Wednesday, July 28, 2021

BREAKING: Doug Ducey & Wendy Rogers(?!?) Operative Sets Up New Federal Campaign Committee, "Secure Arizona's Future"

A South Dakota political operative with longstanding Arizona ties boosting Doug Ducey's first gubernatorial run and Wendy Rogers' last Congressional campaign formed "Secure Arizona's Future" this week.

Joel Arends used a Phoenix mailbox and 602 Google Voice number to create the federal SuperPAC. 

Arizona's Politics
 first spoke with and wrote about him in 2014 when he used the dark money Veterans for a Strong America to start attacking Christine Jones when she was running in the Republican gubernatorial primary against Ducey. The notorious ads tried to link Jones to both Hillary Clinton and Benghazi.  We later learned that Arends' group received a total of $275,000 from Ducey-supporting Sean Noble's "dark money washing machine" in 2014, before VSA had its status revoked by the IRS. 

Arends popped up in the desert again in 2018, collecting almost $350,000 to spend supporting Wendy Rogers in a failed Congressional campaign against Rep. Tom O'Halleran (D-CD1). Arends was treasurer for "Defending Rural Arizona". Rogers is now an outspoken State Senator.

It is unclear whether Arends already has a candidate in mind for this committee - some political operatives set these up in case they land an Arizona-minded client. Ducey is term-limited from running for re-election, and Rogers has not given hints about making a fifth run for Congress.

The voice mailbox for Arends' law office in South Dakota is full, but Arizona's Politics was able to leave a message for Arends on his Arizona Google voice number. We will update this article as warranted.


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NEW INVESTIGATION: NAU Foundation Hides "Extraordinary" $5.5M Proposed Fine; Among Largest Penalties By Trump's FCC For Alleged Misuse of Educational Broadband Licenses

While the rest of the world was still buzzing about the January 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol, then-President Trump's FCC was hammering Arizona's NAU Foundation with one of the largest suggested fines in the country, $5.5M. Although they had done away with the requirement that licensees of the Educational Broadband Service ("EBS") spectrum use the frequencies for educational purposes, they approved $47M+ in proposed fines.

The NAU Foundation leadership would not say whether they have informed the Board of Directors of the potential mega-hit. And, Washington lobbyists hired to "interact" with Congress had no apparent impact.

For the rest of this investigative report, please head over to our sister site, "Arizona's Law".

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Tuesday, July 27, 2021

TEXTS DON'T LIE: Yes, Maricopa County, There IS Another Election THIS YEAR...For Most Of You (READ: list of local jurisdictions)

Most Maricopa County voters are on the PEVL*, and many signed up last year for text and email updates about their ballots. That means that A LOT of these observant voters were mystified yesterday when they received a notification from Maricopa County Elections saying their "ballot is being prepared. It will mail on 10-06-2021."

Arizona's Politics heard from about a dozen different people. (And, I was most mystified because I had not received such a text purporting to be from Maricopa County Elections. Until 8:52pm, that is.)

After late night messages to and from the county and Recorder Stephen Richer, and several conversations today, we were finally able to get the complete list of which cities/towns and school districts were going to be asking their residents to vote in this off-year election. Without mapping out the sometimes overlapping jurisdictions, it is safe to say that most of the county's voters will be getting a ballot in October.

Previously, the Recorder's website listed all of the voting jurisdictions. However, curious voters were unable yesterday to access that list. Here it is:




Thanks to Recorder Stephen Richer and Elections Department Communications Director Megan Gilbertson for helping get us the complete list.

And, even if you are not on the PEVL, keep an eye on your mailboxes in October, because this election will be by MAILED BALLOTS ONLY. 

*PEVL remains unchanged, for now. The Legislature/Governor's new law removing the permanent from the early voting list does not go into effect immediately. Opponents are circulating referendum petitions to put it to the ballot in 2022; if they obtain enough, it will not go into effect unless voters approve it in November 2022. (And, they *would* receive a ballot for that election if they are on the list.)

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BREAKING: County Supervisors To Hold Special Meeting Wednesday To Discuss Response To Senate's "Audit" Subpoena (READ Subpoena)

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting tomorrow to discuss their response to the latest election audit-related subpoena from some Republican Senators.

At the 9am executive session, the Republican-dominated Supervisors will get legal advice from the (Republican) County Attorney's Office on several related matters: (1) compliance with the subpoena (below), (2) election administration and equipment, (3) "election-related public records requests", and (4) "election-related litigation". The two currently-active lawsuits related to public records requests do not involve Maricopa County, so the last two topics would appear to be forward-looking and/or requests that are not yet in the public sphere.

The new subpoena issued yesterday repeats some of the demands made in the previous one. Maricopa County turned over ballots, machines, voter registration records and more then, and that led to the recount/"audit" which began in April. The County did not turn over some items then, and the Senate has not tried to enforce compliance.

The new subpoena, signed by Senate President Karen Fann and Judiciary Committee Chair Warren Peterson, demands compliance by next Monday (August 2).

Maricopa County Supervisors Agenda - 7-28-2021 by arizonaspolitics on Scribd

Senate Subpoena to Mari Cty 20210726154038182 by arizonaspolitics on Scribd


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Monday, July 26, 2021

NEW: Rep. Schweikert To Endorse Old Colleague Matt Salmon For Governor (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

Arizona Rep. David Schweikert (R-CD6) is set to endorse Matt Salmon in the crowded GOP field for Governor. Politico notes that the two served in Congress together and have the Freedom Caucus in common. They also represented neighboring districts.

Salmon (and the other leading Republican contenders) spoke at the Trump Rally in Phoenix this past weekend. He followed reported frontrunner Kari Lake, repeatedly attacked the "fake news media" and "liberal elites", and passionately declared that "God is on our side".

Although 15 Republicans have filed Statements of Interest to run for the position being vacated by Doug Ducey, Salmon is among the five considered to be leaders for the nomination. (Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is considered the strong Democratic frontrunner, although there are other contenders.)

(For video, click here or on picture)




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Wednesday, July 21, 2021

NEW: Key State Rep. Regina Cobb Plans To Run For State Treasurer, Setting Up GOP Battle With Colleague (ARIZONA'S POLITICAL SHORTS)

State Rep. Regina Cobb (R-LD5) filed a Statement of Interest today about her plans to run for State Treasurer. The termed-out Chair of the House Appropriations Committee would face former House colleague (current Senator) David Livingston (R-LD22) in the Republican primary.

No Democrat has yet announced plans to run to be the State Treasurer. Current Treasurer Kimberly Yee is trying to follow Doug Ducey's path from Treasurer to Governor.

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Wednesday, July 14, 2021

BREAKING: Congressional Committee Investigating Arizona Recount/Audit Skips State Senate, Tracks Ninjas Instead (READ Letter)

A  U.S. House committee is jumping into investigating the Arizona State Senate's recount/audit, and they've decided to go where the apparent control is. Rather than writing State Senate President Karen Fann, the House Oversight Committee has focused on Cyber Ninjas' owner Doug Logan.

Sending a 13-page letter (below), the committee is asking for documents and communications relating to funding sources and the "audit procedures" that they have been using.

A key line of the letter, signed by Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Jaimie Raskin - heads of the overall committee and the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, respectively - noted: 

"The Committee is seeking to determine whether the privately funded audit conducted by your company in Arizona protects the right to vote or is instead an effort to promote baseless conspiracy theories, undermine confidence in America’s elections, and reverse the result of a free and fair election for partisan gain.”

The final of the nine requests is for all communications the Cyber Ninjas had with former President Donald Trump and many of his advisers, attorneys, etc.:

a. former President Donald Trump;
b. any Trump Administration official;
c. any formal or informal representative of President Trump’s presidential
campaign, legal team, or political action committee;
d. any representative of Voices and Votes, Fight Back, America Project, or
any other funder of the Maricopa County audit;
e. Rudy Giuliani or any of his agents or representatives;
f. Sidney Powell;
g. L. Lin Wood;
h. Patrick Byrne;
i. Michael Flynn; or j. Michael Lindell.

The letter, which resembles a subpoena, asks for responses within two weeks (July 28).

Senate President Fann is awaiting a decision from Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mike Kemp as to whether she has to release records of communications about the audit that might be in the hands of the Cyber Ninjas and subcontractors.


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Tuesday, July 13, 2021

BREAKING: New Invest In Ed-related Referendum Filed; And, Now There Are Six Petitions Hitting the Streets

The newly-renamed "Invest In Arizona" coalition has filed its third (and likely, final) referendum application with the Secretary of State. Arizona voters are being asked to sign a total of six petitions to refer laws passed by the Legislature to the November 2022 ballot.

In 2020, Arizona voters approved the Invest In Ed initiative (aka "Prop 208"), which raises monies for education by adding a surcharge to wealthier taxpayers. The Legislature and Governor passed several workarounds last month to un-do the funding mechanism. The newest Invest In Ed-related referendum targets SB1783, which creates a new credit for an expanded definition of small business taxpayers to offset the Prop. 208 surcharge. 

The legislative budget analysts estimate this law would reduce Invest In Ed revenues by more than $262M each year.

In touting his signature on the bill, Governor Doug Ducey said "After a year as tough as the last, we should not be raising taxes on our small businesses — we should be cutting their taxes. That’s exactly what Senate Bill 1783 does." He did not mention either the impact on Prop. 208 nor that the new Arizona definition of "small business" includes anyone who reports interest or dividends. (This means that any high income taxpayer with any stock dividends or interest suddenly becomes a "small business" and qualifies for the new offsetting tax credit.)

Invest In Arizona has already begun collecting signatures to stop two other related measures - portions of SB1827 and SB1828.

In addition to those three petitions, a group named "Arizona Deserves Better" is collecting signatures on three separate petitions to un-do a slew of voting- and election-related provisions passed during the recently-ended legislative session.

One ADB supporter explained to Arizona's Politics that this is a matter of "democracy integrity", and that passing measures which make it more difficult to vote without trying to fix an actual integrity issue is harmful to the election process. 

The referendum groups have until September 28, 2021 to turn in at least 118,823 valid petition signatures. For any or all of the six targeted laws that they do successfully refer to the 2022 general election ballot, that measure would not go into effect unless voters pass it.


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