Randy Kendrick will have none of your guff on dark money, peons!

07 Oct 2014 05:47 pm
Posted by: Donna

Photo: Arizona Republic

Terry Goddard has made “dark money” the signature issue of his Secretary of State campaign and Arizona news people are raising the alarm over millions of anonymously raised dollars being poured into races from Governor down to the state legislature. Charles and David Koch are the source of much of this money and, boy, do they have a friend in Randy Kendrick, who serves on the board of the Goldwater Institute and is married to Ken Kendrick, co-owner of the AZ Diamondbacks (the Diamondbacks organization has a history of funding Republicans and right wing causes).

Here’s Randy’s letter to the AZ Republic editor on Tuesday (annotated by yours truly):

LEFT GIVES MORE THAN THE RIGHT

Regarding ” ‘Dark money’ begins to sully campaigns” (Editorial, Saturday):

I appreciate that you were honest enough to point out that “of the top 20 organizations contributing to political campaigns over the past 25 years, 15 of them contribute overwhelmingly to Democratic candidates liberal causes (And I was rocking the stone washed jeans in 1989 but, more recently, conservative spending has been swamping liberal) . However only now do you say that dark money “begins to sully campaigns.”

Since far-left and liberal “dark money” has overwhelmed conservative money for decades (You poor dears could simply never catch a break), why is it that media groups like yours have only started making it a debate topic now when a very few of us on the economic-freedom side of the intellectual world have joined the race? (Oh, I dunno, maybe it’s because there are very few of you and you guys want to have a whole lotta power over the government.) Only now do you focus like a daily drumbeat on private campaign donations as if they were a sin? (Or maybe we’d just like to know who the donors are so that we could, you know, determine for ourselves what possible motivations they might have.)

I love my right to contribute privately (duly noted), and I am a huge fan of Charles Koch (tells me everything I need to know about you, Randy). He has provided jobs and work to millions through his entrepreneurial abilities (AKA “inheriting an oil fortune from your father”), brought prosperity to our country and others and realizes what policies and ideas help create prosperity for the poor and lift them into the middle class (I’m not sure how ending the minimum wage would ever lift a single person out of poverty). I am proud of my association with these efforts to help the poverty-stricken with great jobs and a chance to rise. And no matter what name you give to our efforts (“dark money” seems to work), I am proud of my association with Charles Koch.

Please quit calling me for comment (duly noted). Quit with the intimidation! (Okay! Gosh, you must be so afraid to leave the house!) Quit making other donors afraid to associate and give to great causes (haven’t noticed that). Quit sullying the practice of private and anonymous free speech, which dates to the anonymously written and published “Federalist Papers” and the right of the NAACP to keep its donors private during the civil-rights era.(Impressive equating of Charles Koch and your rich self with civil rights activists of the 60s, truly.)

I have seen death threats against the Koch family due to their strength to stand up for the ideals of the America that I love. (Death threats? Stop that! Mockery is so much more effective!) Probably we will get those now that I’ve spoken out. (Seriously, Randy Kendrick making these tone-deaf “47 percent” statements does waaay more to help the left.) At least my children are gone to college (I’m glad for them too).

Stop with the name calling and start talking about the truth. The left and unions give anonymously more than the right ever has. (Not even close to true anymore, and even if it were, voters can easily guess what the “United Auto Workers” are after with their contributions. The vaguely-named “Americans For Prosperity”? Not so easy.)

I am proud to join the battle to fight for the kinds of policies that have lifted untold billions of people out of poverty (citation?).

—Randy Kendrick, Paradise Valley (obviously)

I’m honestly surprised she didn’t mention George Soros in that screed. Kendrick is yet another example of a rich person who is every bit the crackpot that the stereotypical “toothless redneck” Tea Party activist is. Except that she truly thinks she is better than the rest of us peons, while acting as though we’re victimizing her.

GOP Corp Comm candidates respond to charges but still can’t get their story straight

07 Oct 2014 11:57 am
Posted by: Donna

Per Evan Wyloge of the Capitol Times on the formal response by the Corporation Commission candidates to the charges of Clean Elections violations:

Miller’s response also states that the campaigns paid for 600 campaign signs on July 12 at a cost of $12,972 or $6,486 for each campaign, even though the expenditure is accounted for in the pair’s campaign finance reports under payments made to Americopy in mid-August. Americopy extended credit to the two campaigns, Miller explained.

That works out to about $22 a sign, a price considered half what should be paid for the quality of signs Doug Forese and Tom Little were putting up all over the state, according to three sign company owners Wyloge spoke with. One of them, Jim Torgeson of Sign King, flat out scoffed “that’s not a real number” about what the candidates paid for their signs. There’s also this problem with their statement (which I have helpfully illustrated):

July 11th is before July 12th. So how long were hundreds of signs up all over the state before Forese and Little paid for…er…got credit extended for them?

What exactly is defamatory about Rotellini’s ad attacking NOT Tom Horne’s private prison ties?

06 Oct 2014 01:02 pm
Posted by: Donna

Democratic candidate for AZ Attorney General Felecia Rotellini has been running an ad attacking the Republican candidate Mark Brnovich, AKA NOT Tom Horne, for his lobbying for private prisons.

NOT Tom Horne’s camp responded with this very sad attempt to intimidate Rotellini by threatening to sue her.

NOT Tom Horne alleges that Rotellini is defaming him because the three violent inmates who escaped a private prison in 2010 and murdered a couple were from Arizona and had been sentenced here, so his lobbying for violent criminals from other states is not to blame for that. Also that the prison where the escape occurred was not operated by Brnovich’s client Corrections Corporation of America. Let’s unpack why NOT Tom Horne thinks he’s being defamed:

1. NOT Tom Horne is being defamed because violent inmates from out of state are incapable of ever escaping Arizona private prisons with lax security measures?

2. NOT Tom Horne is being defamed because the private prison where the escape occurred was not run by CCA? So what? The lobbying he did to strip out violent offender transfer prohibitions in SB1547 applied to all private prisons.

Bottom line is that NOT Tom Horne lobbied for more violent offenders to be put in Arizona private prisons, which were originally authorized in the early 90s to house nonviolent drug and alcohol offenders, not rapists and murderers. As the mission of private prisons has expanded, thanks to intense lobbying from the industry, it is clear that some of these facilities are incapable of accommodating violent offenders safely. That was Rotellini’s main point and her campaign is right to continue to running the ad. Obviously, Brnovich’s intention with this letter is not an actual defamation suit, which would be nigh impossible for him to win as a candidate for office. He’s clearly trying to distract and deflect from his private prison ties, since it’s hard to tell what the actual “defamation” is.

It’s worth noting that NOT Tom Horne’s activity with CCA involved a lot more than lobbying against one bill pertaining to out-of-state prisoners. Brnovich was a “senior director of business development” from 2005 to 2007. As the job title implies, he was out to grow the presence of private prisons. That can only be accomplished by getting more bodies into the beds of those facilities. It is also rather difficult to convincingly act as if you have been defamed by someone calling out your private prison ties when you not only lobbied for them but possibly used your position as a prosecutor to get bodies into them (while still a lobbyist for CCA):

The Assistant U.S. Attorney

The reason for stressing the minutiae of Mark Brnovich’s lobby activity/employment on behalf of CCA over the course of 2007 is this: according to a statement of financial disclosure filed by Susan Brnovich on January 24, 2008, Mark Brnovich had two sources of personal compensation over the course of calendar year 2007. Those two sources of compensation were: Corrections Corporation of America and the United States Attorney’s Office.

Indeed, according to federal court records, Mark Brnovich, as an assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona, was assigned as a prosecutor on eleven federal criminal cases (involving the prosecution of ten individuals) in the U.S. District Court of Arizona, from September though November of 2007.

In connection with these cases, four individuals served substantial pre-trial detention time (from between several months to a year and a half) in the custody of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), or in the custody of a “designated representative” thereof.

That’s not good, NOT Tom Horne.

Doug Ducey loves Texas so much he wants to replicate it for poor women in Arizona

02 Oct 2014 09:20 pm
Posted by: Donna

Doug Ducey likes to praise Texas, often. He wants their state tax income rate (none) and their health care policies (no ACA exchanges, no Medicaid expansion). Ducey most assuredly wants the reproductive rights climate that currently exists in Texas, where the Fifth Circuit Court upheld spurious TRAP laws passed last year (and famously filibustered by State Senator Wendy Davis) which will close all but seven clinics in the entire state. Rural areas, including all of West Texas, will be without a single abortion provider.

Two years ago, Texas had more than 40 abortion facilities. Many clinics have already closed under a part of the law requiring doctors who perform abortions to obtain hospital admitting privileges, and now more than a dozen remaining clinics are set to shutter as well.

The decision by a panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court in New Orleans wipes out what was a fleeting victory for abortion rights groups — a lower court in August blocking requirements of the law that say clinics must meet hospital-level operating standards to stay in business.

The ruling is only a stay pending a full appeal, but the court wrote that Texas is likely to prevail. If it does, the clinics would have to make costly upgrades to meet the new standards and reopen.

The impact stands to be felt most along the Texas-Mexico border and in the western half of the state, where access to a legal abortion is especially limited. The only abortion clinic in McAllen, which reopened after the lower court’s ruling, now stands to close again. That would leave women in the Rio Grande Valley facing a 300-mile drive to the next-nearest abortion facility.

But the court wrote that “women from McAllen have been travelling outside their city for nearly a year and Plaintiffs made no showing that clinics in San Antonio (or any other city) have been deluged.”

I suspect the reason for that last part is that low income women in West Texas have been resorting to black market pills from flea markets or Mexico to terminate unwanted pregnancies which, of course, leaves them vulnerable to prosecution under whatever premise cops and prosecutors may want to dream up.

Doug Ducey is 100% on board with Cathi Herrod’s positions on reproductive rights, meaning he favors a ban on abortion with “limited exceptions” (what does that mean, Doug?), and is a sure bet to sign every Center for Arizona Policy anti-choice bill that hits his desk. Many of those bills, if past is precedent, will be TRAP laws presented as measures that improve the “safety” of abortion. Pro-choice activists are well aware this is complete horseshit – these regulations are fully intended to close clinics and/or make women deal with onerous barriers to getting the procedure. And now there is data to show that they do not, in fact, do anything to increase the safety of abortion but they are correlated with worsening conditions for women and children.

The more abortion restrictions a state has on the books, the less likely they are to have evidence-based policies that promote the health and well-being of women and children.

For example, Kansas and Mississippi both have the maximum number of abortion restrictions (14 in total), but have only adopted 6 policies (of 18 total) demonstrated to promote the health and well-being of women and children.

States that have the most restrictions on abortion consistently have the worst health outcomes for women and children.
For example, Oklahoma has the maximum number of abortion restrictions (14 in total) and has some of the country’s worst outcomes for women’s health – including higher maternal mortality rates, higher uninsured rates, and lower rates of cancer screening, among other outcomes – and some of the worst outcomes for children’s health – including higher infant and child mortality rates, lower rates of preventive care, and higher rates of teen alcohol and drug abuse, among other indicators.

Texas is not exactly known as utopia for women and neither is Arizona, for that matter, but things are headed further downward for women in Texas and Doug Ducey intends to replicate that here. He wants to eradicate poor women’s (because women of his class will still enjoy access) right to determine their reproductive courses and yank the safety net out from beneath them. Maybe he’ll magnanimously phase poor women’s hopes out gradually, as he plans to do with the income tax.

Felecia Rotellini crushed it at the Channel 8 debate

01 Oct 2014 07:53 pm
Posted by: Donna

In case you missed it, here is Tuesday’s Arizona Attorney General debate on Channel 8 wherein Rotellini owned NOT Tom Horne.

Rotellini hit him right out of the gate on his anti-choice stance. Boom. Then she savaged him for his private prison lobbying and recommended that he run for County Attorney, since that seems to be the job he really wants. It was fascinating to see NOT Tom Horne shift from complaining about “federal overreach” into the state’s business to announcing his own intention to step all over county attorneys’ criminal law jurisdiction, contra our state constitution. Judging from the petulant tweets I was seeing about it from conservatives, they clearly knew she had bested him. All one guy could come up with when he trolled me about was to sniff that Rotellini was “loud”.

Jeremy Duda of the Capitol Times called me to get my reaction to it and asked what I thought about Rotellini seeming to distance herself from President Obama and vowing to defend SB1070. I told him that liberals had to expect that Democrats running for statewide or competitive district races have to pull to the center. After I got off the phone I thought about it and remembered that Luis Heredia is running Felecia’s campaign and I can think of no other who is as outspoken an advocate of immigrant rights as he is so there is probably a very good reason she’s doing it.

Interestingly, the debate caught the attention of the AP.

Yet another televised debate ignores reproductive rights.

29 Sep 2014 07:32 pm
Posted by: Donna

This is getting old. Monday night’s Clean Election debate was aired on Phoenix PBS Channel 8 and, of course, there was not one question on the candidates’ stances on reproductive rights. It’s as if the entire MSM here has developed amnesia about the legislature here and their constant attempts to restrict and deny access to common forms of women’s health care like abortions and contraception. Whoever is governor is going to be getting a buttload of bills concerning the proper use of the female chattel and their ladyparts. It matters who that Governor is and the candidates ought to be asked to provide detailed answers on their positions. I mean, dear lord, couldn’t these media people at least consider how much of their precious, holy tax money is going to go to defending these things in court? I guess not.

The topic of SB1062 did come up and Doug Ducey (R) defensively huffed that he’d “bring people together” on the new version of the bill that you know will be going straight to his desk if Arizonans are dumb enough to elect him. Trust me, the only people he’s going to bring together are religious bigots and other religious bigots and it’ll be the exact same bill only they’ll sell it on pharmacists not having to dispense the evil slut pills rather than on bigots who don’t want to serve LGBT people.

On three occasions Ducey brought up his endorsement by Dem state senator Catherine Miranda. I try not to be a retroactive armchair debate coach but I’m disappointed that Fred DuVal (D) didn’t seize one of those opportunities to respond with something like this: “Catherine Miranda is from my party but she holds terrible positions on women’s health and opposes a woman’s right to choose, just as you do, Doug. You are welcome to that endorsement.” Bam. Opening made. Possibly might have spurred question from moderator Ted Simons. None was going to be forthcoming otherwise, obviously.

So here’s where I, once again, direct my commentary to wobbly Democrats: Look, Republicans don’t just obligingly blurt out Todd Akin-type statements randomly during general elections and if you expect that from anyone but Trent Franks here in Arizona you are going to be waiting a long time. The reason Akin screwed up is because he was being asked about his position by a radio host, a friendly one, but on the radio nonetheless. And the reason Akin was being asked about exceptions for rape victims was because his opponent Claire McKaskill made an issue of his anti-choice positions, which I’m sure was done over the objections of the nervous nelly Dems who think it’s still 1989 and that this issue hurts us. Ask the Colorado Dems who got elected in 2010, while it was a bloodbath everywhere else for Democrats, about how attacking their opponents’ anti-choice stances was a bad idea. Never miss a chance to point out their anti-choice positions, Democrats!

And now that we have a sitting Dem senator actively sabotaging our Democratic gubernatorial nominee, is it time to consider dis-inviting the “pro-life” Dems from the tent already? Just a thought.

APS stooges running for AZ Corp Comm are shady, even for Republicans.

24 Sep 2014 05:34 pm
Posted by: Donna

Candidates Forese and Little in front of a sign that was not paid for until a month later.

With all the important midterm races going on in Arizona this year, you may not have been following the shocking and brazen behavior of the Republican candidates for AZ Corporation Commission. Doug Forese and Tom Little are the favored candidates of Arizona Public Service (APS), which is the state’s largest utility (and is really a private corporation despite its name). But Forese and Little are running under the state’s Clean Elections funding, which means they have to pretend they aren’t wholly owned subsidiaries of APS for the duration of the election season. This has apparently not been as easy for them to pull off as one might think, since Forese and Little are the subject of complaints to the Clean Elections Commission about their highly dubious campaign activities and finance reporting.

Here’s AZ Capitol Times with a rundown of the complaint centering on signature collection:

Little reported paying $2,790 for paid signatures. Forese didn’t report paying for any. The vast majority of the 14,823 signatures submitted between the two of them were collected by professional signature gatherers.

Jim Barton, an attorney representing the Democratic Party, wrote in the complaint that an investigation into the matter is warranted because of the number of signatures submitted by the two candidates, who are running as a team, has a market value of roughly $19,500.

Because the two candidates are running under the state’s public financing system, their campaign spending is subject to increased scrutiny by the Clean Elections office. They could be fined, or even removed from the ballot if violations are valued at more than $24,405.

A complaint filed by Barton last week alleges that the two candidates either illegally went into debt to produce campaign signs, or illegally spent primary-specific money for the general election.

Actually 78% of Doug Little’s signatures were collected by one woman, Suzanne Dreher, who is known to be a paid petition circulator, while an impressive 100% of Tom Forese’s signatures were collected by Ms. Dreher. All for the low, low price of $2790 for one candidate and $0 for the other? Nah.

A complaint filed on September 9th has to do with the mysterious appearance of Little and Forese signs before there was any indication of them being paid for. Attorney Jim Barton, who is representing the AZ Democratic Party in the complaint, alerted the Commission to campaign finance reports stating that Forese and Little both made payments of most of their Clean Elections primary allotment to an outfit called Americopy on August 13th and August 11th, respectively. Americopy is owned by Alan Heywood, who happens to be the campaign manager for both Forese and Little.

If there were signs up prior to August 11th and 13th, then the candidates would be in trouble for getting what amounts to an illegal loan from their campaign manager. I’m sure I saw their signs well before August but you don’t have to take my recollection on that when there are seven people prepared to testify seeing the signs in July, according to the complaint. And remember that Forese and Little were in a tough primary against Vernon Parker and Lucy Mason, who were running as a more renewable energy-friendly team. Even if they wanted to pull some shenanigans to put all their primary money toward the general election (which is illegal with Clean Elections funding), they still needed to spend something in the primary to get their name out. And oh look, here are Forese and Little standing in front of one of their signs in July for a Republic photo op!

Once the complaint was out, and getting local media coverage, liberal activists around the state began noticing that Forese and Little signs were disappearing at a rapid clip. A source close to one of the Democratic candidates told me that his volunteers estimate that up to 80% of their signs were gone by mid-September. A man named Derrick Lee, who puts up signs for a living, reported to Jim Barton that he worked for Americopy and put up many of the Forese/Little signs. Lee said that Americopy is scrupulous – to the point of anal-retentiveness – about precise sign placement and accounting of their locations. Lee has made himself available for testimony about Americopy’s business practices, according to Barton in an email to the Commission. This mysterious disappearance of signs looks very much like an attempt to by the candidates and Americopy cover their tracks.

So where is APS in all this? They are believed to be the main funding source of independent expenditure (IE) dark money spent to defeat Forese’s and Little’s primary opponents, with a whopping $800K spent to defeat Vernon Parker alone. APS is expected to go after Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Jim Holway with more dark money in the general and may even play in Attorney General and Secretary of State race. My Democratic source tells me he believes the shady activity of the Republican Corp Comm candidates goes all the way up to the top of APS. Considering what a collection of doofuses Forese, Little, and their campaign manager Heywood appear to be, it shouldn’t be too difficult to determine if criminal conspiracy charges are warranted, if those in the position to do that are so inclined.

At the very least there should be enough evidence of brazen Clean Elections violations to get Forese and Little off the ballot.