FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BREAKING: Arpaio Finds A Tax Exempt Nonprofit For Supporters To Fund Legal Defense, Starts With $250K

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has come up with a way to permit his thousands of supporters across the nation to fund his legal defense with tax deductible money.  His non-exempt Legal Defense Fund has now received $250,000 from the new tax EXEMPT organization the National Center for Police Defense.

Arizona's Politics has been reporting on the ongoing efforts by Arpaio - who is now facing a criminal contempt trial in June for admitted violations of federal court orders in the long-running Melendres v. Arpaio civil rights case. Impassioned solicitations for the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Legal Defense Fund (from Arpaio) have mistakenly informed his supporters that the contributions to keep him out of jail would be tax deductible.

Ironically on Tax Day, this plea for money hit Arpaio's supporters' email inboxes today. It comes from the new NCPL, and includes one of the Sheriff's *personal* emails. (The entire email is republished below the jump in this article.)  It emphasizes the unlimited, tax deductible nature of gifts.

Arpaio's Legal Defense Fund is an opaque entity operated by Summit Group Consulting, the same consulting firm that has run Arpaio's campaigns and made him into an unparalleled fundraising machine. There is no evidence that the fund is incorporated in Arizona (or, elsewhere). No public disclosure of the funds received or expended is required under law.

It is very likely that any monies raised by the fund and disbursed to attorneys on Arpaio's behalf are taxable income for the Sheriff. On his personal financial disclosure statement (filed while he was in office), Arpaio did not divulge receiving any income from this fund, nor did he list any gifts, reportable interests, or personal debts.

Arpaio also maintains control of his campaign committee, which had more than $460,000 on March 31, 2017.  His report filed last week does not show that any transfers were made to the NCPD during March, although that would appear to be one possible way for Arpaio to dispose of the campaign monies.

Arizona's Politics has asked for responses and explanations from both Jim Fotis of the NCPD and Arpaio's longtime campaign guru Chad Willems. This article will be supplemented as needed.

(Phoenix election law attorney and Arizona's Politics' co-founder Paul Weich contributed to this article.)


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

READ: "The Circus Is Over; The Tents Are Coming Down": New Sheriff Closing Expensive "Tent City Jail"

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BREAKING UPDATE: Judge Sets Emergency Hearing In Arpaio Criminal Contempt Case

(UPDATE, 3:45pm: The Department of Justice's Public Integrity Section informs Arizona's Politics that it will attend the Thursday hearing in person, rather than by telephone.)

Outgoing and incoming legal counsel for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio are ordered to appear personally at an emergency hearing this Thursday afternoon.  U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued the order this afternoon, after lead counsel A. Melvin McDonald told the Court last night that he needed to withdraw three weeks before the criminal contempt trial. (The Order is published below.)

The prosecuting attorneys for the Department of Justice are permitted to phone in for the accelerated hearing. However, a spokesperson for the DOJ's Public Integrity Section informed Arizona's Politics this evening that they will be in the courtroom. (And/or in the Judge's chambers, if necessary.)

Arizona's Politics reported yesterday on the surprise 11th hour withdrawal application. The Arizona Republic followed up with some possible insights into what may have prompted the ethical quandary that former U.S. Attorney McDonald and the Jones, Skelton & Hochuli firm found themselves in.

If the withdrawal is permitted, Mark Goldman (Goldman & Zwillinger) will become Arpaio's lead counsel. Goldman unsuccessfully asked that the trial be continued due to his son's Bar Mitzvah taking place the following weekend.

Late last night, McDonald filed witness and exhibit lists (subject to change by Goldman), showing eight possible defense witnesses in the April 25 trial. Those witnesses are Russ Skinner, Jerry Sheridan, Former Chief Brian Sands, Lt. Joseph Sousa, Chief Jack MacIntyre, Lisa Allen, Lt. Brian Jakowinicz and Brett Palmer.


<p  style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;">   <a title="View Order Setting Accelerated Hearing On Application To Withdraw on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/document/344052458/Order-Setting-Accelerated-Hearing-On-Application-To-Withdraw#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Order Setting Accelerated Hearing On Application To Withdraw</a> by <a title="View arizonaspolitics's profile on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/user/218365445/arizonaspolitics#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >arizonaspolitics</a> on Scribd</p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/344052458/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-rEvhzz21kOBizN1VhBl8&show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="0.7729220222793488" scrolling="no" id="doc_12782" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe>
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BREAKING: Trump Pays Approx $2M, Clears Lawsuit & Lien On Old Post Office (NATIONAL NEWS)

President Donald Trump's Old Post Office LLC officially removed the lien and the lis pendens stemming from its failure to timely pay $2 Million to the electrical contractor for work done last year on its new hotel, Arizona's Politics has learned. The taxpayers own the property and lease it to Trump*.

The lawsuit was filed by Freestate Electrical the day before Trump was inaugurated as President. The Trump company's rush to open the luxury hotel near the White House two weeks before Election Day required contractors to incur significant added costs, according to Freestate's lawsuit. The bills were not timely paid, and contractors rushed to file liens on the property. Freestate was still unpaid, so it filed the legal action to enforce its lien.

Three other contractors separately had to file mechanics liens against T.O.P.O. LLC since November. All were (paid and) released in February and March (after hotel revenues began to roll in).

Freestate's legal action was due for a hearing at the end of this month. The dismissal was filed on Friday, and the releases of the lien and the lis pendens were recorded today (see, below). It is unlikely that the plaintiff settled for less than the balance due.

Arizona's Politics has requested comments from representatives of both Freestate and the Trump Organization, and will update this article as necessary.


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* Trump's interest may or may not be held in a trust and may or may not be able to access monies from the Trump Old Post Office LLC, per recent news reports. For purposes of simplicity, Arizona's Politics refers to "Trump" because he still appears to have a significant level of involvement and interest in the LLC.

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WATCH, IN-DEPTH: Rep. Schweikert On C-Span Re: Healthcare Reform; "I May Be An Outlier" In Freedom Caucus

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert had "fun" this morning discussing healthcare reform in-depth on C-Span.

Although we have not yet watched/listened to this entire interview (he took many calls), we did catch the end where he says he

When asked what the Freedom Caucus wants, Schweikert gave a disclaimer that he "may be an outlier because I was a yes vote within the group". He then said that the group - of which he is a member - wants to lower costs and give states more discretion on how to use Medicaid expansion funds.

If you find some interesting tidbits, please let us know. The uncorrected closed captioning is below the jump.



McCain Still Very Sad, But Will Vote To Go Nuclear (In Senate): "I Have No Choice"

John McCain (R-AZ) says he will vote to go "nuclear" in the U.S. Senate this week because "I have no choice." Last week, McCain said he was "very sad" at the prospect of changing the filibuster rules in order to get Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch confirmed; today, he said he has "terrible
qualms" but will vote with his party.

McCain - possibly in his final 6-year term in the Senate - told Politico: "I have no choice." He warned that the GOP will pay a political price for opting for a simple majority - "Democrats are obviously paying a heavy price for what Harry Reid did, and I believe we will pay a price for this."

Democrats removed the 60-vote threshold for confirming nominations and appointments other than for the Supreme Court (though the rule could have been reinstated) during the Obama presidency, claiming that Republicans were filibustering non-controversial District and Court of Appeals nominations.


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Monday, April 3, 2017

BREAKING: Former U.S. Attorney Moves To Withdraw As Sheriff Arpaio Counsel 3 Weeks Before Criminal Contempt Trial

(UPDATE, 4/4, 7:40am: Arizona's Politics requested a comment from the U.S. Department of Justice. They "decline to comment at this time." We do expect them to file a response with the Court very quickly.)

A. Melvin McDonald, lead counsel for former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, has applied to withdraw as counsel 3 weeks before the criminal contempt trial set for April 25.

Late Friday, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton denied Arpaio's efforts to delay the trial due to co-counsel's son's Bar Mitzvah at the end of April. Late today, the Jones, Skelton & Hochuli's Application To Withdraw was filed, claiming that to continue to represent the former Sheriff because "the representation will result in violation of the Rules of Professional Conduct or other law." The Rules of Professional Conduct refers to ethical rules that attorneys are required to follow.

It is unclear what specific type of violation could occur or what has suddenly changed in the law firm's relationship with the former Sheriff, although McDonald did state that he is "ready, willing and able to answer, in camera, any questions the court may have relative to this application."  He suggests that he is available for a private hearing in the Judge's chambers during the next three days. McDonald's Application does reference "comment 3" to the ethical rule, which is reproduced at the bottom of this article.

As for the law firm's fees, Arpaio recently has been sending out regular emails soliciting funds from his massive donor base, claiming that he was falling short in his efforts to pay his attorneys. It is unlikely that that is what caused today's Application to Withdraw, however.

Arpaio is still represented by Mark Goldman and his Goldman & Zwillinger firm. In fact, the 8-person firm filed a Notice of Appearance adding its Jeff Surdakowski to the Arpaio trial team.


This is a breaking news story. The documents and more details will be posted shortly.
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Comment 3 to Ethical Rule 1.16:
[3] When a lawyer has been appointed to represent a client, withdrawal ordinarily requires approval of the appointing authority. See also Rule 6.2. Similarly, court approval or notice to the court is often required by applicable law before a lawyer withdraws from pending litigation. Difficulty may be encountered if withdrawal is based on the client's demand that the lawyer engage in unprofessional conduct. The court may request an explanation for the withdrawal, while the lawyer may be bound to keep confidential the facts that would constitute such an explanation. The lawyer's statement that professional considerations require termination of the representation ordinarily should be accepted as sufficient. Lawyers should be mindful of their obligations to both clients and the court under Rules 1.6 and 3.3.


<p  style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;">   <a title="View Expedited Hearing Request On Withdrawing As Arpaio Counsel on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/document/343945082/Expedited-Hearing-Request-On-Withdrawing-As-Arpaio-Counsel#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Expedited Hearing Request On Withdrawing As Arpaio Counsel</a> by <a title="View arizonaspolitics's profile on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/user/218365445/arizonaspolitics#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >arizonaspolitics</a> on Scribd</p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/343945082/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-YbQEeQ3HZjRZMZh9UIzm&show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="0.7727272727272727" scrolling="no" id="doc_23531" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe>

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

McCain "Very Sad", Flake Also Misses Bipartisanship; See "Nuclear" Reaction To Gorsuch Filibuster

This Huffington Post article has key quotes from both of Arizona's U.S. Senators. John McCain is "very sad" because he has "failed" to convince enough Democrats to not filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch, and that the Republicans will go "nuclear" in response.


Jeff Flake sees sad parallels to the currently-dead Obamacare repeal and replace effort in the House.

Both seem to acknowledge that they will go along with Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's plans to invoke the so-called "nuclear option" - changing the Senate rules to require only 51 Senators to close debate on a Supreme Court nominee and proceed to a vote.

Neither Senator mentioned to the Huffington Post reporter that their acquiescence in last year's blocking of the Merrick Garland nomination contributed to this year's (planned) Democratic filibuster.

Here are the quotes from Arizona's Senators:




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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

GET YOUR EXERCISE: Rep. McSally On Her Bill To Conduct Large Scale Anti-Terrorism Exercise Re: Americans-Turned-Foreign-Fighters

(Update, 4:15pm: Rep. McSally's office informs Arizona's Politics that the House vote on H.R. 1302 is now planned for tomorrow (Thursday).)

he House debated a bill from Arizona Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) today, which would require that the U.S. Government conduct a large scale exercise probing weaknesses in dealing with Americans who travel abroad and return to commit acts of terror.

Here is McSally's explanation of H.R. 1302:


The bill  is expected to pass the House before the end of the week.


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UPDATE: Gosar Bill Removing Antitrust Exemption From Health/Dental Insurance Passes House 416-7

(Update, 4:10pm: Rep. Gallego's office informs Arizona's Politics that the Congressman "actually voted no by mistake", and that he will submit a statement to that effect tomorrow.)

Yesterday, we reported on the bipartisan support for Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar's (R-CD4) bill removing an antitrust exemption from health and dental insurance companies. Though H.R. 372 only had Republican co-sponsors, the Democratic debaters announced their support for it.

Today, the bill passed 416-7. Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-CD7) was among the Democrats who voted against it. (See "update" noting that the vote was mistakenly cast.) (Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) did not vote.)

The debate yesterday focused on how much of an effect the bill would have, the larger healthcare/ health insurance debate, and who should get credit for the bill (House Democrats had passed it in 2010 - with bipartisan support - although it died when it did not become part of the larger Affordable Care Act).

In light of the fierce debate surrounding the Republicans' repeal-and-replace efforts, the prospects for this modest measure is also uncertain.


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LISTEN: Dark Money Group Bombards Gosar, Schweikert, Franks To Support Trump-Ryan Health Insurance Bill; Conservative Talk Radio Ads, Robocalls

The dark money American Action Network is targeting Arizona Republican Representatives Franks, Gosar and Schweikert with talk radio ads and robocalls, in an effort to get them to support the Trump-Ryan-GOP-conservative healthcare reform bill that is set to come to a vote tomorrow.

One small change between the robocalls started last week and the radio ad running on KFYI yesterday through tomorrow? Last week, the AAN - which backs the House GOP Leadership - touted the AHCA as both President Trump's and Speaker Ryan's; the new ad only emphasizes the President's support.

The new ad is costing only $3,000 per day on the state's largest conservative talk radio station, KFYI. No word on how much was spent on the robocalls last week.

Reps. Paul Gosar (R-CD4), David Schweikert (R-CD5) and Trent Franks (R-CD8) are all linked to the more conservative House Freedom Caucus, which is vowing to bring down the bill.

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

AAN is a 501(c )(4 ) social welfare organization that does not disclose its donors. A number of "grant recipients" have reported receiving money from AAN in IRS filings.

AAN receives a dark gray shade of 45 on Arizona's Politics' #50ShadesOfDarkMoney scale.

(h/t to Politico)





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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

READY FOR VOTE: Rep. Gosar Bill Removing Antitrust Exemption From Health and Dental Insurance

(UPDATE, 12:20pm: Gosar Communications Director Steven Smith informs Arizona's Politics that the vote on Rep. Gosar's bill will take place tomorrow, separately from the rest of AHCA (aka Trumpcare). He also notes that the White House came out in favor of it today, as well.

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) has successfully pushed a bill to remove the antitrust exemption from health insurance and dental insurance to the House floor today, as part of a Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare.

The bill - H.R. 372 - is proposed as a way of encouraging competition in the health and dental insurance markets, and is a favorite of the American Dental Association. Dr. Gosar was a practicing dentist before entering Congress, and the ADA has been his biggest Congressional supporter.

Gosar notes that his bill "liberates the insurance industry and doctors and empowers patients" by removing the portion of the McCarran-Ferguson Act that grants an antitrust exemption to  health and dental insurance companies. (Here is his news release on the bill.)


Democrats debating the measure on the House Floor today are indicating that they support Gosar's bill and that they overwhelmingly - and in a bipartisan manner - passed "substantively similar"  (Cecilline) legislation in 2010.  Instead, the Democrats are arguing that HR372 is being oversold and neither permits health/dental insurance to be sold across similar lines nor increases competition on its own. They are also concerned that Republicans are attempting to "put lipstick on a pig". (Jackson Lee)

The American Dental Association has lobbied hard for this measure, and - among other things - has sent this explanatory letter:




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Monday, March 20, 2017

(BREAKING) PARDON ME? Arpaio Not Catching A Break (Yet) From (Trump's) DOJ In Criminal Contempt Trial

While there has been much speculation that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio might catch a break - even a Presidential pardon - in his criminal contempt trial now that Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions are in charge of the U.S. Department of Justice, the DOJ today opposed even a two-month continuance of the trial currently scheduled for April 25.

As reported by Brahm Resnik of KPNX-TV, new co-counsel for Arpaio filed a plea for the continuance on Friday, noting that his only son's Bar Mitzvah was scheduled for April 29. (The Motion for Continuance is reproduced below.) The Motion also claims that the government's inclusion of Tim Casey as a likely witness also warranted the additional time to prepare.

The Department of Justice wasted no time in filing its Opposition to the request, submitting it to the Court this afternoon. The Response (see below) notes that new co-counsel Mark Goldman was actually present at the January 25 hearing which continued the trial until April 25 and that lead counsel Mel McDonald told Judge Susan Bolton that he was going to be bringing on Goldman (or other counsel) to the case.

The DOJ also notes that Casey  - the former attorney hired by Maricopa County -  is not a surprise witness and that he testified in the civil contempt trial. The Government also notes that there are no privilege issues (as Goldman claims) remaining which would justify delay.

Arpaio himself has been busy raising funds to pay his expanding attorney roster (as well as for his new social welfare organization).




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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

READ: Arizona Supreme Court Unanimously Rejects Chambers of Commerce Challenge To Minimum Wage Increase

With the formal opinion to follow, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously made quick work rejecting a post-election challenge to the initiative increasing Arizona's minimum wage and requiring paid sick time.

Proposition 206 passed easily. Rather than waging a vocal campaign before November 8, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce (and other Chambers) decided to try a legal challenge after the fact.

The newly-expanded Supreme Court did not take kindly to the effort, and issued a brief order at 4:50pm (without its usual practice - for opinions - of notifying attorneys in advance that a decision is coming the next day).

Oral argument had just been held this past Thursday.


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SOLICITATION: Sheriff Arpaio's New Dark Money Social Welfare Organization (BREAKING)

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is soliciting funds for his new "Joe Arpaio Action Fund". He has set it up as a social welfare organization under Section 501(c)(4) (of the Internal
Revenue Code), which allows him to accept unlimited donations while not disclosing the contributors, as well as to expend less than half of their funds on political activities.

The fundraising email sent out today by his former campaign manager Chad Willems over Arpaio's signature (published below) repeats his invective that President Obama's Justice Department - combined with the millions spent by George Soros - was responsible for his re-election loss last fall. He says he is forming the JAAF to "build an organization that promotes a conservative agenda, helps conservative ideas become law and help those conservatives win office." The IRS defines "social welfare" as "promoting in some way the common good and general welfare of the people of the community".

It is possible that the JAAF will voluntarily disclose donors, and it is required to file an annual report with the IRS. Arizona's Politics is seeking additional information about their intentions.

The former Sheriff - who is staring at an impending trial in his criminal contempt case - is not on the Board of Directors of his new social welfare organization. That honor falls to Chris Hegstrom (his last Communications Director when he was the Sheriff), Charles Edwards and Tempe mortgage broker Dan Wickner.

Today's fundraising plea comes two weeks after one from Arpaio - for his equally opaque legal defense fund - admitting that he can no longer afford to pay his high-priced attorneys in his criminal contempt proceedings. Sheriff Joe put out the February 28 emergency plea to his many thousands of contributors in an email.
"Today is the last day of February and my legal bills for the month are due. Thanks to the help of caring and patriotic Americans like you I have been able to pay of (sic) much of my debt, but I am still $2,500 short." 
This IS, in fact, "urgent" as Arpaio is facing an April 25th trial in the criminal contempt case brought against him by the (Obama) Department of Justice, and there has not yet been any sign that new Attorney General Jeff Sessions is backing away from the case.

Of course, Arpaio has nearly $600,000 left in his campaign account ($587,271.60 as of December 31, 2016). However, by state law, that money cannot be converted to personal use.

Arizona's Politics has asked Arpaio's Chad Willems for more information on both the new 501(c)(4) and the legal defense fund, and will update as merited.

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Dear Friend,

You were such a tremendous supporter of mine through the years while I was Sheriff of Maricopa County. I cannot tell you how much your support meant to me and my wife Ava through so many difficult times.

Unfortunately, last November I lost my battle for re-election. It wasn't because I lacked the support of so many great patriots like you.

Rather, I was the victim of a perfect storm comprised of a national and local media that was hell-bent on distorting my record, maligning me personally and not telling the whole truth.

On top of that, none other than the far-left George Soros spent nearly $4 million in attack ads against me that were nasty, vicious, and deceptive. 


And on top of that the Obama Justice Department, in a pure political move, announced they were filing criminal contempt of court charges against me the day before critical early voting started here in Arizona. Finally, with two weeks to go before the election, they formally filed charges against me.

The actions by the Obama Justice Department were completely politically motivated. Their rush to file a misdemeanor charge against me so close to the election was politically calculated in order to cause my campaign for re-election the most harm.

This was the same Justice Department that let so many of their own off the hook. 

Think about this: Hillary Clinton "allegedly" jeopardized national security and destroyed evidence; Lois Lerner as head of the IRS violated the civil rights of thousands of citizens; Eric Holder was held in contempt of Congress; and none of them faced any consequences.

Thus, I was defeated at the ballot box - all because of my unwavering support for enforcing illegal immigration laws - and being so outspoken about the federal government's failure to do their job.

But, as I have said to you time and time again, I never back down from a fight and I never surrender. And I'm not about to now. While I may no longer be the Sheriff, I still believe in order for our Republic to stand, we must enforce the Rule of Law. 

So I'm going to continue to fight for the shared conservative values we hold so dear. After serving 55 years in law enforcement as a top director of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration, including 24 years as an elected Sheriff, I'll be fighting for our values as a private citizen.

Recently, I formed the "Sheriff Joe Arpaio Action Fund" which I will use to counter the likes of George Soros who use their billions to influence public policy and elections. I learned a lot of lessons during my last campaign, but chief among them is that we can never idly sit by and get comfortable. Our cause must be vigilant, ever-ready to counter the progressive left's lies and deceit.

Obviously, I am not a billionaire who can write a personal check to buy elections across this country (like Soros!). But what I can do is reach out to loyal supporters like you and ask for your help. Together we can build an organization that promotes a conservative agenda, helps conservative ideas become law and help those conservatives win office.

So many of you have reached out to me since the election with heart-felt words of encouragement and support and asked what else they could do to help.

I'm asking for your support now. I know that if we work together we can build an organization that will strike fear into the heart of the progressive left movement and serve as a vehicle to move a conservative agenda forward.

Please don't skip over this email. Please make a contribution today to the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Action Fund. We can and will do great things together, but I need you on board today to get this organization rolling. The mid-term elections will be here before we know it. The radical left in this country is more energized than ever before to defeat President Trump's agenda. We simply cannot go to sleep on this. It's critical we all stay engaged and continue pushing for what we know is right.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I'm excited about this new chapter in my life and I'll never stop doing what I know is right.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Sincerely,

Sheriff Joe Arpaio
Maricopa County, Arizona (retired)

P.S. Please don't delete this email. Your support for the Sheriff Joe Arpaio Action Fund today is critical if we are going to counter the progressive left's efforts to demonize President Trump and conservatism as a whole. If we don't stand up and fight, who else will? 


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Monday, March 13, 2017

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego Blasts Speaker Paul Ryan As "One Of the Best Liars...In the World"

Hours before House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) reacted to the new CBO scoring of the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-CD7) took to a national stage (at SXSW) to call Ryan "one of the best liars I have ever seen in the world."

Gallego was a featured speaker at Politico's Playbook Exchange, and he did not hold back. When one of the moderators interrupted to say it was being taped, Gallego replied that he was "being tame" and that "he clearly will go on TV and say, like, well, no one's going to lose coverage, and all these kinds of things that are just clear lies, and for me it is extremely personal."
<iframe src='//players.brightcove.net/1155968404/r1WF6V0Pl_default/index.html?videoId=5357860289001' allowfullscreen frameborder=0></iframe>

Later in the day, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office released its cost estimate, estimating that while the repeal and replace measure would further reduce budget deficits by a total of $337B over the next 10 years, it would also increase the number of Americans without any health insurance by 24M over the same time period.

Ryan praised the CBO's report:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">CBO report confirms it → American Health Care Act will lower premiums &amp; improve access to quality, affordable care. <a href="https://t.co/jNzmYFPe9H">https://t.co/jNzmYFPe9H</a> <a href="https://t.co/f0NGuLiztl">pic.twitter.com/f0NGuLiztl</a></p>&mdash; Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) <a href="https://twitter.com/SpeakerRyan/status/841388103529058304">March 13, 2017</a></blockquote>

<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>

Gallego released a statement calling the CBO's estimate "an embarrassment to Paul Ryan, the Republican Party and the conservative movement."

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

McSally's Town Halls Range From Open to Closed; Giffords Tells Republicans (Other Than McSally) To Face Constituents (READ)

As she was about to begin an open town hall in Sahuarita this afternoon, Rep. Martha McSally's (R-CD2) office sent out a release to the media announcing another town hall tomorrow, in Tucson.


A town hall meeting at a manufacturing facility? Sounded a little odd. Communications Director Pat Ptak confirmed to Arizona's Politics that the session would only be for the employees at Arizona Optical Systems.

Town halls have once again become a hot-button topic, as Trump opponents have made Congressmembers' town halls a focal point in expressing opposition to Republicans.

Earlier today, Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert invoked the 2011 attempted assassination of McSally's predecessor, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as a reason for Republicans to avoid town hall gatherings. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded in that mass shooting at Giffords' constituent meeting event.

Giffords immediately retorted that her office was open to voters walking in the Monday following that Saturday shooting (while she was still in the hospital), and that Representatives have to have the courage to face their constituents.

Here is her full statement:




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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BREAKING/READ: Arizona Supreme Court Sets Oral Arguments On Minimum Wage Increase Challenge

The Arizona Supreme Court decided today that it would like to hear oral arguments on the Arizona Chamber of Commerce's lawsuit challenging the voter-approved minimum wage increase.

The Justices set a 40-minute oral argument for March 9. They only want to hear arguments regarding the claim that the measure forces the state to spend money and the appropriate relief. They rejected the arguments put forth by the Chambers of Commerce that the initiative violated state law by addressing two different issues (minimum wage and paid time off).

The Chambers will have 20 minutes to argue their case, and the State of Arizona and its agencies will have 10 minutes. The committee that passed the initiative - Arizonans for Fair Wages and Healthy Families - will have 10 minutes to defend.



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Thursday, February 9, 2017

TODAY'S TRUMP TWITTER TRASHING TARGET: McCain Again In Crosshairs; Endures It In Silence, While Friends Successfully Come To His Defense

Arizona Senator John McCain remained tight-lipped on becoming Today's Trump Twitter Trashing Target(tm pending), as the President renewed his attacks on "our hero" McCain. However, Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle rushed to McCain's defense.

Trump lashed out at McCain's mild criticism of the U.S. raid on an al Qaeda facility in Yemen which resulted in the death of Navy SEAL Ryan Owens. McCain had originally called the operation "a failure", but his statement this week indicated that any operation which results in loss of American lives should not be called "a success".

That was enough for President Donald Trump to re-lash out at McCain in his regularly-scheduled tweets of the morning. Here is the three tweet series (read from bottom tweet, up)


The seemingly-sarcastic "our hero", and the references to "embolden(ing) the enemy" and "losing" all bring back to mind Trump's previous Twitter trashings of McCain and the period (after the Republican National Convention) when Trump and McCain temporarily endorsed each other.

While McCain has remained silent today about the tweets - he is handling a hearing on Afghanistan - other Senators have expressed their feelings about the simultaneously offensive and defensive Trump tweets. As the Washington Post reported:
But other members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, in both parties, had plenty to say to Trump in McCain’s defense.
“That’s a dangerous error, for President Trump to continue to trash John McCain,” said Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Fla.), adding that McCain “is a guy who knows what he’s talking about” when it comes to the military.
McCain’s closest friend in the Senate, Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) added that the Trump administration should be more careful about how he tries to cast the Yemen raid to the public.
“One thing I would advise the Trump administration is: Don’t oversell success,” Graham said, noting that he thought the Obama administration oversold the success of various missions, to its detriment. He also advised to focus on finding common ground with Congress instead of picking fights with members like McCain.
“I don’t think President Trump will have a better ally in the United States Congress when it comes to rebuilding the military than John McCain,” Graham said.
One of Trump's earliest dust-ups in his successful Presidential campaign was when he said that McCain is not his idea of a war hero because he had been captured. His ability to weather the uproar and outrage from those statements was repeatedly pointed to as his ability to say very politically incorrect things and not only weather the storm but gather strength.

Arizona might also be the only state that has repeatedly seen both of its Senators receive twitter trashings from Trump. The now-President has taken offense to Sen. Jeff Flake's standing up to him last year and his statements that he was not sure if he would vote for Trump in November.


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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

YEAH, WE'RE LOOKING AT YOU, ARIZONA: LA Times Interviews Two AZ Trump Fans, Calls It Reporting; SAD!

The Los Angeles Times published an article this morning that appears solely designed to bolster any stereotypes Angelenos may have of Arizona.

Under the headline "Trump's first week: For many in Arizona, it doesn't get any better than this", LA Times' border reporter (based in Tucson) Nigel Duara wrote up his interviews with two Trump supporters in a Goodyear parking lot and phoned it in.

Interviewing an 84-year old white man and a 36-year old white woman, Duara delivered his sweeping thesis sentence: "Here, more than 120 miles from the border, Arizona voters outraged with President Obama’s executive orders that welcomed the foreign-born to America are delighted with Trump’s first week in office, when his actions seemed to have done the opposite."

As Arizonans' new hero might say (if the shoes had been on opposite feet) SAD!


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WATCH: Sen. Flake On "Enthusiastically Supporting" Jeff Sessions' Nomination For Attorney General

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) gave a quick, 1 1/2-minute speech in the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this morning, explaining why he is "enthusiastically supporting" the nomination of Jeff Sessions for U.S. Attorney General.

He noted that he disagreed "often" with Sessions in the Senate, singling out immigration reform. However, even in those circumstances, Sessions was "thoughtful" and "courteous".


The Judiciary Committee's meeting casting their vote on Sessions has been marked by long speeches by opposing Democrats - which Chair Chuck Grassley is explicitly permitting because Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy permitted the same courtesy to Republicans when he was the committee's chair - and absences of Republicans (to vote on the floor for other nominations) causing long pauses for a lack of a quorum. There has even been at least one protester interruption.

http://cs.pn/2kMztGe


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Thursday, January 26, 2017

Doomsday Clock Moves Closer To Midnight; Well-Known ASU Physicist Says Public Pressure Needed To "Turn Back From The Brink"

Well-known ASU physicist Lawrence Krauss helped announce today that the Doomsday Clock now stands at 2 1/2 minutes to midnight. That is the closest it has been to doomsday since 1953, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists listed it at two minutes to midnight. For the past couple of years, the clock was at 3 minutes to midnight.

Krauss chairs the Board of the Bulletin that determines the clock's setting each year, and he told Arizona's Politics yesterday "in the 70 years since the clock was created, this year stands out for importance."  He said that "international tensions are high and international cooperation is low, thanks in part to proposed policies by the new (Trump) administration."  (his full statement is below)

After the early days of nuclear weapons testing in the 1950's, the clock was set back in the 1960's as the U.S. and Soviet Union worked to avoid direct conflict. It then reached three minutes to midnight in 1984, saying U.S./Soviet relations were iciest in decades. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the clock reached its farthest from midnight in 1991.  Subsequent decisions to move the clock closer to midnight have also factored in "the nearly inexorable climate disruptions from global warming."

Krauss says "turning back from the brink will require public pressure to create sound policies in which nuclear weapons are not considered usable." As for climate change, he notes that the public and state governments need to lead "because it does not appear as if national governments are."

Krauss is the Director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University and Foundation Professor at ASU's School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department.

Krauss' full comments to Arizona's Politics:


"In the 70 years since the clock was created, this year stands out for importance in my mind.  Certainly the clock announcement this year is more important than at any time since I have been on the Board of the Bulletin, and more important than at any time during which I have chairing the Board.   On existential threats including climate change and nuclear weapons, international tensions are high and international cooperation is low, thanks in part to proposed policies by the new administration.  Actions speak louder than words, but words matter.  Turning back from the brink will require public pressure to create sound policies in which nuclear weapons are not considered usable, and faced with the third consecutive global warmest year on record, with more energy for devastating storms, and debilitating summer temperatures, the public, and state governments needs to lead here, because it does not appear as if national governments are."

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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

WATCH: Voter Fraud Not a Problem in "State of the Art" Arizona; Secy of State Reagan on Meet The Press Daily Re: Voter Fraud

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan took to national TV this evening to help dispel President Trump's allegations of massive voter fraud in the November election. She explained to Chuck Todd
(on MSNBC) how Arizona's "state of the art" system checks voter registrations against driver's licenses, and how counties prevent someone from voting by mail and voting in person on election day.

This comes the same day that the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting published an article about a letter this week from all 15 County Recorders, asking for more frequent and more respectful communication with Reagan and her office.

Here is the video:




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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

READ: Here's Non-Partisan CBO's Estimate On Obamacare Repeal Costs: Double Premiums, 32M More Uninsured



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ANECDOTAL EVIDENCE CONFIRMED: More Republican & Independent Non-Regular Voters Cast Ballots For President Than Democrats

Significantly more formerly "inactive" voters who were registered as Republican or Other showed up to vote in the Presidential election than did inactive Democrats. The new voter registration numbers released by the Arizona Secretary of State today confirm what many (including Arizona's Politics) had reported anecdotally.

Although the main news from today's report (reproduced below) is that the number of registered voters continued to increase between the October cutoff to register for the General Election (more on that later in the article), the material decrease in the number of "inactive" voters also deserves attention.

Nearly 33,000 voters who had not voted in previous elections and/or had mailings returned as undeliverable came to polling places on November 8 and cast ballots (thus taking them off of the "inactive register". Nearly half of those had not registered for either of the major political parties, but the returning Republicans outnumbered their Democratic counterparts by 8.8 percentage points (9,961 and 7,075, respectively).*

 Many reporters, poll workers and poll observers - in Arizona and throughout the nation - reported observing many people who were stating - sometimes excitedly - things like they were "voting for the first time in ages", and that Donald Trump had motivated them. This new report provides some validation for that reporting and similar exit polls.

When the "inactive" to "active" voters are factored in, it  also puts a slightly different spin on the overall registered voter increase between October and January. The Secretary of State's Office reports that there are now 57,656 more active registered voters. Most of that increase is attributable to the re-activated voters. Of the balance, approximately 10,000 registered as Republicans, 8,000 as Democrats and only 6,000 as "Other".

Many of those probably registered within the 28 days prior to the election (including those Columbus Day registrants) - too late to vote on November 8 but ready for the local elections coming up in 2017 and the statewide and Congressional elections in 2018.

*It is worth noting that more Democrats than Republicans dropped off the inactive register earlier in 2016 when County Recorders sent out mailers and received responses or forwarding addresses; however, we do not know that those people ended up voting in November.

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WATCH: McCain Tells Fox He's "Barely" Leaning Toward Supporting Tillerson

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) was on Fox News last night, and indicated that he had spoken with Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson, and was "barely" leaning toward supporting him.


After laughing and saying "I am, I am" leaning toward supporting him, McCain added the caveat "I still don't understand taking an award from that thug (Putin)."




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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

WATCH: McCain Today On Turning Over Dossier To FBI



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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

BREAKING: Arizona's Jon Kyl Becomes Trump Sherpa For AG Nominee Jeff Sessions

Former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) has become a "sherpa" to guide former colleague Jeff Sessions through the confirmation process. Sessions is President Elect Donald Trump's choice for U.S. Attorney General.
(Cliff Owen, AP)

Kyl was a longtime member on the Senate Judiciary Committee (along with Sessions), although he was in the House of Representatives when that Senate committee voted to not confirm Sessions as a federal judge.

Politico reported Kyl's "sherpa" status this afternoon, shortly after the Associated Press published this picture of Kyl and Sessions visiting Senators.

Kyl retired from the Senate four years ago, and has been of counsel at the large law and lobbying firm of Covington Burling since.

(Kyl has not yet responded to Arizona's Politics inquiry, and this article will be updated when he does.)


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

BREAKING, FROM THE FIELD TO THE COURT: Diamondbacks Sue County Re: Ballpark Repairs, Look To Get Out Of Chase Early

The Arizona Diamondbacks have taken their frustrations with Maricopa County - the owners of Chase Field - from the field to the court. A lawsuit (reproduced below) was filed today in Superior Court asking to let the team out of their long-term lease early, due to the County's alleged failure to keep up on promised repairs.

The announcement was made in the form of an article by Major League Baseball reporter Steve Gilbert. (reproduced below) (The tag at the end of the article notes that it was not subject to approval by the Diamondbacks.)  It includes several quotes from Diamondbacks' Managing General Partner Ken Kendrick and Diamondbacks' attorney Leo Beus.

The Diamondbacks and the County have been fighting for years over repairs to the Ballpark, which has been in use since the Diamondbacks began play in 1998. The County has recently looked into selling the ballpark to private investors, but there is no evidence the negotiations ever became serious.  Maricopa County taxpayers paid for the ballpark, and are still the sole owners; the Diamondbacks lease continues until 2028.



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