Thursday, February 11, 2016

BREAKING: House Approves Grijalva Amendment To Debt Limit Bill

The U.S. House of Representatives just approved an amendment to its legislation regarding the federal debt limit, offered by Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3).

The Republican-led bill would require the Treasury Secretary to report to and testify before Congress before the federal government reaches its debt limit. Grijalva's amendment - briefly discussed this afternoon - would require the report to contain historical information on revenues and taxes as a percentage of GDP.

It was approved on a voice vote.

Grijalva has another amendment to be considered, which will require information about individual salary and wage information, as well as projections of consumer spending and the impact of spending on cuts and GDP.

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OOPS, and HMMM! Arizona SuperPAC Says Check$mart Gave It $10,000, Not Political Consultant Constantin Querard (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The Arizona Frontier Fund, a new Super PAC registered to work Congressional races, amended its campaign finance report last night to reflect that Check$mart gave it $10,000 and not political consultant Constantin Querard.

Politico had contacted AFF after noting that Querard was listed as providing 1/3 of the $30,000 seed money, noting that Querard is also receiving monies from House Speaker David Gowan, who is running to replace Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick.

AFF quickly corrected the report last night, to show that Community Choice Financial had actually provided the money. (1-800-Contacts and dark money outfit GOPAC Election provided the other $20,000.)

Community Choice owns and operates 33 CheckSmart stores around the Phoenix and Tucson areas, providing title loans, express loans, check cashing and other services. Community Choice has also sent $15,000 to the Querard-run House Victory PAC and Senate Victory PAC, which support Republicans in the Arizona Legislature.

Gowan is a sponsor of a bill to permit so-called "flex loans"; the bill failed a hurdle in the Senate Finance Committee yesterday. There are other pieces of legislation in the state legislature also concerning financial services such as those provided by Community Financial.*

The AFF amended report (below) explains that it was a "clerical error during caging" that wrongly named Querard. Arizona's Politics has asked Querard about whether he has any involvement with AFF - Super PACs are required to avoid coordinating with a candidate or his committee, although those rules have been bent nearly beyond recognition in this year's Presidential race.  Querard told Politico he does not know who AFF will be backing.  We will update this article as necessary.

*Gowan's Congressional committee also received a maxed-out $5,400 contribution from LoanMax's President.

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THE LONG HAUL: Bernie Sanders Hits Airwaves TODAY In March 1 States PLUS April 26 Rhode Island (FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 POLITICS)

Fresh off his post-New Hampshire fundraising, Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) is starting to run TV ads in four new states today - INCLUDING a major ad buy in Rhode Island. That state holds its Presidential Primary on April 26.

FCC filings from individual TV stations indicate that Colorado, Minnesota, Oklahoma and RI are airing ads beginning today or tomorrow.  Denver is seeing a mix of 30-second and 60-second commercials - $145,000 worth on the ABC affiliate alone*.

Colorado, Minnesota and Oklahoma are all on the March 1 calendar.

The tiny Rhode Island holds its Presidential Primary Election on April 26. Yet, residents this morning began seeing some $224,000 in ads for the Democratic Socialist who has surprised everyone who thought that Hillary Clinton was going to easily capture the Democratic nomination. Of course, the airwaves from Providence stations do reach into much of neighboring Massachusetts, which holds its primary on March 1; Providence airtime is cheaper than Boston stations.**

It is not yet clear which Sanders' ad(s) are running in these states.

*There is no uniformity as to the format of the disclosures. Some contracts disclose the full market buy, others do not.

**Thanks to Politico's Scott Bland for pointing out the overlapping markets.

sanders, MN start 2/11, $48k
sanders, RI, start 2/11, $224k mkt:
sanders, OK start 2/12, $8,385
sanders, CO denver today, $145k

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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Arizona On Sidelines Of New Voter Registration/Proof of Citizenship Battle... Which It Started; Could Jump Back Into Fray

Arizona started the battle over adding a proof of citizenship requirement to the national motor-voter registration forms, going to the U.S. Supreme Court twice over the matter. Today, word came out that the Commission in charge of the national forms was giving in on the issue, kicking off an intra-commission battle which could spread to the states and courts.  Arizona is currently on the sidelines, although Secretary of State Michele Reagan could soon join in.

Here is the background:  The U.S. Election Assistance Commission was a commissioner-less commission for several years, which led to some of the Arizona/Kansas fights with it over the forms.  Arizona had passed Prop 200 back in 2004, which required documentation proving citizenship before being registered to vote. That went to the Supreme Court, and Justice Scalia gave the state a road-map on how to navigate through the EAC.  

Arizona and Kansas followed the map, and then fought up to the Supreme Court again, claiming that the commissioner-less EAC could not reject the requests that the form have Arizona-specific instructions to send in proof of citizenship.  The Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 2014, and Arizona permitted people who used the federal form (and who had not provided proof of citizenship) to ONLY vote for Congress; special ballots were printed up for every precinct, and only a few were used.

Today, word came out that the EAC - now, with a full slate of commissioners, thanks to action by the Senate and President at the end of 2014 - sent Kansas (and a couple of other states) a letter agreeing to add the Kansas-specific requested instructions about proof of citizenship to the national form.

Arizona's Politics immediately requested clarification from Secretary Reagan's office. Turns out that Kansas moved forward on its own, and Reagan is "reviewing her options."  Communications Director Matt Roberts notes that Reagan is concerned about the waste which took place in 2014 and "the costs to our rural counties for the ballots they have to print and go unused."

One of Secretary Reagan's options is to send her own letter to the EAC to request a similar change in the instructions.  However, that might not be as open-and-shut as it appeared this morning. The Vice-Chair of the Commission just released an angry statement saying that the EAC Executive Director did not have the authority to accept the Kansas instruction and asking it be withdrawn.  And, the fight is on...again.

Of course, even if Reagan gets the EAC to add the proof of citizenship instruction, she will still have to deal with whether to again order federal-only ballots this November for the (dwindling) number of people who used the federal form and have not yet provided proof of citizenship.

(Full listing of Arizona's Politics' articles on this issue is here.)

(Phoenix election law attorney Paul Weich contributed this article.)

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