Tuesday, August 30, 2016

UPDATE (READ): APS/Pinnacle West File SEC Disclosure: "Cannot Predict...Outcome" Of Burns' Political Contribution Subpoenas

APS and its parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp., filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC" and shareholders this afternoon, reporting the subpoenas filed by Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Burns. They told shareholders they "are considering their respective responses to the subpoenas and cannot predict the outcome of this matter."

Burns served the subpoenas last week, seeking information about all political-related spending during the past five years, and requesting the testimony of CEO Don Brandt. Through the reporting of the Arizona RepublicArizona's Politics and others, it is widely believed that APS/PWCC put several million dollars into a "dark money washing machine" and spent it in on Arizona Corporation Commission races and net metering issues, as well as other political races. APS/PWCC also made political contributions that were not put through a full wash cycle, such as to the Republican Attorneys General Association and the Republican Governors Association.

APS/PWCC gave $50,000 to a pro-McCain SuperPAC just this past month, as reported by Arizona's Politics.

Burns' seat on the Corporation Commission is on today's GOP ballot, and he is facing challenges in both the primary and general elections. That could be one of the reasons APS/PWCC is hesitant to predict the outcome.

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WATCH: Brewer Backs Off Of Bold Statement Re: Hillary Clinton Health Rumors, Wants Trump To Stick To Deporting All

Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer ALMOST made a bold statement telling GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump - and, key surrogates such as Rudy Giuliani - to stop trafficking in internet conspiracy videos regarding Hillary Clinton's health. However, Brewer backed off of the statement when directly asked if Giuliani and others should cut it out.

Brewer also said that she hopes that Trump WILL retain his promise to deport the estimated 11 million people in the U.S. illegally when he takes to the stage in Phoenix tomorrow.

The former Governor has become a popular Trump surrogate, and was interviewed today by CNN's Jake Tapper on primary election day here in Arizona.

Tapper asked whether people should use the Pandora's Box of anonymous internet videos. Brewer agreed that it is "irritating, frustrating", before trying to quote Benjamin Franklin. It did not quite come out right: "Believe half of what you see, and only half of what you read, I guess.".*

But, when Tapper followed up and asked if she would tell Giuliani to cut it out, she backed off and recited a laundry list of Clinton's possible health issues.

click on picture, interview will be in new Facebook window

Brewer also tried to avoid making any definitive pronouncements about Trump's illegal immigration speech tomorrow in Phoenix. She finished with a strong opinion that he should stick with him promise to get all of them out:

"He has said that they're going to go back and get in line, and come back across the legal way. And, that's what we want. We all believe in the rule of law."

*Not quite as savvy-sounding as Franklin's actual saying: Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.”

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WATCH, WATCH, WATCH: Rep. Gallego Ready To Tag "Friend" McCain With "Trumpublican" Label; Jim Sharpe On Arizona's "Battleground" Status

The cable news networks have been focusing on Arizona and our primary election today. The most-talked about topic, obviously, is Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and his GOP primary; however, they have also found plenty of other things to talk about with Arizonans.

We already posted video of Rep. Grijalva (D-CD3) suggesting that Democratic Presidential nominee should cut ties with the Clinton Foundation.

Here is video of Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-CD7) on MSNBC a bit later, attempting to tag McCain with a "Trumpublican" dart.

Minutes earlier, Snow interviewed KTAR's Jim Sharpe about Arizona's political landscape. Sharpe touted AZ as a closely-fought battleground state come November.

We are still keeping our eyes open for video of former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer's interview by Jake Tapper on CNN. It was quite the segment. If you have a copy of the video, please drop us a note and/or link.
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WATCH: Rep. Grijalva Says Clinton Should "Get Rid Of It (Ties To Foundation)"

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) - who is currently facing noone on the ballot either today or in November - told MSNBC's Tamron Hall that Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton should "cut off" ties with the Clinton Foundation.

The relationship between Clinton's State Department and the non-profit Clinton Foundation has been the subject of much discussion and allegations that Foundation donors often had a leg up on non-donors in dealing with the U.S. State Department.

Grijalva said that it has become "an extraneous matter" and that Clinton needs to focus on the critical issues.

"We've got to get rid of extraneous issues, and if this Foundation is an extraneous issue that goes to the heart of whether it's trust and transparency, then get rid of it. Because, there is so much on the table right now for the American people and for the future of this nation, that extraneous issues such as a Foundation which - if that is something that needs to be cut off, then it should be cut off.

Hall praised him for being one "of the few lawmakers" saying this.

H/t to YouTube account "GOP War Room"

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Monday, August 29, 2016

BREAKING: MORE Arizonans "Undecided" About Their Presidential Vote; New Poll Shows Trump Closing August Gap (To 1%)

At the beginning of August, OH Predictive Insights showed Hillary Clinton leading by 3% points. August is exiting with that lead over Donald Trump shrinking to 1% point, 40%-39%.

The new poll also shows Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson increasing his support from 4% to 7%, while those saying they are undecided CLIMBED (unusual for this high profile of a race this close to the election) from 8% to 13%.

On August 2, OH Predictive Insights showed Clinton with a 45%-42% lead, just inside the margin of error.  (The margin of error in the new poll is a little bit higher, +/-3.63%.) Although he did not release breakdowns by demographic group, pollster Mike Noble  notes in his news release that there is nearly no "gender gap" in his Arizona polling and that Clinton only leads Trump by 4% among female voters. (That presumably also means that Trump is only leading Clinton by a couple of percentage among men.)

Arizona is still rated as a "tossup" state by RealClearPolitics, although the FiveThirtyEight predictive models still show Trump as highly-favored to secure Arizona's 11 electoral college votes.

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Friday, August 26, 2016

READ: Arpaio & Friends' Criminal Contempt Investigation Goes To Washington; U.S. Attorney's Office For Arizona Recuses Itself

With no explanation given, the U.S. Attorney's Office for Arizona - John Leonardo is the U.S. Attorney for Arizona - has recused itself from "the investigation and potential prosecution" of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (and three others) for criminal contempt of court.  Instead, the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division - Public Integrity Section - will handle the explosive matter.
The memorandum indicates that the change was approved because of "existing conflicts of interest or the appearance of conflicts of interest pertaining to the matter."

District Court Judge G. Murray Snow referred the case to Leonardo's office last Friday. District Court Judge Susan Bolton will be the judge presiding over the matter.

Of course, the next question will be how fast the investigation will proceed. The current Attorney General is Loretta Lynch. If GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump wins the White House in November, there will be a new decision-making regime at the DOJ in January.

Earlier today, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors announced that they will be meeting in executive session Monday morning to discuss the Melendres v. Arpaio case.

h/t to the Associated Press for first reporting the recusal.

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The liberal People For the American Way is spending $3,500 on an ad this weekend airing on Spanish-language radio stations, attempting to tie Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) to GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump and hammering the entire Republican party for "saying we are criminals."

PFAW filed their spending report with the Federal Election Commission this afternoon. It's running through next Tuesday's primary, although it is more focused on the November election.

The bilingual ad features a child (who sounds pretty darned old) speaking in English with her Spanish-speaking mother. Here is the ad, and both the Spanish/English transcript and the English translation/transcript.

Child: I’m scared of Donald Trump, Mami. Are you going to vote against him?
Mom: Sí, cómo no, mi'jita. No podemos dejar que gane.
Child: Es que - I see people who rally for him. What if he wins?
Mom: Si hacemos lo que tenemos que hacer – sacar a todos a votar – entonces Trump, el Senador McCain, y los republicanos pierden las elecciones.
Child: Los republicanos are the ones saying we’re criminals, and they don’t support making college more affordable, ¿verdad, mami?
Mom: Sí, y bloquearon las acciones de inmigración del Presidente, quieren quitar Obamacare…Y, para colmo, están en contra de aumentar el sueldo mínimo – mi sueldo.
Child: ¿Sabes qué Ama? I’m going to spread the word among everyone I know to go vote. I’m going to start with Papi, and tell him every vote makes a difference.
Mom: Así es, tenemos que echarle ganas. Sí se puede m’ijita!
Este mensaje es pagado por People For the American Way, www.pfaw.org, y no está autorizado por ningún candidato o comité de candidato. People For the American Way es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio.

Child: I’m scared of Donald Trump, Mom. Are you going to vote against him?
Mom: Of course, darling. We can't allow him to win.
Child: It's just that... I see people who rally for him. What if he wins?
Mom: No way. If we do what we have to – make sure everyone goes out and votes – Trump, Senator McCain, and the Republicans lose the election.
Child: The Republicans are the ones saying we are criminals and they don’t support making college more affordable, right?
Mom: And they blocked the President’s immigration actions, want to take away Obamacare…and, to top it off, they are against increasing the minimum wage – my wage.
Child: You know something Mom? I'm going to spread the word among everyone I know to go vote. I'm going to start with Papi, and tell him every vote makes a difference.
Mom: That’s right, we have to make a good effort! Sí se puede!
Paid for by People For the American Way pfaw.org and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising.

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READ: Why Arizona Supreme Court Upheld Republicans' Challenge Of Libertarian Senate Candidate

The Arizona Supreme Court today released its opinion in the Robert Graham v Frank Tamburri case.  The Legislature's 2015 election law overhaul provision that (among other things) greatly increased the number of signatures required for Libertarians is constitutional.

It had previously announced its unanimous vote affirming the striking of the Libertarian Tamburri from the ballot for U.S. Senate in next week's primary election - and thus possibly leaving the Libertarians without any candidate in November. The interesting piece of this is that the signature challenge was brought by Robert Graham, the Chair of the Arizona Republican Party, in an effort to assist the GOP nominee in November.

The 2015 law (passed by Republicans on party line votes) increased the number of valid signatures Tamburri needed to collect from 133 to 3,034. He submitted more than the latter number. However, the Republicans found enough invalid signatures to bring him below 3,034 but above 133.

Tamburri appealed the decision on Constitutional grounds.

The Supreme Court, however, found that he could not show that the increase caused such a severe burden that the law would face close scrutiny. Then, the Justices unanimously determined that there was an important state interest in limiting the number of candidates on the ballot, and that the increased signature requirements were rationally related.  (This, despite the fact that there are already significant hurdles for a potential party to be recognized by the state.)

The law increased the number of signatures necessary for third parties by reducing the percentage of signers necessary but greatly increasing the pool of who can sign the Libertarians' petition (to include all registered voters (independents, etc.) who are not registered to another (recognized) party.

Chief Justice Scott Bales authored the unanimous opinion, and concluded it thusly:
(W)e conclude that the 0.25 percent signature requirement is rationally related to the state’s legitimate interest in ensuring that candidates who appear on the general election ballot have some significant modicum of support. Accordingly, we reject Tamburri’s contention that the signature requirements in §§ 16-321 and - 322, as amended by H.B. 2608, unconstitutionally burden a candidate’s exercise of First Amendment rights.
The Libertarians do have a write-in candidate for Tuesday's primary.  If Merissa Hamilton garners more than 3,000 write-in votes on Tuesday, she will be printed on the November ballot along with the Democratic and Republican candidates.

Hamilton tells Arizona's Politics that she stepped up after Tamburri was taken off, and says she has been getting significant support from the national Libertarian Party. She is also buoyed by the strong polling that Libertarian Presidential nominee Gary Johnson is receiving in Arizona (12% in this week's CNN/ORC poll).

(This article written by Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich.)

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BREAKING: Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Meeting Monday To Consider Next Steps In Melendres/Arpaio Racial Profiling Case

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will be meeting in Executive Session on Monday to consider its next steps in the explosive racial-profiling case, Melendres v. Arpaio.  They may then take action in open session.

The August 29 (at 11:00am) Special Meeting comes on the heels of two orders from District Court Judge G. Murray Snow. The criminal contempt referral against Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three others received the most attention, and the Supervisors will likely be discussing what happens next on that angle.

The more likely focus of the discussion - and possible action - is the other order in which Snow set up the framework for a compensation fund for individuals who were stopped and detained by MCSO deputies in violation of the Court's previous injunction against racial profiling.  The County has been ordered to set up a $500,000 (to start) fund for compensation.

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WATCH: Gov. Brewer "On The Record" About "Corruption", Her Immigration Mantra

Former Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) fulfilled her duties as a high-level Donald Trump surrogate last night, appearing on Fox News' "On the Record" program to attack Hillary Clinton's "corruption" and to gently hope that Trump does not soften too much on immigration.

Arizona's Politics published an article following her remarks last night refreshing information on Brewer's own, eponymous federal SuperPAC that accepted contributions from companies seeking contracts from the state (while she was Governor) and which she primarily uses for her own travel expenses.

GLASS HOUSES: Gov. Brewer Hits Clinton On Corruption, Forgets About Questionable Jan PAC Contributions

The 4 1/2 minute interview with substitute host Kimberly Guilfoyle is below.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

GLASS HOUSES: Gov. Brewer Hits Clinton On Corruption, Forgets About Questionable Jan PAC Contributions

Former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) took to Fox News tonight to hammer Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton about "corruption" and "pay-to-play". She has apparently forgotten that a significant portion of her personal SuperPAC/travel fund came from similarly-situated contributors.

Here is the Fox News tweet with her (ahem) money quote on the subject:

(The interview is now available, and is presented in its entirety here.)

Arizona's Politics has written extensively on Brewer's federal and state SuperPACs - which can and do receive unlimited contributions.

The most intriguing was when Infrastructure Corporation of America ("ICA") made a $10,000 paymnt to Jan PAC on February 19 (2013), spent $12,870 flying her from Arizona to Tennessee and a Republican Governors Association meeting in D.C. (and, back) that week, and gathered more than $60,000 in other Tennessee-related contributions that week.  ("Governor Brewer, Personal SuperPAC Benefit From Company Privatizing Arizona Rest Stops")

That same week, ICA submitted an unsolicited proposal to Arizona (ADOT) to privatize the state's rest areas. That $18.3M contract was finalized and is still in effect. ("Arizona Privies Privatized (Pretty Privately)! Tennessee Company Takes Over Highway Rest Stops, Now Looking For Advertisers")

Additionally, Jan PAC raked in contributions from others who had reason to court Arizona's Governor, including more than $25,000 from healthcare companies in proximity to her controversial decision to accept Obamacare money for Arizona's Medicaid system (AHCCCS).  ("Governor Brewer's Personal Super PAC Raises Nearly Quarter-Million Dollars In 2013; Healthcare, Construction Big Contributors")

Although she has been out of office for more than 1 1/2 years, Brewer is still sitting on more than $338,000 in Jan PAC. She has appeared to use it primarily for political airfare and lodging, and has not supported any candidates (or causes) in nearly four years.

We do not know exactly what transpired between Brewer and SuperPAC contributors, Clinton and Clinton Foundation givers, or even former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell and his benefactors - Governor Brewer signed on to an amicus brief supporting McDonnell's actions, when it was before the U.S. Supreme Court - but we do know that former Governors who live in glass houses should stay away from stones.

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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Gosar Pulls Overtly Campaign-Related Articles Off Congressional Website

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) has pulled a couple of campaign-related articles off of his Congressional website, days after receiving inquiries from Arizona's Politics. The NewsMax and ConservativeHQ stories were synopsized on Gosar's House.gov "In the News" page.

Gosar was admittedly caught by surprise after a SuperPAC began what has become a $281,000 attack on him. He received national attention by claiming that the Right Way SuperPAC was part of an attempt by House leadership (a.k.a. "the Establishment") to pick off members of the conservative Freedom Caucus.

Gosar (or, his staff) did not post the more straight-up news articles from Roll Call* and Politico** about his claims; however, they did post the more-accusatory opinion pieces highlighting his primary opponent (Ray Strauss) as a "phony conservative" and Sarah Palin's amplification.

Arizona's Politics published an article showing that the Right Way funders were actually Arizona and California agricultural interests. The Western Growers declined to tell Arizona's Politics WHY they were spending so much money on the effort. (Though they are still welcome to respond.)

Rep. Gosar not only declined to explain why he had thought that House Speaker Paul Ryan and//or his allies were trying to "Huelskamp" him, but why he thought the farming interests were trying to send a message. The only indication that he had received Arizona's Politics' inquiries was that he removed the articles from the Congressional website and server. (The links are still - properly - available on Gosar's campaign website.)

House Ethics rules prohibit members from using their House.gov websites for overt campaign purposes.

Gosar's campaign committee has spent $300,000 in 2016 and had $183,000 in cash on hand on August 10.  That is more than Right Way and Strauss combined.

The primary election is August 30.

* and ** To Arizona's Politics' knowledge, neither Roll Call nor Politico have yet updated their proven-incorrect articles (despite emails).

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$6.5 Million! 10 Biggest-Spending Federal SuperPACs In Arizona, 2016 (So Far) (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Arizona's primary election is 5 days away, and it is a good time to look at how SuperPACs have been spending their money so far. The 10 biggest Arizona spenders on federal races have thus far put in approximately $6.5M. Our list - compiled from Federal Election Commission filings - is below.

Only two of the Top 10 is putting dark money into the state - the U.S. and Arizona Chamber joint effort supporting Sen. John McCain, and a shadowy Citizens for a Working America - which seems to be using its support of McCain for fundraising. However, at least three SuperPACs have taken in and spent approximately $1,800,000 since the last cut-off (on August 10); this means that their monies being used in primary contests is effectively dark and will not be disclosed until October 15.

Not surprisingly, the battle(s) for McCain's long-held Senate seat are attracting the most money (≈$4.7M) from our Top 10. SuperPACs supporting Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton in the March Presidential Preference Election attracted about $700,000. Primary battles in two Congressional districts (CD5 and CD4) that will likely stay in GOP hands also have attracted action, and the Republican primary in the toss-up CD1 has one big-spending SuperPAC.

Here is the list:
1)     $2,622,446 Arizona Grassroots Action, supporting McCain. We have done several articles about them, and they have received (and spent) at least $1.1M since Aug. 10
2)     $1,200,150 U.S. Chamber of Commerce/Arizona Chamber, supporting McCain. 50 on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum. Our most recent article about them; we have no idea if they have received post-Aug. 10 money
3)        $729,053  KelliPAC, supporting Senate hopeful Kelli Ward. Billionaire Robert Mercer is main funder, and at least $672,000 has been received (and spent) since Aug. 10
4)        $558,013  Club For Growth Action, supporting Andy Biggs/opposing Christine Jones in CD5
5)        $549,685  TrusTed Leadership, supported Ted Cruz for President
6)        $281,854  Right Way, attacking Rep. Paul Gosar/supporting Ray Strauss. Surprised Gosar, who believed that GOP Establishment/Leadership was coming after him; turned out to be agricultural interests
7)        $238,077  Defend Rural Arizona, supporting Wendy Rogers/opposing Paul Babeu. This is also funded by Robert Mercer and has spent at least $24k since Aug. 10
8)        $141,189  Priorities USA is the mammoth Hillary Clinton SuperPAC
9)        $120,790  Citizens for Working America claims to be supporting McCain. However, it may be one of those fundraising mills taking donors for a ride
10)        $74,044  National Association for Gun Rights, attacking McCain as going on "an anti-gun rampage"

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

WATCH: Arpaio "Softening", Too? Sheriff Welcomes Trump "Negotiating" Illegal Immigrant Deportations, As Trump Heads To Phoenix To Re-Explain

As news is breaking that GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump is heading to Phoenix next week for his delayed speech on immigration policy, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on CNN this morning defending Trump's shifting positions.

"I don't know about 'softening' the stance. He's going to meet with the minority groups. He's a great negotiator. He's a great guy. He's got a great art. So, why not meet with the people and explain how he feels, and maybe negotiate. and see how they feel. There's nothing wrong with that, whether it's illegal immigration, private business or anything else. So, I'm glad that he's going to meet with those people."

Arpaio was pushed by CNN's Carol Costello about whether he was OK with Trump not deporting everyone here illegally, and the Sheriff said it depends on the laws. Costello jumped in and noted that Arpaio should know the immigration laws better than most.

"Y'know, the laws are there, but it's complicated," replied Arpaio.

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UPDATE: Two New Polls Have Trump Leading In Arizona By 7-8%, According To New CNN/ORC and Reuters/Ipsos Polls (READ)

(UPDATE, 4:30pm: Reuters/Ipsos has released state-by-state results of its polling over the last 3 weeks - July 29 thru August 19 - and it shows Donald Trump with a 47%-39% lead over Clinton.)

Donald Trump has a 45%-38% lead over Hillary Clinton among likely voters in Arizona, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released this afternoon.  The poll also shows Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) with a sizable 55%-29% lead over Kelli Ward, his nearest opponent, in next week's Republican primary.

That 7-point lead for Trump is when the question is asked of likely voters, and includes Libertarian and Green Party candidates. Significantly, Libertarian Gary Johnson is pulling 12% in that question.

McCain also has a similar lead - 52%-39% for a possible general election matchup against Rep.. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1).

The poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.5%

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WATCH: U.S./Arizona Chambers Bring Back Gonzo To Deliver Game-Winning Base Hit For McCain (i.e. $200K Ad Blitz) (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is bringing back its ad with Diamondbacks' legend Luis Gonzalez for a $200,000 last minute ad barrage supporting Senator John McCain (R-AZ). 

The original dark money operation has now spent $1.2M bolstering McCain in the past 13 months, dating back to last August when it pushed back against now-GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump's comments mocking McCain's POW status.  McCain's primary battle is this coming Tuesday (August 30).

As noted when it first started airing in June, the Gonzalez ad appears to be a joint effort between the U.S. and Arizona Chambers of Commerce. The questions raised by Arizona's Politics (and, to a lesser extent, the Arizona Republic) remain the same as in June, when the Chambers spent $574,000 of someone's (or, several someones') money on the ad.

We are thus re-publishing our News Analysis titled "Gonzo, Diamondbacks Take Lead Off 1st - May've Already Taken 2nd - In Dark Money Fantasy Game".

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the original dark money political spender of any note, and the Arizona Chamber has had its share of dark money adventures. Both rank as "50's" in the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney scale - the darkest of dark.

Here's the transcript:
After 9-11, we were a part of the healing process. To see our Senator in
the stands there and show the people that we are strong,
that's a sense of pride that we all have as Americans.
I trust John McCain with our national and economic Security.
He is a fighter, and that's the type of person you want to lead. The kids now,
these are our future leaders.
We have to try to create those job opportunities for them and that's what
he's fighting to do and it's nice to know that we have someone like that
representing the state of Arizona. The US Chamber is responsible for the contentof this advertising.

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Gonzo, Diamondbacks Take Lead Off 1st - May've Already Taken 2nd - In Dark Money Fantasy Game (NEWS ANALYSIS REDUX; #50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

(Editor's Note: This is a republication of the News Analysis originally published on June 24, 2016. The U.S. and Arizona Chambers of Commerce have decided to bring back the ad for a $200,000 campaign in the remaining days of the primary battle.)

With Arizona Diamondbacks' Legend/Big Head/Senior Advisor Luis Gonzalez' new dark money ad for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the team may have already stolen 2nd base in the (new) Dark Money Fantasy Baseball Game (™ pending).

Arizona's Politics was first to report yesterday on the $574,000 ad buy by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Arizona Chamber. Concurrent with that article, we queried several of the parties about the unusual 30-second spot.

Initially, we received the same statements from the team* and Gonzalez that the Arizona Republic's E.J. Montini used in his praise column this morning.** Unfortunately, those comments were not exactly responsive to either the questions nor the issues posed by the "Gonzo Loves Maverick" ad.

See, Gonzo's ad for the Republican Senator would have been unremarkable except for two primary things. First, if he had filmed the ad directly for McCain's campaign, we would have known where the money to produce and air the ad came from. He instead filmed the homage for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry. The former is one of the original dark money operations, and the latter has bulked up its "us, too" efforts the past few years.

Second, the Arizona Diamondbacks - a private entity with very public entity aspects - are also participants in this ad.  The ad prominently displays new the Diamondbacks logo and uniforms. Typically, that is a big no-no - especially without prior approval.

The Diamondbacks tell Arizona's Politics that they did NOT know that their logos would be used in the ad. The spokesperson-who-shall-remain-nameless did not answer whether the team approved the use of the gear.

It is not unreasonable to be concerned about whether the Arizona Diamondbacks (or, one of its most visible employees/ambassadors) are utilizing dark money channels to support (or oppose) political candidates or issues. After all, the team is somewhat-inextricably intertwined with Maricopa County taxpayers (through the Stadium District), and that relationship is currently in flux. You might even say it is caught in no-man's land, between 1st and 2nd, as the Diamondbacks' owners angle for a better deal from the County without resorting to salary arbitration or free agency.

The team* also said that "we" did not finance the ad. That statement does not say whether it was paid for the use of its logos and images, nor whether it - or ANYONE associated with the team - has actually contributed to either of the Chambers of Secrets to air the ad.

Most of the questions we raised with the Diamondbacks*** remain unanswered. Add to those the extra condiments of - (1) the McCains (through their ownership of Hensley & Co.) are original investors in the Diamondbacks; (2) another original D'backs investor is APS (through Pinnacle West), which has become the subject of inquiries for its admitted, extensive use of dark money entities over the past few years; and (3) the Kendricks (Ken is managing general partner for the D'backs' ownership) are frequently credited with match-making an introduction that led to the best-known dark money marriage, between Sean Noble and the Koch Brothers - and you have one heck of a "Diamondbacks Dark Money Dog".

Again, if this had been a Gonzo ad for the McCain's campaign committee, (almost all of) these points would be of little interest. However, if Gonzo and the Diamondbacks are running the basepaths of dark money, the questions should be asked - and answered.

*Interestingly, they asked that no individual's name be attached to the statements.
**Here was the Diamondacks' full initial response (sans names):

You may use the statement below on behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks, however the statement should not be quoted by me nor anyone else in the organization. It is simply a statement on behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
“Although Luis Gonzalez is an employee of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, Gonzo, as a citizen, has the right to support any political party and/or candidate of his choosing. This is his personal endorsement, as the organization does not support any candidates for office. As an organization, we would never get in the way of any employee who wishes to support a candidate, as it is a right.”
You may use the quote below from Luis Gonzalez:
“John McCain is a longtime friend of mine and I support his efforts in the Arizona community.” 
***Here are the questions posed:

1) Obviously, the first question is whether the Arizona Diamondbacks knew about this ad in advance and/or approved it?
2) Did the Arizona Diamondbacks - directly or indirectly - finance this ad by contributing money - directly or indirectly - to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the Arizona Chamber? If so, when and how much? Are the Diamondbacks directly or indirectly contributing to benefit Sen. McCain's re-election efforts?
3) Did the U.S. Chamber, Arizona Chamber or the McCain campaign pay the Arizona Diamondbacks for the right to use Dbacks/MLB images?
4) Are the McCains - either directly or through Hensley - currently investors in the club? If so, %?
5) How would you respond to Diamondbacks fans who might be upset by the appearance that the team is on McCain's side in what is currently a tightcampaign for both the nomination and  the general election?
 Quick follow-up: MLB (and presumably, the D'backs) strictly enforce the use of their logos and images, even when they are being used by players, employees, owners, etc. Did the D'backs approve the usage of their logos/images? Were they paid for such usage?

****By the way, was the effort to label Luis Gonzalez as a "Former Arizona Diamondback" a subtle way of putting some distance between the team and the ad? Gonzalez is CURRENTLY an Arizona Diamondback, with the title of Senior Advisor to the President and CEO.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

BREAKING: APS Parent Chips In $50,000 To Support Sen. McCain, Bash Kelli Ward; SuperPAC Raises $1M+ In Past Two Weeks (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The parent company of Arizona's largest utility has given a $50,000 contribution to the pro-McCain SuperPAC, (the ironically-named) Arizona Grassroots Action. Pinnacle West Capital, the holding company for Arizona Public Service, is already being investigated by the FBI for its dark money political contributions in the 2014 Arizona Corporation Commission and Secretary of State campaigns.

AGA also reported today that it is spending $660,000 more this week in an effort to clinch next week's primary against State Sen. Kelli Ward. That brings the total independent expenditures to more than $2.6M. Reading between the lines, that means APS and/or other large contributors chipped in another $1.0M+ in the past two weeks.

Their July 13 check to AGA is NOT dark money, because it was properly disclosed in a timely manner this past week by the SuperPAC.  PinnWest/APS is nowhere close to being the largest contributor to the attacking AGA - as Arizona's Politics has detailed previously, the bulk has come from "an interesting group of billionaires, Clinton supporters, Swift Boaters and Indian Communities"

\AGA had raised $2.2M through August 10, and has collected at least $1,000,000 more in the past two weeks.* Those monies will not be disclosed until October 15, well after next Tuesday's primary election.

* Calculated by subtracting the $1.5M in IE spending thru 8/10 from the $2.6M in IE spending reported today. On 8/10, there was ending cash on hand of $66k. Therefore, more than $1M had to have been raised after 8/10 in order to spend $1.1M in the past two weeks.

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SCAM WATCH: Anti-McCain Emails From Conservative Fundraising Mill About To Hit Inboxes

A suspected conservative fundraising mill "spent" $15,000 today to convince people around the country to oppose Arizona Senator John McCain... by giving them money... to spam more people....

The "Restore American Liberty and Freedom" committee filed a 24-hour notice with the Federal Election Commission today, indicating that it had spent $14,970 to acquire email list(s) to oppose McCain. The RAFL has been fundraising off of the McCain primary battle with Kelli Ward already, although this is the first time that they have filed an independent expenditure report.

RAFL indicates that it has received $280,930 in contributions between January 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016. It has passed on only $2,560 to four different candidate committees. The largest of those was in April, when it passed on a whopping $1,435 to Ward's campaign.

Nearly all of the $225,000 RAFL has spent has gone to Amagi Strategies for its "Consulting Services," "Fundraising", or "Management".  Amagi appears to be a business run by 27-year old Tyler Whitney, and has repeatedly been called out for its track record.

So, keep an eye on your inbox and a hand on your credit cards. And, if you should receive one of the questionable "fundraising" emails from RAFL (or, anyone else), forward it on to Arizona's Politics at "info@ArizonasPolitics.com" before you hit *delete*.

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Monday, August 22, 2016

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES (READ): Bill Clinton's Email Explaining Clinton Foundation Changes

Turn and face the strange changes.  Here is how former President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation are describing the changes to the Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative, etc, in light of the possibility that Hillary Clinton may be elected President. Clinton is being dogged by continuing allegations that the Clinton Foundation played an improper role while she was the Secretary of State.

Dear (Friend),

When I left the White House in 2001 and returned to life as a private citizen, I wanted to continue working in areas I had long cared about, where I believed I could still make an impact.  That’s what the Clinton Foundation has tried to do, by creating opportunities and solving problems faster, better, at lower cost so that more people are empowered to build better futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.  I am grateful to everyone in the U.S. and across the world who has been involved in our work, and especially grateful to Chelsea for her role in increasing scope and impact.

From day one, the Foundation has pursued its mission through partnerships with governments, the private sector, other foundations, and philanthropists, creating networks of cooperation that are focused on results.  In 2005, we convened the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) to give people all over the world the chance to do the same thing.

These efforts have improved millions of lives around the world.  For example:
More than 11.5 million people in over 70 countries have access to lifesaving HIV/AIDS drugs at 90 percent lower cost through our affiliated Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), including more than 800,000 children.  That’s more than half the adults and three quarters of the children on treatment today.

CHAI has also organized the training of thousands of health care workers as part of an effort to address critical shortages in poor countries and help others build strong, self-sufficient health systems, and expanded access to high-quality, low-cost treatment and diagnostics for many other diseases and conditions.

Through our work with the affiliated Alliance for a Healthier Generation, more than 18 million students in over 31,000 American schools, in every state, now have healthier food and more physical activity options, and our agreements with the beverage industry have reduced the caloric intake from drinks by 90 percent in the vast majority of U.S. schools.

Our Health Matters Initiative is working in six communities to improve health and has worked with innovative drug companies to help reverse opioid overdoses and combat prescription painkiller misuse by lowering the cost of autoinjection naloxone and making naloxone nasal spray available to every high school in the U.S. at no cost.

The Foundation’s Haiti initiative has promoted sustainable investment resulting in the planting of more than 5 million trees, the development of 5 new agricultural supply chains benefiting more than 4,000 smallholder farmers, and support for more than 20 entrepreneurial businesses.  And members of CGI’s Haiti Action Network have made more than 100 Commitments to Action to strengthen the health, education, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.

Our climate change projects have reduced greenhouse gas emissions by more than 33,500 tons annually across the U.S.  We’ve also partnered on reforestation and land restoration efforts in South America and East Africa, and are working with island nations to develop renewable energy projects and reduce dependence on expensive imported diesel and petroleum.

More than 500,000 people in Latin America are benefiting from social enterprises that connect people to job training, supply chains, and entrepreneurship opportunities.

More than 105,000 farmers in East Africa have dramatically increased their yields and their incomes.

And, through Too Small to Fail (TSTF), we are working with the faith-based community, pediatricians, community and business leaders, and Head Start educators to provide parents with resources in everyday settings to support their young children’s early brain and language development, and have reached 155,000 parents with tips through direct text messages.
I have found great joy in simple moments shared with people who are benefiting from our work: holding a baby who is alive and healthy because he now has access to AIDS medication; planting rows of seeds with smallholder farmers in Malawi and hearing about how our programs have lifted their incomes, enabling them to send their children to school and electrify their homes; meeting with female entrepreneurs in Peru who are earning a good living for the first time in their lives by providing essential goods to their remote communities.  This work has been my life for the last 15 years, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Since Hillary began her presidential campaign in 2015, Chelsea and I have made it clear that the work the Clinton Foundation started should continue if Hillary is elected, but that changes would be necessary.  While it would be presumptive to assume a victory in November, now that Hillary is her party’s nominee, it would be irresponsible not to plan for it.

If Hillary is elected president, the Foundation’s work, funding, global reach, and my role in it will present questions that must be resolved in a way that keeps the good work going while eliminating legitimate concerns about potential conflicts of interest.  Over the last several months, members of the Foundation’s senior leadership, Chelsea, and I have evaluated how the Foundation should operate if Hillary is elected.  Throughout the process, our top priorities have been preserving our most important programs, supporting the people who work for the Foundation and its affiliated programs, and resolving legitimate conflict of interest questions.

If she is elected, we will immediately implement the following changes:  The Foundation will accept contributions only from U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and U.S.-based independent foundations, whose names we will continue to make public on a quarterly basis.  And we will change the official name from the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation to the Clinton Foundation.

While I will continue to support the work of the Foundation, I will step down from the Board and will no longer raise funds for it.

Much of the Foundation’s international work, like that of most global NGOs, is funded in part by donor governments’ bilateral aid programs.  If Hillary is elected, we will transition those programs out of the Foundation to other organizations committed to continuing their work.  Doing this in a way that ensures continuity and is respectful of all the employees working around the world will take time.  We will complete these transitions as soon as we can do so responsibly.

With respect to CHAI, I will step down from the Board. We, along with the CHAI Board, are additionally considering a range of options to ensure that its vital work will continue and will announce details soon.

The Clinton Foundation was originally established to build the Clinton Presidential Center and Library in Little Rock, and the work there will continue regardless of the outcome of the election.  Since opening its doors 12 years ago, more than 4 million people have visited the Center and it has helped to inspire new generations of leaders—including through the Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a bipartisan educational partnership with the George W. Bush Presidential Center, the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation, and the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation.  The Center has lived up to my vision and much more, including as an important educational and cultural resource and driver of economic growth for the Little Rock community.

Finally, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) has accomplished even more than I dreamed when it began in 2005, and we’ve made the decision that the Annual Meeting this September will be the last, and that we will no longer hold our CGI America meetings.  Nine years ago in my book Giving, I wrote, “I want to continue these meetings for at least a decade, with the objective of creating a global network of citizen activists who reach across the divides of our interdependent world to build real communities of shared opportunities, shared responsibilities, and a genuine sense of belonging.”  That is exactly what CGI, its members, and its dedicated staff have done.

We started CGI to create a new kind of community built around the new realities of our modern world, where problem-solving requires the active partnership of government, business, and civil society.  We’ve brought together leaders from across sectors and around the world both to talk about our challenges, and to commit publicly to actually do something about them.  It was something different, but our bet paid off: there was a hunger for the chance to make an impact that brought together people and organizations with the resources to make a difference with people who have the knowledge and experience to turn good ideas into action.  Corporations, governments, and non-governmental organizations began combining their strengths and finding entirely new approaches to old problems.  CGI quickly became an embodiment of what works best in the 21st-century world, and what has been behind all of the Clinton Foundation’s work since the very beginning: networks of cooperation.

This partnership model, which may seem self-evident today, was simply not how philanthropy and corporate responsibility worked over a decade ago.  Today, members of the Clinton Global Initiative have made more than 3,500 commitments that are already improving over 430 million lives in more than 180 countries.  These projects will continue to make an impact around the world and in the U.S.  The idea that working together beats going it alone has caught on well beyond our CGI community.

It’s been one of the great honors of my life to be part of this special community, and I hope the hard work and benefits of CGI’s great staff and its members’ creative cooperation will keep rippling out into the world.  The commitment model has been adopted by other forums and I hope that more will do so, or that new organizations will arise to do this work.  While this year will be the last for the CGI Annual Meeting and CGI America, I hope and believe we can and should preserve CGI University (CGI U), our meeting that brings university students together to develop innovative solutions to important challenges in the U.S. and around the world.

In addition to continuing CGI U and all of the activities of the Clinton Presidential Center, the Foundation will also continue those domestic programs that can be maintained with the funding restrictions we announced today.

The process of determining the Clinton Foundation’s future if Hillary becomes President has not been easy.  It’s an unprecedented situation, so there’s no blueprint to follow.  Part of what has made the Foundation successful over the last 15 years has been our understanding that solving problems and creating opportunities faster, better, and in the most cost-effective way sometimes means changing course.

Working alongside so many passionate people around the world who share our goals and believe in our approach has made these 15 years one of the most rewarding chapters of my life, as I know it has been for Chelsea.  While my role in that work will change, the work itself should continue because so many people are committed to it and so many more are relying on it.

Chelsea and I are very proud of what the Clinton Foundation, its affiliates, and its partners have accomplished, and we are profoundly grateful to the staff, to those who have funded our work, and to all the people with whom we have worked and from whom we have learned so much.  We will try to be faithful to them, their values, and their work in effecting this transition as quickly and effectively as possible.


Bill Clinton

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Friday, August 19, 2016

BREAKING: Judge Susan Bolton - Best Known For SB1070 Case - Will Determine Whether Sheriff Arpaio, Others Will Be Held In Criminal Contempt (READ)

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton is best-known for her handling of several cases challenging Arizona's infamous SB1070 anti-illegal immigration law. Her decisions enjoining major parts of the law were largely affirmed by the U.S. Supreme Court. Judge Bolton will now make the determination as to whether Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and three allies will be held in criminal contempt of court for their actions - and, inactions - to enforce that law.

Fellow Judge G. Murray Snow issued his determination late this afternoon to refer Arpaio, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan, Captain Stephen Bailey and Attorney Michele Iafrate to another judge for the decision. (He had already found them in civil contempt.)

The new judge was assigned by random lot. At first, the responsibility fell to Hon. John Tuchi. He recused himself. Judge Bolton was the next one drawn, and she did not recuse.

Here is Judge Snow's blistering determination from this afternoon.

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OOPS!: Rep. Gosar's "Establishment" Bogeymen Turn Out To Be Ag-men (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) went national last week with accusations that sudden SuperPAC opposition in his GOP primary was the "Establishment" leadership coming to "Huelskamp" him. Turns out that the six figure spend against him is a mix of Arizona and out-of-state farmers.

The Right Way SuperPAC has spent nearly $300,000 in the past 2 weeks opposing Gosar and supporting Ray Strauss. Gosar went national on the Mark Levin Radio program last Friday (below). He claimed that the leadership was after him because he is a solid member of the Freedom Caucus that has been a thorn in the establishment's side.

His claims received attention from national political news outlets during the week, including these articles in Politico and Roll Call.

Arizona's Politics asked Right Way where the funding was coming from, and received no response. We asked Rep. Gosar if he had any evidence supporting his claims, and received no response.

But Right Way decided NOT to be a dark money outfit and did disclose where its monies came from when it filed its pre-primary report yesterday.

Not an establishment contribution to be found. Instead, most of the $378,500 collected this month are from Western Growers (California, $150,000), the Groff Family Trust (tractor business in Apple Valley, CA, $100,000), and J-V Farms in Yuma ($50,000).

Interestingly, though the bulk of disclosed contributors are Western agribusiness-related, the Right Way SuperPAC has begun attacking Republican candidate Mary Thomas...in Florida. (Of course, contributions for those attacks may have come in after the August 10 reporting cutoff.)

Strauss is a Buckeye City Councilmember. The primary election is August 30.

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Step Aside, Trump! Jones Actually Is Self-Funding Congressional Bid

She may not be wealthier than Presidential nominee, and an Arizona Congressional campaign is not close to a national race - but Christine Jones IS self-funding her campaign. Jones, the former general counsel for GoDaddy, has put $1.66M of her own money into the campaign account in the hotly-contested battle to replace Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5).

Jones made most (≈75%) of those loans within the past 3 weeks, and they are disclosed in the pre-primary report due last night. All of her contributions (to date) total just over $38,000. The money was spent primarily on TV advertising.*

As of August 11, she had $360,000 left in the bank. The primary is on August 30, and she is facing primary competition from Andy Biggs, Don Stapley and Justin Olson.

*Unfortunately, there is no separate entry for cardboard cutouts.

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Politico is reporting this morning that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio will be endorsing Gary Kiehne in the GOP primary contest to replace Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1).

Arpaio used to be buddies with Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu, who is also in the hotly-contested primary. Not any more.

Kirkpatrick is the presumptive Democratic nominee for the Senate seat currently held by John McCain.

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

IN THE ON-DECK CIRCLE*: Phoenix Ready To Work With Potential Buyers Of Chase Field, Keep Diamondbacks In Downtown; Could Become (Nominal) Landlord

Phoenix is ready to listen to the new potential buyers of downtown's Chase Field, in its continuing effort to keep the Arizona Diamondbacks playing baseball downtown.

A local attorney representing the investment group that made the $60M offer contacted the city this week.  Mayor Greg Stanton says he is ready to meet with that attorney and "the principals of the investment group soon."

(READ the Letter of Intent approved today, and more, in yesterday's article: "BREAKING SHOT IN THE ASS: New Offer To Buy Diamondbacks' Stadium $193M Less Than Maricopa County Taxpayers Paid (READ)")

Earlier this year, the Diamondbacks had floated the idea of Phoenix taking control of the stadium from Maricopa County. Such a transfer likely would not have brought in any monies to the county; this new deal would.

The investors, led by Sorina Givelichan - a former Canadian hedge fund manager - have an exclusive negotiating period through September. Part of those negotiations will likely be whether they can get the county, the city, or some other governmenal entity to reach some agreement that would achieve property tax abatement.

One such device is a "Government Property Lease Excise Tax Agreement" (or, GPLET). That would permit the investors to convey the stadium and land to the City of Phoenix with the exclusive right to lease it back. It would eliminate the property tax (paid to the county) and replace it with a lower excise tax (and, rent). Additionally, because Chase Field is located in Phoenix's Central Business District, the excise tax would likely be waived (abated) for the first eight years.

Stanton did not put the GPLET on the table today, but appears to be open to the offer. Here is his full quote:
“Now that the county has taken action, I will meet with the principals of the investment group soon. This parcel is critical to the future of Phoenix and I want the Diamondbacks to play their home games in our downtown for as long as possible. But until I meet with the principals, it would be premature for me to talk about any specific role that Phoenix might play.”
Phoenix has made use of the GPLET incentive for downtown development projects, sometimes with controversy.  School districts have claimed that the agreements skew the tax base, which resulted in the state reducing funding.

So, although the Diamondbacks' idea of having the City of Phoenix directly take control of the stadium will apparently not come about, it is still very conceivable that Phoenix will still become the baseball team's landlord.

*To stretch the baseball analogy a bit too far: If the private investment group is currently in the batter's box (and - ironically - pitching), and the city of Phoenix is in the on-deck circle, the taxpayers - of Maricopa County, Phoenix school districts, etc. - may be in the hole. Where are the Diamondbacks? Not quite in the suites, watching, but maybe standing in the dugout sending signals to the various parties. So, who's on first?

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

A BREAKING SHOT IN THE ASS: New Offer To Buy Diamondbacks' Stadium $178M Less Than Maricopa County Taxpayers Paid (READ)

(3:50pm: added additional details from the LOI. 4:10pm: added additional information about potential buyer. 4:20pm: changed article to reflect county taxpayers' cost to build of $238M. 5:10pm: added footnote regarding depreciation.)

Maricopa County has received a letter of intent from private investors offering to take Chase Field off of the taxpayers' hands. The $60M offer is 84% less than the stadium cost to build in the late 1990's, and $178M less than taxpayers paid.* (The team was responsible for the rest of the construction costs.)

The County Board of Supervisors will consider the Letter of Intent at its meeting tomorrow (1:30pm). The letter was made available 25 hours before, and is reproduced below.

The Diamondbacks began playing in what was then Bank One Ballpark in 1998. The team has been battling with the County over improvements that it says the taxpayers are responsible for.

The new offer comes from an LLC set up exclusively for the purpose of buying the stadium, by Park South Capital, LLC.  The principal is Sorina Givelichian, who describes herself as "a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist." Givelichian was previously a Canadian hedge fund manager.

Under the LOI being considered tomorrow, the County will be responsible to obtain an appraisal of the stadium.  If the value comes in at $60M or below, the sale goes through; if the value is greater than $60M, the buyer will have the option of raising its price or walking away.  The LOI also prevents the County from negotiating with any other parties - presumably, also including the City of Phoenix - until November 1 (aka "exclusive period").

The County is also requiring (in the LOI) that the buyer fund the facility reserve account (for repairs) with $15.8M.

The Wisconsin law firm representing the potential buyer assured the County that there are no connections between the Diamondbacks' ownership and the buyer, and is required to disclose all potential investors within 7 days.

* The Maricopa County Stadium District's annual report in 2009 indicates that the stadium was being depreciated over a period of 20-50 years (wide range), and depreciation over the past several years have been in the $8-9M range. Depreciation in 2012 (last year published on website) for the stadium had totaled approximately $96M, with an original value of approximately $333M. Net value on the books on 6/30/12 was therefore approximately $237M.

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Sunday, August 7, 2016

WATCH: Sen. Flake's List Of 'Things Trump Should Change' Keeps Growing; Featured Guest On Face The Nation

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) was the featured guest on CBS's Face the Nation this morning, and he continued to face down the GOP's Presidential nominee, Donald Trump.  "If none of us on the Republican side are pushing back and saying that that (Trump's inflammatory comments, etc.) needs to change, then I don't believe he will change."

Flake said that his friend - and VP nominee - Mike Pence did try to get Flake to reverse course and endorse by making the pitch that Trump is different privately than his public persona.  Flake has faced down Trump privately and ended up on the nominee's enemies list, and he had a ready response: "If you could govern in private, I guess it would be OK, but you can't!"

 "I sill hope to support our nominee. It's becoming increasingly difficult to see that he's going to make the changes he needs. These changes, like I said, are not only have to be tone and tenor, some positions he's taken need to change." Those positions have included: more serious immigration policy, NATO, and the Muslim ban ("seems to be walked back, but we're not sure where he's landed there"). Today, in response to John Dickerson's questioning, he added trade: "We're going to be left behind if we don't enter multi-lateral trade agreements."

Before the 6:15 interview, CBS released results of its latest Arizona poll, showing Trump leading Hillary Clinton by 2 points (within the 4.8% margin of error.

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FLIP-FLOP: New Arizona Poll Puts Trump Back On Top, Barely (POLL POSITION, OFF TO THE RACES)

Out this morning is a new Arizona poll giving GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump a 2-point lead over Hillary Clinton.  The CBS News/You Gov poll gives Trump a 44%-42% over the Democratic nominee, with Gary Johnson (Libertarian) and Jill Stein (Green) pulling 5% and 2%, respectively.

The margin of error for the poll of 1095 likely voters is +/- 4.8%, and it flips the if-the-election-were-held-today forecast back into Trump's favor.  Earlier in the week, FiveThirtyEight.com said that Clinton had a better chance of winning Arizona's 11 electoral votes if the election were held now. (See this article for a fuller explanation of the different forecast models. (Trump would have a 52.2% chance of winning if the election were held today.)

Perhaps the most surprising responses in the newly-released poll (see below for all of the questions
and cross-tabs) is that only 10% of the respondents indicated that they "might still change" their choice.  And, of those, 80% of the non-Trump choosers said they would not ever consider him while 85% of the non-Clinton choosers would not consider her.

It would appear that that leaves just a little room for the 3rd party candidates to grow their followings. However, in small print, it indicates that YouGov did not give respondents options other than Clinton and Trump UNLESS they asked for them; this would obviously result in fewer choices for Johnson, Stein, et al than when voters will actually see those choices on their ballots in November.

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