Friday, August 17, 2018

BREAKING: Problem Solvers Hide Identity To Accuse #AZ02 Candidate Heinz Of Hiding His; James Rupert Murdoch Largest Contributor (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

fROM OUR OVER-WORKED IRONY DEPARTMENT: A centrist group that is apparently trying to hide its identity disclosed last night that it is spending $10,000 to accuse Democratic Congressional candidate Matt Heinz of hiding his positions. The group is likely supporting former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in this month's primary, and its largest single donor is 21st Century Fox CEO James Rupert Murdoch.

Progress Tomorrow, Inc. filed its independent expenditure report with the Federal Election Commission last night (see, below). The spend is on digital advertising opposing Heinz. Progress Tomorrow has received all of its $1.3M in funding from two other new Super PACs - Forward Not Back and United Together.
And, they have received their funds from a variety of donors - the largest donation coming from 21st Century Fox owner James Rupert Murdoch.* (His was the only $500,000 check.) Sometime-Arizona residents Jerry Reinsdorf and Bud Selig are other large contributors.

Further, this network of Super PACs - while not dark money - seems to trace back to the No Labels group/movement. No Labels works to bring Democrats and Republicans together in Congress, and sponsors the Problem Solvers Caucus. Former Rep. Kirkpatrick was a member of the caucus during most of her time in the House representing CD1. Here is a link to the Chicago Sun Times investigation that made the connections between Progress Tomorrow & Co., and No Labels.

Their efforts to disguise the connection makes their digital ads against Heinz all the more ironic. (Bonus irony: Kirkpatrick has also been accused of being too NRA-friendly.)

* CLARIFICATION: James is actually one of Rupert’s sons. And, he has supported both R’s and D’s in the past.

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

#AZSen TIDBITS: Dem Group Adds $200k To Its Pre-Primary Anti-McSally Ad Campaign

8/16, 5:15pm: A major Democratic Super PAC disclosed today another $211,000 ad buy opposing Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) in the U.S. Senate campaign. The Republican primary concludes on August 28.

Priorities USA Action has now spent nearly $850,000 in opposing the GOP front-runner. Opinions vary on whether the group is trying to influence the GOP primary or just getting an early start on softening up McSally (before she can begin positive ads on August 29). The ads have targeted McSally's healthcare reform votes (i.e. "age tax").

Priorities USA Action's single largest donor is George Soros - a frequent target for Republican attacks. Soros has contributed at least $5M to the group this cycle.

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BREAKING, READ: Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Death Sentence In Minutemen Murders

The Arizona Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence issued to Jason Eugene Bush on a 6-1 vote, for his role in the break-in and murders committed by a group of Minutemen militia members near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2009.
Benjie Sanders/Arizona Star

Judge Larry Winthrop* concurred that there were no reversible errors by the trial court, but that the death penalty itself is "unconstitutionally cruel" and "unconstitutionally unusual" and therefore should not be imposed.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Pelander called Winthrop's dissent "odd" and spent the next five pages dissecting it before concluding that there was no basis in this case for determining whether the death penalty is constitutional. (Chief Justice Scott Bales wrote a one-paragraph concurrence echoing that last point.)

Bush was part of a group of Minutemen border militia members who decided to try to fund their organization by robbing and killing drug smugglers. They pretended to be immigration officials and entered the Arivaca home and killed 29-year old Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year old daughter Brisenia. Ringleader Shawna Forde is already on Arizona's death row.

*Winthrop is a Court of Appeals judge who was sitting on the case due to the recusal by Justice John Lopez.
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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

WATCH Shocking New Ad: "En-Lightning - McSally Goes After "Former Democrat Kelli Ward", Hugs Trump Harder"

Was unpacking the other night when I heard the stereotypical negative ad-announcer's voice in the next room. Because I am that much of a political junkie, I raced to the TV to find out which new Super PAC was lambasting "former Democrat Kelli Ward" - words that lit up the screen.

Although my hair was standing up (on the back of my neck) and it felt like the lightning struck our house, it took 13 more seconds for the thunderclap: "I'm Martha McSally and I approve this message." (Two miles away?)

Wow! This just became a mano-a-mano primary race battle (with Joe Arpaio looking on). No more just "I'm Martha McSally and I'm attacking likely Democratic nominee Kyrsten Sinema." No more letting McSally-supporting side groups take on Ward.

The McSally campaign is not posting the ad on their YouTube channel* and is not answering Arizona's Politics requests for comment. In addition to broadcast television, they are running shorter versions of the ad on Facebook, and have started up a website touting "Two-Faced Kelli".

It is not yet clear how much the campaign is spending on this ad.**
All of which begs questions such as: have they seen some numbers that have not yet become apparent to the rest of us? And, are they now playing on Ward's turf, since Ward has centered her campaign around her support for President Trump and questioning McSally's support?

Besides using the "former Democrat" epithet, the ad boldly states that "Kelli Ward supports amnesty." And, as has become commonplace in this three-way primary battle, the ad implies that Trump wants her to win the nomination.

(Humorously and unfortunately, as can be seen in this screenshot, it notes that the Republic is going to call her "the most reliable vote for Trump agenda"; the citation is October 1, 2018 instead of 2017. That article compared a portion of McSally's votes to those of other Arizona Representatives.)

The ad was over, and the haboob rolled over the neighborhood.

*Thanks to Brahm Resnik for hunting down this version for us.

**The campaign does not have to provide the same 24-hour reporting that independent expenditure efforts do, the campaign failed to respond to our inquiry and the FCC's website is having issues.

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BREAKING: Clean Energy Initiative Easily Qualifies For Ballot, Says State's Petition Checkers; Court Trial Still Set For Monday

Arizona's Secretary of State's Office announced this afternoon that the Clean Energy initiative easily qualifies for the November ballot. However, a trial is still set in Maricopa County Superior Court this coming Monday to hear evidence from the Arizona Public Service-funded opposition group.

The Secretary of State reviewed the petitions containing 480,000 signatures and the County Recorders from around Arizona then reviewed a random sample of the signatures. Nearly 226,000 valid signatures are necessary to make the ballot.

The Secretary of State's review eliminated approximately 2.2% of the petition sheets, which meant that the County Recorder's would have to find that more than 48.72% of the sampled signatures were valid signatures. They found a validity rate higher than 72%.

The APS-funded opposition filed a legal challenge to the signatures, and have claimed that their reviewers found only 22% of the (overall) signatures to be valid. They have a trial set for this coming Monday to prove why their reviewers got it right.

The Clean Energy initiative committee, funded by billionaire investor Tom Steyer, was excited by this afternoon's news. Spokesman DJ Quinlan told Arizona's Politics:
"This is a big win for voters and another step toward moving Arizona into a clean energy future. APS has launched an unprecedented opposition campaign designed to deny voters a choice for more renewable energy like wind and solar. This includes spending over $7 million of their own customers' money. In November, voters will have the choice between doubling down on dirty expensive energy like coal and gas, or moving our state to a 50% renewable energy standard that will lead to investment in wind and solar."

AAE spokesman Matt Benson said to Arizona's Politics that "we look forward to seeing the initiative campaign in court."

This is the 2nd initiative - of the four filed last month - to be cleared for the ballot by the Secretary of State's Office. The Protect Arizona Taxpayers Act was the first. Invest In Ed and Outlaw Dirty Money are still being checked by several County Recorders. (The Save Our Schools referendum and the Legislature's referral on the Citizens' Clean Elections Commission will also be on the November ballot.)

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

OPINION SECTION: "Politics and Brotherhood"

Although Arizona's Politics is chiefly a forum for straight-up news articles, from time to time, we also publish editorial columns from readers. These will be clearly labeled. If you wish to submit a piece, please email them to us. We reserve the right to choose whether or not it will be posted. (If you make any factual claims, please include citations/links. Also, let us know if you have submitted your letter for publishing elsewhere.)

Candidates mentioned in this article are used for illustrative purposes only and no inferences should be drawn from their inclusion. Arizona's Politics has offered all candidates mentioned access to this forum to share their thoughts on the broad themes of this commentary. Although at least one has responded privately, none have yet submitted written thoughts.

"Politics and Brotherhood"
by Dot Hale

Can a candidate for public office be viable today having also been a member of an organization that excludes and targets for violence people of a particular category? Most Americans now take it for granted that if you’re revealed to have worked with the KKK, you can no longer be under consideration for Congress or state legislature. So what do we think about politicians who have been affiliated with sexually violent fraternities?

There are, of course, fraternities built around academic honors as well as disciplinary or intellectual pursuits. Many social fraternities, moreover, sport records that are relatively benign. But others have earned reputations as petri dishes of sexual coercion and assault.

At the same time fraternities are incubators of U.S. political and economic power. According to a recent New York Times report, 74% of members of Congress have been fraternity members, along with 80% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies. 100 of the last 158 cabinet members and 40 of the last 47 Supreme Court justices have been members of fraternities. All of this in spite of the fact that only 2% of American men alive now have also belonged to fraternities.

One example of the downside of this trend comes in the form of Don Shooter of Yuma, Arizona, who was forced from the Arizona House of Representatives early in 2018 after five women accused him of sexual harassment. (Since his ejection from the AZ House, Shooter has launched a campaign for a seat in the Arizona Senate for the 13th Legislative District.) In the accounts offered by his accusers from the Arizona legislature, Shooter appears as the very incarnation of a certain predatory male sexuality. According to the report eventually submitted to the Arizona House of Representatives, Shooter would make regular and lewd remarks to his female colleagues, turn up unwontedly at the hotel rooms of these colleagues while on official governmental trips, and comment habitually upon various aspects of their anatomy.[i]

Is it merely coincidental that when Shooter was an undergraduate at the University of Southern California he was a brother of Sigma Phi Epsilon? At the University of Minnesota in 2014, Southern Methodist University in 2013, at North Carolina State University in 2014, at Yale University the same year, again at the University of Minnesota in 2016, the University of Central Arkansas in 2017, and the University of Missouri in 2018—among other incidents nationally and going back much further—Sigma Phi Epsilon has been the target of lawsuits by women who have reported having been the victims of sexual assault. By all these accounts and many others, Sigma Phi foments a culture in which women are treated as vessels for male gratification.

Shooter was involved in none of these cases. Even if he was processing his experience as a Sigma Phi brother as he harassed his colleagues, it seems important to point out that not all members of fraternities do so in this manner. Perhaps the question here concerns whether voters—or for that matter, the media—might consider interrogating candidates who once felt compelled to join fraternities with obnoxious records but who still seem to regard the experience uncritically.

We might ask of such candidates: How do they recall the attitudes of their brothers with regard to women and how did those attitudes affect the climate of the chapter as a whole? How did the experience of living within such an atmosphere shape them as young men? What did it offer them, and in what ways do they now consider its costs in terms of the belief systems it engendered? Most crucially, why should voters be confident that their experience as fraternity members has not left them less prepared to imagine women and women’s experience in a misogynist society?

Many fraternities are more or less explicit about the increased likelihood that its members will rise to elite positions. Indeed one doesn’t have to dig deep for the rhetoric connecting “leadership” to “brotherhood” in fraternal literature (though there is little equivalent in the publications of sororital organizations). Take an account given by David Schapira, currently candidate for the Democratic nomination for Arizona’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, who describes his initiation into Lambda Chi Alpha when he transferred to George Washington University in 1998: The thing about “Lambda Chis at GW,” he muses in a cover story published in a 2012 issue of the LCA publication Cross & Crescent, was “that the brothers were really the leaders on and off campus. They were active in student government and in politics, and that was very attractive to me.”[ii]

The last point concerning Schapira’s attraction to politics has become obvious to Arizonans in the years since—Schapira campaigned for and won a seat in the Arizona legislature and the Tempe City Council, and he also waged and lost a campaign to represent Arizona’s 9th district in Congress. But what does a reasonably woke observer today make of the other end of Schapira’s language of political leadership with its emphasis on “brothers” and “brotherhood”? Reminiscing over the advice given him by fellow Lambda Chi member Senator Max Cleland of Georgia, Schapira recalled that “he started the next part of the conversation with the word ‘brother.’ He said, “brother let me tell that there will be times in this campaign when things will get hard. There will be times when you won’t get home until 3 o’clock in the morning. Your staff hates you. Your wife isn’t happy with you. Your kids may not recognize you. [...] At that time when you don’t think that there’s anyone else to call, call me.”[iii]

It’s a stark rendition of the power of fraternal connection, as Schapira’s particular focus on the word “brother,” isolated in his memory from all the others, would indicate. When the wife, like the staff, doesn’t understand, call a brother. You can depend on a brother to be there when others let you down. What is the connection between that fraternal view of the world and the sexual violence pervading fraternities in the United States? And given the significant influence of fraternities upon U.S. political structures, how do such factors connect our governmental system with the sexist energies that also define much fraternal experience?

Schapira’s frat, Lambda Chi Alpha, offers yet another example of the wider trend of sexual violence inherent in so much collegiate Greek culture. It would take too much space here to document the full range of crimes Lambda Chi members have committed upon women in the years since Schapira pledged, but a few instances from only the past decade provide an apt sample set. In 2009, the University of Southern California suspended its Lambda Chi Alpha Chapter after three women reported they had been assaulted at a Lambda Chi party[iv]; in 2013, a woman was raped in her Kansas University dormitory by brothers also after a Lambda Chi Alpha party. (In that case KU required the perpetrator, after he confessed, to write an essay on the dangers of alcohol and sex.[v]) In 2016, a sixteen-year-old girl filed suit against both her attacker and Lambda Chi Alpha for her rape during an overnight recruiting visit to Culver-Stockton College[vi]; in 2017, a woman at the University of Memphis was raped on two separate occasions by Lambda Chi brothers[vii]; in September of that year a Lambda Chi brother at the University of Arkansas surreptitiously photographed a woman having sex with another Lambda Chi brother and then published the images online.[viii] (The incident resonated with a 2002 episode in which a Lambda Chi brother at Texas A&M University confessed to videotaping himself having sex with a female student, without her knowledge, then exhibiting the tape to Lambda Chi brothers[ix]). Also in 2017, the national organization revoked the charter of its Michigan State University chapter after a brother committed sexual assault upon a female MSU student and came under Title IX investigation[x]; and this year, Lambda Chi brothers at California Polytechnic held a blackface party, flashing mock gang signs for the photos they Facebooked, and captioning an image of one woman who joined in [also in blackface]: “She want a gangsta not a pretty boy.”[xi]

Lambda Chi pledges at Northern Illinois University were once instructed not to form close relationships with women—perhaps still are. In a 2003 interview with the Northern Star of Northern Illinois University, one former pledge explains that “Having a girlfriend or doing anything that included people not affiliated with Lambda Chi was frowned upon.”[xii] This discouragement of close connections with women fits well with the message Schapira recalls having received from Cleland, who had gently suggested that all relationships beyond the brotherly are secondary, unreal, ephemeral, untrustworthy.

None of which is to imply that Schapira, Shooter, or other political candidates who were members of fraternities are guilty by association of the crimes committed by their “brothers.” Still, one might expect some form of comment from such candidates who have belonged to such organizations but who claim to understand, respect, and value women. This is especially important in Schapira’s case, as the Superintendent of Public Instruction oversees a workforce of about 50,000 teachers, 78% of whom are female.[xiii]

Such considerations might also reflect upon the candidacy of Governor Doug Ducey, who in 2014 tweeted about his membership in Pi Kappa Alpha (commonly known as Pike) but who seems oblivious to the long record of sexual abuse involving Pikes.[xiv] Indeed in 2015, a Pike chapter president at Utah State was charged with forcible sexual abuse after assaulting a woman who had passed out at a Pike party; the year after that, the Louisiana State chapter was placed on voluntary suspension after a woman brought charges against Pike after having been raped at a party. And of course, Ducey is one of so very many Pikes turned politicians. Pi Kappa Alpha members include Charles Andrews, Senator of Florida; Everett Dirksen, Senator of Illinois; Leo Hoegh 33th Governor of Iowa, Karl Rove; Strom Thurmond; Brian Zahra, Justice of the Michigan Supreme Court; William Dixon, Justice of the Ohio Supreme Court; U.S. Representatives from Montana, Texas, North Carolina, Mississippi, Virginia, and Indiana; as well as cabinet members, Lieutenant Governors, and ambassadors. The influence Pike wields over U.S. legislation, jurisprudence, and executive function is considerable, and at least according to Governor Ducey himself, includes his own administration. Does it matter that this fraternity has formed such a dangerous space for women?

This year the #MeToo movement has focused attention upon the extent to which male political, economic, or cultural power is deployed regularly in order to coerce women sexually. Given the profound continuum between fraternal culture and U.S. electoral politics, candidates for office who are the products of the connection ought to clarify the ways in which their own experience of brotherhood doesn’t present obstacles for their governmental service in an inclusive society.

Dot Hale is a former journalist from Macomb, Illinois who is writing a book about higher ed and political life. She is unassociated with the campaigns of Don Shooter, Doug Ducey, David Schapira, or their opponents.

[i] Report on Rep. Donald Shooter to J.D. Mesnard, Speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, Sherman & Howard L.L.C., 2018: 7-11, 17-18, 20-21.
[ii] “Bridge Builders,” Cross & Crescent, May 2012, 17.
[iii] “Bridge Builders,” 18.
[iv] “USC fraternity suspended after alleged sexual assault,” L.A. Times, April 17, 2009.
[v] “Campus Sexual Violence A Problem Nationwide and In Our Own Backyard,” KCUR, October 21, 2014.21, 201
[vi] “Suit alleges visiting teen sexually assaulted at college in Canton, Mo.,” St. Louis News-Dispatch, February 16, 2016.
[vii] “Student Raped Twice in Twenty Days,” Daily Helmsman. University of Memphis, October 10, 2017.
[viii] “UA fraternity sued over shared photos,” Arkansas Online, University of Arkansas, February 25, 2018.
[ix] “Around the Nation,” GW Hatchet (Nov. 11 2002).
[x] “Lambda Chi not removed by MSU despite investigation,” The State News. Michigan State University, February 17, 2017.
[xi] “Fraternity Hosts ‘Multicultural’ Party With Members in Blackface And Gang Costumes,”
[xii] “Fraternal News,” Northern Star. Northern Illinois University, July 16 2003. Refinery29, April 12, 2018.
[xiii] Arizona Department of Education, “Annual Report of the Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction”; National Center for Educational Statistics, “School and Staffing Survey,” 2011-12. Accessed June 25 2018.
[xiv] “More fun with social media: Doug Ducey boasts about his fraternity affiliation. Maybe he shouldn’t have.” Blog For Arizona (April 10 2014). Accessed 20 July 2018.

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