FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Two Of Arizona's Swing Congressional Districts Already On '16 Watchlist

Rep-elect Martha McSally and Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick are already popping up on 2016 radar screens.  This one has to do with effects from Pres. Obama's executive actions on immigration:

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/228021-immigration-action-jolts-2016-races

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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ARPAIO: All I Want For Christmas Is A Successful Appeal (Of Dismissal Of Case Vs. Obama Executive Action) (READ)

Instant appeal. That is what was filed by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and his attorney Larry Klayman today, within hours after a U.S. District Court Judge threw out their case challenging the November executive action by President Barack Obama announcing deferred prosecution of a class of illegal immigrants.






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BREAKING: Judge Throws Out Sheriff Arpaio Suit Vs Obama Executive Action; Arpaio Files Instant Appeal (READ OPINION)

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio did not have to wait until after Christmas to hear what a federal judge thought of his suit to halt President Barack Obama's executive orders deferring prosecution of some illegal immigrants.  One day after hearing oral arguments, U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell issued a 33-page opinion explaining why Arpaio had no standing to bring the action and why it had to be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.

While much of the Judge's opinion was about the executive action and the effects, the crux of the matter was that Judge Howell found that Arpaio and his attorney Larry Klayman had not even come close to establishing that they had legal status to bring the case.

"Ultimately, the plaintiff’s standing argument reduces to a simple generalized grievance:
A Federal policy causes his office to expend resources in a manner that he deems suboptimal. To accept such a broad interpretation of the injury requirement would permit nearly all state officials to challenge a host of Federal laws simply because they disagree with how many—or how few—Federal resources are brought to bear on local interests. Fortunately, the standing doctrine is not so limp. As the Supreme Court has repeatedly emphasized: “‘a plaintiff raising only a generally available grievance about government—claiming only harm to his and every citizen’s interest in [the] proper application of the Constitution and laws, and seeking relief that no more directly [or] tangibly benefits him than it does the public at large—does not state an Article III case or controversy.’” Lance v. Coffman, 549 U.S. 437, 439 (2007) (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 573); see also Pl.’s Supp. Decl. ¶ 3 (“By this lawsuit, I am seeking to have the President and other Defendants obey the U.S. Constitution and the immigration laws . . . .”). Simply put, a state official has not suffered an injury in fact to a legally cognizable interest because a federal government program is anticipated to produce an increase in that state’s population and a concomitant increase in the need for the state’s resources."
The judge acknowledges that it does not need to reach the Obama Administration's actions, but addresses them:

 "Nevertheless, even if the plaintiff were able to establish standing, the plaintiff would face a number of legal obstacles to prevail and, therefore, could not demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits nor any of the other preliminary injunction factors. While not necessaryto resolve this case, the Court outlines several of these obstacles. First, with respect to the plaintiff’s likelihood of success on the merits, the challenged deferred action programs continue a longstanding practice of enforcement discretion regarding the Nation’s immigration laws. Such discretion is conferred by statute, see 6 U.S.C. § 202(5); 8 U.S.C. § 1103(a)(3), and the manner of its exercise through deferred action on removal has been endorsed by Congress, see, e.g., 8 U.S.C. § 1227(d)(2). Thus, the deferred action programs are consistent with, rather than contrary to, congressional policy."
Sheriff Arpaio and attorney Klayman have already filed a Notice of Appeal.



(Tempe attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.)


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Monday, December 22, 2014

$1.5 Million - The Cost (So Far) Of Gov. Brewer's Unsuccessful (So Far) Fight To Deny Driver's Licenses To DREAMers

DACA recipients in Arizona began applying for driver's licenses today, even as Gov. Jan Brewer has the taxpayers' attorneys' meters running for a costly re-appeal of the matter to the U.S. Supreme Court.  The state confirmed to Arizona's Politics this afternoon that the legal bill in the two-year long battle has already passed $1.5 Million.

DACA recipients (aka DREAMers) flooded MVD offices today, after only three U.S. Supreme Court Justices (Scalia, Thomas, Alito) stated that the driver's license should not be issued until the Court has a chance to consider the yet-to-be-filed appeal.

The Arizona Department of Transportation confirmed that legal fees in the case paid by ADOT total $1,522,949.66.  The Phoenix-based law firm of Fennemore Craig has represented the state in the federal case filed by the Arizona Dream Act Coalition in November 2012.

Arizona's Politics' review of state expenditures had come up with a much lower figure, but the review has been complicated by the apparent switching of which state agencies and funds are responsible for paying the legal bills.  ADOT appeared to only take over the responsibility with the beginning of the current fiscal year; the $212,099.91 paid in legal bills since August 2014 have come out of the State Highway Fund.*

While Governor-elect Doug Ducey was publicly noncommittal about continuing the legal battle even after this month's setbacks, Governor Brewer's defiant order to pursue the appeal is committing the government to what could be at least another $100,000 in legal expenses.


* Review of bills paid as detailed by Arizona Open Books. Because the entries do not describe what legal matters they apply to, Arizona's Politics is making the assumption that all ADOT payments to Fennemore Craig are for the ADAC v. Brewer case, because ADOT did not (directly) retain Fennemore Craig in previous years, and the previous years' payments to Fennemore Craig from the Department of Administration promptly ended with the current fiscal year.

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BREAKING: U.S. Supreme Court Sets Oral Argument On Legislature's Redistricting Appeal For March 2

The U.S. Supreme Court has set March 2 for oral arguments on the Arizona Legislature's appeal of the Independent Redistricting Commission set up by Arizona voters 14 years ago.

The Legislature's case is based on the argument that the U.S. Constitution requires a state Legislature to handle all aspects of how Congressional elections in that state, and that the constitutional amendment approved by Arizona voters violates that by setting up the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.

The Arizona case will be heard by the Justices two days before the high-profile case challenging the subsidies in the Affordable Care Act.




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Friday, December 19, 2014

READ: Gov. Brewer Banking On ChangingTwo Supreme Court Justices' Minds That Arizona Can Refuse To Issue Driver's Licenses To DREAMers

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer is banking on convincing at least two more U.S. Supreme Court Justices that Arizona should be permitted to decide whether or not to issue driver's licenses to DREAMers (aka DACA recipients).  Notwithstanding that only 3 of the 9 Justices felt that Arizona had a likelihood of prevailing on the merits of the case - thus requiring that the state start issuing the licenses (starting this coming Monday, December 22) - Brewer is moving forward with an appeal.

Arizona's Politics reported yesterday that U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell has also set January 7 for oral arguments on motions that will grant a permanent injunction against Arizona's refusal, or will dismiss the DREAMers Equal Protection claim

Brewer is instructing the law firm of Fennemore Craig to fight the permanent injunction, but last night's statement is also indicating a push for a U.S. Supreme Court appeal of the 9th Circuit decision to require the issuance of the driver's licenses.  

The State had asked the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this month for permission to continue the Governor's refusal to issue while the appeal was pending.  Only Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito agreed with Brewer's position.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's Statement from last night:
“The right to determine who is issued a driver license is reserved for the states – not the federal government or an unelected judiciary. It is outrageous that Arizona is being forced to ignore longstanding state law and comply with a flawed federal court mandate that requires the state, at least temporarily, to issue driver licenses to individuals whose presence is in violation of federal law, as established by the United States Congress.
“At stake in this case are the fundamental issues of constitutional law and state sovereignty. Arizona has the constitutional right and authority to enforce state statute. This right must be protected. It must be defended. And as long as I am governor, I will do exactly that.
“It is important to remember that courts have yet to consider the full merits of the case, and I believe that Arizona will ultimately prevail.
“Consequently, I have instructed my legal team to move forward in pursuing a full review of this matter before the United States Supreme Court as soon as possible.”
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

BREAKING UPDATE In DREAMers v. Brewer: Judge Sets January 7 Oral Argument On Permanent Injunction Vs. Arizona, and State's Equal Protection Argument

Now that the battle over a temporary injunction has been to the Supreme Court and is completed - with the State of Arizona being ordered to accept driver's license applications from DREAMers (aka DACA recipients), U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell is looking to wrap up the case with oral argumnt on January 7.

The oral argument will be over the Plaintiffs' Motion for Summary Judgment seeking a permanent injunction against Governor Jan Brewer and her Executive Order prohibiting the state from granting driver's licenses to the young men and women who were brought into the U.S. illegally as children (and who meet certain requirements).

The Court will also hear oral argument on Arizona's Motion for Summary Judgment as to the Plaintiffs' Equal Protection claim.

However, the outcome of both motions was preordained by the 9th Circuit's ruling overturning Judge Campbell's initial preliminary injunction ruling, and in the District Court's Order earlier today: "The Court accordingly holds that Plaintiffs are likely to succeed on the merits of their claim that Defendants’ policy and practice of denying driver’s licenses and state identification cards to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) recipients violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution."

The Oral Argument will take place at 3:30pm on January 7, 2015, at the U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix. In the interim, Arizona has been ordered to begin accepting driver's license applications by Monday, December 22.

Here are the Motions for Summary Judgment that the Court will be considering:



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BREAKING, READ: Arizona Ordered To Issue Driver's Licenses To DREAMers (DACA), EFFECTIVE MONDAY



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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

BREAKING NEWS: 9th Circuit Issues Mandate Ordering Arizona To Issue Driver's Licenses To DREAMers (DACA, aka Childhood Arrivals)





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Sen. Flake's Statement On Release Of Gross, U.S./Cuban Thaw

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), a long outspoken critic of the U.S.' trade embargo of Cuba, flew to the nation just south of Florida and accompanied released U.S. citizen Alan Gross.

Here is a copy of Flake's statement:

"This is a wonderful day for Alan Gross, for his wife Judy and their family. The manner in which they have endured this nightmare is worthy of praise and admiration. It was an honor to be with Alan as he touched down on U.S. soil after more than five years in a Cuban prison. When I visited Alan last month, he expressed the hope that his ordeal might somehow lead to positive changes between the United States and Cuba. With today's significant and far-reaching announcements, I think it already has."
Flake is one of several members of Congress being credited with helping negotiate the release and the agreement.

President Obama called on Congress to revisit the long-standing U.S. trade embargo of Cuba. There are already statements coming from Republican leaders in Congress opposing today's developments.


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U.S. Supreme Court Denies Arizona Application For Stay; Driver's Licenses For DREAMers Imminent

The U.S. Supreme Court this morning decided not to grant Arizona a stay to further delay issuing driver's licenses to young DREAMers.  Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito indicated in the brief order that they would have granted the stay pending appeal.

Arizona's Politics is monitoring the lower courts and the Governor's Office for further orders or a decision to begin issuing the licenses.






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#AZ02 MCSALLY/BARBER RECOUNT: Recount Adds 6 To McSally Margin; Barber Will Not File Legal Contest

(filed by Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich)

GOP challenger Martha McSally became the newest member of Arizona's Congressional delegation this morning, when Secretary of State Ken Bennett's office confirmed that the automatic recount in #AZ02 had extended her lead to 167 votes over 1+ term incumbent Rep. Ron Barber.

McSally issued this statement:
“There’s no getting around that this was an incredibly close and hard-fought race. After what’s been a long campaign season, it’s time to come together and heal our community. That’s why my focus will be on what unites us, not what divides us, such as providing better economic opportunity for our families and ensuring our country and community are kept safe.”
“I sincerely thank Congressman Barber for his service over many years to Southern Arizona. I’ll be seeking his input to continue strong constituent services and help ensure a smooth transition. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I know that we’re a community dedicated and united in our love for Southern Arizona – And, together, we can make a positive difference.”
Simultaneously, Barber issued a statement congratulating McSally and promising a "smooth transition."  Here is the text of his statement:
"Today I congratulated Martha McSally on her victory, and wished her well in serving Southern Arizonans. This result is not the one we hoped for, but we take solace in having spoken out loud and clear for the principle that every legal vote should be counted. As in every election system, there are imperfections in ours, and we must work to correct them. When an election is as close as this one has been, we do our best to arrive at the correct result, and then accept it with respect for the voters.
"I love Southern Arizona and serving the people who live here was an unexpected honor. In 1967, I graduated from the U of A and married Nancy--I figured it couldn't get much better than that. Never in my life did I expect to serve in Congress. For me, the work was a joy to do every day, helping veterans get access to the benefits they earned, keeping middle class families from having their homes foreclosed, pushing the EPA into not closing the power plant in Cochise County that provides a good income to nearly 250 families. I still believe that we can be successful when people from both parties work together--that's how we stopped the Pentagon from mothballing the A-10 and increased funding for mental health services.
"There's a lot more work to do to solve the real challenges facing our country, and I will have plenty to say about them in the weeks to come.
"Today, I extend my gratitude to Southern Arizonans, and promise to carry out a smooth transition to my successor.“
The final vote count was 109,714 for McSally, and 109,547 for Barber.

In the recount, Pima County - which had slightly favored Barber - found 20 more ballots that had not been counted on election night, according to Secretary of State Bennett.  He also noted that Cochise County removed one ballot that had been counted on election night, although the reason is not immediately apparent.

Bennett boasted of the 99.997% accuracy rate, but said that even that leaves some room for improvement.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Arizona Sen. McCain Receives Dubious Honor For Role In "Lie of the Year", Helped "Edge The Nation Toward Panic"

Arizona Senator John McCain today received a dubious honor for his role in what PolitiFact named as the U.S.' "Lie of the Year".  The national fact-checker announced that the 10 false exaggerations about the Ebola virus made in October "edged the nation towards panic."

McCain's comment on CNN on October 12 gave the impression that the Obama Administration gave the public a false sense of security which turned out to be wrong.  "Americans have to be reassured here. I don’t think we are comforted by the fact that we were told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States, and obviously that’s not correct."

Later that day, Politifact rated McCain's statement as "False", and went through earlier CDC and White House statements on the subject.  The statements all emphasized that there could be isolated cases in the U.S. but that the risk of an outbreak was very low.

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U.S. Supreme Court Leaves Block On Arizona Anti-Abortion Law; READ State's Reply Brief

The U.S. Supreme Court declined this morning to hear Arizona's appeal of a decision blocking enforcement of a law limiting medication abortions.  The denial of the writ of certiorari leaves the law blocked.

Here is the State's Petition and Reply to Planned Parenthood, filed with the Supreme Court on November 19:



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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Arizona Senators McCain, Flake Vote "Nay" On Saturday Night Cromnibus; View Bipartisan Mix Supporting, Opposing

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake were among the 40 Republicans and Democrats in the Senate to vote against the Cromnius tonight.  It passed 56-40 and heads for the President's desk for an immediate signature to keep the government funded.

24 of the 56 supporting votes were Republicans, and the 40 nay votes were made up of 18 Republicans, 1 Independent and 21 Democrats.




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Friday, December 12, 2014

Lobbying Pays Off, As Senate Passes Resolution Copper (& Natl Defense Auth Act)

The long-running land swap soap opera for a Superior copper mine is headed to the President's desk as part of the National Defense Authorization Act.  Why is it one small step away from becoming a done deal?  Besides the bipartisan pushing of Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) and Paul Gosar (R-CD4), one would have to look at Resolution Copper's commitment to lobbying.

Although we will not see how much Resolution Copper has spent on lobbying in the last few weeks, we can see that it significantly boosted its annual lobbying budget over previous efforts (courtesy of the good folks at the Center for Responsive Politics).

$360,000 in payments to four different lobbying firms through the first nine months of the year.

And, of course, Resolution Copper had several friends lobbying alongside it.  Rio Tinto Group, the National Mining Association, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce helped, among others.  (Many others also registered to lobby on the land swap, on both sides of the issue; here is the list.)

Here are the speeches made by four of Arizona's Representatives last fall when it was debated on the House floor as a standalone bill on September 27.  It stalled that day, as Congress was on the verge of shutting down the entire government.





For details on the land exchange, which will have Resolution conveying to the federal government several wilderness parcels in Coconino, Maricopa, Yavapai, Pima and Santa Cruz counties, here is the House Report from last year:


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Gov. Brewer's Super PACs: Retirement Fund, 2016 Run Against McCain, Or Just "Stay Active" Money? (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITCS)

Outgoing Arizona Governor Jan Brewer and her state Super PAC were very active in statewide and legislative races this year, but she stood on the sidelines in the three hotly-contested Arizona Congressional races. Brewer now controls a $326K checking account that she could use to jumpstart a 2016 Senate or Congressional run, or to travel the nation in comfort and support like-minded candidates.

Or, she could put it in her personal bank account and ride off into the sunset.

The Governor created Jan PAC in 2011 in the wake of signing SB1070, and has collected more than $1.3M from contributors, including from companies doing business with the state and from wealthy individuals who agreed with her political philosophy.  She spent a good chunk of that helping Arizona Republican Congressional candidates in 2012 (and even a couple of out-of-state races), but continued to raise money through the first part of August. (The last sizable contribution was $25,000 from Tenet Health on August 7.)

Certainly, many - if not most - of those generous contributors expected the Governor to use the money and her political muscle in the tight 2014 races.  Two of the Arizona seats targeted by Republicans were lost and the third is in post-election recounting.

She spent zero on federal races in 2014. The reasons why she did not spend the money are currently unknown.  No political consultants acknowledge working with the Governor on Jan PAC, and the Governor's staff has repeatedly declined to answer Arizona's Politics' inquiries.

Here is a closer look at the three options listed at the beginning of this article:

1) Jumpstart a 2016 Senate or Congressional run (the McCain scenario):  While the outgoing Governor has shown little or no interest in any further runs for office, others have been.  Earlier this year, a Citizens United-commissioned poll found her to be the strongest candidate to take on Sen. John McCain in a 2016 primary battle.  (She polled better than either Rep. Matt Salmon or Rep. David Schweikert.)  Similarly, she could be seen as a strong challenge to either Democratic Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick or Kyrsten Sinema, or as a successor to Salmon or Schweikert if either moved to take on McCain.

Arizona pollster Mike O'Neill tells Arizona's Politics that "the odds are against it" and that it is "unlikely" that she would  challenge a sitting Congressperson.  "She's bought the option to spend it as she sees fit in the future.

2) Stay active and travel the nation in comfort (the Palin scenario):  Just as former Alaska Governor (and McCain VP running mate, and parttime Arizona resident) Sarah Palin has done, Governor Brewer could use the money to travel the nation in first class comfort... and generate further speaking fees and book sales.  Governor Brewer has shown some interest in this option.

3) Pocket the money, and fund her retirement (the every old-time politician scenario): This cannot be an option, you ask it. Can it?  Well, while state and federal laws have tightened up on this kind of old school personally-enriching politics, the world of independent expenditure committees and Super PACs has become a world of its own.

Brewer's state level IE Committee, Arizona's Legacy, now has only $57,136.01 left in it.  And, based on Arizona statutes - which are currently in limbo land, but that's another story - she could NOT transfer that to the Jan Brewer IRA.

And, IF she had been a federal candidate, Jan PAC would be constrained in her options.  For example, retired U.S. Senator from Arizona Jon Kyl transferred his campaign funds to his leadership PAC, which currently has $242,000 in it; he is spending it down on other campaigns and groups*, but could not use it for retirement.

The Stephen Colbert scenario comes to mind.  The social satirist (and soon-to-be late night host) has devoted time and money to exploring what can be done with Super PACs.  (He received a Peabody Award for the Super PAC series of reports.) He raised more than $1,000,000 for "Americans For A Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow", and later transferred the remaining balance to a newly-formed non-profit that he just happened to find himself on the Board of Directors of.

Now, that non-profit did, in fact, donate the money to legitimate, non-connected charitable organizations.  BUT, in fact, he could have retained full control over it.

In fact, Arizona's Politics found a Federal Election Commission Advisory Opinion from 1991 (see, below) that would have permitted Colbert to keep the money for personal use.  In the Alliance for Representative Government AO, a California politician was permitted to receive the $30-35,000 in excess funds from his federal committee to support federal candidates. (Advisory Opinion is republished below.) The regulations cited in that opinion have not been changed to include Super PACs.

Arizona's Politics asked Colbert attorney Trevor Potter (a well-known and well-respected campaign finance expert) whether Brewer could follow Colbert's example, join his non-profit Board, or take similar steps (including personal use).  Is it really that wide open?

His response? "You are right- few restrictions on SuperPacs still."

(Efforts to obtain comment from Colbert were as unsuccessful as from Brewer, so maybe they are planning something together. ;-) )

4) Other ideas: Of course, she can return the funds to contributors.  She could start a (legit) charitable organization or fund an existing one(s).

Whatever Gov. Brewer does with the $326,332.16, Arizona's Politics will be there to report on it.




(Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article.)

* After the November 4 election, Kyl's Senate Majority Fund did transfer $10,000 to Prosper.  Kyl is a key "mentor" to incoming Governor Doug Ducey, and Prosper was created and is led by Ducey's Chief of Staff-to-be Kirk Adams.






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Thursday, December 11, 2014

HOW AZ DELEGATION VOTED ON $1.1T SPENDING BILL TONIGHT: AZ's Dems, GOP'ers Bucked Their Party's Positions

The House of Representative passed the $1.1T spending bill tonight 219-206.  The bill passed with 162 Republicans - 67 voted nay - along with 57 Democrats (139 opposed it).

Arizona's delegation was equally ornery.  Of the 5 Democrats, three voted for it (Barber, Pastor, Sinema) and two said nay (Grijalva, Kirkpatrick).

The four Republicans from Arizona all voted against party leadership.

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WATCH: Rep. Pastor Supporting CRomnibus, Thanking People For Friendship, Support (Arizona's Phantom of the House)

As Congress tries to pass what is being called the "CRomnibus" ("CR" from Continuing Resolution, and "omnibus" from all the other stuff included), Arizona's Phantom of the House, the retiring Rep. Ed Pastor (D-CD7) spoke on the floor this morning to support it.

As this is being published, there are reports that the White House is trying to convince a shrinking number of Democrats to pass the measure to avert a government shutdown tonight.  Many Democrats are holding off because of provisions that offend them regarding loosened campaign finance limits and Wall Street regulations.

Republicans - who hold the majority in the House - have a number of members, including Arizona Reps. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) and Matt Salmon (R-CD5), who oppose the $1.1 Trillion spending measure.

Pastor spoke broadly, and emphasized the difficult aspects of reaching an agreement such as this.



http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4518955/rep-pastor-re-federal-spending
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READ: Arizona's Supreme Court Request To Delay Issuing Driver's Licenses To DREAMers




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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Goldwater Institute VP Bolick Makes Strong Endorsement For Jeb Bush In 2016

Clint Bolick - the well-known VP of Litigation for the Goldwater Institute - made a strong case on Facebook this afternoon for Jeb Bush to be the Republican Presidential nominee in 2016.

Bolick prefaces his endorsement of the former Florida Governor by saying that he was not a fan of either of the first two Bushes in the White House.  His preference for planting a third there is based on his personal knowledge and experience with Jeb.  (His full comment is below. Click to expand.)



Incoming Arizona Governor Doug Ducey named Bolick to co-chair one of his transition committees (on federalism and states' rights) two weeks ago.

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UPDATE, #AZ02 McSALLY/BARBER RECOUNT: Rep. Barber Losing Staffers While Hoping For Recount Reversal, McSally Has Armed Services Committee Assignment Awaiting

While the recount of the #AZ02 contest between Rep. Ron Barber (D-Cd2) and GOP challenger Martha McSally winds down, reports are surfacing about two Barber staffers securing positions elsewhere and about McSally's committee assignments if the current results hold.

Legistorm reported today that Barber's staff has lost military legislative assistant Jeremy Wilson-Simerman and legislative correspondent/press assistant Julia Nash.  No word on their new positions, nor on whether other members of his staff are executing exit strategies.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Star reported yesterday that McSally has a seat on the House Armed Services Committee waiting for her.  McSally is a well-known retired USAF Colonel.

The mandatory recount is underway, with both Pima and Cochise counties recounting the ballots this week.  A hearing on the recount results is set for next Tuesday.  McSally held a 161-vote lead going into the recount.  A legal contest of the recounted results could be filed by the losing candidate.

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IN OUR PRAYERS: Former Phoenix Mayor & Western Savings Executive John Driggs In Home Hospice, Wife Gail Suffered Heart Attack

Our prayers going out to John Driggs, his wife Gail, and their family today.  Arizona Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs reports that his father, who was Phoenix Mayor in the 1970's, is dying and was brought home on Monday. "Related to the stress," Adam also notes that his mother, Gail, had a heart attack and was hoping to be released from the hospital.

Besides serving as Mayor, John, 87, was also a long-time executive with the family business, Western Savings.*

Through the MCRC Briefs newsletter, Adam urges friends to share memories of best wishes on either father or son's Facebook pages.

*Western Savings was taken over by the federal government's Resolution Trust Corporation in the S&L bust of the late 1980's.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2014

WATCH: Rep. Gosar Questions Jonathan Gruber, Marilyn Tavenner Re: Obamacare, Lying

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar had five minutes plus to question Jonathan Gruber and Marilyn Tavenner as part of the House Oversight Committee's hearing on Obamacare numbers and statements made by Gruber regarding the drafting and passage of the Affordable Care Act.




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WATCH, READ: Sen. McCain On Senate Floor Re: Release Of Report On CIA Interrogations/Torture: "Truth Is Sometimes a Hard Pill To Swallow"

Noting that "truth is sometimes a hard pill to swallow," Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) spoke on the Senate floor at length this morning in support of the release of the Sennate Intelligence Committee's report on CIA Interrogations and practices in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The 13-minute speech is below, with an unedited C-Span transcript of the remarks below that.

MADAM PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO BEGIN BY EXPRESSING APPRECIATION AND ADMIRATION FOR THE MEN AND WOMEN WHO SERVE IN OUR
02:27:12
MR. McCAIN
INTELLIGENCE AGENCIES,
02:27:13
THE PRESIDING OFFICER
INCLUDING
02:27:14
MR. McCAIN
THE C.I.A. THEY ARE OUT THERE EVERY DAY DEFENDING OUR NATION. I HAVE READ THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND I ALSO HAVE BEEN BRIEFED ON THE ENTIRETY OF THIS REPORT. I RISE IN SUPPORT OF THE RELEASE, THE LONG-DELAYED RELEASE OF THE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE'S SUMMARIZED, UNCLASSIFIED REVIEW OF THE SO-CALLED ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES THAT WERE EMPLOYED BY THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION TO EXTRACT INFORMATION FROM CAPTURED TERRORISTS. IT'S A THOROUGH AND THOUGHTFUL STUDY OF PRACTICES THAT I BELIEVE NOT ONLY FAILED THEIR PURPOSE TO SECURE ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE TO PREVENT FURTHER ATTACKS ON THE U.S. AND OUR ALLIES BUT ACTUALLY DAMAGED OUR SECURITY INTERESTS AS WELL AS OUR REPUTATION AS A FORCE FOR GOOD IN THE WORLD. I BELIEVE THE AMERICAN PEOPLE HAVE A RIGHT -- INDEED, RESPONSIBILITY -- TO KNOW WHAT WAS DONE IN THEIR NAME, HOW THESE PRACTICES DID OR DID NOT SERVE OUR INTERESTS, AND HOW THEY COMPORTED WITH OUR MOST IMPORTANT VALUES. I COMMEND CHAIRWOMAN FEINSTEIN AND HER STAFF FOR THEIR DILIGENCE IN SEEKING A TRUTHFUL ACCOUNTING OF POLICIES I HOPE WE WILL NEVER RESORT TO AGAIN. I THANK THEM FOR PERSEVERING AGAINST PERSISTENT OPPOSITION FROM MANY MEMBERS OF THE INTELLIGENCE COMMUNITY, FROM OFFICIALS IN TWO ADMINISTRATIONS, AND FROM SOME OF OUR COLLEAGUES. THE TRUTH IS SOMETIMES A HARD PILL TO SWALLOW. IT SOMETIMES CAUSES US DIFFICULTIES AT HOME AND ABROAD. IT IS SOMETIMES USED BY OUR ENEMIES IN ATTEMPTS TO HURT US. BUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE ENTITLED TO IT, NONETHELESS. THEY MUST KNOW WHEN THE VALUES THAT DEFINE OUR NATION ARE INTENTIONALLY DISREGARDED BY OUR SECURITY POLICIES, EVEN THOSE POLICIES THAT ARE CONDUCTED IN SECRET. THEY MUST BE ABLE TO MAKE INFORMED JUDGMENTS ABOUT WHETHER THOSE POLICIES AND THE PERSONNEL WHO SUPPORTED THEM WERE JUSTIFIED IN COMPROMISING OUR VALUES, WHETHER THEY SERVED A GREATER GOOD, OR WHETHER, AS I BELIEVE, THEY STAINED OUR NATIONAL HONOR, DID MUCH HARM AND LITTLE PRACTICAL GOOD. WHAT WERE THE POLICIES? WHAT WAS THEIR PURPOSE? DID THEY ACHIEVE IT? DID THEY MAKE US SAFER? LESS SAFE? OR DID THEY MAKE NO DIFFERENCE? WHAT DID THEY GAIN US? WHAT DID THEY COST US? THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS. YES, SOME THINGS MUST BE KEPT FROM PUBLIC DISCLOSURE TO PROTECT CON DESTINE OPERATIONS, SOURCES AND METHODS, BUT NOT THE ANSWERS TO THESE QUESTIONS. BY PROVIDING THEM, THE COMMITTEE HAS EMPOWERED THE AMERICAN PEOPLE TO COME TO THEIR OWN DECISIONS ABOUT WHETHER WE SHOULD HAVE EMPLOYED SUCH PRACTICES IN THE PAST AND WHETHER WE SHOULD CONSIDER PERMITTING THEM IN THE FUTURE. THIS REPORT STRENGTHENS SELF-GOVERNMENT AND ULTIMATELY, I BELIEVE, AMERICA'S SECURITY AND STATURE IN THE WORLD AND I THANK THE COMMITTEE FOR THEIR VALUABLE PUBLIC SERVICE. I HAVE LONG BELIEVED SOME OF THESE PRACTICES AMOUNTED TO TORTURE AS A REASONABLE PERSON WOULD DEFINE IT, ESPECIALLY, BUT NOT ONLY THE PRACTICE OF WATERBOARDING, WHICH IS A MOCK EXECUTION AND AN EXQUISITE FORM OF TORTURE. ITS USE WAS SHAMEFUL AND UNNECESSARY, AND CONTRARY TO ASSERTIONS MADE BY SOME OF ITS DEFENDERS, AND AS THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT MAKES CLEAR, IT PRODUCED LITTLE USEFUL INTELLIGENCE TO HELP US TRACK DOWN THE PERPETRATORS OF 9/11 OR PREVENT NEW ATTACKS AND ATROCITIES. I KNOW FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE THAT THE ABUSE OF PRISONERS WILL PRODUCE MORE BAD THAN GOOD INTELLIGENCE. I KNOW THAT VICTIMS OF TORTURE WILL OFFER INTENTIONALLY MISLEADING INFORMATION IF THEY THINK THEIR CAPTORS WILL BELIEVE IT. I KNOW THEY WILL SAY WHATEVER THEY THINK THEIR TORTURERS WANT THEM TO SAY IF THEY BELIEVE IT WILL STOP THEIR SUFFERING. MOST OF ALL, I KNOW THE USE OF TORTURE COMPROMISES THAT WHICH MOST DISTINGUISHES US FROM OUR ENEMIES, OUR BELIEF THAT ALL PEOPLE, EVEN CAPTURED ENEMIES, POSSESS BASIC HUMAN RIGHTS WHICH ARE PROTECTED BY INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS THE UNITED STATES NOT ONLY JOINED BUT FOR THE MOST PART AUTHORED. I WILL, TOO, THAT BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN WAR. I KNOW IN WAR GOOD PEOPLE CAN FEEL OBLIGED FOR GOOD REASONS TO DO THINGS THEY WOULD NORMALLY OBJECT TO AND RECOIL FROM. I UNDERSTAND THE REASONS THAT GOVERNED THE DECISION TO RESORT TO THESE INTERROGATION METHODS, AND I KNOW THAT THOSE WHO APPROVED THEM AND THOSE WHO USED THEM WERE DEDICATED TO SECURING JUSTICE FOR THE VICTIMS OF TERRORIST ATTACKS AND TO PROTECT AMERICANS FROM FURTHER HARM. I KNOW THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES WERE GRAVE AND URGENT, AND THE STRAIN OF THEIR DUTY WAS ONEROUS. I RESPECT THEIR DEDICATION AND APPRECIATE THEIR DILEMMA, BUT I DISPUTE WHOLEHEARTEDLY THAT IT WAS RIGHT FOR THEM TO USE THESE METHODS WHICH THIS REPORT MAKES CLEAR WERE NEITHER IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF JUSTICE NOR OUR SECURITY NOR THE IDEALS WE HAVE SACRIFICED SO MUCH BLOOD AND TREASURE TO DEFEND. THE KNOWLEDGE OF TORTURE'S DUBIOUS EFFICACY AND MY MORAL OBJECTION TO THE ABUSE OF PRISONERS MOTIVATED BY SPONSORSHIP OF THE DETAINEE TREATMENT ACT OF 2005, WHICH PROHIBITS -- QUOTE -- "CRUEL, INHUMAN OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OF CAPTURED COMBATANTS WHETHER THEY WEAR A NATION'S UNIFORM OR NOT AND WHICH PASSED THE SENATE BY THE VOTE OF 90-9. SUBSEQUENTLY, I SUCCESSFULLY OFFERED AMENDMENTS TO THE MILITARY COMMISSIONS ACT OF 2006 WHICH AMONG OTHER THINGS PREVENTED THE ATTEMPT TO WEAKEN COMMON ARTICLE 3 OF THE GENEVA CONVENTIONS AND BROADENED DEFINITIONS IN THE WAR CRIMES ACT TO MAKE THE FUTURE USE OF WATERBOARDING AND OTHER -- QUOTE -- "ENHANCED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES" PUNISHABLE AS WAR CRIMES. THERE WAS CONSIDERABLE MISINFORMATION DISSEMINATED THEN ABOUT WHAT WAS AND WASN'T ACHIEVED USING THESE METHODS IN AN EFFORT TO ENCOURAGE SUPPORT FOR THE LEGISLATION. THERE WAS A GOOD AMOUNT OF MISINFORMATION USED IN 2011 TO CREDIT THE USE OF THESE METHODS WITH THE DEATH OF OSAMA BIN LADEN AND THERE IS, I FEAR, MISINFORMATION BEING USED TODAY TO PREVENT THE RELEASE OF THIS REPORT DISPUTING ITS FINDINGS AND WARNING ABOUT THE SECURITY CONSEQUENCES OF THEIR PUBLIC DISCLOSURE. WITH THE REPORT'S RELEASE, WILL -- WILL THE REPORT'S RELEASE CAUSE OUTRAGE THAT LEADS TO VIOLENCE IN SOME PARTS OF THE MUSLIM WORLD? YES, I SUPPOSE THAT'S POSSIBLE. PERHAPS LIKELY. SADLY, VIOLENCE NEEDS LITTLE INCENTIVE IN SOME QUARTERS OF THE WORLD TODAY. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN WE WILL BE TELLING THE WORLD SOMETHING IT WILL BE SHOCKED TO LEARN. THE ENTIRE WORLD ALREADY KNOWS THAT WE WATER BOARDED PRISONERS. IT KNOWS THAT WE SUBJECTED PRISONERS VARIOUS OTHER TYPES OF DEGRADING TREATMENT. IT KNOWS WE USED BLACK SITES, SECRET PRISONS. THOSE PRACTICES HAVEN'T BEEN A SECRET FOR A DECADE. TERRORISTS MIGHT USE THE REPORT'S REIDENTIFICATION OF THE PRACTICES AS AN EXCUSE TO ATTACK AMERICANS, BUT THEY HARDLY NEED AN EXCUSE FOR THAT. THAT HAS BEEN THEIR LIFE'S CALLING FOR A WHILE NOW. WHAT MIGHT COME AS A SURPRISE NOT JUST TO OUR ENEMIES BUT TO MANY AMERICANS IS HOW LITTLE THESE PRACTICES DID TO AID OUR EFFORTS TO BRING 9/11 CULPRITS TO JUSTICE AND TO FIND AND PREVENT TERRORIST ATTACKS TODAY AND TOMORROW. THAT COULD BE A REAL SURPRISE, SINCE IT CONTRADICTS THE MANY ASSURANCES PROVIDED BY INTELLIGENCE OFFICIALS ON THE RECORD AND IN PRIVATE THAT ENHANCEED INTERROGATION TECHNIQUES WERE INDISPENSABLE IN THE WAR AGAINST TERRORISM. AND I SUSPECT THE OBJECTION OF THOSE SAME OFFICIALS TO THE RELEASE OF THIS REPORT IS REALLY FOCUSED ON THAT DISCLOSURE, TORTURE'S INEFFECTIVENESS. BECAUSE WE GAVE UP MUCH IN THE EXPECTATION THAT TORTURE WOULD MAKE US SAFER. TOO MUCH. OBVIOUSLY, WE NEED INTELLIGENCE TO DEFEAT OUR ENEMIES BUT WE NEED RELIABLE INTELLIGENCE. TORTURE PRODUCES MORE MISLEADING INFORMATION THAN ACTIONABLE INTELLIGENCE. AND WHAT THE ADVOCATES OF HARSH AND INTERROGATION METHODS HAVE NEVER ESTABLISHED IS THAT WE COULDN'T HAVE GATHERED AS GOOD OR MORE RELIABLE INTELLIGENCE FROM USING HUMANE METHODS. THE MOST IMPORTANT -- THE MOST IMPORTANT LEAD WE GOT CAME FROM USING CONVENTIONAL INTERROGATION METHODS AND I THINK IT'S AN INSULT TO THE MANY INTELLIGENCE OFFICERS WHO HAVE ACQUIRED GOOD INTELLIGENCE WITHOUT HURTING OR DEGRADING PRISONERS TO ASSERT WE CAN'T WIN THIS WAR WITHOUT SUCH METHODS. YES, WE CAN AND WE WILL. BUT IN THE END, TORTURE'S FAILURE TO SERVE ITS INTENDED PURPOSE ISN'T THE MAIN REASON TO OPPOSE ITS USE. I HAVE OFTEN SAID AND WILL ALWAYS MAINTAIN THAT THIS QUESTION ISN'T ABOUT OUR NAMES, IT'S ABOUT US. IT'S ABOUT HOW WE WERE, WHO WE ARE, AND WHO WE ASPIRE TO BE. IT'S ABOUT HOW WE REPRESENT OURSELVES TO THE WORLD. WE HAVE MADE OUR WAY IN THIS OFTEN DANGEROUS AND CRUEL WORLD NOT BY JUST STRICTLY PURSUING OUR GEOPOLITICAL INTERESTS BUT BY EXEMPLIFYING OUR POLITICAL VALUES AND INFLUENCING OTHER NATIONS TO EMBRACE THEM. WHEN WE FIGHT TO DEFEND OUR SECURITY, WE FIGHT ALSO FOR AN IDEA, NOT FOR A TRIBE OR A TWISTED INTERPRETATION OF AONIAN GENT RELIGION OR A KING BUT FOR AN IDEA THAT ALL MEN ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH INALIENABLE RIGHTS. HOW MUCH SAFER THE WORLD WOULD BE IF ALL NATIONS BELIEVES THE SAME. HOW MUCH MORE DANGEROUS IT CAN BECOME WHEN WE FORGET IT OURSELVES, EVEN MOMENTARILY. OUR ENEMIES ACT WITHOUT CONSCIENCE. WE MUST NOT. THIS EXECUTIVE SUMMARY OF THE COMMITTEE'S REPORT MAKES CLEAR THAT ACTING WITHOUT CONSCIENCE ISN'T NECESSARY. IT ISN'T EVEN HELPFUL IN WINNING THIS STRANGE AND LONG WAR WE'RE FIGHTING. WE SHOULD BE GRATEFUL TO HAVE THAT TRUTH AFFIRMED. NOW LET US REASSERT THE TEMPORARY PROPOSITION THAT IT IS ESSENTIAL TO OUR SUCCESS IN THIS WAR THAT WE ASK THOSE WHO FIGHT IT FOR US TO REMEMBER AT ALL TIMES THAT THEY ARE DEFENDING A SACRED IDEAL OF HOW NATIONS SHOULD BE GOVERNED AND CONDUCT THEIR RELATIONS WITH OTHERS, EVEN OUR ENEMIES. THOSE OF US WHO GIVE THEM THIS DUTY ARE OBLIGED BY HISTORY, BY OUR NATION'S HIGHEST IDEALS AND THE MANY TERRIBLE SACRIFICES MADE TO PROTECT THEM BY OUR RESPECT FOR HUMAN DIGNITY, TO MAKE CLEAR WE NEED BE RISK OUR NATIONAL HONOR TO PREVAIL IN THIS OR ANY WAR. WE NEED ONLY REMEMBER IN THE WORST OF TIMES THROUGH THE CHAOS AND TERROR OF WAR, WHEN FACING CRUELTY, SUFFERING, AND LOSS, THAT WE ARE ALWAYS AMERICANS AND DIFFERENT, STRONGER, AND BETTER THAN THOSE WHO WOULD DESTROY US. MADAM PRESIDENT, I YIELD THE FLOOR. 

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Saturday, December 6, 2014

RUNNING... FOR RE-ELECTION?: Looking Past Recount, Martha McSally Files For 2016! (#AZ02 McSALLY/BARBER RECOUNT)

Arizona's newest Congresswoman-Elect-pending-recount-and-possible-challenges, Martha McSally, is taking the long view and yesterday became the first person to file for re-election in the ultra-competitive 2nd Congressional District. (Her Statement of Candidacy is posted below.)

McSally is leading current Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) by 161 votes as Pima and Cochise Counties conduct an automatic recount.

The Statement of Candidacy does not bind McSally to a campaign, of course.  Nor does it indicate that she is assuming that she will be running for re-election - it is possible that she would be runnng as a challenger.

However, it does permit McSally to raise money for both her 2014 recount and a possible 2016 race. (For example, if someone wanted to hand her a $7,800 check right now, she could accept it and divide it up between the 2014 general(recount), and the 2016 primary and general.)

This is not uncommon for already-elected offcials - Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) already filed, and most of the other Representatives will do so within the next month.  In fact, Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake filed theirs - for 2016 and 2018 - back in 2012 and January 2013, respectively.




(Arizona election law attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.)

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Friday, December 5, 2014

BREAKING: APS, Bob Parsons (Others) Send $375K In Last-Minute Checks To RGA/Ducey Campaign (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Not only did APS* send a last minute $50,000 check to the Republican Governors' Association to support the campaign of Treasurer-now-Governor-Elect Doug Ducey, but other Arizonans also gave big bucks at the last moment.

Most notably, former GoDaddy CEO and former big Christine Jones-for-Governor supporter Bob Parsons chipped in $200,000 to the RGA in October (in two equal installments on Oct. 10 & 24).

For comparson purposes, Parsons bankrolled an independent expenditure committee Better Leaders for Arizona in the primary election campaign, spending $2.1M supporting former general counsel Christine Jones.  It would appear Parsons preferred contributing to the RGA's attack ad campaign over the pro-Ducey dark money groups that had previously shredded Jones.

Also sending money to the RGA in October were Richard Burke (a Paradise Valley resident who is Chair of the UnitedHealth Group board) and Randy Kendrick (an attorney whose husband is the Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks).  They gave $100,000 and $25,000, respectively.

There were no substantial Arizona contributors to the Democratic Governors' Association in that period, and the RGA outspent the DGA in Arizona $6.1M to $150K.**

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was the Chair of the RGA and made an early October visit to Phoenix to support Ducey.


*Actually, APS' corporate parent, Pinnacle West Capital Corporation.
**The DGA contributed $150,000 to "Restore Arizona's Future" through October 17. RAF has not yet filed its post-election report (due yesterday).

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BREAKING - OCTOBER NOT-SO-SURPRISE: APS Sent 2nd Mega Check To Boost GOP AG Candidate Mark Brnovich; Also, Last Minute Check Supporting Ducey

Arizona's Politics confirmed today that the state's largest utility, Arizona Public Service, sent a 2nd mega-check ($250,000) to the semi-dark money Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") in October in order to boost the campaign of Attorney General-elect Mark Brnovich.  The October 3 contribution brought its investment in the race to $425,000.

RAGA ended up spending more than $3,000,000 on the Arizona campaign, helping Brnovich defeat Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini 52.8-47.0%.  The Democratic counterpart only spent less than $1.3M.

You might recall that RAGA messed up its previous IRS filing, indicating that APS parent Pinnacle West Capital Corp. had contributed $175,000 on September 15, yet reported an aggregate year-to-date of $425,000.  Arizona's Politics inquired about the apparent discrepancy; while RAGA did not respond, it did amend the report.  We speculated then that there had been a $250k contribution made between the 9/30 cutoff and the 10/15 filing, but neither RAGA nor PinnWest would confirm.

Confirmation arrived late last night at 11:30pm, when RAGA filed its post-election report just under the deadline.  Turns out that PinnWest made the quarter-million dollar contribution on October 3.

APS was not the only Arizona contributor to the persistent advertising barrage knocking the Democratic candidate.  Susan McGroder - an attorney at law firm Gallagher & Kennedy - gave $10,000.  Randy Kendrick - an attorney whose husband is managing owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks - contributed $25,000, as did Shamrock Foods.  Other Arizona corporations contribute to both RAGA and DAGA (a potentially troublesome issue).

***
APS ALSO gave $50,000 to the RGA on October 29, supporting Treasurer/Gov-Elect Doug Ducey's race. (RGA just filed yesterday, too.)

Arizona Public Service acknowledged last year that it contributed to groups working on the net metering issue before it came before the Arizona Corporation Commission (the government agency that regulates APS and other utilities).

APS/Pinnacle West is also widely believed to be behind a massive amount of dark money spending in campaigns this year for seats on the Corporation Commission, Secretary of State (one unsuccessful Republican candidate - Justin Pierce - has a father already on the Corporation Commission.

APS has neither denied nor confirmed those dark money contributions.  The contributions to RAGA and the RGA uncovered by Arizona's Politics were the first (and, only) substantive* and publicly-disclosed election contributions.


* APS and Pinnacle West have made small contributions this election cycle to the GOP's House Victory Committee ($5,000, May 20) and Senate Victory Committee ($5,000, May 31), and to the LD21 Republican Committee ($1,000, July 31).

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Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rep. Gosar Votes "Present" On Immigration/Executive Action Bill, Joins Hardliners Steve King, Raul Labrador In Worrying That It Was Move To "Pacify" Right Wing

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) bucked the prevailing House GOP position and voted "present" this afternoon on the GOP response to President Obama's executive action on immigration.  The measure passed the House 219-197. He worried that it was designed to pacify hardliners.

The rest of Arizona's delegation voted along party lines.  Only seven Republicans opposed the simple resolution (see, below) and only three Democrats voted in favor.

Gosar, Iowa Rep. Steve King, and Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador cast "present" votes, and 15 members did not vote.

Gosar was quoted by Roll Call as saying after the vote: “I believe in the principle; I also want to make sure this isn’t a cover,”

The Senate is unlikely to vote on today's measure.

* * *
Text of H.R. 5759:
A BILL
To establish a rule of construction clarifying the limitations on executive authority to provide certain forms of immigration relief.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Executive Amnesty Prevention Act of 2014'.

SEC. 2. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

    (a) In General- No provision of the United States Constitution, the Immigration and Nationality Act, or other Federal law shall be interpreted or applied to authorize the executive branch of the Government to exempt, by Executive order, regulation, or any other means, categories of persons unlawfully present in the United States from removal under the immigration laws (as such term is defined in section 101 of the Immigration and Nationality Act). Any action by the executive branch with the purpose of circumventing the objectives of this statute shall be null and void and without legal effect.
    (b) Effective Date- This Act shall have effect retroactively, and shall apply to any such exemption made at any time.

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UPDATE, #AZ02 MCSALLY/BARBER RECOUNT: Judge Denies Barber Motion To Allow Campaign Observers And To Hand Count Early Ballots

The Barber campaign was unsuccessful in its attempt to allow observers from the Barber and McSally campaigns to observe the recounting of ballots, and to hand count early ballots in addition to those cast on election day.  Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper today denied the two-prong motion for "clarify(ing)" those procedures, saying that they "deviate from the procedures" set forth in statutes and the manual.

GOP challenger Martha McSally holds a 161-vote lead over Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) heading into the recounting of ballots, which is set to begin today.

The Barber Motion to Clarify was filed on Monday (posted again below), the McSally campaign responded the next day and Barber filed a reply yesterday.

Here is the short ruling from Judge Cooper filed this morning:



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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

READ: U.S. Constitution REQUIRES Lawmakers Handle Redistricting, Says Arizona Legislature In Its Supreme Court Brief

The Arizona Legislature filed its brief with the U.S. Supreme Court today (Tuesday), explaining that the U.S. Constitution requires the lawmakers to handle Congressional redistricting and forbidding Arizona voters from changing that process.

The 59-page brief (posted below) was prepared by former Solicitor General Paul Clement, and makes the case that because the Constitution says that "the Legislature" sets the laws regarding its Congressional elections, the Arizona Constitutional amendment passed by voters in 2000 (Proposition 106) to set up the Independent Redistricting Commission was unconstitutional.

Four of the five AIRC members are appointed by legislative leaders (from a pool vetted by a non-partisan committee), they choose a fifth member, and the Commission then sets the district boundaries for both Congressional and state legislative districts.  The Legislature has the ability to make recommendations, but the Commission is not required to accept them.

The Legislature's legal challenge came after the contentious redistricting following the 2010 census, and complains that the *new* process removes them "completely" from its Constitutional "right". ("The Legislature has been completely deprived of that power....")

The AIRC now has until January 16 to file its brief.

(A second challenge to the redistricting boundaries is also sitting with the Supreme Court. The Justices have not yet decided whether or not they will accept the appeal in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.)



(Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.)

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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

READ: Arizona Supreme Court Says It's Not Group To Consider What Computer Program Recounts #AZ02 Votes, Maricopa Superior Court Judge Is

(Updated 5:15pm: Arizona's Politics received the Supreme Court Order dismissing the Special Action. It is published at the bottom of this article.)

In an afternoon telephonic hearing, the Arizona Supreme Court informed attorneys for voters, the Barber and McSally campaigns, and the government that it would not consider the Special Action filed Monday afternoon by Pima and Cochise County voters.

The Special Action crossed paths with the judicial proceeding opened yesterday in Maricopa County Superior Court (details below), and it is likely that the issues raised in the Special Action will be raised there.

The Special Action was filed by Tucson attorney Bill Risner* on behalf of voters from different parties and different counties.  The crux of the petition was that Arizona law requires the recount to be conducted by a different vote tabulation program and/or by hand.

Risner tells Arizona's Politics that he and his clients are investigating their legal options after the Supreme Court's dismissal.

Pima and Cochise counties have until December 16 to recount the ballots for CD2, and a court hearing is set for 10:00 a.m., December 17.



*Risner has long been active in cases involving immigrants' rights, Border Patrol issues, and election law issues for the Pima County Democrats. 


(Election law attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article.)

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READ: Ultra-Tight McSally/Barber Election Recount NOT Necessarily Delayed By Voters' Complaint To Adjust Computer Program/Process; December 17 Is Targeted Decision Date

UPDATED, 4:50pm: In an afternoon telephonic hearing, the Arizona Supreme Court informed attorneys for voters, the Barber and McSally campaigns, and the government that it would not consider the Special Action filed Monday afternoon by Pima and Cochise County voters.  The Special Action crossed paths with the judicial proceeding opened yesterday in Maricopa County Superior Court (details below), and it is likely that the issues raised in the Special Action will be raised there.


The ultra-tight election contest between GOP candidate Martha McSally and Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) will NOT necessarily be delayed by a new lawsuit filed by CD2 voters to change the programs to recount the ballots.

Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper has set a Court hearing for December 17 (10am) on the results of the recount. (See, Order, published below)




Complaint:



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Gov-Elect Doug Ducey Chooses APS Dark Money Man Kirk Adams Chief of Staff

After an election campaign marked by the surreptitious dark money bankrolling by Arizona's largest utility - Arizona Public Service ("APS"), you might be surprised to see Gov.-Elect Doug Ducey name one of APS' dark money managers as his incoming Chief of Staff.  Or, you might not.

Ducey today named former Arizona House Speaker Kirk Adams to be his first Chief of Staff when he takes over the 9th floor next month.  Since an unsuccessful run for Congress in 2012, Adams has been tightly connected with political consultant Sean Noble AND has helped APS semi-secretly oppose net metering when the Arizona Corporation Commission was wrestling with it last year.

Ducey and Adams also teamed up in the fall of 2012 to funnel $925,000 of dark money into the campaign opposing the state sales tax ballot measure. Their investment in defeating that education-related measure and a concurrent $575,000 dark money investment in defeating the open primary measure were both successful.

Ducey lauded Adams today as having "accomplishments, talent and knowledge are second-to-none."

Adams was President (and one of the directors) of Americans for Responsible Leadership in 2012, when it was one of the primary dark money vehicles of the Koch brothers' political network. During that time, California went after ARL for what it called "political money laundering"; Adams was no longer President when California reached a settlement with ARL (and sister organization Center to Protect Patient Rights) to pay a $1Million fine in the incident.  Neither Ducey, Adams nor Noble have ever acknowledged where the money came from to defeat the Arizona ballot measures, although Ducey was State Treasurer at the time.

Adams then became founder and sole director of Prosper, Inc., filed as an educational non-profit.  APS then gave Prosper an undisclosed amount of money (totaling in the six figures between Prosper and Noble partner 60 Plus Association) to get involved attacking "net metering" and solar firms, as the Corporation Commission was preparing to consider the contentious issue. (Prosper has not filed any campaigning disclosures with the Arizona Secretary of State, Adams has not filed with the Secretary of State as a lobbyist, and no record of a non-profit filing with the Internal Revenue Service was found.)

To present a couple of additional data points that almost complete the circle, Adams' past close allies 60 Plus Association and Center to Protect Patient Rights (nka American Encore) - also both Sean Noble operations and/or partners - were Ducey's two largest dark money supporters in the gubernatorial campaign.


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