Thursday, May 30, 2013

UPDATE: Pro-Arpaio Attorney Larry Klayman Says Judge In Recall Suit Has No Conflict Of Interest

Larry Klayman, the well-known attorney who is representing a pro-Arpaio group in a lawsuit challenging the attempted recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, tells Arizona's Politics that Judge Michael Herrod has "no conflict of interest for a number of reasons."

Arizona's Politics published the minute entry from yesterday's telephonic status conference (posted this morning), and noted that the Judge disclosed that he had a "potential conflict."  Providing research, the article posited two possible potential conflicts - that Herrod's law firm (before he joined the bench) has been representing Sheriff Arpaio in the federal civil suit that reentered the public eye last week when District Judge G. Murray Snow permanently enjoined the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office from continuing to racially profile, and that Herrod and his politically super-active spouse have made political contributions to many Arpaio allies (including former County Attorney Andrew Thomas).

Klayman initially questioned how Arizona's Politics had learned of the judge's disclosure, but recovered after reviewing his copy of the minute entry and declared that "we are confident that the judge will remain on the case."  Klayman apparently confirmed that the judge's stated potential conflict was Schmitt Schneck's (Tim Casey's) representation of Arpaio in the Melendres case when he noted that "One, he didn't participate in any way in the case.  And, two, we represent the voters of Arizona and not the Sheriff."  He indicated that he meant that the judge's previous firm represents Arpaio, and that he intended to say that he represents the voters of Maricopa County (not the state).

Klayman is also "pleased we have a hearing set for June 25th".  Even if the recall effort does not make it to the ballot today or as signatures are verified over the next few weeks, he believes that this case should move forward.  "It is just like Roe v. Wade" in that recalls can keep being attempted and evading review.  "We've maintained that you cannot institute a recall within six months - and the Constitution has not been amended."

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.

BREAKING, READ: Anti-Arpaio Recall Lawsuit Judge Has "Potential Conflict", Firm Worked For Arpaio On Racial Profiling Case, Political Contributions To Arpaio Partner

(UPDATE: For reaction from Larry Klayman, attorney for Plaintiffs Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results, please visit this separate post.  Klayman helps confirm that it is the judge's previous law firm's representation of Arpaio in the Melendres racial profiling case that the judge identified as a "potential conflict". Klayman does not believe it disqualifies the judge.)

Today is the deadline for Respect Arizona, the group trying to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, to submit more than 335,000 valid signatures needed to set a recall election.  More than two months ago, friends of Arpaio filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court to block the recall effort, claiming it was unconstitutional.

Just yesterday, in a status conference, the judge in that case first told attorneys that he has a potential conflict in the case and asked them if a new judge was needed.  The minute entry was posted this morning, and is posted below the jump.

The minute entry does not specify what the potential conflict is.  However, from Arizona's Politics' research, the possible conflict may be that Judge Michael Herrod was a partner in the law firm that is representing Sheriff Arpaio (2nd paragraph of the background)  in the federal case that just resulted in a finding that the Sheriff's Office has been engaged in racial profiling and issuing a permanent injunction against any such unconstitutional behavior.  Or, it may be that Herrod and his wife, Cathi Herrod - founder of the Center for Arizona Policy - have made political contributions to Andrew Thomas (Arpaio partner in some of the items that RA say form the basis for the recall).*  Or, it may be that the Herrods have politically supported Arpaio himself in the past - it is difficult to search Arpaio's campaign finance documents from past elections (for example).

It is intriguing that the judge chose to wait for more than two months to disclose the potential conflict, when it appears that most of the possible potential conflicts have been known since he was first assigned to the case.  It is made more intriguing when coupled with the information that he ignored defendants' motion for an expedited hearing on their motion to dismiss the case on the basis that the mere fact of the lawsuit lingering was having a negative impact on their recall efforts.

Other interesting news from the status conference minute entry is that the judge set three hours of oral argument on all of the pending motions (to dismiss, for sanctions, for injunctions) for June 25.  This is not only after the deadline to turn in the signatures, but it will be after the deadline for Sheriff Arpaio to file a separate legal action challenging the signatures (if they are turned in).

Some of the issues raised by the parties in their motions will still be relevant - such as whether the lawsuit was filed to harass or intimidate the recall organizers - others will no longer be.  The underlying issue of the case, whether the recall petition violated the Arizona Constitution by not waiting until Arpaio had served six months of his latest term, will either be moot because the signatures were not turned in (or, there was found to not be sufficient valid signatures) or the separate ballot challenge will have already had a chance to hear it.  (Challenge filed by June 13, super-fast-tracked.)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

READ: Arpaio's Last Minute Fundraising Appeal: Recall'ers "Going To Dump Hundreds Of Thousands Of Dollars In The Closing Hours"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is now flat-out BS'ing to try to raise money from his supporters.  In an e-mail this afternoon, he claims "one of my most trusted advisors" just told him "that the recall organizers are going to dump hundreds of thousands of dollars in the closing hours to pay for the remaining signatures." (e-mail reproduced below the jump)

Ergo, he needs donations "in the next 48 hours (to) show that I'm not going anywhere."

First, Arpaio's most trusted advisor, campaign manager Chad Willems, knows that the recall organizers cannot throw hundreds of thousands of dollars at paid circulators with less than 26 hours left.  Willems knows that there is no paid circulation effort in place and that it cannot restart that quickly.

Second, donations made to Arpaio's 2016 reelection campaign in the next 48 hours will not show anyone anything.  If the recall organizers do file signatures tomorrow to place the recall on the ballot, THEN Arpaio will need donations to check signatures and file a legal challenge.

Recall organizers need more than 335,000 valid signatures to place a recall on the ballot.

(OFF-TOPIC) NO APOLOGIES NECESSARY: Costco Now Serving PEPSI At Food Court Instead Of Coca-Cola; Historic Switch

Iconic Summer, indeed!*

It has ALWAYS been Coca-Cola (dating to late '70's or early '80's).  Dating back to the pre-Costco/Price Club merger.  I always had to tolerate my less-favorite brand when I bought the $1.50 Polish sausage-and-Coke combo at the food court, or needed a soft drink to wash down my other purchases.

This past week, I popped in for an item (yes, I CAN do that at Costco) and decided to buy the combo. It wasn't until I was walking away from the counter that I noticed, and my jaw dropped.  Michelle had handed me a Pepsi cup.

I must not have been the first to react, because Michelle answered my "Did you guys switch?" with an apologetic "Yeah, a few weeks ago."

I had to let her know that not all customers were disappointed with this shocking development.  I think everyone at the Food Court (and the nearby merchandise registers, etc.) at that moment is also aware that Costco changed the seemingly-unchangeable.

There was not much internet discussion of it when it was confirmed in February; Costco says it was strictly a price-related decision - they have never changed the $1.50 price of the combo.

This fan of both Costco and Diet Pepsi is VERY happy!  No apologies necessary, Michelle (and Costco)!

*"Iconic summer" is Pepsi's marketing catchphrase for Summer 2013; Coke at the Costco food court was iconic.

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.

FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS: Take Flake Out To the Ball Game (New Lyrics); Help Fund His 2018 Campaign

The non-partisan, non-profit Sunlight Foundation puts several nifty things on the internet in furtherance of their mission of using "cutting-edge technology and ideas to make government transparent and accountable."  Once of those ideas is "Political Party Time", where they aggregate campaign fundraising invitations.  Arizona's Politics will try to keep an eye on this and bring you Arizona-related items.  (If you happen to spot one before it is posted here, please drop me an e-mail.)

Take Flake out to the ball game,
Take along a lobbyist or two,
Give him more'n peanuts and Cracker Jack,
You don't care that its for 20-18.
Let's root, root, root for immigration reform,
If it stalls in the House it's a shame.
For it's ONE, TWO thousand, not more, 
At the old fund raiser!

Well, the House campaigns are already revving up, and there is even jockeying for the 2016 Presidential race.  But, here's a fun D.C. fundraiser for Arizona Senator Jeff Flake's re-election campaign.  He will presumably be running for a second Senate term in 2018.

But, hey, everyone understands that we live in an age of perpetual campaigns.  Flake's Re-Election Committee is already spending more than $22,000 per month (based on their recent quarterly filing).

If you attend this fundraiser on the 26th, please drop Arizona's Politics a line and let us know whether all of the attendees root for the Diamondbacks while the Senator is there, and then put on their Nationals' caps after he leaves!

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FACT CHECK UPDATE: National GOP Group Gets "Two Pinocchios" For Claiming Arizona Reps. Barber & Kirkpatrick Want To "Put The IRS In Charge Of Your Healthcare"

The National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") is attacking Arizona Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) and Ron Barber (D-CD2) for not voting with House Republicans recently to repeal Obamacare, and their billboards are not sitting well with one national fact checker.

The NRCC brought the attack to the southern and northern Arizona districts yesterday with mobile billboards stating that "Barber's (or, Kirkpatrick's) Plan: Put the IRS in charge of your healthcare.  Fed up? Call...."

Spokespeople for both Representatives were quick to respond in this Arizona Republic article, and Barber's campaign has been sending out fundraising e-mails pegged to the NRCC attacks. (example below the jump)  Barber campaign spokesman Rodd McLeod notes in the article that the Congressman has signed on to three bills that seek to change some aspects of the healthcare reform laws.

This morning, the Washington Post's The Fact Checker column published a review of the NRCC campaign (it targets a couple of other Democrats who had originally voted against Obamacare but did not vote to repeal this month).  

It finds that the Republicans' claim that the IRS - currently embroiled in controversy/scandal/pick your favorite descriptive term for shitstorm - will be "in charge of your healthcare" is pretty over-the-top given that the employer-based health insurance system will remain largely in place, and that up until a few weeks ago, the very same Republicans were claiming that the Department of Health and Human Services was going to be in charge of implementing Obamacare.  

The Fact Checker thinks it is natural that the GOP would now want to claim that the IRS is in charge, because of the scandal, but finds that to be "a significant exaggeration".  The NRCC received a grade of "Two Pinocchios" (on a scale of "truth" to 4 Pinocchios being the most blatant falsehood.

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.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Arizona Rep. Grijalva Joins In Renewed Call On D.C. NFL Team To Change Nickname

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) joined nine of his colleagues (including one Republican) in signing a letter today to the owner of the National Football League's Washington Redskins, and co-sponsoring a measure to cancel the Redskins' trademark.  Owner Daniel Snyder vowed earlier this month to "NEVER" change the long-controversial nickname.

Although the Congressional Native American Caucus likely has more members (a current list is not immediately available, but an earlier roster counted one Arizona Republican and two Democrats as members), the letters sent to Snyder, the NFL Commissioner, Redskins' major sponsor FedEx, and the other NFL team owners were only signed by 10 members.  Major portions of the letter can be found in this Indian Country Today article.

The text of the trademark bill is short and simple, and would affect all trademarks with the term "redskin" in it.  The bill has not yet been set for a subcommittee hearing in the Republican-controlled House Judiciary Committee.

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.

READ: Recall Situation For Maricopa County Sheriff Looks "Dire" --Joe Arpaio; Meanwhile, Recall Proponent March To Finish Line; ANALYSIS

The latest in a series of "urgent" fundraising e-mails (and videos) from Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio this morning warns that the "thugs" who are now camped on the County Courthouse steps - in sight of Arpaio's executive offices in the Wells Fargo building - "may even surpass" their goal of 335,000 valid signatures to force a recall election.

He urges his "Fellow Patriots" to give generously today because "the situation was (is) dire".  (The complete text of today's e-mail is below the jump.)  Last week, he also e-mailed out a pleading video, which is also posted below the jump.

Meanwhile, the groups collecting the signatures to recall Arpaio seem to following a strategy of camping and marching to the finish line.  They have set up a round-the-clock camping/headquarters on the public plaza outside the County Courthouse (also the home of the County Recorder's Office, where they will have to turn in their signatures on Thursday afternoon).

And, coalition partner Promise In Action is marching this morning to the Board of Supervisors' offices, Arpaio's offices and in the afternoon to the Phoenix City Council's chamers.  While they are collecting signatures at their makeshift headquarters, they also appear to be collecting and notarizing  filled petitions, and sending out volunteers to gather last-minute signatures elsewhere.

While Respect Arizona appears to be striving to be able to turn in more than the 335,000+ signatures necessary to qualify for the ballot, they are not likely to have attempted to verify the validity of most of the signatures collected in the last two weeks, since they had to re-suspend the paid circulating effort.

The paid circulators, Sign Here Petitions, had persons specifically tasked with verifying the validity of the signatures (since it is on that basis that they pay the circulators, so as not to turn in a bunch of "Mickey Mouse" signatures).  RA has to do the cost/benefit analysis of the best use of their volunteers' time - verifying signatures or collecting new signatures (or, calling out more volunteers, etc.).

They also are faced with the quandary of what do they do if they have, say 350,000 total signatures, but it is highly likely that - if when challenged - they will fall short of the number of valid signatures.  Do they turn in those unverified signatures to show that they did something, or do they decide to show them to the media but not make them public records (subjecting signers to potential abuse from Arpaio supporters for no good reason).

RA is deliberately being vague when asked the number of signatures or valid signatures that they currently have.  But based on the most recent announcement (three weeks ago) of 200,000 valid, how much it is likely that the paid circulators got in their 2nd go-round, how many others the volunteers may have verified in the last couple of weeks, and other hints gleaned from e-mails/conversations/etc., Arizona's Politics thinks that the situation may not be as "dire" as the Sheriff is claiming today (though do send money if you are so inclined), but that he will want that money to pay his own signature-checkers and attorneys.

And, RA did get a gust of wind from the U.S. District Court ruling on Friday, and they seem to be making a big final march to the Thursday finish line.   But, even if they do file much more than the minimum number of total signatures, they will be holding their breath as their signature-checkers and attorneys will be doing battle.  (Do send money if you are so inclined.)

Friday, May 24, 2013

READ: Court Ruling MCSO Racially Profiled, Granting Permanent Injunction

Six days before the deadline to turn in recall petitions against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, U.S. District Court Judge G. Murray Snow (Arizona) has issued a 142-page ruling that the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office has engaged in racial profiling due to the Sheriff's emphasis on immigration enforcement.

Here is the initial Arizona Republic article on the ruling.  Here is a link to the entire ruling, from the Arizona chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.  Below is the last page and a half of the ruling, spelling out the terms of the permanent injunction and setting a further hearing for June 14.

A status conference on the pro-Arpaio lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court against the recall organization is set for May 29, the day before the May 30 turn-in deadline.  Recall organizers need to turn in more than 335,000 valid signatures in order to force a recall election.

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.

FACT CHECK UPDATES: National Fact Checks Give Four Pinocchios To Gosar, Defend Flake; Franks & EMILY's List Get Local Treatment

Yesterday turned out to be a big day in fact-checking for Arizona politicians.  Besides the small blip made by Arizona's Politics' Fact Check on the Trent Franks/EMILY's List e-mail battle, the national fact checking organizations took on Rep. Paul Gosar's grilling of the former IRS Commissioner and the omni-present ad attacking Sen. Jeff Flake for his letter to the Arizona mother of a victim of the Aurora mass murder (and his subsequent vote).

Arizona's Politics' article accompanying the complete video of Gosar's (R-CD4) questioning of Doug Shulman noted that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) had said that he had obtained information about GOP Presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tax history from a Bain investor - not from a IRS/government source.  The fact check by the Washington Post's "The Fact Checker" (Glenn Kessler) emphasizes that hole in Gosar's line of questioning, along with the widely-accepted information from Romney's accountants that the nominee had, in fact, paid state and federal taxes in every year in question;  thus, the claim by Reid had been false and could not have come from a leak.

The Fact Checker thus gives Gosar the same rating it gave Reid last year: Four Pinocchios.  That is described as "a whopper" of a lie.

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) fares much better in's article on the omni-present ad running in Arizona.  Mayors Against Illegal Guns, bankrolled primarily by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, has been attacking Flake for his vote against the Manchin-Toomey Amendment that would have expanded the use of background checks before the purchase of firearms.

It features Caren Teves, the mother of one of the victims in last year's shooting rampage in a Colorado movie theater.  She has questioned Sen. McCain at a town hall, and received a responsive letter from Flake that has become the subject of this ad (below). finds that the ad blurs the definition of "strengthening background checks" - which is the term Flake used.  Teves and MAIG believe that the Manchin-Toomey Amendment was a compromise measure that was the test for that commitment; Flake believed his vote for the Grassley Amendment was the correct way of "strengthening background checks".

Therefore, concludes that Flake did NOT break a promise to "strengthen background checks", as the ad claims.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Arizona Congressional Delegation Votes Party Lines This Afternoon On Student Loan Rates

Arizona's four Republican Congressmen voted "aye" and its five Democratic Representatives voted "nay" this afternoon as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a measure to do away with subsidies on federal student loan interest rates.

The House passed what they called the "Smarter Solutions for Students Act" by a vote of 221-198, with only a dozen Congresspeople voting across party lines.  Arizona's nine Representatives were not among that dozen.

The bill to tie Stafford student loans to the 10-year Treasury note, with caps of 8.5% and 10.5% for undergraduate and graduate students (and parents), respectively, is expected to run into political trouble with the Senate and Administration.  Student loan rates have been a frequent political issue in Washington.

Here is the text of the bill that passed today.

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READ: VETOED! Governor Brewer Follows Through, Vetoes Five Bills As Medicaid Expansion Awaits

We just received five veto letters from Governor Jan Brewer's office.  She vetoed bills that she might have supported, and some that she might not have.  The text of the veto letters is substantially the same; one is reproduced below.

The bills are SB1323 (school buses), SB1445 (school and school district accountability), SB1236 (domestic relations committee), SB1178 (exercise of religion), and SB1088 (constables and private process serving).

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.

FACT CHECK X 2: Trent Franks, EMILY's List Trade Misleading Abortion-Related Fundraising Pitches; WATCH: Franks' Cong. Hearing On 20-Week Ban

Well, it has been a day for abortion-related fundraising pitches and a Congressional hearing on one of Arizona Rep. Trent Franks' (R-CD8) bills attempting to outlaw abortions.

It started with a subcommittee hearing chaired by Franks on his bill to ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks.  (Video below) His passionate opening statement was followed by a disclaimer from Democratic Ranking Member Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), and questioning of a mixed panel (three women/one man, three in favor/one against).

(Click on picture below for hearing page, then click on "video webcast button";  the hearing inexplicably begins only after about 8 minutes of silence - don't give up.  In fact, move the slider a few minutes in.)

Immediately after the hearing, Franks' campaign office sent out an e-mail (below the jump), trying to  raise funds based upon his pursuit of outlawing abortion and that "NARAL, Planned Parenthood and their pro-abortion friends have targeted me".

Within hours, EMILY's List, a group that raises money to support female Democratic candidates, struck back with an e-mail (below the jump) trying to raise funds based on the fact that all of the Representatives at this morning's hearing were men.

Both of the fundraising e-mails were deceptive.

Franks' missive repeatedly claimed that he is "a top target of the abortion industry", and that that is why he needs contributions to his reelection campaign.  The truth is that neither NARAL nor Planned Parenthood (nor others ideologically opposed to Franks' positions, for that matter) have spent a dime trying to defeat him in his last three elections (according to the Center for Responsive Politics).  The e-mail attached by the Franks' campaign, from, does target the bill that Franks - and the rest of the Arizona Republican delegation, as co-sponsors - are proposing.

The EMILY's List fundraising e-mail is equally deceptive.  It tries to replay the success that women's groups had last year when House Republicans held a hearing on birth control issues without having any female witnesses on the panel.  (There was a large outcry, and they are trying to get this picture to "go viral", too.)

However, the panel was mostly women, including one who spoke against the measure.  Second, the membership of the subcommittee is all male; but, interested female members of the Judiciary Committee would likely have been welcome to sit in.  (Many of the males in that picture were Democrats who strenuously oppose the bill.)  Third, the subcommittee did not even take a vote on the bill today, as implied in the e-mail.

Abortion is, by definition, a very personal and emotional issue.  It is very easy for sitting Congressmen - and for women's groups - to veer away from facts and honest arguments when attempting to raise passions... and money.  That does not make it right.

Rep. Trent Franks:  "C-"
EMILY's List: "C-"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

READ: Pro-Arpaio's (Klayman's/Burnell Smith's) Response To Recall Arpaio's Motion To Dismiss and For Sanctions: Our Lawsuit's Not Frivolous, Your Motion Is

David Burnell Smith, former Arizona lawmaker and local counsel for the pro-Arpaio Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER"), filed a response to the motion filed by the Respect Arizona ("RA") defendants.  His office was kind enough to forward a copy to Arizona's Politics, and it is re-produced below.

CPFER filed suit to stop RA's petition drive to recall recently re-elected Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio.  RA has until May 30 to file more than 335,000 valid signatures to put the recall on the ballot.  CPFER claims that the recall effort is unconstitutional because it began less than six months after the Sheriff was sworn in for his sixth term.  While the Constitution is not clear whether the six month waiting period applies only to the first time that someone is elected to the office or whether it applies to each subsequent election, Arizona statutes clearly state the former.

RA filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, and asked for sanctions against the plaintiffs and their attorneys.  Here is CPFER's delayed response.

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READ: Court Hearing On Suit Against Arpaio Recall Day Before Filing Deadline

There will be a hearing on the lawsuit filed against the group attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, and it will take place the day before the deadline to turn in the 335,000+ recall petition signatures.  (The Minute Entry is produced below.)

Unfortunately for Respect Arizona ("RA"), the recall proponents, Superior Court Judge Michael Herrod does not appear ready to rule on their motion to dismiss the case and to sanction the plaintiffs.  RA had requested an expedited hearing.

Nor does Herrod appear interested in ruling on Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results' ("CPFER's") - the Plaintiffs' - request for a preliminary injunction against the recall effort, and to prevent any signatures from being accepted by the County Elections Department before the May 30 deadline.

Instead, the judge has decided to simply find out "the current status of the case and for scheduling purposes."  The conference will be telephonic and is blocked on the calendar for 30 minutes.

Despite the court's designation, it is likely that both sides will try to argue the urgency of their motions.  However, it appears unlikely to matter much to either side 29 hours before the deadline to turn in the petitions.

Since shutting down the paid petition circulators that gathered the lion's share of the more than 200,000 valid signatures last announced by RA - for a 2nd time - the recall group has made little of a visible push with volunteers to collect the more than 90,000 signatures they said they still needed (in their May 17 e-mail).

Any boost that RA would receive from a favorable court hearing will come too late.  On the other side, CPFER (and their friend, Arpaio) is not as concerned about the petition drive without the paid circulators.  And, they have almost an equal chance to receive an injunction either before or after the filing deadline.

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.

WATCH: Arizona Rep. Gosar Accused Of Spouting "GOP's Crazy New Conspiracy Theory" Re: IRS Leaks; Watch Entire Line Of Questioning

Members of both Houses of Congress had a chance to take on former Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") Commissioner Doug Shulman today.  While most of the questioning focused on the recent mega-controversy surrounding the handling of applications for tax exemptions from conservatively-named organizations, Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) gained some attention for expanding the battlelines.

The Huffington Post labeled Gosar's prosecutorial five minutes as the "GOP's Crazy New Conspiracy Theory", and attached the 31-second clip where Gosar asked Shulman about whether he investigated the 2012 claims by Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) that he had heard from a Bain investor that Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney had not paid any taxes for ten years.

When Shulman replied that he had not investigated it, Gosar forcefully declared, "Shame on you!  Absolutely shame on you!"  He then forced Shulman to repeat that he had sworn an oath of office.

The Harry Reid portion of Gosar's questioning was just the last of three examples where he asked Shulman whether he had initiated investigations of media reports of tax-related information becoming public from government sources.  The first two entailed allegations that Administration economic adviser Austin Goolsbee had spoken out of turn about the business structure of powerhouse conservative funder Koch Industries, and that the IRS had divulged pending applications from conservative groups to Pro Publica last year.

Here is the entire back-and-forth between Gosar and Shulman:

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Thursday, May 16, 2013

WATCH: Rep. Trent Franks Gives U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder A Break!

Most people reading this blog are probably already familiar with the Congressional grilling that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder received yesterday about the IRS and AP controversites.  Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) gave him something of a break, using his five minutes to question Holder about the conviction of the abortion provider in Philadelphia and whether the Department of Justice had prosecuted anyone for violating the Partial Birth Abortion law passed by Congress in 2002.

Holder noted that the law has been on the books since the Bush Administration, and that he would look into whether there have ever been any prosecutions.

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.

BREAKING and READ: Recall Arpaio Group's Plug-Pulling Statement; Group Scrubs News On Its Facebook Page

Arizona's Politics reported earlier that the group attempting to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was pulling the plug on paid petition circulating.  Arizona's Politics posted the link on Respect Arizona's  ("RA's") Facebook page, so that volunteer (and paid) circulators would know of and understand this development;  not only did RA delete the link, but it deleted its recent posts exhorting volunteers and donors to step up.

Here is the text of the news release just sent out by RA:  On behalf of Respect Arizona, I am writing to inform you that we have halted the paid component of the petition circulating effort to recall Sheriff Arpaio. “Unfortunately, donors who had initially lined up to fund the final push have changed their mind. Unless other donors step up, with 14 days to go we must now rely exclusively on volunteers to collect the remaining signatures needed to recall Sheriff Arpaio. The absence of a viable candidate to defeat Sheriff Arpaio caused them to hesitate and reconsider” stated Lilia Alvarez, Co-Founder and Campaign Manager of Respect Arizona.

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.

UPDATE, and READ: Recall Arpaio Lawsuit Inching Toward Hearing; Motion For Preliminary Injunction

Arizona's Politics has been following (most recent article) the slow-moving lawsuit filed by Joe Arpaio supporters to throw out the recall petition effort against the Maricopa County Sheriff.  The anti-recall Citizens To Protect Fair Election Results ("CPFER") has until tomorrow afternoon to file a response to the motion to dismiss the case and sanction the plaintiffs, filed by the group organizing the recall, Respect Arizona ("RA"). Also, CPFER has filed a motion for a declaratory judgment and preliminary injunction.

It is very possible that the Superior Court Judge will set an expedited hearing on RA's motions for next week, after CPFER's response - the Court had extended the deadline to respond upon CPFER's request.  A hearing will likely NOT be set on the preliminary injunction until plaintiff's completely follow the rules - they did not file the required affidavit and there is no accompanying motion asking for an expedited hearing.  (The declaratory judgment should have been part of the relief sought in the complaint.)

Here is the plaintiffs' new motion:

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BREAKING: Recall Arpaio Effort Pulls Plug - Again - On Paid Circulators

Arizona's Politics has learned from two sources (circulators) that Respect Arizona - the group circulating the petition to recall Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio - has (again) pulled the plug on paid circulators.

With two weeks to go until the deadline to turn in the 335,000+ signatures to the County Recorder, it appears the controversial effort will have to try to rely on volunteers - who may be dispirited by the inevitable negative media coverage of today's development - to push the effort over the edge.  The last announced count was that they had more than 200,000 signatures;  most of those likely came from the army of paid circulators.

(If you have information relevant to this breaking story, please call or e-mail Arizona's Politics.)

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.