Thursday, October 30, 2014

QUICK HITS: "Arizonans For Jobs" Sends Out Last Minute $18K Mailer Attacking Sinema (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Quick hits: Arizona's Politics has more pressing news items than it can report on as fully as it typically does (and wants to).  Therefore, we will be presenting some items in abbreviated form, calling them - in the nature of many negative ads saturating our airwaves - "quick hits".  (If you would like to assist in providing unbiased coverage of Arizona political news items in the remaining days before the election, please email me at Mitch @ ArizonasPolitics .com. We will be happy to recognize your contribution.)

Arizonans for Jobs - a Republican-friendly group - is sending out an $18,000 last minute mailer attacking Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9).

The group filed its disclosure this afternoon.  It is the first appearance in this year's election for Arizonans for Jobs.  In 2012, AFJ was largely financed by Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance, a locally-based company that was founded by Jack and Dodie Londen (and remains in the family).  AFJ supported Jeff Flake in his successful 2012 campaign for the U.S. Senate.

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TONIGHT: "Universe Shattering" KPHO Report Into Obama Birth Certificate Investigation By Sheriff Arpaio's Cold Case Posse

"Universe shattering." That is what tonight's report by Phoenix TV station KPHO will be, according to a whistleblower.  Channel 5 is airing its investigation  into Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's investigators.

Arpaio's well-kinown Cold Case Posse has been raising funds and investigating President Barack Obama's birth certificate for more than two years, and former Posse member Brian Reilly told Arizona's Politics today that the so-called "Birthers" - who have been promised universe-shattering results from the MCSO CCP investigation - will have their universe shattered tonight.



Arizona's Politics has periodically reported on Arpaio's birth certificate investigation, and the subject of fundraising, County funds, and how expenses are handled has been raised repeatedly.  Brian Reilly - who helped convince Arpaio to take on the subject of the President's birth certificate by spearheading a petition, and then became involved in the Cold Case Posse - began speaking out against the MCSO CCP's never-ending investigation earlier this year.

Tonight's report (10pm) by Morgan Loew and the KPHO investigative reporting team promises to be an interesting one. "Universe shattering", as Reilly quipped.


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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

QUICK HITS: Right To Life Airs Last-Minute Radio Ad Supporting Tobin, Rogers, McSally (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Quick hits: Arizona's Politics has more pressing news items than it can report on as fully as it typically does (and wants to).  Therefore, we will be presenting some items in abbreviated form, calling them - in the nature of many negative ads saturating our airwaves - "quick hits".  (If you would like to assist in providing unbiased coverage of Arizona political news items in the remaining days before the election, please email me at Mitch @ ArizonasPolitics .com. We will be happy to recognize your contribution.)

(UPDATED 5:10pm: The original version of this article only focused on one ad benefiting McSally; the updated version includes ad buys for Tobin and Rogers, and updates the figures.)

The National Right To Life PAC ("NRL-PAC") and the National Right To Life Victory Fund are airing new radio ads supporting Republican Congressional challengers Martha McSally (#AZ02), Wendy Rogers (#AZ09) and Andy Tobin (#AZ01)

The expenditures are on two separate filings this afternoon indicating that the ad will cost between $2,554 (Rogers) and $6,021 (Tobin).  $5,132 will be spent supporting McSally.

The three Republicans are attempting to unseat Democratic Reps. Ann Kirkpatrick (CD1), Ron Barber (CD2) and Kyrsten Sinema (CD9).

Arizona's Politics was unable to find copies of the ads on the internet; if you spot it or are able to make a recording, please forward it to the address below.  You will be entered in a prize drawing for your assistance.

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NEWS ANALYSIS: Reagan Campaign Tries To Re-Write Dark Money History (and Definition), To Avoid Denouncing Dark Money Present Benefitting Her (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

(Arizona's Politics is an independent, non-partisan political news blog. When we engage in analysis or commentary, we attempt to label it as such. This article may be classified as "news analysis" because it attempts to "provid(e) interpretations that add to a reader's understanding of a subject.")

The Arizona Republic's Mary Jo Pitzl has a good article up tonight, "Reagan sets conditions on renouncing 'dark money'". GOP Secretary of State nominee Michele Reagan is trying to avoid denouncing a $304,000 dark money ad benefiting her candidacy.

Reagan (and/or her campaign manager) are now saying "after you", and trying to make her renunciation of the Sean Noble-linked 60 Plus Association come only after Democratic nominee Terry Goddard denounces a 2010 ad campaign.

However, there are several misleading and incorrect aspects to Reagan's new condition. Arizona's Politics was the first to report on the 2010 campaign shenanigans that Reagan is raising tonight, and is in a good position to add some history and some context, as well as to point out the distinctions between then and now.

According to the Pitzl article, Reagan's campaign manager believes that the 2010 "Committee for Justice and Fairness" expenditure in the Attorney General's race was dark money and that "Goddard needs to explain his inaction."

BACKGROUND

The 2010 expenditure in question was in the Attorney General's race between Felecia Rotellini and Tom Horne. It was a particularly nasty - and misleading - ad attacking Horne (who was Superintendent of Public Instruction at the time).

The ads were only identified as being from the "Committee For Justice and Fairness", and did not identify major contributors. On October 22, Arizona's Politics published an article noting that "CJF" was wholly funded by the Democratic Attorneys General Association, and that the ads appeared to violate Arizona election laws.

A follow-up article, "If There's Justice & Fairness, There Will Also Be Irony; Democratic AGs' Group Could Be Hit Hard, Too", detailed how a complaint from Horne would first go to the Secretary of State, before being referred to then-AG Goddard. We noted that Goddard would have a conflict of interest because he was a member of DAGA, and would refer it to an independent prosecutor.

The final pre-election article of note was the Thursday before Election Day, October 28. We noted that the ball was hit into Goddard's court that afternoon, and that he had 20 days to make a determination. The article added that he should "immediately" transfer it to an independent prosecutor. (If he had transferred it that day or the next day, there would be even less of a story today.)

Arizona's Politics continued - and, continues - to cover CJF/DAGA's apparent blatant disregard of Arizona's (already-lax) election law. On the 2010 election day, for example, Arizona's Politics reported that the Arizona Democrats had "co-opted" the CJF/DAGA claims and that that could play into legal action. Horne did claim coordination between Rotellini and CJF/DAGA, but that went nowhere and it was Horne who has been found to have illegally coordinated with an independent expenditure group.

PRESENT DAY

Reagan, through Campaign Manager Kyle Moyer, made a couple of very key misrepresentations. Whether innocently or purposefully, they need to be addressed:

1) The money used to fund the CJF ad against Horne was NOT "dark money", even if CJF violated Arizona law. As evidenced by the articles cited above, the source of the funds for the ad were identifiable. Any CJF filing in Arizona would not have shown the source of the funds, it simply would have listed its contact information. Arizona's Politics easily located the IRS filings of both CJF and DAGA, and was able to identify contributors. (The amount CJF/DAGA sunk into the Arizona ads was NOT clear from the filings - changes making FCC filings available online would now make that task much simpler.)

Reagan's efforts to equate CJF/DAGA with the 60 Plus ad attacking Goddard and benefiting her thus falls far short of the mark. The only thing in common is that both are attack ads and both are independent expenditures. DAGA's funding is open (while questionable for its potentially-corruptible influence), while 60 Plus is the very definition of a dark money operation that also has been a conduit and recipient of other dark money (the washing machine of dark money laundering, if you will).

Over the last few years, 60 Plus has received at least $16.6M from American Encore (formerly known as the Center To Protect Patient Rights), a 501(c )(4) run by Arizona-based political consultant Sean Noble. 60 Plus has used some of that money to run ads against candidates - sometimes having little to do with the seniors' issues it is supposedly focused on - and has passed some of that on to similar organizations*.

2) Moyer dings Goddard for his "inaction". Goddard had no obligation - and, probably no inclination - to take action before the election. His office received it less than three business days before the election, and he had 20 days before action had to be taken. He should have transferred it to a non-conflicted prosecutor immediately, or within the 20 days. However, that did not prevent the complaint from being forwarded to the MCAO in January. (Neither Goddard's nor Horne's office responded to repeated efforts by Arizona's Politics to ascertain the disposition, and the latter did not announce the transfer; Arizona's Politics was later surprised when the case popped up in court in 2012.)

BOTTOM LINE

Whether or not Michele Reagan takes the significant step of denouncing the 60 Plus commercial benefitting her candidacy for Secretary of State is her decision; asking that it be pulled would seem to have a potential political payoff exceeding the value of yet another negative ad on TV - especially if 60 Plus complied with her demand.

But, for Reagan to avoid a denunciation by hiding behind a false equivalency claim that her opponent denounce an expenditure that did not benefit him four years ago is wrong.



* Such inter-organization "grants" are more likely designed to help entities reach their 51% "social welfare" mission than to hide already-hidden donors' identities.

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

READ: Rep. Grijalva One Of 32 House Dems To Tell Obama of Concerns Re: Undocumented Central American Families

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) is one of 32 House Democrats to send a letter to President Obama today about concerns that the U.S. is planning to house more undocumented Central American women and children for longer periods and without bond.

The letter was led by Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and comes as a new detention center in Dilley, Texas may be opening within a few weeks, and could house 2,400 undocumented immigrants next year.  It also expresses concerns about the no bond (or high bond) policy that is keeping Central Americans in detention even after there has been an initial determination that they have legitimate fear if sent back to their country of origin.

Grijalva was the only Arizona Representative to sign the letter.



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LAST MINUTE TOBIN SUPPORT: Fellow Insurance Agents, GOP Environmental Group Send Out Last Minute Mailers In #AZ01 (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

At least two more mailers supporting Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin will hit CD1 mailboxes later this week.  Insurance agents and a GOP environmental group are disclosing last-minute expenditures in the toss-up race.

Tobin is getting a boost from fellow insurance agents and brokers, who are spending $16,151 on its 2nd mailer in the campaign.  The postcard promises that Tobin "will fight Obamacare" (and presumably, that Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick loves Obamacare).

And, the Arizona-based longtime pro-GOP/pro-environment group "Conserv America Building a Brighter Future Together" is putting a $14,263 mailer out.  This adds to the $50,000 it has already spent on Tobin's behalf.

The Kirkpatrick/Tobin campaign has been closely-watched nationally, and it is rated as a "toss-up" contest.

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DARK MONEY BONANZA: Approx $15M Dark Money Spent On Arizona Campaigns... So Far (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

Approximately $15,000,000 of dark money has been spent to influence Arizona voters in the past year.  As election day (mercifully) approaches, the number of TV/radio/online/postal/etc ads is reaching a crescendo; on many of those, it is impossible to identify which individuals, corporations or groups put up the money.

Arizona's Politics has attempted to shine as much light as possible on these dark ads, as they have become a bigger story than ever.  The state's largest utility, APS, has apparently contributed mightily to such groups in races for the Corporation Commission, Secretary of State, and Attorney General; that has become a major driver of the news.

Because of a wide range of disclosure laws for the great variety of types of independent expenditure spenders, it is not always clear whether an ad should be considered as a "dark money" ad.  Arizona's Politics is using a "#50ShadesOfDarkMoney" spectrum to rank the various groups. (Explanations are provided; Google the term for a list of articles.)

What the individual articles have not done is keep a running total of the dark money expenditures. So, with help from Paul Weich, we went through our articles, Arizona Secretary of State reports, Federal Election Commission reports, and checked in with the Center for Responsive Politics
(where the good people there do great work).  Here is the snapshot provided from looking through those various lenses.

To date, approximately $14,675,103 has been spent in Arizona in the past year by groups judged to not disclose donors for all or the majority of their funds.

The caveats are:
(1) Americans for Prosperity - a group believed to be partly funded by the now-infamous Koch brothers - began running ads against Democratic Reps. Ron Barber and Ann Kirkpatrick in early 2014. The amounts put into broadcasting those ads are not entirely clear.
(2) Dark money independent expenditures in all of the Arizona legislative primaries were not totaled.  The largest IEs were reviewed, and the amount spent in other races were approximated.
(3) Reasonable people can differ as to whether certain groups should be considered "dark money". Arizona's Politics did not include several groups that appear unlikely to receive/spend money from outside individuals/entities, even if they do not disclose their donors. Examples of this are the Arizona Cattle Feeders' Association and labor unions.  However, the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and the Center for Arizona Policy Action Committee are examples of groups that Arizona's Politics did consider to be "dark money." (A complete list of IE groups and their spots on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum will be released on Wednesday.)

Although an astonishing $5M+ was spent during battles for party nominations (the August 26 primary election), most of the dark money has been spent between August 27 and the present.

For statewide offices, there has been $5,750,197 in dark money expenditures.  The Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") is responsible for nearly $2M ($1,962,453, to be exact) of that, all spent attacking Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini.  As discovered by Arizona's Politics last week, APS contributed at least $175,000 to that group. RAGA receives more than half of its monies from dark money sources.

Nationally-known dark money wizard Sean Noble (based here in Arizona) has made his presence felt in this year's elections.  His American Encore group alone has spent $1,445,000 in the Governor's race (supporting long-term client/ally Doug Ducey).  He also has ties with some of the other dark money entities.

State legislative races have also seen approximately $1.6M in dark money expenditures.  However, the overwhelming amounts were spent in the hotly-contested Republican primaries. (Approx $1.3M in the primaries vs. $335K so far in the general.)

An interesting aspect of the legislative races is that good chunks of that dark money comes from two education-focused national groups.  Stand for Children, Inc. and the American Federation for Children, Inc. have spent heavily in both primaries and general campaigns.  A third education-related group, Arizona Democrats for Educational Equity, apparently receives a majority of its funds from the dark Education Reform Now Advocacy group; ADEE has not spent much to date.

Arizona has been in the national eye for two toss-up Congressional races, and the dark outside money has flooded in.  Including a little bit spent in the GOP primary battle in CD1 - and NOT including the early ads purchased by Americans for Prosperity - a total of $3,565,315 in non-disclosed money has flooded the Phoenix (CD1) and Tucson (CD2 and CD1) markets.

CD1, with a battle between Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick and Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, has seen $2.0M, all supporting the GOP challenger.  American Action Network ($840,670), YG Network ($734,867) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ($300,000) are the biggest spenders.

In southern Arizona's CD2, Rep. Ron Barber is facing a rematch with Martha McSally. $1.4M has been spent there, with the same three groups leading the charge (in a different order: the U.S. Chamber has spent $600,424, AAN $503,742 and YGNet $233,559).  A centrist group leaning Democratic - Center Forward - spent $147,864 attacking McSally.

***
The Arizona Star's Joe Ferguson has a very good article up this morning regarding dark money in Arizona, and Secretary of State candidate Terry Goddard's plans to address the mushrooming problem of mushroom money.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

Arizona Supreme Court Decides Sexual Abuse of Minor Case: Parent Can Continue Refusing Interview Even After Child Turns 18 (READ)

This article contributed by Tempe attorney Paul Weich.

In a case that could have been part of a "Law & Order: SVU" episode, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided that a parent* cannot be compelled to sit for a defense interview about her daughter's alleged sexual abuse even after the daughter becomes an adult. The opinion clarifies an unclear portion of Arizona's Victims Bill of Rights.

In this case, a 16-year old girl alleged that her stepfather had sexually abused her. The girl's mother asserted the girl's victims' rights on her behalf, but after the teenager turned 18, the stepfather tried to force the mother to be interviewed about the circumstances.

Arizona's two Court of Appeals divisions had come up with different answers** on whether the parent's right to refuse an interview extended after the child reached 18.  In 2006, then-Sen. John Huppenthal had added the parent's right but the amended statute did not make it clear whether the right expired at the child's adulthood or through the end of the case.  (In fact, as the Justices point out, the Legislature had rejected an amendment that would have allowed defense interviews of parents who are also witnesses.)

The key quote from Chief Justice Scott Bales' opinion:  
"The goals of respecting victims, protecting their rights, and aiding in their healing, however are better served by construing A.R.S. §13-4433(G) as preserving the parent's right to refuse a defense interview through the conclusion of the case.  Even though a child has turned eighteen, a compelled interview of the parent who exercised the minor victim's rights could further traumatize the victim and subject the victim, although vicariously, to unwanted pretrial contact with the defendant or questioning by the defense." ¶ 19

 

* or legal guardian
** in this case and one other case

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Friday, October 24, 2014

Union Groups Crossover To Help Fund New $50K Radio Ad Supporting Martha McSally (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(UPDATE, 9:40am: Minutes ago, Defending Main Street also filed a report indicating that it it spent $14,000 today for a mailer supporting GOP nominee Andy Tobin in his toss-up race against Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1).  The mailer is slated for distribution on Monday.  As noted in the article, DMS supported Tobin in the GOP primary contest, as well.)

Two AFL-CIO-affiliated union groups are primary funders of a new radio ad supporting GOP nominee Martha McSally in her hotly-contested battle to unseat Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2).

DMS disclosed today that it is spending $50,000 on a radio ad supporting McSally, and that it will begin airing on Sunday.

The International Union of Operating Engineers and a group called Working for Working Americans each contributed (in September) $250,000 to the centrist-conservative "Defending Main Street SuperPAC, Inc." ("DMS").  Neither the Operating Engineers union nor WFWA has been known for donating to Republican groups.

WFWA receives its funds from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners.  Its only other contributions in the last two months are $1,000,000 to the Democrat-philic Senate Majority PAC and $500,000 to the similarly-aligned House Majority PAC.  The IUOE also gives 4/5 of its political contributions to Democrats.

This has led to speculation that labor unions are trying to fuel an intra-Republican "civil war."  However, the general election donations to DMS to support GOP candidates seem to indicate that there is more to the unions' support. In fact, the IUOE's political director, Jeffrey Soth, told Mother Jones' reporter Andy Kroll just that: "Especially with this crazy political atmosphere, this is a place where we need to be lending support to middle-of-the-road Democrats and Republicans both, and this is part of that effort."

DMS - and, its affiliated group, Main Street Advocacy - are headed up by former Republican Congressman Steve LaTourette, who has had harsh words for the more-conservative wing of his party.  He has consistently brought union money into his campaigns (while in Congress and now, afterwards), which has not escaped the notice of those he has criticized.

As Arizona's Politics noted in August when Main Street Advocacy (the dark money side of LaTourette's operation) ran radio ads supporting Andy Tobin in his primary battle against more conservative Adam Kwasman and Gary Kiehne, LaTourette has been outspoken in the intra-GOP battle between more centrist Republicans and more conservative Republicans. He has bemoaned the move to the right, saying the party will sacrifice a governing majority on the altar of ideological purity, and calling the ideologues the "grifting wing" of the party.

Conservatives - such as Michelle Malkin - have accused him of trying to "push through amnesty for illegal immigrants" and for being "money grubbing" while working with the liberal labor unions.

In addition to the half-million dollars from the union groups in September, DMS received $50,000 from House Speaker John Boehner's Congressional Leadership Fund.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FIRST WATCH: American Action Network Goes Multi-Platform With New $800K Ad Buys Accusing Rep. Kirkpatrick Of Throwing Tantrums; #50ShadesOfDarkMoney

The Karl Rove-linked American Action Network disclosed this evening that it spent $802,000 this week to oppose Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1). The ads will run on a number of platforms - including Phoenix TV, digital, and mobile.

The major expenditure aiding GOP nominee Andy Tobin comes less than two weeks after news reports started indicating that Republicans might be shifting more attention away from Arizona's other toss-up district, the Barber-McSally battle in #AZ02, and towards #AZ01.

AAN, led by former Republican Senator Norm Coleman and linked with Karl Rove's Crossroads entities, has now spent $840K in the Kirkpatrick/Tobin race, and $503K in the Barber/McSally contest.  (However, the Phoenix TV market is more costly than the Tucson TV market.)

Here is the new "Tantrums" ad, portraying Kirkpatrick as casting votes (on Republican measures) out of spite.  (For some reason, the ad is not listed on AAN's YouTube channel; however, Arizona's Politics was able to locate it.):


#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

AAN is a 501(c )(4 ) social welfare organization that does not disclose its donors.  A number of "grant recipients" have reported receiving money from AAN in IRS filings.

AAN receives a dark gray shade of 45 on Arizona's Politics' #50ShadesOfDarkMoney scale.

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CAVALRY CALL CONTINUES IN #AZ09: Realtors Drop $245K TV Ad For Rep. Sinema (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Following closely on the heels of the DCCC's (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's) $240K ad buy attacking Wendy Rogers, the GOP challenger to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9), the National Association of Realtors has joined the cavalry call, spending $245,000 on a positive TV ad supporting the first-term Congresswoman.

The NAR's PAC sent out some mailers praising Sinema before the primary election (Aug. 26), but this is its first expenditure since then.  The ad has not yet shown up on YouTube (to our knowledge), nor have any of the Phoenix TV stations placed their contracts in their FCC public files yet.

Arizona's CD9 has been listed by most experts as a "likely" win for Sinema, and outside money had not made a significant appearance in the East Valley-based district until the past few days.

The NAR will also now have the interesting distinction of being on the Arizona airwaves in a big way for one Democratic candidate (Sinema) and one Republican candidate (Doug Ducey for Governor); together with the Arizona Realtors and the Arizona Chamber of Commerce, the NAR has spent $600,000 on TV for Ducey.



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DCCC Cavalry Enters #AZ09, Spends $240K To Hold Back Rep. Sinema Challenger Rogers; $1.3M DCCC Week In AZ (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

New evidence that the Democrats may be afraid of a wave election sweeping away incumbent Representatives: for the first time, the DCCC (Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee) is attacking GOP challenger Wendy Rogers in #AZ09.

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) has been ranked as "likely" to return to Congress, and has been using her campaign funds for strictly positive TV advertising.  Rogers went on the air with a splash a couple of weeks ago; no Republican outside money has entered the race... yet.

A DCCC filing this afternoon shows a $227,258 ad buy on Phoenix stations, starting yesterday.  The ad - with a $12,398 production cost - does not yet appear on the DCCC's YouTube channel, nor have any stations filed an ad buy report.

The same report shows a new $356,858 ad buy to support Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) in the toss-up race, and $732,646 in various expenditures supporting Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) in his hotly-contested, toss-up race.



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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

OOPS UPDATE: APS *Only* Put $175K Into Arizona Attorney General's Race, Corrected Filing Shows (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The national Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") filed an amended IRS filing tonight, showing that Arizona Public Service *only* contributed $175,000 to RAGA to spend on TV ads hammering Felecia Rotellini's "dangerous views".

The quarter-million-dollar correction came in response to Arizona's Politics' article yesterday reporting that Saturday's initial filing showed an aggregate year-to-date contribution of $425,000.  Arizona's Politics noted (in the article) that previous filings had shown no more than the September 15 $175,000 check, and contacted RAGA to ask for a reconciliation of the numbers.

The amended filing was made at 5:21pm (Arizona Time) this evening, and RAGA has not (yet) responded to Arizona's Politics about the error.  (Arizona's Politics happened to be checking to see if RAGA or its Democratic counterpart had filed their pre-election reports.)


The overall contribution and expenditure totals for RAGA's 3rd quarter report were unchanged, and reflect a large advantage over DAGA.  Arizona's Politics has also reported on the 6:1 spending advantage, and on DAGA's filing earlier today spending $440,000.  The RAGA:DAGA Arizona spending is now 2.5:1.




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ARIZONA UPDATE: Natl Democratic AG Association - Playing Catch-Up - Drops $440K More In Anti-Brnovich Ads (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

The national Democratic Attorneys General Association ("DAGA") just spent another $440,000 on TV ads pounding Mark Brnovich, the Republican nominee for Arizona Attorney General.

The filing comes one day after Arizona's Politics' articles about how DAGA was being massively outraised and outspent by its GOP counterpart - nationally and in Arizona.  The articles note how much of the Republican Attorneys General Association ("RAGA") advantage is built on $6.1M from dark money organizations, and the Arizona spend is partly underwritten by $175,000 from Arizona utility APS. (amount corrected, see 10/21 6:45pm urgent update)

The Arizona buy to support Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini totals $418,295 in ad time and $21,584 in production costs.  Currently, DAGA's Arizona arm, the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice and Fairness, is running a week-old ad focusing on Brnovich's past employment as a lobbyist for the private prison firm Corrections Corporation of America.

RAGA also filed with the Secretary of State yesterday that it has spent another $39,000 on its fourth mailer hammering Rotellini.

RAGA's spending is now over $1.8M in Arizona; DAGA's is $727K (with another $450K from union-backed Revitalize Arizona).

RAGA deposited $2.5M in its Arizona account on September 4; DAGA waited until after September 16 to transfer money to GCCJF, so its budget will not be disclosed until next week.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

ARIZONA AG RACE: National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

(UPDATE, 10/21 at 2:30pm: DAGA and RAGA have both filed new Arizona spending reports, including another $440K spent by the former.)

In the Arizona Attorney General's race, the national Republican 527 organization is outspending the Democrats' by more than 6:1.  Dark money contributed mightily to that discrepancy, as RAGA raised 4 times as much money as DAGA in the 3rd quarter.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

One month ago, Arizona's Politics reported on the distinctions between the Republican Attorneys General Assoiciation and the Democratic Attorneys General Association. Significantly more unidentifiable dollars flowed into RAGA than DAGA.

That became much more obvious in the July through September period. RAGA collected $4.3M - $3.9M of that from two organizations that do not identify donors.  DAGA raised "only" $887,000 during that period - none of it from obviously dark money sources. (IRS filings are below the jump.)

As of today, RAGA's Arizona IE committee has spent $1,757,961 dollars on TV ads and mailers bashing Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini.  The most recent ad is here.  (Somewhat ironically, that ad even takes a swipe at its Democratic counterpart.)

Significant Arizona contributors to RAGA are Arizona Public Service's parent company, Pinnacle West Capital Corp - which has given $425,000, and Tucson auto sales titan Jim Click ($25,000).

Meanwhile, DAGA's Arizona IE committee - the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice and Fairness - has spent $287,665 bashing GOP nominee Mark Brnovich for his role as a private prison lobbyist.  The unions that help fund DAGA are also  running a $450,000 ad against Brnovich, through the local group Revitalize Arizona.  (Even with the latter, the outside spending discrepancy is 2.4:1.)

#50ShadesOfDarkMoney

One month ago, the mega-campaigns by RAGA and DAGA prompted the initiation of Arizona's Politics' #50ShadesOfDarkMoney series, analyzing the disclosure of original sources of monies to independent expenditure efforts, and assigning each group a point on the dark money spectrum.  RAGA was assigned a pretty dark shade of grey: 35, with the following analysis:
2) RAGA AZ IE: Registered this month. 1st report will likely just show "RAGA" as contributor. RAGA formed earlier this year, discloses contributors to IRS quarterly. A significant portion - estimated at between 30-35% of RAGA's intake is from very dark money contributors, with some possibly filtered through multiple entities. SHADES OF DARK: 35
If anything, the 3rd quarter IRS filing could move RAGA a few shades darker.  Last month, we noted that RAGA received greater than 30% of its 2014 funds from dark money organizations.  This quarter's report is startling! RAGA took in $4.3M.  Of that, $3.9M - or, 91% - came from two dark money organizations.  The Judicial Crisis Network put in $2.6M and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce added $1.3M.

That brings the dark money percentage of RAGA's 2014 monies to greater than 50% (approximately $6.1M of $11.7M).

(Using the current qualifying standard for social welfare groups - that they must spend more than 50% of their funds on so-called non-election-related causes - RAGA has now crossed the 50% threshold for being considered a DARK 527 organization.)

Thus, Arizona's Politics revises its 50 shades assessment of RAGA, and moves it to a 40 on the spectrum.

DAGA remains at SHADES OF DARK: 20.

(See accompanying article "BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red")

3rd quarter IRS filings for RAGA and DAGA are below the jump.  Go ahead, jump... if you dare.

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

BREAKING: APS Semi-Openly Places $425k Bet On Arizona Attorney General Race...Red (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(URGENT UPDATE, 10/21 at 6:45pm: RAGA has amended its IRS filing in response to Arizona's Politics article and inquiry, to reflect that APS has *only* contributed $175,000 to its effort in the Arizona AG's race. Full details here.)

(UPDATE, 10/21 at 2:30pm: DAGA and RAGA have both filed new Arizona spending reports, including another $440K spent by the former.)

The parent company of APS - Pinnacle West Capital - is spending (at least) $425,000 telling Arizonans about the "dangerous views" of Democratic AG nominee Felecia Rotellini.

(See accompanying article on the total Arizona expenditures of RAGA and DAGA, and their spots on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum: "National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)")

While APS is widely-believed to be secretly spending large amounts of money on the Corporation Commission election, its $425,000 contribution to the Republican Attorneys General Association is the first (material*) political expenditure to be brought to light, after RAGA filed its quarterly report with the Internal Revenue Service last week.

Interestingly, the third quarter (July - Sept) report (below the jump) only lists one Pinnacle West $175,000 contribution, on September 15 - the day before Arizona's Politics reported on the $1.6M ad buy by RAGA.  However, it indicates that the aggregate year to date contribution is $425,000.

Arizona's Politics previously reported on the partially-transparent sources of funding of both RAGA and Democratic counterpart DAGA.  Embedded in that analysis are copies of RAGA's IRS filings for the first two quarters of 2014 - neither lists a contribution from Pinnacle West or APS.  Arizona's Politics is inquiring about the significant discrepancy, and will supplement this report as needed.

RAGA has blown past the reported $1.6M budget that it had for the Arizona race, perhaps because of the additional contributions by APS.  As of last Tuesday, RAGA has spent $1,757,961 in Arizona (TV and mailers).  The most recent ad hit the airwaves over the weekend, and is titled "Dangerous Views."

(See accompanying article on the total Arizona expenditures of RAGA and DAGA, and their spots on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum: "National Republican AG Group Goes Dark, Outraises Democratic Counterpart More Than 4:1 In 3rd Quarter; Explains 6:1 Difference In Arizona Spending (#50ShadesOfDarkMoney)")

(Arizona attorney Paul Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)

* Pinnacle West has contributed $5,000 to two related independent expenditure groups suppoting Republican candidates for the Arizona House and Senate. ("Senate Victory PAC" and "House Victory PAC")