Friday, December 27, 2019

U.S. Budget Deficit UPDATES: Deficit Exceeds $1Trillion For Past 12 Months!

Each month, we take a look at the U.S. Treasury's "Monthly Treasury Statement". We try to highlight - or, lowlight, as the case may be - key numbers. We have used Twitter for that, but realize that we should also share it here.
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Friday, December 20, 2019

BREAKING: New Chris Christie Org To Support Sen. McSally During Impeachment Period (WATCH)

Hours after we reported TV advertising has already surpassed $5 million in the Arizona Senate election, Chris Christie announces that his new organization will spend six figures over the next few weeks providing support for Sen. Martha McSally on the subject of impeachment.



"Right Direction America" is targeting Arizona and a handful of other states who have vulnerable GOP Senators up for election in 2020. Although the group is brand new, it is promising a "seven-figure TV and digital advertising offensive Monday." (According to Politico, the other states are Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Maine and North Carolina.) 

Christie is the former New Jersey Governor who unsuccessfully ran against Donald Trump for the 2016 Presidential nomination. Like many, he has had a kind of push-pull relationship with the President, and this foray into leading this new organization allows him to continue in that role.

Christie said "I really think there has been a lack of attention on the positive things the administration has done for the country and a tremendous amount of attention on the negativity, particularly from groups like Tom Steyer’s impeachment group."

As you can see from the sample ad below, the group is performing a couple of twists in order to support the Republicans while not having to disclose its contributors or spending. It is fashioning the ad as a "tell your Senator" issue ad. It is targeting the states' OTHER Senator - in Maine's case, the Independent Angus King, and in Arizona's case, Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ). And, it is telling that Senator that CONGRESS has been preoccupied with impeachment and needs to get back to work. (In so doing, it risks degrading the GOP Senate's talking point that it has been working hard while the House has been distracted.)
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Thursday, December 19, 2019

BREAKING: 11 Months Before Election, TV Spending In Arizona's Senate Race Breaks $5M; *Leads* Nation (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

If you watch local television, you will not be surprised: TV ad spending related to Arizona's U.S. Senate race just crossed the $5,000,000 barrier. You probably are not surprised that that easily leads the nation. Nor are you surprised that nearly all of it comes from dark money groups on both sides of the aisle.

Somewhat surprisingly, however, the money spent attacking and backing Sen. Martha McSally is nearly evenly split.

Democratic-philic groups have spent $2.6M so far. Advancing Arizona has been hammering Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) since September. It makes up most of the anti-McSally ad barrage, which started in September. Advancing Arizona has resisted all efforts by Arizona's Politics and other reporters to find out where the money is coming from. It rates a *perfect* "50" on Arizona's Politics "50 Shades Of Dark Money" spectrum.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the leading Republican-philic group to step up to try to counter-balance the McSally pummeling. The response has spent $2.5M, even though the Chamber did not start until the end of October. The U.S. Chamber also earns a dark "50".

The campaigns for McSally and likely Democratic nominee Mark Kelly have not yet run any TV ads, and are both stockpiling huge sums of money. Kelly has raised more money ($14M) than any other candidate in the nation - including incumbents, and even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell - and has $9.5M on hand (as of Sept. 30). McSally has raised $8.5M and has $5.7M in the bank.

The advertising figures are through December 14, and come from Kantar/CMAG with analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project.

Spending in the North Carolina Senate race is the closest to Arizona, yet they are only at $4.0M.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

WATCH: Rep. Gosar: Do The Democrats "Hate" President Trump Because They Are Covering Up For Obama Administration? (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)



WATCH: Rep. Gosar: Do The Democrats "Hate" President Trump Because They Are Covering Up For Obama Administration? 
4:25p.m.: As the Republicans rush to allow all of their members a chance to speak on the House floor about the Articles of Impeachment, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) took his 30 second slot to posit that the Democrats "hate" President Trump so much because "they're trying to cover up" for the Obama Administration.


4:05p.m.: By my count, 143 (out of the 435) Representatives have spoken so far. (32.8%)

3 of Arizona's 9 Representatives have participated. (33.3%)


Rep. Grijalva: "Trump Has Perverted the Rule of Law" 
3:35pm.: Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) was the first Arizona Democrat to speak during today's impeachment debate. As Arizona's senior Representative, Grijalva took the opportunity to recognize his wife and granddaughters, and to say that President "Trump has perverted the rule of law, abused his power, and engaged in a cover-up."


Rep. Biggs Decries the "Sham" Impeachment Process
3:20p.m.: Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD5) took his turn at the podium on the House floor a few minutes ago. He decried the impeachment process and referenced what he believed was a censure-able "lie" in the Intelligence Committee by Chair Adam Schiff. 




Rep. Lesko's 2nd Speech On Floor Re: Impeachment: "Stop This Sham!"
12:10p.m.: Rep. Lesko also became the 2nd of Arizona's nine Reps to speak on the House floor today... moments after we posted the first speech.

Here is her #2, in which she urges her Democratic colleagues to "stop this sham"!



11:40a.m.: Arizona Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) is the first of the state's nine Representatives to
speak on the floor during today's historic impeachment vote. (We will post all of them as they become available; it will be interesting both to see which take the opportunity to speak, and to see which do not take the podium during the seven hours.)

The member of the Rules Committee spoke during the debate on the rule. She dipped back to her personal history of leaving an abusive ex-husband and being without money to frame her remarks about this being the "most unfair" process and "most partisan impeachment in the history of the United States".
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Friday, December 13, 2019

READ: Rep. O'Halleran's Statement On Upcoming Impeachment Vote

Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1) was the only Arizona Representative whose vote on Articles of Impeachment was not already known. Here is his complete statement from this morning:

“Today is a somber day in America’s history. When I was elected to represent Arizona’s First
Congressional District in the House of Representatives, I never expected that we would vote on impeaching a sitting president.

“As a former law enforcement officer and criminal investigator, I spent my career gathering evidence and pursuing truth and justice. Throughout this impeachment inquiry process, I have remained committed to reviewing all of the facts before coming to a final decision on the matter. That is why I have reached my decision today, following the finalization of the official articles of impeachment.

“The constitution is a document we have lived by as a nation for over two hundred years. It is the shortest written constitution of any major government in the world, but it outlines clear grounds on which the impeachment of a sitting president is the correct course of action. Article II, Section 4 reads, “The President, Vice President and all civil Officers of the United States, shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors.”

“President Trump abused the power of the presidency and broke his oath of office when he bribed the nation of Ukraine by withholding military aid they had already been promised in exchange for help investigating a political opponent. The President’s own political appointees and phone call transcript confirmed these facts.

“I will vote to impeach the President because this bribery and abuse of power violated the constitution and put our national security and our international relationships at risk.

“Our democracy is the greatest in the world, and a model for many other nations. In our democracy, we must hold elected officials accountable when they break the public trust and put their own interests before the good of our nation.


“As we look forward to the second half of the 116th Congress, I remain committed to getting things done for Arizona families. We must work across the aisle to create good-paying jobs that grow our rural communities, lower health care costs for seniors and working families, and keep our promises to Arizona’s veterans.”

Arizona's Politics' co-founder, Paul Weich, started a new blog this week - UNimpeachableEvidenceAndNews - to present source documents and other news related to impeachment. Besides being able to read the Articles of Impeachment, the reports from both parties, etc., people who have difficulty reading print materials can listen or download the audio; Paul has recorded them as part of his volunteering for the non-profit reading service Sun Sounds of Arizona.

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Your FREE Holiday Gift-Packaging Exchange!!!

Arizona's Politics is excited to be participating in this new experiment.

Do you need just a few of those Styrofoam packing peanuts or bubble-packs to fill up the holiday gifts that you’re about to send? 


Received a bunch of packaging materials that you don’t want to trash, but don’t know what to do with?

Then, stop by our FREE Holiday Gift-Packaging Exchange, now through the end of the year!  
It’s like those “Have a penny, leave a penny; need a penny, take a penny” trays near the cash register. But, the goal of this exchange is to REDUCE plastics going to our landfills, REUSE packing materials, and SAVE our families money.

Sponsored by RSP Insurance, Arizona's Politics and the Law Offices of Paul Weich, our exchange is OPEN Monday the 23rd, from 10-noon and 2-4pm, then Thursday and Friday, same hours.  (Holidays may change the hours, check out ArizonasPolitics.com for details.)


Come to 2234 S. McClintock Drive in Tempe – conveniently located near the 202, 101 and the 60. Please bring your own bags or boxes to pick up peanuts/bubbles. Please only drop off clean packaging materials.

DONATIONS to Keep Arizona Beautiful and Every Kid Counts’ “Season of Giving” gratefully accepted.


PLEASE spread the word and tell your friends and family that they can participate in the FREE Holiday Gift-Packaging Exchange, too!!!


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Wednesday, December 11, 2019

ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS: Grijalva Lone AZ Holdout On Compromise Defense Bill

5:30pm: Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) was the lone Arizona Representative to vote against the compromise defense authorization bill that passed overwhelmingly this evening.


The measure passed 377-48 and now heads to the Senate. Grijalva, Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-CD7) and Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) were all members of the conference committee that resolved differences between the two houses (and the Executive Branch) on Monday. (Grijalva was only a conferee for issues relating to his Natural Resources Committee.)

The Congressman has not explained his no vote, but many of the 41 Democrats who voted "nay" felt that liberal priorities were not included in the compromise. 6 Republicans also opposed it, but no Arizona Representatives were in that small group.

Passage in the Senate is expected and President Trump has announced that he will sign it. For more details on the bill, please see this Politico article. Here is a link to the most recent text.


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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

NEW: Some House Dems Are Pushing Censure Instead Of Impeachment; AZ Rep. O'Halleran Is NOT Part Of That Group

A group of about 10 vulnerable Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives is floating the idea of censuring President Donald Trump instead of impeaching him. Arizona Rep. Tom O'Halleran is NOT part of that group, Arizona's Politics has learned.

Politico reported on the Democrats - running for re-election in districts that voted for Trump in 2016 - this afternoon. Rep. O'Halleran (D-CD1) is in such a district, covering a wide swath of eastern Arizona; however, he has not joined the pro-censure cadre.

Communications Director Kaitlin Hooker tells Arizona's Politics that "Rep. O’Halleran is not a member of this group. He is waiting for the Judiciary Committee to advance the articles of impeachment to the full House before making a final determination."

O'Halleran did tell the Politico reporters last week that he "would prefer that we stick to what we have," meaning that any Articles of Impeachment NOT include counts related to past conduct such as detailed in the Mueller Report.

O'Halleran is co-chair of the Blue Dog Democrats, a coalition of moderate to conservative Democrats in Congress.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

BREAKING, WATCH: Bloomberg Blanket Covers Arizona With $600,000+ In Ads Over Next Eight Days

Michael Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor and newly-announced Presidential candidate, will blanket Arizona's local airwaves with more than $600,000 in advertisements over the next eight days.

The Phoenix market will see the bulk of the spending - more than $588,000, while Tucson TV stations will probably also receive a six-figure spend.. The Bloomberg campaign is spending approximately $34M nationwide to introduce the multi-billionaire to the public.

Bloomberg announced his late candidacy for the Democratic nomination to face President Donald Trump yesterday.

Local airwaves will be showing the 60-second version of the ad, but here is the 2 minute version. (The 60-second edit is not posted on the campaign's site, but ABC reporter Kendall Karson tweeted the likely spot.)

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

BREAKING: AZ Supreme Court Backtracks, Will Not Restrict Livestreaming Outside the Courthouse (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

5:00pm: The Arizona Supreme Court backtracked and will permit reporters and citizens alike to broadcast, photograph, etc from the courthouse steps. This afternoon's order replaces last month's, which caused a minor uproar. Court security will still be able to take action if someone is threatening, disrupting or causing a security issue.

Read more - and learn more about the new "AZ Law" program on Sun Sounds of Arizona - at our sister site.

12:00pm: As reported this morning on our sister site/program, "AZ Law", President Trump has made his second judicial nomination for the U.S. District Court in Tucson in under two months. Superior Court Judge John Hinderaker is being tapped to fill the vacancy created earlier this year when Hon. Raner Collins moved to "senior status".

Read more - and learn more about the new "AZ Law" program on Sun Sounds of Arizona - at our sister site.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

NEW: House Passes Grand Canyon "Protection" Measure; AZ Delegation Splits Along Party Lines (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

3:35pm: The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Grand Canyon Centennial Protection Act this afternoon, 236-185. Although a few Representatives crossed the aisle, Arizona's delegation voted strictly along party lines on the AZ-centric measure.

If passed, the bill would remove one million federal acres from mining for uranium and minerals, and prevent those lands from being removed from the national park.


Here is the vote: http://bit.ly/3331mPI Here is the text: http://bit.ly/2BWfE9d

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva sponsored the measure, and said the following:
“We wouldn’t be here today without a truly historic level of dedication by people across the country, and I want to thank all the tribes, outdoor advocates, businesspeople, sportsmen and sportswomen, and everyday Americans who have poured their heart and soul into this fight. Protecting the Grand Canyon is more important than offering the mining industry more corporate welfare, and the alliance behind this bill will stand together until we preserve this international icon for our grandchildren once and for all. Some issues are powerful and popular enough to blast right through the usual Senate deadlock, and protecting the Grand Canyon is one of them.”

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Monday, October 21, 2019

Senate Judiciary Holds Hearing About "Sanctuary Cities"; Mesa "Angel Mom" Testifying TOMORROW

As Tucsonans are voting on Proposition 205 - the so-called "Sanctuary City" initiative - the (U.S.) Senate will hold a hearing about "the impact on public safety and victims." Mesa "Angel Mom" Mary Ann Mendoza is one of the four people who will be blasting those jurisdictions.

The Senate Judiciary Committee added tomorrow's hearing to its calendar last week, and just listed the witnesses this afternoon. Mendoza is the founder of "AngelFamilies.com" and has spoken out forcefully since her son was killed in 2014 by a drunk driver who was in the country illegally. Mesa Police Sgt. Brandon Mendoza was off-duty when the collision happened and both drivers were killed. The illegal immigrant was convicted, shown leniency and released in Colorado in the early 2000's. He was not deported at that time.

Election day for the Tucson initiative is November 4, but early ballots are already in voters' hands.

Arizona Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) participated in a White House round-table about sanctuary cities with Mendoza, and has spoken with her since then. Here are the two of them speaking about the subject in 2018 (while McSally was a member of the House).


Sen. McSally's office has not yet responded to Arizona's Politics regarding the circumstances about the sudden scheduling of this hearing by Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham. The hearing is at 7:00a.m. (Arizona Time).


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FACT CHECK: Censure-able? AZ Rep. Biggs Says Schiff's Trump/Zelensky Call Was "Egregiously False" - WATCH COMMENTS

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs has spent the last three weeks calling for fellow Rep. Adam Schiff to be censured for his characterization of the infamous phone call between Presidents Donald Trump and Volodymyr Zelensky.

Biggs (R-CD5) accuses Schiff (D-CA) of having "manufactured a false retelling" and wants him censured for "this egregiously false and fabricated retelling (that) had no relationship to the call itself. Biggs' sold his initial resolution hard during media appearances and on social media, and gathered 148 Republican cosponsors.

Last week, he revised the resolution to add an allegation (ironically) raised by a New York Times article noting that Schiff's Intelligence Committee staff had been contacted by the whistleblower about the call between the U.S. President and the President of Ukraine before filing his/her complaint and that Schiff "lied to the American people".

The updated resolution (read, below) is to be brought to the floor tonight.

The characterization of the Trump/Zelensky call

The allegedly "egregiously false and fabricated retelling" took place at the House Intelligence Committee hearing on September 26, at which Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified. It was part of Schiff's opening remarks.

As shown in the video, Schiff summarizes Zelensky's role in the conversation. Then he says "And, what is the President's (Trump's) response. Well, it reads like a classic organized crime shakedown. Shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words, this is the essence of what the President communicates." (Key phrases have been underlined.)

At the end of the exaggerated retelling, Schiff again notes that he was not quoting Trump. "This is, in sum and character, what the President was trying to communicate with the President of Ukraine."

Although the delivery was serious, the content was obviously exaggerated and it is clear from the explicit disclaimers both before and after the characterization that Rep. Schiff was not reading "an egregiously false" transcript of the President's remarks.

If anyone is engaged in a "false retelling", it would be those who are using the Schiff comments to change the subject from the actual comments (and conduct) made by the President in his dealings with Ukraine.

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs' characterization of Schiff's September 26 comments is FALSE.





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Thursday, October 17, 2019

BREAKING: Consistency! Sen. Sinema Casts Another Vote Against Clean Power Plan

When Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema was one of the three Democrats voting with Republicans today to permit the Trump Administration to repeal the Clean Power Plan, it was not the first time she crossed the aisle on the regulatory plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

The 41-53 vote in the Senate today was a failed attempt to stop the EPA from repealing the Obama era measure. The three amigos - Sinema, Alabama Senator Doug Jones, and West Virginia's Joe Manchin - were the only three Democrats to allow the repeal. (Susan Collins (R-ME) was the only GOP Senator to vote in the minority.)

Sinema demonstrated consistency in her vote. The record shows that she also voted against the Clean Power Plan in 2015, while she was in the House. That resulted in much opposition from environmental groups.

Today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) cast the vote in stark terms: "Our Republican colleagues have a choice: They can either stop the rollback of life-saving environmental protections, or they can side with energy companies."

Sinema spokesperson Hannah Hurley provided Arizona's Politics with the following statement tonight: "Kyrsten voted against repealing the Affordable Clean Energy plan today for the same reason she voted against repealing the Clean Power Plan in 2015. We need bipartisan solutions that protect our air, land, and water and provide flexibility and certainty for Arizona families."
Senator Sinema has not commented publicly on the vote. Arizona's Politics has requested comment and will update as warranted.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

BREAKING: 3 AZ Reps. Among 60 Voting Against Resolution Condemning Abrupt Syria Withdrawal (READ)

Three of Arizona's Members of Congress were among the 60 who voted this afternoon against a resolution condemning the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. The resolution (below) opposes the hasty withdrawal, calls for Turkey to immediately cease its new military action in Syria, for the U.S. to support the Kurds, and for the White House to present a new plan for the "enduring defeat of ISIS."

Reps. Debbie Lesko (R-CD8), Andy Biggs (R-CD5) and Paul Gosar (R-CD4) were the only members of the Arizona delegation to oppose the resolution. The vote was 354-60.


Rep. Gosar issued a multi-part tweet explaining his vote, saying that "we have no business protecting Turkish borders or Syrian borders." He went on to link the Kurds in Syria to the PKK - a Turkish group that is viewed by Turkey President Erdogan as a terrorist organization.

Here is the resolution:





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Tuesday, October 15, 2019

BREAKING: Rep. Schweikert's Campaign Sinks Into Red Ink As Ethics Probe Legal Bills Spike

(NOTEThis is a developing story and more details are being added. Arizona's Politics' reporting on all 3rd quarter finance reports can be found here.)

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert's (R-CD6) campaign committee sank back underwater in the 3rd quarter, as legal bills related to the lengthy ethics probe spiked. Perhaps even worse, his campaign fundraising plummeted in the just-completed third quarter.

Although he raised $136,000, the campaign spent $162,000 and incurred other bills that it had not paid as of September 30. While the below snapshot shows cash on hand on $144,000, it does NOT show that the debts owing were more than $186,000.


Schweikert's committee was underwater after the 1st quarter, but got its head above water at the end of the 2nd quarter. With more than $192,000 in legal bills incurred between July 1 and September 30, it is easy to see how things are worse now for the longtime Congressman than they have ever been.

Legal bills to the Congressman's Committee exceeded $192,000 in the 3 months ended Sept. 30. It brings his total legal bills related to the probe to more than $869,000.

It also indicates that the probe is inhibiting the fundraising abilities for a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee. His receipts plummeted this quarter after suffering only a slight dip in the previous quarter. For the first three quarters of 2019, they have gone from $248k to $237k to this $136k.

Schweikert has no announced Republican opponents in next year's election, but several Democrats are vying for that party's nomination. Democrat Hiral Tipirneni raised $333k this past quarter and  has more than $600k in cash on hand.






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READ (if you dare): Sen. McSally's 3,895 Page Campaign Finance Filing

We are separately presenting the full third quarter campaign finance filings by Arizona Sen. Martha McSally (R) and her principle opponent Mark Kelly (D). McSally's filing is 3,895 pages and make take a long time to load.





For the rest of our coverage of the 3rd quarter reports filed today, please click this accompanying article.

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BREAKING: Schweikert Campaign Sinks Back UNDERWATER As Legal Bills Spike In Ethics Probe... 3rd Quarter Campaign Finance Reports For Arizona Battleground

The third quarter campaign finance reports are due on the 15th, and we are presenting them, and highlighting key portions.

4:35pm: Arizona Rep. David Schweikert's (R-CD6) campaign committee sank back underwater in the 3rd quarter, as legal bills related to the lengthy ethics probe spiked recently. More details in this accompanying story. Although he raised $136,000, the campaign spent $162,000 and incurred other bills that it had not paid as of September 30. While the below snapshot shows cash on hand on $144,000, it does NOT show that the debts owing were more than $186,000.

Schweikert's committee was underwater after the 1st quarter report, but got its head above water at the end of the 2nd quarter. With more than $160,000 in legal bills incurred between July 1 and September 30, it is easy to see how things are worse now for the longtime Congressman than they have ever been. It also indicates that the probe is inhibiting the fundraising abilities for a member of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.

Schweikert has no announced Republican opponents in next year's election, but several Democrats are vying for that party's nomination.

4:20pm: Here is our accompanying page, with the ENTIRE 3,895 page McSally report. We'll post Kelly's and other lengthy filings there, so that this page does not take longer to load.

4:00pm: Freshman Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton (D-CD9) raised $224k and socked most of that away in the committee's bank account during the 3rd quarter. He increased his cash on hand to $460k (from $288k). None of his announced opponents had more than $100 in the bank on October 1, in what was once thought of as a battleground district.




3:50pm: Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar (R-CD4) filed his third quarter filing super-early this morning, and reported that he increased his cash on hand by about $27,000, to $201,000. He raised $62,000. Gosar does have announced opponents from both major parties, but they have not raised much money to date.

3:30pm: Arizona Congresswoman Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) brought in a respectable $116,000 in contributions during the 3rd quarter. As she has no primary opponents and is far ahead of any of the Democrats who are running, Lesko felt comfortable in passing nearly half of that on to other Republican lawmakers and the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee). Nevertheless, she increased the amount she has in the committee's bank account by $24,000, to $317,000.


2:00pm: Arizona Senator Martha McSally filed her report moments ago. And, as previously announced, it shows that she had $5.7M cash in the bank as of October 1. She brought in contributions of slightly more than $2.9M. More details after the 3,895 page report finishes downloading.



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Thursday, September 5, 2019

NEW: House Ethics Committee Notes It Is STILL Investigating Rep. Schweikert, $677,000 In Legal Fees So Far

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert is still actively being investigated by the House Ethics Committee. That is the reminder that came from the committee today, and a reminder that the legal fees incurred by Friends of David Schweikert is greater than $677,000.

The press release and report (revised, below) came because the 2nd referral to the Ethics Committee has now been open for one year. By rule, the report must be made public if the investigation has not been completed within that year.

Today's release comes nearly five months after a similar public release. However, that April action related to the first referral by the Office of Congressional Ethics. The second referral added four more counts to the first.

The new report also notes that the OCE Board - which includes former Arizona Congresswoman Karan English - unanimously voted to dismiss the allegation that "Rep. Schweikert may have improperly tied official activities to past or potential campaign or political support."

The counts that are still under investigation include allegations that the Congressman allowed his taxpayer-funded office budget to be spent improperly, pressured his Congressional staff to perform political activity, and omitted required information from his financial disclosure statements.

In the most recent campaign finance report, Schweikert's committee indicated that it incurred more than $94,000 in legal fees in the quarter ended June 30, 2019. (During that period, the Committee paid approximately $240,000 to three different law firms, although much of that was paying previously-billed monies.)

Schweikert's campaign was underwater on March 31, owing more than the cash it had in the bank. That is no longer the case, largely thanks to fundraising efforts by the Club for Growth and the House Freedom Caucus.

Rep. Schweikert's office has not yet responded to Arizona's Politics' request for comment.










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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

NEW: APS Sends $150,000 To Republican Governors In 2019, As Corporation Commissioners Also Look To Future

As APS prepares to handle questions from Arizona Corporation Commissioners today regarding its past - and, future - political spending, Arizona's Politics can report that APS has already contributed at least $150,000 this year to the Republican Governors Association.

The Corporation Commission meets with APS/Pinnacle West CEO Don Brandt this morning, and added the utility's political spending to the agenda late last week. As the AZ Mirror reported yesterday, at least two of the Commissioners are also looking toward the monopoly's future spending and not just the millions plowed into the 2012, 2014 and 2016 elections.

Bob Burns is one of the Commissioners who added the political spending to the agenda, and he told reporter Jeremy Duda that "“My focus is the commission. The past is gone. We need to know what’s going to happen in the future.”

It appears that APS is also looking to the future. In an RGA filing with the IRS one month ago, it was disclosed that Pinn West (APS' parent company) already donated $150,000 in 2019 (January 3). (Filing is posted below.) The RGA's primary objective is to elect Republican Governors, and it was a primary source of outside funding for Governor Doug Ducey's campaigns in 2014 and 2018. Arizona's Politics has long documented the APS contributions to the RGA; last year - an election year - APS sent $200,000 to the RGA.

With the Governor term-limited, the funds are likely intended to help the RGA bolster Ducey's popularity, with the added benefit of boosting the next GOP candidate in 2022. (APS/PinnWest does not donate to the Democratic counterweight, although it claims to support "broad political participation".)







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Thursday, August 22, 2019

NEW: Arizona Grand Jury Indicts Tucson Man For Voting Twice In 2016 (DEVELOPING)

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich announced this afternoon that a Tucson man has been charged with "illegal voting" for casting 2016 election ballots in both Arizona and Nevada.

The case against Randy Jumper was brought by the AG's Criminal Fraud division, and there is not yet any indication that it is connected to news earlier this week that the AG's office has set up an "Election Integrity Unit" in advance of next year's election.

AG spokeperson Ryan Anderson indicates that Jumper's alleged multiple voting was first spotted last year by then-Secretary of State Michele Reagan's office.

Efforts to contact Mr. Jumper, or to ascertain whether he is registered to a political party have thus far been unsuccessful.

The simple indictment is below, and arraignment is set for next month.






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FIRST ON AZ's POLITICS: Kyl Answers Flack From His Facebook Audit On Anti-Conservative Bias (Read Audit Here)

Facebook released an interim audit report led by former Arizona Senator Jon Kyl this week, addressing the topic of whether the social media giant has an anti-conservative bias. The report immediately drew flack from partisans on either end of the spectrum, but Kyl tells Arizona's Politics that his primary task was to survey fellow conservatives about their views of bias "so FB could then determine what to do about it."

Facebook hired Kyl and his Covington & Burling team last year, shortly after CEO Mark Zuckerberg was grilled by Republicans in Congress about widely-circulated claims of bias against conservative viewpoints. Zuckerberg promised to look into the complaints.

When asked if he was retained by FB to act as a go-between the company and conservatives, Kyl tells Arizona's Politics that "'liaison' is partially accurate, in that FB thought I had the credibility to obtain solid and candid information from conservatives, which we then reported back to FB. But, we have also consulted with FB throughout the process. My primary job was to find out for FB what conservatives thought of the platform and their views of bias so FB could then determine what to do about it."

As indicated in the newly-released interim report, Kyl and his team interviewed "approximately 133" conservative organizations, individuals and lawmakers. Kyl gave Facebook their initial findings in early August of last year.

In late August 2018, of course, Arizona Senator John McCain passed away and Kyl was named by Governor Doug Ducey to return to the Senate to represent Arizonans. Kyl tells Arizona's Politics that even though his team continued working on the Facebook project, he had "no contact with anyone at FB or Cov(ington) while I was back in the Senate."*

(Arizona's Politics extensively covered Kyl's pre-Senate-fill-in-stint lobbying, and his (delayed) Senate-required financial disclosure statement. The latter does disclose his Facebook work, and that he owns a few shares of Facebook stock through a "managed mutual fund".)

Earlier this summer, Kyl and his team conducted follow-up interviews, and then presented the 8-page report to Facebook. (Facebook released it this week.) In the report, Kyl concludes that FB "has taken some steps to address the concerns we uncovered. But there is still significant work to be done to satisfy the concerns we heard from conservatives."

Indeed, Politico reported that Kyl colleague Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) called the report "a smokescreen disguised as a solution," and called for "an actual audit" that would be released to the public. On the other end of the political spectrum, one group called it a "shameful report".


*In response to questions, Kyl emphatically tells us that he did not "participate in any activity relating to FB while (in the Senate)." That extends to all of the many other clients that he had represented in the years before his 2018 Senate stint, he told us.


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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

READ: McSally's Domestic Terrorism Bill - Discussion Draft

Arizona Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) is receiving national attention this morning for proposing a
bill to make domestic terrorism a federal crime.

Here is what her office is calling the "discussion draft".




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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

WATCH: Sen. McSally Begins and Ends "Maiden Speech" With the Late Sen. John McCain

Arizona Senator Martha McSally delivered her "maiden speech"* on the Senate floor this afternoon, and opened and closed it with a reference to and a quote from the late Senator John McCain.

Her closing also echoed one of her better-known quotes, when she urged her colleagues to join her and "let's get to work for the nation."

McSally noted in her opening that she is "humbled" to have been named to replace McCain. And, she ended her speech by quoting him: "Americans never quit. We never surrender. We never hide from history. We make history!"

McSally's bookending with McCain is somewhat notable because of her past attempts to weave between President Donald Trump's well-documented dislike for McCain and both her and Arizona's relationship for the longtime Arizona Senator (and GOP Presidential nominee in 2008).

Sen. Sinema delievered her maiden speech last week. It will be posted later today. (Corrected to reflect that Sen. Sinema gave her maiden speech last week.)

Below the jump is the text of the speech, as provided by the Senator's office:

Monday, July 29, 2019

ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS

3:10pm: HAPPENING NOW: Arizona's Senators Split On Overriding President's Veto Of Weapons Sale To Saudi Arabia;
Votes To Override, Says Let It Stand. Override FAILS to get 2/3 needed to override.
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Thursday, July 11, 2019

LISTEN: Scammers Threatening To Rape, Murder Daughter; Hitting Valley Hard (OFF-TOPIC)

I do not normally publish this kind of article, but my wife and I hope that sharing this will prevent others from getting scammed or being subjected to the terrifying emotional pitch. Both of us were - separately - attacked by the same would-be scammers on Wednesday.

A recording of the four times they called me are below. (Well, I did not answer the first call, as it came from a foreign number that I did not recognize.)

It starts with a young woman sobbing hysterically and saying "Dad (Mom) I got in an accident". I never before realized that hysterically sobbing young women all sound like they could be one of my kids. Nevertheless, I repeatedly asked "who is this?"

After they get your attention and hook you, the "daughter" says this man is trying to help her, she hands the phone to him. He quickly morphs it into a kidnapping scenario, and the urgent need to bring him some money if you ever want to see your child again.

It all seems like it COULD be real enough, even with doubts. So, you kind of have to stay on the phone in case it IS real.

I kept asking questions and trying to string him along until a friend in the office* could call 911 - 911 had them keep calling my daughter's phone until she finally answered and said she was fine. The scammers must have sensed that development, as they finally gave up.

Little did I know that they promptly dialed my wife's cell phone, and terrorized her for another 15 minutes until the friendly people at Fry's and the Phoenix P.D. officers were able to verify that our other daughter was also safe.

Both 911 dispatchers and police officers confirmed that this is currently sweeping the Valley - they have been getting calls and that some have been successful. In fact, the FBI's Arizona Field Office issued a warning about it in May.

It is not clear whether they are randomly dialing cell phone numbers or if they somehow choose intended victims. There are some indications that point either way.

We want to help publicize this scam not only because we do not want people to give these guys money, but also because we do not want more parents to go through the 15 or more minutes of emotional terror.

Listening to the recording can help prepare you if you answer a similar call. Keep calm, keep them on the phone while you (or, someone near you) try to contact your (real) child and/or 911. Ask to speak to your supposed child and ask questions that only she would know the answer to. (See the FBI warning for other pieces of advice.)

Here are the recordings. There are graphic references and explicit language.





*That friend, Leila, wrote a very good article on this incident. You should read it once you finish this one.

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"AZ Law" - AG vs. Universities, Bad Braille, Prosecutors Can't Seek Execution vs. Immigrant, and More

Please make your way over to our sister website to stream or download the newest installment of "AZ Law". The new Sun Sounds of Arizona program airs monthly, with additional episodes available to listen to on-demand.

This week's installment features a mix of reporting - original and from the Republic, the AP and CBS Radio - as well as a commentary from Blog For Arizona founder/attorney Michael Bryan.

The program features articles covering Arizona-related court cases in both state and federal courts.

Aired on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability.  Sun Sounds is part of the broadcast operation at Rio Salado Community College, along with KJZZ and KBAQ. You can donate or listen here.



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Tuesday, July 2, 2019

BREAKING: $250,000,000 Air Attack! Arizonans Will See More Political Ads Than Folks In Every Other State (But Two)

Get ready!

Perhaps the strongest indication yet that Arizona's 11 Electoral College votes are in play next year came today, when a major political ad-tracking firm noted that $249M worth of TV, radio and digital ads will bombard Arizona between now and November 3. 2020. Only two states will see more ad spending for the Presidential and Senate general election campaigns.*

Advertising Analytics predicts that $6B will be spent on advertising nationwide for the Presidential, Congressional and gubernatorial races.

Arizonans can expect to see $141M spent on the Presidential race after the nominees are picked. Only Florida ($339M) and Pennsylvania ($288M) will see more.

Add in that Advertising Analytics reports that Arizona will likely see $108M worth of ads in the most heavily-advertised Senate race in the nation - for the special election to serve out the rest of the late John McCain's term - and Arizona two major TV markets will nearly match those in Florida and Pennsylvania (on a per-market average).

Arizona also has three House seats listed as somewhat competitive ("Likely") and approximately $10M of video advertising for those is expected.

*If you factor in spending for the Presidential primary election campaign, New Hampshire and Nevada may see more total spending (and, earlier).

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Emoluments Case Against President Trump Continues; 4 of 5 Arizona Democratic Reps. Among Plaintiffs (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

Emoluments Case Against President Trump Continues; 4 of 5 Arizona Democratic Reps. Among Plaintiffs
3:30p.m.: Four of Arizona's five House Democrats are plaintiffs in a suit claiming that President Donald Trump is violating the U.S. Constitution by accepting "emoluments" while serving as President. Last week, a U.S. District Court Judge ruled against the President's effort to delay the action, and ordered discovery to commence.

The decision was publicized today by some of the 215 Congressional Democrats bringing the action. The Arizona Members of Congress participating are Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (CD2), Raul Grijalva (CD3), Ruben Gallego (CD7) and Greg Stanton (CD9). Neither Rep. Tom O'Halleran (CD1) nor Sen. Kyrsten Sinema are parties to the action.

Judge Emmet Sullivan previously denied the President's motion to dismiss the case. The new motion was to permit  the Administration to appeal the previous rulings and to stop discovery during that process.



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Friday, June 28, 2019

BREAKING; Arizona Senators Split On Proposal To Forbid Attack On Iran Without Congressional Approval (READ the amendment)

Arizona's Senators split this afternoon on a proposal that would have restricted the President's abilities to begin hostilities with Iran before getting Congressional approval. The bipartisan amendment needed 60 votes to pass; the vote was 50-40.



Kyrsten Sinema sided with all voting Democrats to add the check to President Donald Trump's ability to launch an attack. Four Republicans (Paul, Lee, Collins, Moran) also voted "aye"; Arizona's Martha McSally voted "nay".

The short proposed amendment would have been attached to the National Defense Authorization Act. It would have provided an exception for "defend(ing)" against an Iranian attack.

Here is the entire text:


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Thursday, June 27, 2019

BREAKING: Court Dismisses Effort To Move Up McSally/Kelly Contest To Replace Late Senator McCain (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

2:30pm: As reported on sister site "AZ Law", a U.S. District Court Judge today threw out a case challenging the constitutionality of the Arizona law that has delayed a special election to replace the late Senator John McCain for more than two years.

Plaintiffs were calling for the special election to be held as soon as practicable and said that the law that has permitted Arizona Governor Doug Ducey to appoint first Jon Kyl and then Martha McSally to the seat for a period of September 2018 until January 2021 violates the 17th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

Judge Diane Humetewa found Ducey's arguments defending Arizona's law convincing and scolded the plaintiffs several times.

The decision is already - somewhat - under appeal to the Ninth Circuit. But, as it now stands, the likely match-up between appointee McSally and Democrat Mark Kelly is still scheduled for November 2020.
Chandler attorney Tom Ryan notes that the law changed mere weeks before McCain's passing and "effectively deprived Arizona voters".

For more details on the dismissal and the already-pending appeal - including , please visit ArizonasLaw.org. "AZ Law" is a new program on Sun Sounds of Arizona, covering Arizona court cases.

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