Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Arizona Delegation Splits Vote On Arming Syrian Rebels; Dems Split, Repubs Split; Text of Resolution; Reaction From AZ Reps.

The final vote was 273-156.  The Republicans split 159-71, and the Democrats split 114-85.  The Arizona delegation was even more closely split.

Y-Kirkpatrick
Y-Barber
N-Grijalva
N-Pastor
Y-Sinema

N-Gosar
Y-Franks
Y-Schweikert
N-Salmon

***
Here is the text of the passed Amendment:
The text of the amendment is as follows:
    At the end of the joint resolution (before the short title), insert the following:
    Sec. X. (a) The Secretary of Defense is authorized, in coordination with the Secretary of State, to provide assistance, including training, equipment, supplies, and sustainment, to appropriately vetted elements of the Syrian opposition and other appropriately vetted Syrian groups and individuals for the following purposes:
    (1) Defending the Syrian people from attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and securing territory controlled by the Syrian opposition.
    (2) Protecting the United States, its friends and allies, and the Syrian people from the threats posed by terrorists in Syria.
    (3) Promoting the conditions for a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Syria.
    (b) Not later than 15 days prior to providing assistance authorized under subsection (a) to vetted recipients for the first time--
    (1) the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate a report, in unclassified form with a classified annex as appropriate, that contains a description of--
    (A) the plan for providing such assistance;
    (B) the requirements and process used to determine appropriately vetted recipients; and
    (C) the mechanisms and procedures that will be used to monitor and report to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate on unauthorized end-use of provided training and equipment and other violations of relevant law by recipients; and
    (2) the President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the House of Representatives and Senate a report, in unclassified form with a classified annex as appropriate, that contains a description of how such assistance fits within a larger regional strategy.
    (c) The plan required in subsection (b)(1) shall include a description of--
    (1) the goals and objectives of assistance authorized under subsection (a);
    (2) the concept of operations, timelines, and types of training, equipment, and supplies to be provided;
    (3) the roles and contributions of partner nations;
    (4) the number of United States Armed Forces personnel involved;
    (5) any additional military support and sustainment activities; and
    (6) any other relevant details.
[Page: H7557]  GPO's PDF
    (d) Not later than 90 days after the Secretary of Defense submits the report required in subsection (b)(1), and every 90 days thereafter, the Secretary of Defense, in coordination with the Secretary of State, shall provide the appropriate congressional committees and leadership of the House of Representatives and the Senate with a progress report. Such progress report shall include a description of--
    (1) any updates to or changes in the plan, strategy, vetting requirements and process, and end-use monitoring mechanisms and procedures, as required in subsection (b)(1);
    (2) statistics on green-on-blue attacks and how such attacks are being mitigated;
    (3) the groups receiving assistance authorized under subsection (a);
    (4) the recruitment, throughput, and retention rates of recipients and equipment;
    (5) any misuse or loss of provided training and equipment and how such misuse or loss is being mitigated; and
    (6) an assessment of the effectiveness of the assistance authorized under subsection (a) as measured against subsections (b) and (c).
    (e) For purposes of this section, the following definitions shall apply:
    (1) The term ``appropriately vetted'' means, with respect to elements of the Syrian opposition and other Syrian groups and individuals, at a minimum, assessments of such elements, groups, and individuals for associations with terrorist groups, Shia militias aligned with or supporting the Government of Syria, and groups associated with the Government of Iran. Such groups include, but are not limited to, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), Jabhat al Nusrah, Ahrar al Sham, other al-Qaeda related groups, and Hezbollah.
    (2) The term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
    (A) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence of the House of Representatives; and
    (B) the Committee on Armed Services, the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Appropriations, and the Select Committee on Intelligence of the Senate.
    (f) The Department of Defense may submit a reprogramming or transfer request to the congressional defense committees for funds made available by section 101(a)(3) of this joint resolution and designated in section 114 of this joint resolution to carry out activities authorized under this section notwithstanding sections 102 and 104 of this joint resolution.
    (g) The Secretary of Defense may accept and retain contributions, including assistance in-kind, from foreign governments to carry out activities as authorized by this section which shall be credited to appropriations made available by this joint resolution for the appropriate operation and maintenance accounts, except that any funds so accepted by the Secretary shall not be available for obligation until a reprogramming action is submitted to the congressional defense committees: Provided, That amounts made available by this subsection are designated by the Congress for Overseas Contingency Operations/Global War on Terrorism pursuant to section 251(b)(2)(A) of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act of 1985: Provided further, That such amounts shall be available only if the President so designates such amounts and transmits such designations to the Congress.
    (h) The authority provided in this section shall continue in effect through the earlier of the date specified in section 106(3) of this joint resolution or the date of the enactment of an Act authorizing appropriations for fiscal year 2015 for military activities of the Department of Defense.
    (i) Nothing in this section shall be construed to constitute a specific statutory authorization for the introduction of United States Armed Forces into hostilities or into situations wherein hostilities are clearly indicated by the circumstances.


    (j) Nothing in this section supersedes or alters the continuing obligations of the President to report to Congress pursuant to section 4 of the War Powers Resolution (50 U.S.C. 1543) regarding the use of United States Armed Forces abroad.
***
Statement from Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2), voted yes:
“We must work aggressively along with our allies to degrade and defeat the terrorist group ISIL to stop their savage slaughter of innocent civilians and to protect American interests at home and abroad,” Barber said today. “I voted to give the Pentagon authority to work with moderate Syrian opposition forces – but this is not an open-ended commitment. As part of this approval, the president will be required to report to Congress on strategies being implemented and their progress.”
***
Statement from Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-CD3), voted no:
“If we’ve learned one thing in the thirteen years since we rushed into wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, it is that wars cannot be rushed. Conflicts cannot be won through cut corners and half-measures. We must be deliberate, and have a clear depiction of our allies and enemies alike. We must have assurances and participation from other nations in the region. We must have a clearly defined – and achievable – mission. Most importantly, it must be clear in our minds how we will bring hostilities to an end. “On every one of these thresholds, the arming of Syrian rebels to confront ISIL fails to reach the mark. While I am deeply troubled by the violence spreading in the region, I will not cast a vote that only further complicates and intensifies the fight. “Syrian rebels are not loyal to our flag, and they will not do our bidding. They will pursue their own interests, and while allied today, they may be a sworn enemy tomorrow. We have seen time after tragic time that the weapons we provide will be aimed at our own troops if that comes to pass. “A successful response to this crisis can only come with the significant involvement of other nations in the region. They have the most to lose if ISIL remains unchecked, and they have a vested interest in the social, political and economic implications of this conflict. If we proceed despite the tepid response from nations like Turkey, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, we will be taking sides in a civil war and welcoming the perception that we’ve adopted the conflict as our own. “This is not a strategy for victory or a roadmap to peace. It is a prescription for more war, and I cannot in good conscience support it.”
***
Statement from Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5), voted no:
“In addition to the fiscal irresponsibility of perpetually passing continuing resolutions to fund our government, I have grave concerns over the implications of passing an amendment that supports the President’s plan to fund, train, and arm Syrian rebel fighters.  By coming to the Congress only with the most contentious aspect of his ISIS strategy, the President shows that he only cares for Congress’ input when he seeks to avoid potential political pitfalls by diffusing responsibility.
“Furthermore, like many Americans, I’m concerned over the President’s ability to positively differentiate between our allies and our adversaries in the Syrian conflict.  As we have seen in Iraq, arming a group of fighters is not wise if those individuals will either desert their posts or support the enemy they claim to oppose.  The President’s assurances that he knows who should be receiving our aid are not enough.  Congress has an obligation to ensure that our weapons are not used against U.S. forces or U.S. interests before we authorize their disbursement.  Two weeks ago, the President called the Free Syrian Army a ‘fantasy;’ now he wants them to be the tip of the spear in America’s ISIS strategy.
“It is undeniable that ISIS poses a serious threat to the U.S. and our national interests.  As I stated last week after the President’s address, I stand ready to assist him in confronting and eliminating this threat, but only after he presents Congress with a full comprehensive strategy to defeat ISIS and asks for Congress’ full authorization of force.  By doing so, he will convince our allies that America stands ready to work with them in defeating threats to our freedom.  Nonetheless, the President must recognize that each day that passes without him working with Congress to show a unified front is another day wasted in eradicating Islamic extremists and achieving our objective of protecting America’s security.”
***
Statement from Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4), voted no:
"Furthermore, the McKeon Amendment which approved of the President’s plan for dealing with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a poor strategy. I voted against arming violent death squads that have no loyalty to the United States or our values. We have no allies in Syria. We should not be spending precious taxpayer money and jeopardizing the lives of our soldiers to help one terrorist group fight another terrorist group. Further, Congress has not declared war, as is required under the Constitution. We cannot fund a war that we have not officially declared. Several generals and foreign policy experts have stated that it will take American boots on the ground to finish the job and dismantle ISIS. The President continues to make clear this is not an option, even contradicting military advisors within his own administration. I have serious concerns about the President’s plan or lack thereof. As such, I could not support this panicked reaction to "do something" that is not thought out and lacks a winnable strategy."
***


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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

50 SHADES OF DARK MONEY: GOP AG's Assoc. Money Is A Few Shades Darker Than Democratic Counterparts; Here's Why (ANALYSIS, FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(11:55a.m.: I inadvertently published this without attaching the planned acknowledgment and disclaimer.  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." Paul  Weich contributed to the research and reporting in this article.)

Arizona's Politics has been reporting on the coming air war between the national associations for the Democratic Attorneys General and the Republican Attorneys General.  Both are either spending or preparing to spend more than $1 Million in Arizona to paint the other party's nominee for Arizona Attorney General as the worst thing since sliced Wonder Bread (hey, this is truly the whole wheat, artisanal or gluten free era! ;-) )

Where does all that money come from, and is it "dark money" or pure-as-Ivory-Soap-money?

Obviously, it is NOT the latter!  But, there are different definitions and degrees of "dark money", and we will attempt to clearly explain how we come to the conclusion that DAGA's money is a few shades lighter than RAGA's.

Both DAGA's Arizona attack ad arm - Grand Canyon Committee for Justice & Fairness ("GC-CJF") and RAGA's - RAGA Arizona IE - have registered with the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, indicating that they will follow Arizona's campaign finance laws. (This was not the case with DAGA's CJF in 2010, and that is currently before the Supreme Court of Arizona.)

However, Arizona's campaign finance laws are relaxed when it comes to identifying the original source of funds - hence, Arizona is "dark money" friendly.  (Arizona's Politics discussed the *anonymizing* process in light of California's settlement with two of Arizona political consultant Sean Noble's committees.  The same operation had been involved with a large anonymized cash flow for the anti-education-sales-tax-extension effort led by State Treasurer Doug Ducey.

When their first (substantive) finance reports are due to the Secretary of State on September 25, GC-CJF and RAGA will both likely show contributions only from their parent organizations.  That makes their pre-election disclosures several shades darker.

Their parent organizations do NOT have to disclose to the states or to the Federal Election Commission ("FEC").  They do, however, have to report to the Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") on a regular basis as Section 527 "Political Organizations".  In these reports, they DO have to list the contributors, the amounts contributed, and basic expenditure information.  They do NOT get to redact key information as politically-active social welfare organizations - such as the aforementioned Noble organizations - are able to do.

This makes DAGA and RAGA several shades lighter than the social welfare organizations and other groups that have become known as "dark money".

HOWEVER, in reviewing the IRS filings of DAGA/CJF and RAGA, it is apparent that - in addition to the many normal political contributions and the somewhat questionable ones of businesses or industries that may be hoping for kind treatment from state law enforcement agencies ("pay-not-to-prosecute"?) - the latter (RAGA) also has received a lot of seed money from actual dark money organizations.

RAGA collected approximately $7.4M in the first two quarters of 2014, compared to approximately $2.3M for DAGA.

Here are the largest contributors ($100,000 or greater) to RAGA in the 1st six months of this year:
1) U.S. Chamber of Commerce, ≈ $1.2 Million
2) American Future Fund, $680,000
3) Judicial Crisis Network, $250,000
4) Republican State Leadership Committee, $185,000
5) Republican Governors Association, $175,000
6) Devon Energy (Koch Industries-connected), $125,000
7) Koch Industries, $125,000
8) WellPoint, $125,000
9) Progress Project, $120,000
10)Blue Cross/Blue Shield, South Carolina, $104,900
11)Citi Business Services, $101,030
12)American Society of Anesthesiologists, $100,000 (gave $50,000 to DAGA)

Of those, #1-3 and #9 are completely dark money, totaling $2.25M of the $7.4M collected.  The $360,000 from #4-5 also contain portions of dark money from the same or similar sources, and some of the smaller contributions may also be from dark money groups. So, somewhat greater than 30% of the total collected by RAGA has dark money origins.

Here are DAGA's $100,000+ contributors for the first two quarters of 2014:
1) Teamsters/DRIVE Committee, $230,000
2) Henry Van Ameringen, $100,000

The closest to a significant dark money contribution to DAGA that we were able to locate was the $25,000 given by the AAJ PAC on Feb. 24.  The AAJ ("American Association for Justice") PAC received a $1.5M loan - far and away the most significant part of its budget - in July from "The Private Bank & Trust"; it is unclear whether that is a arms-length loan by the bank or a soon-to-be-forgiven loan from a friend.

As noted earlier - and it can not be emphasized enough - there are plenty of interesting questions that can be raised by other contributions (and expenditures) in these reports.  You could easily make the argument that the risk of inappropriate prosecutorial decisions - and, the difficulty in discovering and/or proving them - is greater in the DAGA/RAGA realm than the risks and resulting difficulties posed by similar contributions in the Republican Governors Association/DGA, the DCCC/NRCC, or similar realms in the legislative and executive areas.

However, this article intended to deal with the 50 shades of dark money in this corner of the campaign world. If we had time (or, the skills) for a cool graphic, we would do it. (Anyone? Anyone?) But, if money spent directly by a candidate is the least dark (0), and money spent after being filtered through several different businesses or organizations in an attempt to conceal the originators of the dollars is 50 shades of dark, money spent by committees that disclose before the election (to the Secretary of State or the FEC) falls somewhere in the middle.

If those disclosures end up showing that significant sums are coming from entities that will not disclose (to the IRS) until well after the election, then you have to take your dark money pencil and shade them in a bit more.  Even more if those secondary entities are non- or little-disclosing social welfare organizations/trade associations/corporations/etc.

SUMMARY: Arizona's AG's race, outside money edition: 
1) GC-CJF: Filed "no activity" report late, next one will likely just show "DAGA". DAGA discloses contributors to IRS quarterly. Few - if any - dark money contributors listed. SHADES OF DARK: 20

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

(DAGA, CJF and RAGA IRS filings below the jump. Go on, jump if you dare.)

DEFINING FELECIA FIRST: Natl GOP AG's To Start Running Their Negative Ads 8 Days Earlier (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics reported on the $1M ad buy by an arm of the Democratic Attorneys General Association.  Today, word comes of the earlier launch of an ad campaign from the Arizona arm of DAGA's Republican counterpart.

RAGA Arizona ("Republican Attorneys General Association Arizona") plunked down $360,000 for the first week of Phoenix airtime seeking to (negatively) define Democratic nominee Felecia Rotellini.

Significantly, RAGA is now slated to hit the airwaves on October 6, while the DAGA ad (which indicates it mentions both GOP nominee Mark Brnovich and Rotellini) does not start until October 14.  With early voting beginning on October 9, the GOP jump on defining the opponent could be significant.

Rotellini's campaign told supporters in a fundraising email yesterday that $1.6M in attack ads against her were about to hit.   


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FIRST WATCH: New NRCC Ad Re-Opens Border War Vs. Rep. Barber (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") just released its newest ad against incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) today, going after him on the issue of border security for the first time.

The ad features Chris Kemmerly - identified as a rancher - talking about securing the border.  It cites a single vote in August on a supplemental appropriations bill that passed on a straight-line party vote (and has not been heard from again).

The ad (titled "Rancher") cost $21,250 to produce, and the NRCC indicates that it is spending $186,778.45 to air it in the Tucson market during the next week.



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Goddard Forgets Attorney/Cross-Examination Rules Applies To Campaigning: Don't Ask Question If You Don't Know Answer And... (TWITTER EDITION)

(Update, 11:50am: Goddard just Tweeted his "Happy to hear it" response, and tried to turn the attention to issues that he better knew her positions on: SB1062 and HB2305.
)


Oops! Terry Goddard, the Democratic nominee for Secretary of State, thought he might score a few points on Twitter this morning off of a Howard Fischer news article talking about Republicans who might try to block registered independents from voting in future GOP primaries.  Unfortunately, GOP nominee Michele Reagan immediately responded that she has always favored the open primary and added a zinger.

Goddard, an attorney, violated one of the key rules of cross-examining a hostile witness, that also applies to campaigning: don't ask a question that you do not know how the witness will answer!  The 2nd rule is you should do your research beforehand and know how the witness/opponent will answer.

Goddard hoped to hang Reagan with a position that is sure to be unpopular with the voters who could make the difference in the Secretary of State's race.  However, he should  have checked her clearly-stated positions before engaging in deates (Twitter or otherwise).

Reagan answers clearly, eight minutes later, and adds the hashtagged zinger "#RetireAlready". (Ouch!)


Here is Reagan answering questions for the Small Business Alliance - in a process that Goddard also participated in - on YouTube:  "I really, really, really have been encouraging people to vote in primaries. I don't care what party you are, or if you're no party...."



Here's the link to the rest of the Small Business Alliance videos of Reagan (and other candidates) in case someone (hint, hint) wants to view them. 




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GOTTA HAVE IT: Mega-Fundraising Day For DuVal, McSally, Rogers, Flake(?!?) (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

While just about everyone's heard about former President Bill Clinton dropping into Scottsdale today to raise some cash for Democratic nominee for Governor Fred DuVal, there are a couple of other noteworthy fundraisers also going on back in the nation's capital.

GOP Congressional challengers Martha McSally (CD2) and Wendy Rogers (CD9) are getting the all-star joint fundraising committee power from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, House Speaker John Boehner and others today.  The mega-fundraiser by the RISE Project ("Republicans Inspiring Success and Empowerment") is expected to raise about $500,000 to be split among 10 female House candidates.

And, in the heat of the very competitive GOP primary for Governor, an interesting fundraiser was quietly scheduled for today.  Cold Stone Creamery, the company that GOP gubernatorial nominee Doug Ducey formerly owned, decided to hold a fundraiser for one of Arizona's U.S. Senators, Jeff Flake... for his 2018 re-election.

Flake was widely believed to be in Ducey's camp, even allowing his name to be added as a host for a fundraiser early on; however, when it came time for endorsements, Flake and colleague John McCain decided not to publicly support one over the other five Republicans.

Of course, the contribution levels are divided into "Like It", "Love It" and "Gotta Have It" ($500, $1,000, $2,500, respectively). (Cold Stone does NOT have a history of putting on these types of fundraisers.)

(h/t to Sunlight Foundation's Political PartyTime for Cold Stone fundraiser)



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Monday, September 15, 2014

FLASHBACK: The Not-Devastating-Enough Democratic Attorneys General ("CJF") Ad Against Horne In 2010

Since we are discussing the new campaign by the Democratic Attorneys General Association to win Arizona's Attorney General's office for Felecia Rotellini - and, its coming-soon-to-every-screen-near-you $1M ad - it seems appropropriate to revisit the nasty attack ad the AG's group leveled at  then Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne.

The ad, through attack ad arm Committee for Justice & Fairness, was aired non-stop during the last weeks of the campaign.



Horne won a very close election over Rotellini, but lost last month in his primary election bid for re-election.  (One can only imagine what DAGA/CJF/GC-CJF has in store for Mark Brnovich; it would not take much imagination to picture the ads if Horne had in store for Horne if he had defeated Mark Brnovich for the GOP nomination.)

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THEY'RE BAA-ACCKKK!: Natl Democratic Attorneys General Group Moves Forward With A $1M Ad In Arizona; Appeals Previous Case To Supreme Court

(2nd Update, 4:55pm: CJF Treasurer Dana Bykowski/GC-CJF Chair Priscilla Marquez confirm to Arizona's Politics that the ad buy in Tucson will be approximately $230,000.  That will bring the total to slightly over $1,000,000.)

(UPDATE, 1:15pm: As Arizona's Politics was "going to press" with an article indicating that CJF/DAGA were proceeding with expenditures without having registered, we received a return phone call from the Committee for Justice and Fairness. Dana Bykowski, the Treasurer for CJF indicates that the buyer inadvertently made the buy on behalf of CJF instead of the new CJF spinoff called the "Grand Canyon Committee for Justice & Fairness." GC-CJF did register with the Secretary of State's Office on July 14, 2014 - although they did file their first ("no activity") report late in August. Bykowski indicates that the buyer will amend its contracts with the Phoenix TV stations.  The initial article was very different, and apologies to the guest contributor, who proceeded based on correct information that became outdated; the original article is below the jump.)

The Democratic Attorneys General Association ("DAGA") is back. It spent heavily in Arizona in 2010, and has been paying the price ever since. Today, Arizona's Politics is reporting, DAGA is  preparing a $1,000,000 ad buy, slightly changing the name of their now-infamous attack ad committee.

Last week, DAGA's attack ad arm, the Committee for Justice and Fairness ("CJF"), appealed its 2010 case to the Arizona Supreme Court.  Earlier this year, the Arizona Court of Appeals found that CJF had violated Arizona campaign laws by not registering as a political committee before unleashing a scathing ad against then-State Supt. of Public Instruction and GOP nominee for Attorney General Tom Horne.

CJF has argued - is still arguing - that the law is unconstitutional, and that the ad was not campaign-related - it was simply urging Horne's Public Instruction constituents to call and express concerns.

Now, CJF has formed the Grand Canyon Committee for Justice & Fairness ("GC-CJF"), and have worked out a $777,666.67 Phoenix market ad campaign to begin October 14 and ending Election Day morning (November 4).  That heavy buy does not include Tucson, Flagstaff, Yuma and/or cable, and does not include the production costs.

Arizona's Politics has covered the CJF/DAGA saga extensively in the past (here is the infamous ad), and will continue to keep a close eye on these new developments.



(Attorney Paul Weich, of the Law Offices of Paul Weich, contributed to the reporting of this article.  Mr. Weich has represented a number of campaign and election law clients in the past.)

Kirkpatrick/Tobin Race Re-rated To "Pure Toss-Up" By Rothenberg

In case it was not clear based upon the amount of attention being paid it from national groups, the Arizona Congressional District 1 contest is now rated as a "pure toss-up" by the Rothenberg Political Report.

Rothenberg added the race between incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) and GOP nominee and Arizona State House Speaker Andy Tobin to its list of eight toss-up House seats on Friday.  Until now, Kirkpatrick had been placed in the "Toss-Up/Tilt Democrat" category.

The eastern Arizona district joins the southeastern Arizona CD2 (Rep. Ron Barber vs. Martha McSally) on that list of 8.  CD9 remains one step from "Safe" for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D), as "Democrat Favored". (The other six members of Arizona's House delegation are "Safe".)

Rothenberg changed the ratings in nine House, Senate and Governor races around the country this weekend - eight of those changes moved in the Republicans' direction.

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READ: Fmr. State Sen. Pearce's Statement Resigning GOP Vice-Chair Post; Claims His Mistake Was Failure of Attribution and Not the Content

Former State Senate President Russell Pearce resigned his position as 1st Vice Chair of the Arizona Republican Party late yesterday, as pressure mounted from his radio comments about forced sterilization of Medicaid lower income women.

Pearce, who was recalled from the State Senate in 2011 and was rebuffed in his attempt to return to the Legislature the following year, was elected to the state GOP post and recently was hired by the Maricopa County Treasurer.

He made his controversial remarks on his weekly radio show earlier this month, and they were reported by the Phoenix New Times.  Over the weekend, Republican political consultant Sean Noble expressed disapproval of the comments and several GOP candidates and officeholders (some of whom Noble has advised or worked with) repudiated them, as well.

By late yesterday, the pressure for Pearce to either resign or be voted out had grown strong enough that he issued the following statement:
“As an unapologetic conservative, I’ve stood up for the rule of law and our constitutional freedoms. I love this great Republic, and have loved serving Arizona and my service with the Republican party. Recently on my radio show there was a discussion about the abuses to our welfare system. I shared comments written by someone else and failed to attribute them to the author. This was a mistake. This mistake has been taken by the media and the left and used to hurt our Republican candidates.
I do not want the progressive left and the media to try and take a misstatement from my show and use it to attack our candidates. I care about the Republican party and its conservative platform too much to let them do that. Yet I have to recognize that hosting a radio show and the nature of the debates that we have had and will continue to have are incompatible with what our Party needs from its leadership team. For that reason, I am submitting my resignation as a Vice Chairman of the Republican party. I will never back down from standing up for what I believe in and I will continue to fight for the principles that our founding generation risked their lives for. But I have no intention of being used as a distraction by the Democrats looking to escape responsibility for their failed policies. It is time to return the focus to where it belongs, and that is the direction that our state and country should be headed towards. Let’s get back to winning in November!”
 The statement does not indicate that Pearce disagrees with the statements he made on the radio program, only that he mistakenly did not attribute them to the original author. He then calls the lack of attribution a "misstatement" and attempts to say that he only resigned to prevent "the progressive left and the media" from using it (i.e. the "misstatement").  Cleverly arranged, perhaps, but it is likely that only a few devoted followers will go along with the attempted magic trick.


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Friday, September 12, 2014

Arizona Governor's Race Moved To "Toss-up" By RealClearPolitics, Reinforced By 3rd Poll Completed Sept. 2

National media organization RealClearPolitics has changed its rating on Arizona's Governor's race from "leans Republican" to "toss up".  Although the rating was changed after the Rasmussen Poll was released Labor Day weekend, it was reinforced by a third poll showing Republican State Treasurer Doug Ducey and Democrat Fred DuVal within one percentage point.

The ratings change was made on August 31. The new(est) poll is an online survey, commissioned by the New York Times and CBS News and conducted by YouGov, gives Ducey a 34%-33% lead, although when leaners are added in, the two are tied at 38%.  The poll was of "likely voters" and was conducted over an unusually long period (Aug. 18 - Sept. 2) that actually spanned the primary election (before it was certain who the GOP nominee would be).  The margin of error is 3%.

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.

FIRST WATCH: New McSally Ad, "Time": "Martha Is Standing Up To Her Own Party By..."

Martha McSally's new ad in the air war against incumbent Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) in one of the 10 pure toss-up races in the nation touts her willingness to fight her GOP colleagues for equal pay for women.

The standout line: "Martha is standing up to her own party - supporting equal pay for equal work."  Arizona's Politics has requested further details on how the candidate has been standing up to the GOP leadership on the issue, and how she wishes to address the issue.

Equal pay for equal work for both genders has been an issue that the Republicans have tried to hit Barber with earlier this year.  Barber had called on McSally to announce her support for the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Republicans stalled in the Senate this Spring.



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Thursday, September 11, 2014

FIRST WATCH: NRCC Gets The Boots, Jeans Right In New Anti-Kirkpatrick Ad (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The National Republican Congressional Committee ("NRCC") unveiled its new ad tonight claiming that incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) has too much baggage to be re-elected.  This time, the actress portraying the Congresswoman is wearing jeans and boots.

The NRCC's first post-primary ad featured the bottom half of an actress who looked more like Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) than Kirkpatrick, and received some negative attention for its portrayal. Kirkpatrick's campaign released an ad playing on the disconnect and featuring her well-worn cowboy boots.

The NRCC is spending $376,000 per week airing this ad.  (Of course, the first bag was free.)

It leads with the oldie-but-not-goodie claim about the 2009 stimulus bill, then adds the votes that ended or prevented government shutdowns (debt limit increases) and Obamacare votes.


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.

DONATE, RECEIVE D'BACKS TIX AS THANK YOU: Local Nonprofits Benefit

Arizona Politics contributor Paul Weich, his wife Marion, and the Law Offices of Paul Weich, are generously donating some of their Arizona Diamondbacks season tickets to Arizona's Politics readers who help out selected local non-profits.

Even though the Diamondbacks are limping to the finish line, a game at the ballpark is still a nice couple of hours.  ESPECIALLY, when it is for a good cause!  (And, with fellow politically-active Arizonans will be just a bit more fun...hopefully!)

We have several pairs of seats available in the MVP Boxes right over homeplate for this Friday night (6:40) and this Sunday afternoon (1:10), against the San Diego Padres.

If you donate at least $25 to either the Sandra Day O'Connor HouseSun Sounds of Arizona, or the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program,  Paul or I will email you two tickets to the game of your choice.

Just donate directly to the organization, then forward your donation acknowledgment email to info@arizonaspolitics.com. Don't forget to specify which game you would like to attend.

And, if you are interested in sharing in Paul's season ticket group next year, he indicates that one longtime couple just dropped out.

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.

BEYOND HYPER-PARTISANSHIP: Sen. Flake Spends This Year's Deserted Island Time With Democratic Sen. Heinrich

Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is constantly widening his circle of deserted island companions.  First, he went solo, and then with two of his sons (Tanner, Dallin).  Last month, he was accompanied by New Mexico colleague Martin Heinrich (D-NM) and a Discovery camera crew.

That's right. Our junior Senator is going to be reality TV star - "Rival Survival" will air the week before the November 4 election.

And, while Arizona's Politics disagrees with CNN's lead that Flake and Heinrich "are going to extreme lengths to express support for bipartisanship" - because it just shows that humans can work together and our political ideology is not EVERYTHING about who we are - it is always nice to see D's and R's working together on solving problems.

And, it is nice to know that we willl NEVER see Sen. Flake on "Naked and Afraid"... or especially "Dating Naked"!

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: Arizona Reps. Barber, Sinema Join Republicans In Anti-Obamacare Vote

Arizona Democratic Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) and Ron Barber (D-CD2) joined 23 Democrats and 222 Republicans in a symbolic anti-Obamacare vote this afternoon.  The short message resolution* passed the House of Representatives 247-167, but is not expected to be considered by the Senate.

As Politico points out, the sponsor of the measure, Rep. Bill Cassidy, is in a tight battle for a U.S. Senate seat in Louisiana.

Yesterday, Sinema and Barber were among only five Democrats who voted with Republicans to move the resolution to the floor for a vote today.  Neither has publicly explained their votes.

* The section heading actually is titled "If you like your group health insurance plan, you can keep it."


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.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Split Decision In This Week's Battle of the Great(?) Arizona Congressional War of '14 (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The national arms (Armies? Air Forces?) of the two major political parties both filed reports with the Federal Election Commission ("FEC") this afternoon.  The DCCC ("Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee") eased up on the throttle a bit in their attacks on Andy Tobin while the NRCC ("National Republican Congressional Committee" kept rolling Kirkpatrick's baggage.

In southern Arizona, both increased their attack budgets, though the Republicans added a bit more going after Barber.

The NRCC dropped another $376,019 on the "Baggage" ad yesterday, attacking Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1).  Their total to date in that race is now at $919,710.  The DCCC just produced a new ad that should be hitting the airwaves today or tomorrow, and is spending $367,259 to air it; their total to date attacking state House Speaker Tobin is now $813,578.

In pure toss-up CD2, the NRCC spent $22,000 producing their newest ad against Barber while the DCCC paid $16,000 to play off of Martha McSally's running ad.  The NRCC purchased $175,652 of air time while the DCCC has $158,184 worth of the 30-second spots.  Year to date totals are now $576,310 vs. $476,855, again in favor of the challenging party.

As noted, the party arms budgeted heavily (10% of their national budget) for Arizona's hotly-contested and nationally-watched races.  The NRCC announced $1.95M and $1.0M in CD1 and CD2, respectively, compared to the DCCC's $2.2M and $700K.  (It looks like the DCCC might already have readjusted its Barber budget.)


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.

HELP, WIN: Diamondbacks Tickets For Small Donation To Local Non-Profit

Arizona Politics contributor Paul Weich, his wife Marion, and the Law Offices of Paul Weich, are generously donating some of their Arizona Diamondbacks season tickets to Arizona's Politics readers who help out selected local non-profits.

Even though the Diamondbacks are limping to the finish line, a game at the ballpark is still a nice couple of hours.  ESPECIALLY, when it is for a good cause!  (And, with fellow politically-active Arizonans will be just a bit more fun...hopefully!)

We have several pairs of seats available in the MVP Boxes right over homeplate for this Friday night (6:40) and this Sunday afternoon (1:10), against the San Diego Padres.

If you donate at least $25 to either the Sandra Day O'Connor House, Sun Sounds of Arizona, or the Interfaith Homeless Emergency Lodging Program,  Paul or I will email you two tickets to the game of your choice.

Just donate directly to the organization, then forward your donation acknowledgment email to info@arizonaspolitics.com. Don't forget to specify which game you would like to attend.

And, if you are interested in sharing in Paul's season ticket group next year, he indicates that one longtime couple just dropped out.



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

WATCH: Rep. Franks On C-Span's Washington Journal Re: EMP Weapons, SHIELD Act

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) was on C-Span's Washington Journal program early this morning for a long interview. He discussed a topic that he has become the leading Congressional voice on: Electromagnetic Pulses - both natural and manmade weapons.  Much of the 39 minutes is dedicated to the subject. Arizona's Politics has occasionally covered Franks' efforts in the past.

The text of Rep. Franks' SHIELD Act (H.R. 2417) is below the video.  The bill currently has 30 co-sponsors (including one Democrat). Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) is the only co-sponsor from the Arizona delegation.



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

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Rep. Sinema Only Arizona Democrat To Condemn Obama Administration's Bergdahl/Taliban Prisoner Exchange

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) was the only of the five Democrats in the Arizona Congressional delegation to break ranks and vote with all of the House Republicans to condemn and disapprove of how the Obama Administration pulled off the exchange that returned U.S. Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl to the U.S. in return for freeing five Taliban prisoners held at Guantanamo.

The House voted 249-163 this afternoon to "condem(n) and disapprov(e) of the failure of the Obama administration to comply with the lawful 30-day statutory reporting requirement in executing the transfer of five senior members of the Taliban" and expressing "grave concern over the repercussions of negotiating with terrorists".  The entire text of the resolution is below.

Sinema is one of 22 Democrats to vote for the resolution.  The Hill's one-sentence teaser for their article says "the Democratic defectors were largely a who's who of endangered incumbents."

However, Sinema is considered only the 3rd most endangered incumbent in Arizona; neither Reps. Ron Barber (D-CD2) nor Ann Kirkpartick (D-CD1) voted for the condemnation.  Both Barber and Kirkpatrick are in races that have been rated as "toss-ups" by one or more national independent handicappers; Sinema's CD9 is generally listed as "leans Democratic".






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.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

BREAKING, FIRST WATCH: Koch Brothers' Americans For Prosperity Returns To Barber Bashing On TV After 6-Month Break (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

The Koch-fueled Americans for Prosperity released a new TV ad today attacking Rep. Ron Barber (D-CD2) for voting to end the government shutdown last October and for raising the debt ceiling two other times.


AFP issued a news release announcing their new multi-pronged, million-dollar-plus "accountability" ad buy against several Representatives and Senators on the 4th, but did not release the ad until today.  Coupled with the fact that the ad is in the "electioneering communication" format ("Tell Ron Barber: Stop the Reckless Spending", with the phone number on the screen) rather than a typical campaign ad, and it would appear that AFP is trying to nimbly skirt disclosing how much they are spending on the ad.

September 4 was one day outside of the 60 day period before the election which would require reporting.  However, unlike the similar ad campaign against Barber in late 2013 and early 2014, Tucson TV stations are now required to post the details of such ad buys in their online, publicly-available FCC files.

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.