this week's class-action civil rights suit against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  It ran in today's paper, as well as online.

Surrounding the minor slip-up of bemoaning the abuses going on "on the streets of Maricopa", the NYT's editorialists create a laundry list of what they see as his "outrages."  They conclude with a rather weak warning:

"Sheriff Arpaio is facing the voters for a sixth term this fall. He has long insisted that he answers to no one but the county’s residents, who keep re-electing him. If voters won’t put an end to his abuses, the courts and the Constitution will have the final word."

The entire editorial is re-posted beneath the jump:

BREAKING: Cardon and Wal-Mart Families Join Together To Fund Super-PAC Attacking Flake (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(Note: The video below may appear with an error message.  If you click the "play" icon behind the error message, the video will play.)

Adding a new twist to the new history of Super-PAC's, Arizona's Politics is reporting that a new Super-PAC dedicated to attacking Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6-running-for-Senate) is predominantly funded  by Wil Cardon's family, with an additional sizable contribution from one of Wal-Mart's Walton family.

Family member Patrick Cardon contributed $100,000 on April 4, 2012, to a brand new Super-PAC dedicated to attacking Flake for his perceived vote against the Keystone XL Pipeline.  The "Secure Arizona PAC" began running a television ad on the subject within the last couple of weeks.

The Super-PAC's quarterly report was filed on Friday (made public today), and it shows that it is ready to run that advertisement a lot more times in the weeks to come.  Counting the Cardon contribution, the $10,000 (S. Robson) Walton contribution, $25,000 from Texas investments manager Christopher Wallis, and $10,000 from well-known Phoenix attorney Leo Beus, the PAC has raised more than  $145,000 to get its message out.

Federal election law restricts family members from contributing more than $2,500 to their relative/candidate.  However, bankrolling a SuperPAC with an unlimited amount of money is a new way around that restriction, and one that has not appeared to have been addressed elsewhere.  (Update: Earlier today, the Center for Responsive Politics published on their blog two other instances where family members are using super PACs as an outlet for their money.)  Making things even more interesting is that Wil and Patrick both make their money from the same family business, The Cardon Group.

Also interestingly, the Super PAC does not list occupations or employers for ANY of the four high-profile contributors. (Cardon's name is also misspelled.)  This would appear to show a lack of minimal effort to properly disclose the required information. (The nominal founder of the PAC, Missouri attorney James Thomas, gave $100 in March to start the bank account.)

Beyond the $17,500 already spent on the television ad (below), the committee has spent more than $55,000 on surveying/analysis/research.




                                   





Many more questions are raised by both the advertisement and the report.  Arizona's Politics is seeking further answers and will update as needed.

The text of a news release from Secure Arizona PAC is posted below the jump:

WATCH: Sen. Kyl Says Obama Is "Fibbing" Re: Bain, Says GDP Was Better When Obama Extended Tax Cuts

Retiring Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) was on NBC's Meet the Press opposite Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) yesterday.  They addressed the dispute about presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tenure at Bain Capital, and then debated whether or not to extend tax cuts to upper income earners.

Key quotes from Kyl, with the full transcript below the jump:

 "If you look at the fact checkers, I look at The Washington Post. They say Obama is blowing smoke. They give him three Pinocchios. In other words, he-- he is fibbing. He’s misrepresenting the facts about Bain Capital. I think the important point that people are missing here is the final point that Ed Gillespie made. And that is that the reason that businesses find that they have to find employees in other states or even sometimes in other countries to do their work is that this administration is making it so hard to do business in the United States, and be competitive that they’ve got to do that."
Kyl went on to let Gregory get him off track by trying to analogize with the Olympics.  Gregory ran with Kyl's Olympics comment and turned it into a question about the USOC's uniforms being made in China.  Clever, and it took Kyl off message.

Regarding taxes, Kyl made a comment that I believe is questionable:

Well I’m-- I’m believing that Republicans, first of all, are gain-- will gain control of the Senate. That means that both the House and the Senate will reject these kinds of job-killing tax increases that the president’s proposing. I think that will make it more difficult for the President to propose what he is doing now, and go back to where he was a year and a half ago when he said it would be a blow to the economy to increase taxes on anyone. He was right then, and then we had a three percent GDP growth. Now we’re under two percent.
Is he saying that the rate of our GDP growth went down because of the extension of the tax cuts? Because of the possibility that they might not get extended?  Either way, it does not make sense to me.




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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Do You Bleed Red? Do You Bleed For Your Congressman? SURE, YOU DO!

Rep. David Schweikert's (R-CD5-running-for-CD6) Congressional office in Scottsdale is hosting a blood drive at the end of this month.  Congressional offices have long been sites for constituent services, but Schweikert's office has also been a site for community services.

The news release steers clear of any of the obvious joke-y lines that Arizona's Politics cannot resist.  (They even could have made it partisan and made some crack about the other party bleeding you in other ways.)  The release is re-posted here below the jump.

Schweikert's office recently sent out a news release detailing its food and school supplies drives, and Arizona's Politics notes that these efforts have not been limited to an election year - they are to be commended.

And, as part of our efforts at investigative reporting, Arizona's Politics checked to see if the Congressional office was receiving any incentives for hosting the blood drive (and, if so, what they intended to do with them).  While United Blood Services does publicize that it rewards blood drive hosts, the Red Cross apparently (per its website) does not incentify hosts.

So, no matter your political persuasion, go donate a pint.  If you do not do so at Schweikert office drive, do it elsewhere.  (Unfortunately, I will still be in my 8-week waiting period in between donations.)

FULL DISCLOSURE: I bleed red and blue, both in my journalistic efforts to be non-partisan... and in my collegiate athletic support.  To be even more "non-partisan", I have also worn a maroon/gold cap/gown.

UPDATE: Cong. Cand. Vernon Parker No Longer To "Defend Sheriff Joe"; Still Needs To File Delinquent Reports

On Tuesday, Arizona's Politics reported on Congressional Candidate Vernon Parker's failure to file at least four disclosure reports with the IRS, detailing contributions to and expenditures by his "Defend Sheriff Joe" political organization; on Wednesday, DSJ filed a termination report with the IRS.  The delinquent filings were not concurrently filed.  Parker - the former Mayor of Paradise Valley - is running for Republican nomination for the open Congressional seat in CD9.

Yesterday's report back-dated the termination date to January 19, 2012.  As Defend Sheriff Joe raised money for the 2012 election cycle - sending out fundraising e-mails at least through August 17, 2011, posting on Twitter through September 2, 2011, and maintaining a funds-seeking website through today - the two reports last year and the 1st quarter 2012 report (through the Jan. 19 termination) are still required to be filed, and are still delinquent.

Neither Treasurer Kelly Lawler nor Chairman Vernon Parker have responded to Arizona's Politics' requests for information; director Gary Bae no longer works at Nathan Sproul's Lincoln Strategy Group, and no effort was made to contact him/Lincoln.  (Ms. Lawler was reached by telephone on Tuesday, and she promised to call back after checking her files.  She did mention the other Arpaio-related effort she is involved in, and we did publish a report on JoePAC.)

Parker's last fundraising e-mail for Defend Sheriff Joe (received by Arizona's Politics) on August 17, 2011, elucidated the organization's three goals for 2012: "First, ensure Sheriff Joe is reelected. Second, ensure Barack Obama is a one-term president. Third, return a Republican majority to the U.S. Senate."  Based on the fundraising prowess displayed by DSJ earlier, some people responded to those goals with online contributions and checks; they still need to be disclosed.




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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FROM POLITICO: Rep. Flake's DREAM Act-related Answer Missing From Centrist GOP Video (WATCH)

(UPDATED to add info from Ripon Society's site)
(2nd UPDATE, 6:14pm: Info re: YouTube editing comments. As posted on Politico and confirmed by Arizona's Politics.)

Expect to hear more about this in the contentious Flake-Cardon primary battle.  This blog post just hit the front page of Politico.com: "Flake answer missing from video".


Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) was part of a panel discussion at the Ripon Society, a GOP organization that is said to espouse centrist positions.  At the 18 minute mark, he appears to be about to answer a question about how President Obama's no-deportation-of-DREAMers policy was playing in Arizona; however, the video appears to perfectly edit out his answer - he is seen handing the microphone to another panelist.


Here's the video posted by the Ripon Society:





The questions will be, of course, whether the Society edited it* and whether it was by request.  


The piece posted by the Ripon Society on their website after the forum lends a little support to the appearance that it is an intentional edit: it notes the responses to the immigration-related question from the other three panelists; at these types of forums, it is unusual for one panelist to not say a word on a question.


Politico's blogger posted an update this afternoon, with conclusive evidence that the video was purposefully edited by the Ripon Society (or, with their permission).  We confirmed the information: YouTube notes that the video posted above was "Created using YouTube Video Editor", that the "source video" was also posted by the Ripon Society, that the source video is "private" and was 1:15 longer than the currently-available video.


The questions are now whether the edit was by request (Flake, his Congressional office, his campaign), and what the answer was.


* original language, it is now obvious that it was edited

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WATCH: Rep. Ron Barber On Floor This A.M. Opposing Repeal Of Affordable Care Act (UPDATED w/ Transcript)

(UPDATED with transcript, provided by Barber's office - thanks)

Here is video of new Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD8) speaking on the House floor this morning.  He plans to vote against the repeal of the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare today, and called the vote a "charade".  He also ticked off several things that should be improved, including ensuring Medicare pays the same for prescription drugs as the VA.



Here's the transcript of the speech (from Barber's office - thanks, Mark!) and the news release from his office, below the jump:

Former Goldwater Institute Chair Derides Fmr Executive Director Jeff Flake, Endorses Cardon

Amid the constant stream of e-mails we receive from candidates came one this morning that caught our attention.  It was the "from" line, noting that Tracy Thomas is a former Chair of the Goldwater Institute, combined with the "subject" line ("3 Reasons To Support Wil Cardon"), that did it.

Of course, before Rep. Jeff Flake (R-CD6) was elected to the House, he was the Executive Director of the Goldwater Institute.  Now, Flake is running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Jon Kyl, and former supporter Wil Cardon is going all out to defeat him in the Republican primary.

The full-throated endorsement by Thomas carries heft precisely because of his knowledge of Flake, and he begins and ends by focusing on Flake.  "Jeff is a good man, but I cannot vote for him."  And, his penultimate paragraph gets to the heart of his message:


"Congressman Flake’s main focus during his six terms in Congress has been on opening trade and tourism with Cuba and ending earmarks, both of which have been unsuccessful. He hasn’t passed any mentionable Arizona-focused legislation, and he is a vehement opponent of securing our borders." 
Book-ending that paragraph, Thomas appears to contradict himself in his efforts to extol Cardon.  First, he claims that "Wil has demonstrated his focus will be to pass Arizona-centric legislation," and that he will "always put Arizona first."  He closes by saying that Cardon will "truly lead our country back to economic prosperity."  


The entire endorsement e-mail is below the jump.

WATCH: Rep. Quayle On House Floor, Obamacare "Trojan Horse" Attacking Freedom

Rep. Ben Quayle (R-CD3) used his one-minute House floor speech yesterday to urge his colleagues to  undo that which the Supreme Court upheld, and that there is "no greater calling, no higher honor" than to protect the people from the "tyranny of government over-reach".



(I have requested a transcript and will post it when available.)

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WATCH, READ: Rep. Dr. Seuss Gosar On House Floor Talking About Repealing "Obamacare Sham"

Rep.-Dr. Paul Gosar (R-CD1) took to the House floor yesterday to support the repeal of Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act).  He made his 40-second speech in the format that the late Theodor Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) might have used had he been in Congress and radically revised his political views*.


Here is the transcript, as written up by Arizona's Politics (apologies if formatting doesn't match the stylings of Drs. Seuss or Gosar):
Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of the resolution, 6079.  The Court said Congress can impose new taxes and the individual mandate is constitutional as a tax.  And, as Dr. Seuss would rhyme: 
If it walks like a tax, talks like a tax and quacks like a tax,
the Supreme Court will tell us surely it is a tax. 
And so it did.
Maybe we can serve it with green eggs and ham.
Uncle Sam, I still don't think Americans will like this Obamacare sham.
Uncle Sam, loyal to patient-centered choice I am.
And as the ledgers on exploding costs are already showing this and the courts declare that day,
A tax burden is what Obamacare (is), and Americans remain in dismay.

* Here's an amusing anecdote about Mr. Geisel/Dr. Seuss:
Ron Lamothe: Geisel moved to La Jolla in 1948-49, following the years during and immediately after WWII when he lived and worked in Hollywood. La Jolla did not change Dr. Seuss. In fact, there's a story that's told that when he first went to register to vote in La Jolla some Republican friends called him over to where they were registering voters, but Ted said, "You my friends are over there, but I am going over here [to the Democratic registration]." And that's how, I've been told, he became "the first designated Democrat in La Jolla."




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WATCH, READ: Rep. Grijalva Speech Re: Repeal Of Obamacare Vote

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD7) gave a 90-second speech on the House floor yesterday before the party-line vote (240-182, 4 Dems voted aye) to proceed to a vote to repeal Obamacare (aka Affordable Care Act).  Grijalva focused on how the repeal would affect American Indians.



This transcript was provided by the Congressman's office; it is as written and Grijalva did add/change a bit:


“The middle class and men and women looking for work in this country are asking, ‘Where are the jobs?’ The Republican majority in the House will be responding, once again, by voting to take away health coverage for struggling Americans. “Instead of bringing a jobs bill up, or a fair taxation bill up, we will be taking away health care from a very significant and important group of Americans: the first Americans, American Indians. By upholding health care reform, the Supreme Court decision affirmed that the permanent reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement act has been affirmed. The Affordable Care Act permanently authorizes daily health care delivery to nearly two million American Indians and Alaska Natives who are in critical need of improved health care and services to their communities. There will be critical updates, modernizations, expanded cancer screenings, long-term care, hospice care, and care for the elderly and the disabled. “The passage of health care reform represented a fourteen-year struggle by tribal leaders to make permanent a legislative commitment by the federal government that had not been upheld. It is wrong for Republicans to take this promise away from Indian country and the first Americans. Americans want a jobs plan, not their health care taken away.”



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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Personal PAC Takes Off After Slow Start; Brings In $137,000, Donates $7,000

Sheriff Joe Arpaio's personal PAC to support federal candidates who he likes has raised a lot of money in the past few months, but he has sent very little on to Congressional candidates.  One of the three recipients of his largesse is former Rep. Matt Salmon, who is looking to return to Washington when the new Congress convenes next January.

Arpaio announced his "JoePAC" in September 2011.  His year-end report showed that only $20,139 had been raised, and Chairman Chad Willems defended the slow start as a "matter, frankly of timing."

It was just about the time of that article that fundraising started to take off.  In the first quarter of 2012, the federal PAC's receipts came in at a hair under $100,000 ($99,788.96), although contributions tailed off in April and May.

The total received through May 31, 2012 is now $137,359.53.  That pales in comparison to Arpaio's actual re-election campaign coffers (over $1 million raised this year with $4.1M on hand), but definitely shows his priorities.

For all of those receipts, Arpaio has done little spreading the cash around to Congressional candidates he wants to support.  He has $39,720.32 cash on hand (as of May 31) and has spent approximately $90,000 on fundraising and administrative expenses (approx. 65% of amount raised).

JoePAC has contributed $7,000 to three Congressional candidates.  The largest contribution of $2,500 was given (March 23) to new friend Matt Salmon's campaign to win the CD5 seat.  He eventually matched that amount to Philip Liberatore, a candidate for the House from California.  The other $2,000 was contributed to Jim Pendergraph, a House candidate in North Carolina.

***
SIDEBAR STORIES:

1) ARPAIO'S JoePAC EASILY CONFUSED WITH OTHER JOE'S:
When Arpaio and his team decided to file "JoePAC" as the official name of his effort to support candidates for Congress, a thorough name search must not have yet been done.  There was already a "leadership PAC" in place by Rep. Joe Crowley titled the "Jobs, Opportunity and Education PAC" with a website www.JoePAC.com.  He is a Democrat, even.  There was a "JOEPAC" affiliated with Rep. Joe Pitts from Pennsylvania - at least he's a Republican.  Arpaio's PAC's website was forced to go with an address of www.sheriffjoepac.com.  This has made for confusion among sites trying to track contributions/expenditures, even reaching the oft-cited Center for Responsive Politics.  (LATER: There is also a "JOEPAC" for Rep. Joe Hoefel (D-PA), where the clever acronym is "Join Our Efforts".)

2)  JoePAC CHAIRMAN CHAD WILLEMS WORKS BOTH SIDES OF THE FENCE:
As noted earlier, JoePAC donated $2,500 to Matt Salmon's campaign on March 23.  Summit Consulting's President is Chad Willems.  Mr. Willems is the Chairman of JoePAC (referenced earlier).  Summit Consulting is also working for/receiving money from the Matt Salmon campaign. In the first quarter of 2012, Summit received $3,000 from the Salmon campaign for consulting work; JoePAC and Willems made contributions to the Salmon campaign totalling $3,000 on March 23.  (The matching amounts are probably simply coincidental, as Summit was paid by the Salmon campaign for consulting work in 2011, as well.  Working both sides of the fence may well be perfectly fine, it just was an interesting note.

3)  ARPAIO DOESN'T SEE NEED TO CONTRIBUTE TO JoePAC HIMSELF; NOR, ANYONE ELSE:
It came as a slight surprise that Arpaio did not see any need to make an individual contribution to JoePAC.  It was not that it would make for an "appearance of impropriety", by allowing him to skirt federal limits on how much an individual can contribute to a campaign (that sounds so quaint in this day and age).  According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Arpaio has not donated to any federal candidates in recent years.



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BREAKING: Vernon Parker's "Defend Sheriff Joe" Operation Delinquent In IRS Filings

(See update article, terminating organization but not filing disclosure reports)

Congressional candidate Vernon Parker (R-running in CD9) has been the Chairman of a free-lancing pro-Sheriff Arpaio organization since 2010, sending out numerous e-mails to raise money and support; that organization failed to file required disclosure reports at least twice in 2011 and twice so far in 2012.  Those reports would detail the contributions he has received from across the country and where the monies have gone.

"Defend Sheriff Joe" was formed in the autumn of 2010 by Vernon Parker to "defend Sheriff Joe's reputation against the Obama administration's effort to stop enforcement of our immigration laws and to change elected officials so that more representatives are elected who are willing to enforce our laws and support the police on the front lines."  Parker is listed as the Chairman, a former member of Nathan Sproul's Lincoln Strategy Group (Gary Bae) is Director, and a California bookkeeper (Kelly Lawler) is the Treasurer.


The organization collected nearly $115,000 ($114,916) in the last four months of that year, sending nearly $80,000 ($79,488) of it to the Lincoln Strategy Group.  It filed all of the necessary reports that year.

However, even after the 2010 election cycle was over, the 527 group (a political organization exempt from paying taxes, operating pursuant to Section 527 of the Internal Revenue Code), Defend Sheriff Joe continued to actively raise money.  Arizona's Politics wrote about DSJ's efforts to convince Arpaio to run for the U.S. Senate seat that Jon Kyl (R-AZ) had just announced that he would not seek re-election to (in February 2011).  That was followed up by a report noting that the "pre-Valentine's Day money bomb" raised nearly $20,000 in one weekend (and in small contributions).

The IRS requires that all 527 file monthly or semi-annual disclosure reports in odd-numbered years, and quarterly or monthly reports in even-numbered years.

Arizona's Politics reached the Treasurer of Defend Sheriff Joe - she had prepared/signed the previous reports; she asked for an opportunity to look up the information and have someone get back to me.  An e-mail has also been sent to Vernon Parker's campaign.


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Monday, July 9, 2012

UPDATE: Gov. Brewer Gives Reason For Appealing To Supreme Court Re: Same-Sex Partners' Health Insurance

(Arizona's Politics noted earlier that neither the Governor nor the Attorney General had announced their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court last week, asking the highest court in the land to allow Arizona's law .)

At least one reporter asked Arizona Governor Jan Brewer to comment on today's news that she had appealed to the Supreme Court to lift an injunction stopping a law from going into effect which she had signed in 2009 barring a same-sex partner from receiving coverage under his or her state employee-partner's health insurance.  Her acknowledgment of the appeal was not the most coherent, as reported on AZCentral.com, but you can catch the gist:


"Now, it's working its way through court and the Attorney General's Office is asking for the U.S. Supreme Court to see if they will accept the case to determine," she said. "We believe in states rights we believe that things that sets policy like that that it ought to have gone certainly, in the beginning to the Legislature."


The article does note that the 9th Circuit's decision is based on the lack of the constitutional right to equal protection under the law.  


The article includes a similarly seemingly-half-hearted defense of the appeal by Doug Nick, a spokesman for the Attorney General.  (Horne was scheduled to be at the Special Election Canvass, too, so I am uncertain why he did not speak to the Republic reporters for the article.)  After noting that only one percent of petitions for review are granted by the Supreme Court (a roughly accurate statement), he stated:


"Because the state constitution defines marriage as being between a man and a woman, state law echoes that, if you will. It is not allowable for same-sex partners to have benefits under state law because the state Constitution defines a spouse as someone of the opposite gender, or child."

The Republic article notes that Brewer spoke at a news conference this morning.  However, her schedule did not include a news conference as of this morning - just the appearance at the canvass to make official the special Congressional election results to replace Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.  Likewise, Horne has not put out any news release on the appeal.

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Gov. Jan Brewer Slips Quietly Into Supreme Court One Week After It Gave Her "Victory", Heartburn, Seeks To Limit Same-Sex Partners' Health Insurance

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was not quiet about the Supreme Court and its decisions on Arizona's SB1070 anti-illegal immigration law or the Affordable Care Act.  However, just one week later, Brewer and the Arizona Attorney General's office quietly filed papers asking the highest court in the land to allow her law barring same-sex partners of state employees from sharing the latter's health insurance.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals repeatedly (first, a three judge panel and most recently a larger panel) refused to lift an injunction preventing the 2009 law from going into effect.  Brewer and Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne filed the petition for a writ of certiorari - asking the Supreme Court to take the case - on July 2.  No press release, no Facebook post, no Tweet, no public comment, has been noted by either Brewer or Horne on the subject.

The news of the filing is apparently coming out today because Lambda Legal, the organization representing nine gay and lesbian state employees who brought the suit challenging the law, is drawing reporters' attention to it.

And, the only evidence Arizona's Politics could find this morning that supports the headlines that suggest that it was Brewer's call - and not the AG's - is that when the initial appellate decision came down last September, the Governor's spokesman, Matthew Benson, stated that the Governor was considering whether and how to proceed.  (Plus, it would be highly unusual for the AG to proceed on such a high-profile matter with the Governor's name on it, without her being on board.)

Here is the 9th Circuit's unanimous opinion, written by Arizona-based Judge Mary Schroeder.

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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

BELIEVE IT OR NOT: Arizona Leads Nation In Federal Direct Payments To Fallow (Faux?) Farmers

It does not seem possible.  But, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office ("GAO"), Arizona "farms" received more direct payments in 2011 for fallow farms than any other state in the nation.  A lot more.  Arizona fallow farmers pocketed $750,531 last year, as much as their fellow fallow farmers in California and Texas COMBINED!


The GAO report bluntly criticizes the program (the title of the report is "Direct Payments Should Be Reconsidered"), and reviews payments between 2002 and 2011.  One of the key findings centers on payments to the fallow farms.  These are farms that reported ALL of its acreage as fallow for five consecutive years (in this case, from 2007-11).


Arizona has 85 farms - of varying sizes - that meet the fallow (faux?) farm definition.  They are predominantly in central (Maricopa and Pinal counties) and southeastern (Cochise, Graham, Greenlee) Arizona.  (See, page 14 of report.) As the GAO report points out, many of the fallow farms are in areas where land use has changed significantly over recent time, and that the USDA ("U.S. Department of Agriculture") should be better able to ferret out fallow farmers in these areas; central Arizona certainly fits that description.


The 85 farms in Arizona are fewer than the numbers located in several other states.  However, those Arizona fallow farmers received $750,531 in 2011, significantly more than those in Texas ($449,438).  This suggests that the possibly-undeserving recipients of direct payments in Arizona are receiving larger amounts than others around the country.


Faux farms received attention in Arizona in years past because of favorable property tax assessments that were offered to farmland;  whether there is overlap between landowners in those cases and those receiving federal direct payments is not - yet - clear.

The GAO report includes a response from the USDA.  The direct payments program(s) are slated to(again) expire this September and the agency notes that the Obama Administration's proposed budget for 2013 has already recommended that the direct payments be terminated (not re-authorized).  (Report, pages 47-48)

Arizona's Politics is seeking more information and responses from the GAO, the USDA and local sources.  (If you have any reactions or information that may be helpful in advancing this story, please e-mail or call me.)





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