Thursday, June 20, 2019

BREAKING: Appeal Filed On Non-Decision To Force Earlier Special Election For Arizona's Senate Seat

(Originally published at "AZ Law")

An appeal was filed tonight in the constitutional challenge to Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's ability to control the late Senator John McCain's seat until November 2020. There has not been a decision by Judge Diane Humetewa, but plaintiffs call it an "effective denial" of their challenge.

Oral arguments were held on April 12, and was taken under advisement at that time. Today's appeal notice follows an unusual round of letters and responses filed last week, as the plaintiffs have grown impatient.


AZ Law and Arizona's Politics have previously reported on the constitutional challenge to the Arizona vacancy law. At that point, Sen. Jon Kyl was serving at the Governor's request. Kyl then resigned, permitting Ducey to appoint Martha McSally to the seat until a special election would be held in 2020 to fill the last two years. Sen. McCain passed away on August 25, 2018.

. . .
(For the rest of this article and the linked documents, please visit our new sister site, ArizonasLaw.org. "AZ Law" is a new program broadcast on the non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, servicing Arizonans who cannot read or hold printed material due to a disability.)

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"Give Me a Break - This Place Has Enough Creepy Old Men!" --McSally (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

"Give Me a Break - This Place Has Enough Creepy Old Men!" --McSally
(aka No Country For Creepy Old Men)
1:50pm: "Give me a break. This place has enough creepy old men!" That is the priceless reaction from Arizona Senator Martha McSally when asked today about former Sheriff Roy Moore announcing that he would again run for the U.S. Senate seat from Alabama. Her quote is in a Politico article about Republicans "vowing to crush" the GOP candidae.

Senator McSally has not yet listed the creepy old men already in the Senate. Arizona's Politics will update as warranted.

OFF-TOPIC: 4 Tickets Available For Tomorrow's Dbacks Game Vs. Giants
1:10pm: We'll be down south visiting family tomorrow and can't make the game. If you're interested in our (great) season seats, at cost, please text Paul at 602 908 9132.

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Thursday, June 13, 2019

UPDATE: Gosar Committee Now Says Congressional Staff WORKED Last 3 Weeks of Campaign, Did NOT Simply Receive Holiday Bonuses

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar responded immediately to the FEC's letter seeking more information about his holiday bonuses for his Congressional staff. However, that response may raise further concerns about House Ethics rules violations and/or campaign finance reporting.

The campaign committee filed an amended report yesterday. It now says that most of his Congressional staff were actually paid out of the campaign committee's checkbook for doing "administrative services." (amended report published below)

(Read: 1. "Rep. Gosar Pays $44k To Congressional Staff For "Campaign Bonuses"; May Have Violated Ethics Rules and/or Campaign Finance Laws"
2. "The Ghost of Holiday Bonuses Past: FEC Follows-Up On Rep. Gosar's Questionable Staff Bonuses")

This may raise further questions from authorities. The amended report now contradicts the committee's second amended post-general report, as to the purpose of the holiday disbursements. Both reports now do indicate that the monies were first owed to the Congressional staff during the post-general election period - which actually includes a few weeks before election day (October 18- November 26); could the Congressional staff members actually have performed $44,000 worth of "administrative services" during that period in a not-very-intense general election campaign. (Gosar won with more than 68% of the CD4 vote.)

The questions and concerns raised by experts in Arizona's Politics' first article exposing the bonuses still remain, as well. Having Congressional staff perform campaign tasks is permissible; however, the House Ethics Committee recommends that accurate records be maintained and that they perform the work on their own time and without office resources.

If $44,000 worth of campaign work was not performed by the staff members, election laws and House Ethics rules were violated. If the work was done and properly documented, then any inquiries by the FEC or the House Ethics Committee would clear the actions. However, the Congressman's office has declined to respond to repeated requests for a statement and/or documentation.

Two weeks after the first article, the FEC informed the Gosar campaign that the "bonus" explanations were "incorrectly reported". Responding generally yesterday, the FEC said yesterday that "administrative services" is also not descriptive enough to explain the purpose of a disbursement.




* Although the FEC has made it public that it is examining the bonuses/administrative services, it is not clear whether there has been a complaint or referral to either the House Ethics Committee or the Office of Congressional Ethics (that initiated the ethics investigation into Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6)).

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Fox News Town Hall With Julian Castro Today In Tempe (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

Fox News Town Hall With Julian Castro Today In Tempe
1:25pm: TODAY: If you're attending the @JulianCastro / @FoxNews Town Hall at the Tempe Center for the Arts this afternoon, PLEASE let us know (DMs or emails OK)!



Arizona's Senators Vote Against Blocking $3B Of Arms Sales To Bahrain and Qatar
10:30a.m.: Arizona's Senators joined most Republicans today in blocking two resolutions to block $3B in announced arms sales to Bahrain and Qatar. The resolutions failed, 43-56 and 42-57, respectively.


Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) joined seven other Democrats in voting against the measures. The resolutions were proposed by Republican Senator Rand Paul (KY), and he was joined by a few GOP Senators in moving to block the Administration's arms sales amid concerns about Saudi Arabia and its allies, and the ongoing war in Yemen.

Neither Sinema nor Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) has yet made any public comments on today's votes.

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Monday, June 10, 2019

WATCH: John Dean Tells Rep. Andy Biggs To Take His Complaint To Arizona Regents; Three AZ Reps At Mueller Report Hearing

Convicted Watergate figure John Dean suggested that Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs "take it up with the (Arizona) Regents if you have these kinds of problems with me". The challenge came after Biggs spent most of his allotted time blasting Dean as an "incredible, biased" witness at today's House Judiciary Committee hearing on "Lessons From the Mueller Report."


Biggs (R-CD5) was not the only Republican to attack the former White House Counsel's credentials, but he did put the most gusto and spent the most time on it. In fact, Biggs called the hearing a "farce" and did not allow any of the panel of witnesses to speak during his allotted five minutes; Chairman Jerrold Nadler then permitted Dean to respond to the attacks on his character.

After defending his actions during the Nixon era, Dean noted that ASU had appointed him to be the "Barry Goldwater Chair of American Institutions" in 2015 (for one year). As C-Span showed Biggs listening stone-faced, Dean told him "I guarantee you I tried to educate those students on the facts. So you might want to take it up with the (Arizona) Regents if you have these kinds of problems with me."

Reps. Debbie Lesko (R-CD8) and Greg Stanton (D-CD9) also had their chances to state their thoughts and question the witnesses; however, neither was as dramatic.



www.c-span.org/video/?c4801887/rep-biggs-jud-comm-re-mueller-report
www.c-span.org/video/?c4801883/rep-lesko-jud-comm-hrg-mueller-report
www.c-span.org/video/?c4801884/rep-stanton-jud-comm-mueller-report
If you would like to show your appreciation for Arizona's Politics reporting, please consider donating to our pool to support OTHER journalism-related nonprofits. http://bit.ly/AZpDonate We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, June 7, 2019

BREAKING: The Ghost of Holiday Bonuses Past: FEC Follows-Up On Rep. Gosar's Questionable Staff Bonuses

Two weeks ago, Arizona's Politics reported that $44,000 of holiday bonuses that Rep. Paul Gosar paid to his Congressional staff could ruin his year. Today, the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") sent a letter to the Congressman's committee, asking for more information on those - and, other - "incorrectly reported disbursements."

The article noted that paying the bonuses to his Congressional staff from his campaign committee COULD be within the rules of both the House Ethics Committee and the FEC, but that there would need to be careful documentation of the campaign work done in order to justify the bonuses. Arizona's Politics spoke with ethics experts who pointed out the possible issues for the Congressman.

(Read: Rep. Gosar Pays $44k To Congressional Staff For "Campaign Bonuses"; May Have Violated Ethics Rules and/or Campaign Finance Laws)

Although we would not yet know if the House Ethics Committee read the article, received a complaint, or is looking into any possible violations, we now know that the FEC has taken notice. A senior campaign finance analyst sent two letters on June 7 to the Gosar campaign seeking additional information.Those letters are reproduced below.

The first letter questions why the committee did not file the required 48-hour notices when reeiving sizable contributions within the last three weeks of election day. Only after the election did the campaign disclose the $16,900 in contributions from seven people, received on October 29.

The second letter is the one that states that the 10 items listing "bonus for campaign staff" and the largest bonus to his former Chief of Staff Thomas van Flein (which simply says "campaign bonus") are "incorrectly reported". (The FEC questioned a few other reimbursements and an item labeled "Tele Townhalls".

The FEC is giving the Gosar for Congress committee until July 11 to amend their reports "to clarify the attached descriptions."







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Thursday, June 6, 2019

ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS

3:30pm: Here was the roll call in the House this week on the disaster aid package. Arizona's Democratic Representatives all voted "aye" - the entire Democratic caucus did. Arizona's four Republicans all voted "nay", though 2 out of 3 Republicans voted in favor of the package.

Before the Memorial Day recess, Arizona Senator Martha McSally was among the 8 Senators to vote against the measure.

President Donald Trump signed the bill this afternoon, while taking credit for Puerto Rico aid being included in the measure.







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