FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, June 24, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Interestingly, they asked that no individual's name be attached to the statements.
**Here was the Diamondacks' full initial response (sans names):
You may use the statement below on behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks, however the statement should not be quoted by me nor anyone else in the organization. It is simply a statement on behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
 
“Although Luis Gonzalez is an employee of the Arizona Diamondbacks organization, Gonzo, as a citizen, has the right to support any political party and/or candidate of his choosing. This is his personal endorsement, as the organization does not support any candidates for office. As an organization, we would never get in the way of any employee who wishes to support a candidate, as it is a right.”
 
You may use the quote below from Luis Gonzalez:
“John McCain is a longtime friend of mine and I support his efforts in the Arizona community.” 
***Here are the questions posed:
1) Obviously, the first question is whether the Arizona Diamondbacks knew about this ad in advance and/or approved it?
2) Did the Arizona Diamondbacks - directly or indirectly - finance this ad by contributing money - directly or indirectly - to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce or the Arizona Chamber? If so, when and how much? Are the Diamondbacks directly or indirectly contributing to benefit Sen. McCain's re-election efforts?
3) Did the U.S. Chamber, Arizona Chamber or the McCain campaign pay the Arizona Diamondbacks for the right to use Dbacks/MLB images?
4) Are the McCains - either directly or through Hensley - currently investors in the club? If so, %?
5) How would you respond to Diamondbacks fans who might be upset by the appearance that the team is on McCain's side in what is currently a tightcampaign for both the nomination and  the general election?
 Quick follow-up: MLB (and presumably, the D'backs) strictly enforce the use of their logos and images, even when they are being used by players, employees, owners, etc. Did the D'backs approve the usage of their logos/images? Were they paid for such usage?

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

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.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

WATCH/READ: Don Stapley 1st Up On Air In Crowded CD5 GOP Primary (FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

Don Stapley is the first candidate advertising on Phoenix TV in the crowded race to replace Rep. Matt Salmon (R-CD5).


While State Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs has the largest warchest, Stapley - a former Maricopa County Supervisor - is the first to go live, stressing his experience.

The $15,000 two-week ad flight is titled "Stapley's Experience", and begins airing today.



Google transcript (with one obvious correction and punctuation added):
0:00
I'm Don stapley and I approve this message.
0:03W
hen I became a Maricopa County Supervisor, the County's finances were a
0:08
mess. But that changed quickly because we decided nothing goes into the budget if
0:13
we can't pay for it and we stuck to it no matter what special interest groups
0:19
demanded.
0:21W
hy can't we do this in Washington? We can. We just need to send people who've
0:28
done it.

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WATCH/READ: Arizona Diamonback Luis Gonzalez Cuts $540k Pro-McCain Ad For U.S. Chamber; Starts Airing Today(FOLLOWING MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS; #50ShadesOfDarkMoney

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce* today begins running another flight of ads supporting Arizona Senator John McCain, this one featuring Arizona Diamondback legend Luis Gonzalez. The one-week ad buy in Phoenix and Tucson totals $540,000.


Gonzalez - who is the Senior Advisor to the Diamondbacks' President & CEO Derrick Hall - lauds the longtime Senator/season ticket holder/part owner, calling him a "fighter".

Interestingly, the 30-second ad indicates that it is "Sponsored by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry", but is paid for by the U.S. Chamber. Neither organization discloses its donors and both are classified as "dark money" spenders.

The ad begins airing in Tucson today, and will run through the 29th. The $175,000 plunked down for Tucson airtime is more than the Chambers spent last month on a flight in Tucson. This time, the Chamber will also air the spot in Phoenix.


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

Ken Kendrick - the Arizona Diamondbacks' Managing General Partner - and his wife Randy are major GOP and GOP-related (including McCain) donors.

*The U.S. Chamber is one of the original dark money operations; it does not disclose donors for particular ad campaigns (or, in general).

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.

Monday, June 20, 2016

License To Taunt: Good-Natured Twitter-fight UA/ASU Rivalry; The Last Word

The University of Arizona and Arizona State University continued their ongoing rivalry on the Twitter field today. Subject: License Plates.

ASU sent out a tweet boasting about hitting "18,000+ (Sun Devil license) plates on Arizona Roadways (sic)" and asking "have you gotten your Sparky plates?" UA responded with a blasé "Nah."

Sparky's handlers got the last laugh (so far), with their equally-casual "Well...it's never too late to upgrade to them from whatever you have.



For the record, the most recent statistice released from the Arizona Department of Transportation shows that UA plates earned $102,000 more from the license plates than did ASU in 2015. ($398k to $296k). ASU has more students and alumni, but there are still more UA cars bearing down on you.

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Friday, June 17, 2016

Feds Send $2.9M To 7 Arizona Health Centers To Improve Oral Health; Part Of $11B ACA/Obamacare Effort

The federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) yesterday announced $2.9M in oral health grants to 7 Arizona health centers. The monies are part of a 5-year, $11B effort under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) to support health centers for medically-underserved communities.

HHS distributed $156M in oral health funds yesterday to health centers in 47 states (plus DC and Puerto Rico). These nonprofit community health centers provide a variety of services to uninsured and underinsured persons. Several of the grantees have multiple service locations in the Phoenix and Tucson areas, and the others are based in Page and Yuma. Yavapai County was the 7th recipient. The complete list is below, and more information on the grants can be found here.

No word yet from the centers on how many dental providers will be hired, although HHS thinks about 1,600 will be hired nationally. Nor is there information on whether the grants are one-time awards or continuing.

For more information on Arizona's Community Health Centers, click here.

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READ: Arizona Supreme Court Affirms "Baseline Killer's" Death Sentence

The Arizona Supreme Court today unanimously upheld the death sentence for Mark Goudeau, the Baseline Killer. Goudeau was convicted on 9 1st degree murder counts (and 67 charges overall).

The 76 page opinion (below) considered 16 separate appealable issues stemming from the arrest through the sentencing process and including DNA, right to counsel, waiver of mitigation (and more).

The 9 murders took place in 2005 and 2006, and the search for the so-called Baseline Killer received much public attention at the time.



(Tempe attorney Paul Weich contributed the above article.)

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

UPDATE: Ducey's, Arizona's Peevish Bill To Split 9th Circuit Going Nowhere Slow

In January, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey and all seven Republican members of Arizona's Congressional delegation announced a coordinated effort to split the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in two. The effort apparently ended that week, as the bills die a slow death (in a Congress full of slowly-dying measures).

(The 9th Circuit issue was brought back to our attention this morning as the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a 9th Circuit decision on a 6-2 vote.)

When the Arizona Republicans announced their effort, the justifications were that the 9th Circuit "is by far the most overturned and overburdened in the country".  Arizona's Politics published a Fact Check that concluded that the false and misleading use of objective evidence warranted a reversal of their claims. (That article includes extensive analysis of SCOTUSblog statistics and the annual report from the Administrative Office which oversees federal courts.)

Sen. Jeff Flake and Rep. Matt Salmon each introduced an identical bill to create a new 12th Circuit to include Arizona, Alaska, Idaho, Montana and Nevada. Arizona's other Republicans co-sponsored the measures.  Since then, neither bill has added any co-sponsors or received a committee hearing.

Before the AZ GOP effort, the Supreme Court had affirmed 9th Circuit decisions regarding Arizona's anti-illegal immigration SB1070 law and Republicans' efforts to overturn the state's independent redistricting.  And, after the effort began (and, apparently ended), the Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY affirmed the 9th Circuit's decision turning away a 2nd GOP challenge to Arizona's redistricting.

Side note: It is interesting to re-read Ducey's (misleading) comments about the "overburdened" 9th Circuit in light of his successful effort to add two Justices to the "overburdened" Arizona Supreme Court.

(Tempe political law attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article.)

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Monday, June 6, 2016

PAGING JAN BREWER: Arpaio Attorney Calls Judge Unethical Mussoulini "Lynching" Sheriff, Says Snow Will Also Have Day Of Reckoning

Perhaps taking a page out of Donald Trump's playbook*, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio's sometime-attorney is going on the PR (and legal) attack against the U.S. District Court Judge who is holding Arpaio in civil contempt of court and is on the verge of referring him for a criminal contempt investigation.

Larry Klayman - who is representing MCSO informant Dennis Montgomery - says Judge G. Murray Snow "thinks and acts like the fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussoulini", and that last week's court proceedings were "a modern-day lynching by a federal judge. He points out that the Italians' WWII leader ended up killed and hanging, while claiming "I firmly do not advocate this for Judge Snow, as I do not believe in violence."

The Klayman column was published Friday on longtime Klayman/Arpaio ally wnd.net under the headline "'Il Duce' Judge Out To Destroy Sheriff Joe".

Klayman indicates that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will be reviewing the "jurists' (sic) outrageous misconduct concerning my client Dennis Montgomery", and says that the Judge's threats prompted Arpaio and Maricopa County attorneys to "unethically (seek) to protect their own derrieres."

Klayman represented Arpaio in his unsuccessful legal action against President Barack Obama, attempting to overturn executive actions regarding illegal immigration. Klayman inexplicably uses the present tense, although the Supreme Court flatly denied Klayman and Arpaio not once, but twice.

Arpaio and former Arizona Governor Jan Brewer are prominent Donald Trump surrogates and supporters. Brewer today touched off a Trump campaign brouhaha when she told Trump on a conference call that his campaign had instructed her and other surrogates to not speak about the inflammatory Trump University case and the presumptive nominees comments about the judge. Trump told Brewer and the others to ignore his staff's email and to echo his anti-Curiel comments (and to call reporters racist for asking questions).  Perhaps Brewer can also intervene with Sheriff Joe and Larry Klayman.

* In fairness, Klayman has been using this playbook for many years; it may be said that Trump is using the "Klayman Playbook". (Now THAT debate would be worth the price of a ticket!)

h/t to Seeing Red Arizona for seeing and bringing our attention to the Klayman column.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

BREAKING: "How We Won": Last-Minute $500K From Chamber of Commerce Propels Prop. 123 Proponents; (READ)

The proponents for the school-funding measure - which is leading by approximately 16,000 votes this morning - raised more than $5M for the effort.

Their report (below) included a last-minute $500,000 contribution from the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. Arizona's Politics published the first report previously. (Pair of Multi-Billionaire Couples Fund Ducey's $3.7M Prop. 123 Campaign; Opposition Raises $617.00)

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce ranks high on the #50ShadesOfDarkMoney spectrum because it does not disclose which companies or individuals have contributed what to whom.

In addition to the Chamber's $500,000 contribution on April 29 - just three days after Let's Vote Yes... On Prop 123 committee saw the measure slip below 50% in internal polling - the Gila River and Salt River-Maricopa Indian Communities each kicked in $25,000 in last minute cash, putting the revenues just over $5M. (The State of Arizona is siding with the two nations in their ongoing battle over a Glendale casino opened by the Tohono O'odham.)

As of the May 7 reporting date, the committee had spent more than $2.9M on television advertising and $500,000 with the Sean Noble-connected Direct Response Group on communications.


(CORRECTION, 10:40am: The Let's Vote Yes... On Prop 123 committee DID file the pre-election report on time; the report filed May 19 was an AMENDED report. J.P. Twist, the committee's campaign manager, indicates that the amendment was to include a late-received in-kind contribution. Arizona's Politics apologizes for the oversight.)

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

READ: Secy of State Reagan Vents, Stomps On Treasurer DeWit's "Sour Grapes" and "Falsehoods" and Blows Off Pamphlet Violation (#ArizonaElectedOfficialsCageMatch)

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan vented her frustrations with State Treasurer Jeff DeWit today, blasting him for "spread(ing) election law falsehoods" and his "sour grapes" over both the February Presidential Preference Election and this week's Special Election.

In an unsigned-but-1st-person post on the Secretary of State's website titled "Sour Grapes", Reagan minimizes her office's statutory violation - not mailing out all publicity pamphlets before the legal deadline - saying that "we are also confident that Arizona voters had plenty of information about the two ballot propositions...."

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich opened an investigation into the Secretary of State's failure, and had pointed comments about the violation.

With the vote count still too close to call for Proposition 123 and county recorders still counting late early votes and provisional ballots, DeWit posted an "official statement" (below) questioning "the validity of the election results" because of the violation.

Reagan answered back today with her biting response:


Closing the post with a bang, Reagan stated:


What is not fair game is to have a Treasurer, who while moonlighting as a campain operative, continues to throw wild accusations and have public meltdowns when one of his campaigns goes poorly. That's just sour grapes.

DeWit is GOP Presidential presumptive nominee Donald Trump's Arizona Chair. He also was the highest-profile opponent of Prop. 123. Here was his statement yesterday:


As of late this afternoon, Prop. 123 is passing by less than one percentage point, 9,243 votes.




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