Archives for 2016

Death of a Reformer

By Rachel Alexander

Arizona Republican Governor Doug Ducey fired his top reformer last month, Tim Jeffries, who he’d recruited to head the Department of Economic Security in February of 2015. Jeffries came in and cleaned up the agency, firing corrupt employees and improving morale, but once those terminated workers complained to the left-leaning Arizona Republic, the paper went all out to take him down with baseless smears, and the governor eventually deserted him.

With a background in the private sector, Jeffries went about reforming government at the “speed of business.” When Ducey took office almost two years ago, he instructed state agency directors to reduce their agencies by 2 percent. Jeffries is probably the only agency director who accomplished that goal, terminating 475 employees and eliminating some of those positions. Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, DES had become a bloated agency, the second largest in the state with over 7,000 employees and several hundred temporary workers and high-priced contractors.

Jeffries had the Arizona Attorney General’s Office bring charges against a corrupt state legislator who fraudulently obtained $1,726 in food stamps. Democratic Rep. Ceci Velasquez “falsely claimed she had two dependents, gave a false address and allowed two other people to use her food stamp benefit card.” A grand jury indicted her on three felonies for welfare fraud. The investigation had started under Jeffries’ predecessor, but went nowhere since he was afraid to touch it. Why are elected officials above the law? No Arizona public official had ever been investigated and prosecuted for food stamp fraud prior to Jeffries’ directorship. The AG’s office eventually caved, letting her plea to a mere misdemeanor charge and probation. Velasquez plans to run again for the Arizona House in 2018 after her lone misdemeanor clears.

Velasquez’s friend, Democratic Sen. Martin Quezada, launched a Twitter firestorm bashing Jeffries and defending Velasquez, predicting Jeffries’ demise. Jeffries set up a meeting with Quezada about the situation, but for well over an hour, all Quezada could do was act as an apologist for Velasquez. He talked about her lower income level and the poverty of her constituents, and claimed she was being targeted. Jeffries responded, “The only people that DES targets for investigation are those who steal from the poor. I’m not a policymaker, I’m a policy implementer. So if you and your elected colleagues want to pass a law that allows members of the House and Senate to have food stamps they’re not entitled to, then you pass a law to do so. Until then, DES will investigate anyone and everyone who rips off the poor.”

Once the media decides it doesn’t like you, it throws a bunch of accusations together with the words “controversial” and “scandal.” Craig Harris, a reporter with the Republic, is known for putting together sloppy paragraphs with a flashy headline, repeating the same baseless claims over and over throughout multiple articles. Additionally, the Republic suffers from a failure to separate between news and opinion articles. Republic opinion writer Laurie Roberts, also known for her hit pieces on conservatives, tag teamed with Harris against Jeffries. She became increasingly hyperbolic with her histrionics, titling one column “Booze Before Blood.” It was a cruel jab at Jeffries, because she knew fully well that one of the men who killed his brother drank alcohol before killing him.  

The paper piled on Jeffries and his revamped management team for firing 475 employees, accusing him of terminating employees who didn’t deserve to be fired. Yet none of this reporting addressed the specific reasons the former employees were terminated, including the fact most of the employees were at-will employees and only one of them had sued the agency over it. The Republic and other newspapers could not stand Jeffries blunt-spoken style; Jeffries did not hesitate to call some of the fired employees “bullies, liars, racists, sexual harassers, and multi-year bad actors.” Instead, the biased articles discussed how many of the employees were women, seniors, and minorities even though the percentages released were in line with DES employee statistics.

The reality is there was a lot of unseemly, unethical and criminal activity taking place. After Jeffries was terminated, an employee emailed him, “I want to thank you for your selfless service to all employees, clients and taxpayers during your time at DES. It was obvious to most employees how you gave back and touched many people with the true intent of helping the poor and those who serve them. I’ve worked at DES since 2008 and believe me the agency as well as anyone who has ever paid taxes owes you a debt of gratitude. Most of those a**holes that got fired were stealing from the poor or manipulating those who bust their a** to serve them.”

The Republic is now sympathetically covering the attempts of the terminated employees to regain their jobs.

Ironically, Jeffries was fired in part for merely carrying out the governor’s orders — something probably all the other agency directors failed to do. They were instructed in the governor’s “8 Expected Traits of an Agency Director” to “Be wedded to a ‘promote the best; weed out the worst’ philosophy.” They were told, “The Bell Curve is a near-universal phenomenon. Figure out a way to eliminate the worst 10% of any category. … If there are employees who are clearly under-performing and ill-serving the taxpayers, then take steps to replace them with someone who will do better.”

Jeffries slashed the case backlog by approximately 60 percent at Adult Protective Services. He increased the percentage of employees who said they were satisfied with their jobs from 62 percent to 78 percent. Positive colleague engagement increased 300 percent. In other words, employee morale tripled. He created a fun, caring work atmosphere. He put together inspiring, lighthearted videos featuring the employees and outlining their accomplishments, often making fun of himself to give his “cherished colleagues” a laugh or two. One observer told him, “My guess is that for the vast majority of your employees, for one bright shining moment, they were somebody doing incredibly important work for an agency that they could be proud of.”

A DES employee told him it’s a shame the public doesn’t know that “you created merit payments, you brought back tuition, you raised wages on the front line and regularly visited staff around the state to address issues for clients and employees alike.” Jeffries describes himself as an “anti-bureaucrat,” telling National Review’s Kathryn Jean Lopez, “I shepherd this agency like a multimillion-dollar nonprofit.”

The Republic extensively covered a series of allegations against Jeffries, but virtually all of them are false. He was accused of compiling a “do-not-hire” list of fired DES employees — but it was really another agency which created the list, the Department of Administration.

He was wrongly attacked for his Catholic faith, which I addressed in a previous article. Government employees do not check their First Amendment rights at the workplace door; when I worked for Arizona State Government, our Bible Study group legally used the email system to schedule our meetings. Jeffries is told he’s bold about his faith, but he says, “I’m just pursuing my faith and honoring my First Amendment rights.”

Leah Landrum-Taylor, a former Democratic state legislator who worked for Jeffries and reportedly wanted his job, told the Republic that Jeffries bought alcohol for employees during work hours in Nogales, but it was a lie; Jeffries has a time-stamped photo of him with Landrum-Taylor in the Nogales DES office after the time she stated the party started. The restaurant visit took place for colleagues after their respective work hours. Every DES client was kindly served that day in Nogales and throughout Arizona. The paper also smeared him for using the “governor’s plane” for the trip, however the three state planes are owned by the Department of Public Safety, and the interagency agreement for DES to use air assets was in place prior to Jeffries’ arrival. Furthermore, other Arizona agency directors use the planes too.

The Republic and other media sources have repeatedly featured DES employee Andy Hall, who Jeffries had terminated shortly after Hall criticized the DES press secretary for emailing employees about his latest disagreement with Jeffries. The Republic didn’t bother to report that “Hall is a know it all, never afraid to challenge, grate and insult people,” a source told me. Hall “sent two insulting emails to the DES press secretary” and ranted online frequently about DES and Jeffries. Regardless, as an at-will employee, no reason was required to fire him.

Prior to Jeffries’ arrival, over 30 DES service centers had armed security guards to protect employees and clients. After the terrorist attack in San Bernardino took place at a social services center for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, Jeffries directed his inspector general to transition the contract guard security force to a newly formed DES Protective Services. This group would continue the paramount mission to protect DES employees and clients. This group would also be better trained and more cost effective, thereby positioning DES to expand the number of service centers with armed protection. The Republic slammed him for implementing this common-sense measure, even though DPS guidelines were followed throughout and the effort to protect DES employees and clients was highly transparent.

This is a classic example of how the left is able to take down the brightest, innovative conservatives; through smears, insinuations and outright lies. Since Jeffries’ departure, many of the significant projects have been halted. It is the poor, disabled and downtrodden who will suffer as government returns to moving at the speed of a glacier, fired “bullies and bad actors” return, and agency morale plummets. The bright shining moment for thousands of DES employees is dimming.

For more information, see Arizona’s Poor Lost When Jeffries Was Axed

SRP: We’re Lowering Our Prices

This just in from SRP. Their customers are receiving this email Monday morning:

We’re pleased to announce that SRP is temporarily lowering prices for the second time in less than a year. The 10-month reduction will be in effect for the January through October 2017 billing cycles.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and approximately $2.50 to $3.50 per month during the summer billing months. Prices will return to the original winter season prices with the November 2017 billing cycle.

We are able to lower prices for these reasons:

  • The continued low price of natural gas, which is a primary fuel in many power plants
  • Careful management, which is enabling us to meet our environmental program goals at lower-than-expected costs
  • Greater-than-anticipated energy sales

Sincerely,
SRP

Customers can then click on a link in the SRP email that takes them to the SRP newsroom where they can read details about the rate reduction:

SRP Board OKs $40 Million Price Decrease
Temporary Measure will Reduce Prices by an Average 1.6 % for next 10 Months

For the second time in less than a year, SRP’s Board of Directors has approved a decrease in electricity prices for its more than 1 million customers. The 10–month temporary decrease, effective with the January 2017 billing cycle, averages an overall 1.6 percent.

The decrease will save the typical residential customer just under a dollar per month during the winter billing months and around $2.50 to $3.50 per month when the summer billing season begins in May. Prices will return to original winter season prices approved in 2015 with the November 2017 billing cycle.

“Utility customers are generally more used to seeing price increases than decreases, so we are very happy to be able to lower our prices,” said SRP General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Mark Bonsall. “At SRP, our team works hard to identify market opportunities and cut costs where possible to keep our prices low, and this temporary decrease is reflective of our success in these areas.”

The temporary decrease is possible because SRP has been able to reduce expenses in two components of its electric prices.

One of the price components – the Environmental Programs Cost Adjustment Factor, or EPCAF – tracks costs and revenues related to SRP’s renewable energy and energy-efficiency programs adopted to comply with SRP’s sustainable portfolio standard. The temporary reduction reflects SRP’s ability to meet its sustainable goals at a lower cost to customers.

SRP’s Board has set a goal to meet 20 percent of SRP’s retail electricity requirements through sustainable resources by the year 2020. Currently, SRP is ahead of schedule –providing more than 14 percent of retail energy needs with sustainable resources, which include solar, wind and geothermal energy, hydro power and energy-efficiency programs. SRP currently has 746 megawatts of renewable energy owned or under contract in its system.

The second component – the Fuel and Purchased Power Adjustment Mechanism, or FPPAM – recovers fuel costs incurred to generate electricity as well as power purchases to serve customer needs. Savings in this area are primarily because of lower-than-anticipated natural gas costs.

The costs of these two components to SRP are directly passed through to customers without any markup. SRP previously instituted a temporary reduction of 3.7 percent in the EPCAF and FPPAM for the 2016 July and August billing cycles.

The latest temporary reduction will decrease EPCAF and FPPAM revenue collection by about $40 million.

SRP is a community–based, not–for–profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP also is the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 800,000 acre–feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.

Arizona LD23’s Very Own Obama-Pelosi Duo – Part I

Saying something is one thing, when knowing full well it isn’t, has become synonymous with the Obama-Pelosi style of governance. The classics, “You can keep your doctor” or “We’ll have to pass it to find out what’s in it” come to mind. Who knew we had the very same type of “leadership” right here in the good ol’ GOP?

Obama Pelosi

The brouhaha over what has become widely known as an illegal organizational election in LD23, clearly rigged to set-up outgoing Jim O’Connor for guaranteed votes in his quest to be the next AZGOP Chairman, has exposed both O’Connor and his mouthpiece Lynne Breyer as the closest thing to the dastardly duo from DC as anything seen in a while.

O’Connor’s scheme to tip the scale in his favor, insuring the LD23 state committeemen votes would go to him and not one of the other candidates, has shined a bright light onto his level of integrity (or lack thereof) revealing an Obamaesque character – entitled, arrogant, and above the rules.

Lynne Breyer, playing the part of Nancy Pelosi so well, makes sure the scheme comes to fruition. The speculation that O’Connor has promised Breyer the Executive Director post may have merit in that she has been the spokesperson, defending O’Connor, in the claims of illegal and unethical actions around the election.

So, what is Breyer’s role in aiding and abetting O’Connor’s desperate attempt at rigging the election? Her best efforts as spokesperson with a “nothing to see here” story, when taken in totality tell of a blatant, duplicitous attempt to skirt the system, violate the statute and bylaws while using paper proxies to get the job done. (The side note is the glaring apathy within that district and the general demise under O’Connor of what was once a powerhouse district.)

In the MCRC Briefs Breyer said there were “202 PC’s present in person or by proxy” She said “of the 356 elected PC’s in LD23, only 81 sent proxies. That is a mere 22%.” Whoa – hold on for a minute. Here’s what that really means:

154 of the elected PC’s in LD23 did not show up to vote at all – 43%!

Only 122 PC’s attended in person to vote – 29%!

Do the math: The numbers don’t lie. Only 122 people attended in person, revealing the officers and state committeemen in LD23 were actually elected by “a mere” 29% of the PC’s. This begs the question of why was turnout so low? Is it apathy or lack of notice? Either way – be it Obama and Pelosi peddling the ACA or O’Connor and Breyer covering the tracks of their dirty tricks – the truth comes out eventually.

Update: The spelling of Lynne Breyer’s name has been corrected.

Arizona Free Enterprise Club: The Harmful Effects of Prop 206 Begin to Sink In

Arizona Free Enterprise Club

It has only been a month and the recently approved minimum wage initiative, Proposition 206, is already inflicting permanent damage on Arizona’s Economy, hardworking taxpayers and our most vulnerable and needy residents.

Similar to previous proposals, Prop 206 was sold on the idea that Arizona could raise its minimum wage to $12 an hour (adjusted for inflation every year thereafter) and require employers offer mandated paid sick leave to employees without any negative repercussions.  Reading the fine print of Prop 206 exposed this fraudulent claim; as the funders of the initiative (California Unions) exempted collective bargaining agreements from critical components of the initiative.  If this was so good, why exempt themselves from it?

Now the debilitating impacts of Prop 206 are being felt, and they are far more widespread and catastrophic than even the opponents of the initiative realized.  While it wasn’t a secret that Arizona businesses would face hard choices in order to comply with the wage hike, some of the worst hit organizations will be those that serve the neediest and most vulnerable populations in our state.  Currently in-home care services, many of which aid fragile and feeble seniors, range from $20-$24 an hour.   These services will go up;pricing out many of these seniors on fixed-incomes from receiving the care they desperately need or force more individuals onto state welfare rolls.

The developmentally disabled in our community will also be devastated by Proposition 206.  According to the President and CEO of the Centers for Habilitation and member of the Arizona Association of Providers for People with Disabilities, some providers will be forced to close operations as soon as January 1, 2017.

Some of these providers have contracts with the State of Arizona that set the reimbursement rates.  This means the state will be forced to allocate more taxpayer money to cover the higher costs.  If the state doesn’t cough up more tax dollars to address these needs, thousands of developmentally disabled in Arizona will be left without vital care.

It only gets worse from here.

Many subdivisions of the state such as school districts will also be deeply impacted by the voter mandate.  Positions such as cross walk guards cafeteria workers and bus drivers, many of which are part time positions, represent a significant aggregate cost to schools; costs which were neither anticipated nor planned for by districts or the state.

For Chandler Unified School District, Prop 206’s passage represents a $1.1 million hit to their budget.  Agua Fria Union High School District in the West Valley, $123,500.  Peoria Unified District – $1.1 million by 2020.  And Sahuarita District in southern Arizona $907,576.   These are tremendous costs which will necessitate the diversion of other resources from teachers and students or require more monies from taxpayers.

And although the law does not apply to state or federal agencies, many government departments will still be on the hook.  The State of Arizona has expenditure obligations for school districts as well as private contracts through AHCCCS (Arizona Healthcare Cost Containment Center System).  But the legislature has already passed a budget for 2017.  These additional costs were not included in the state’s budget.

Many voters that supported Prop 206 were not aware of the harmful effects this initiative would cause. Yet unlike bills proposed and passed at the legislature, there was no independent review, hearings, or public comment process of the initiative language to inform voters of these inevitable issues.

Now, even if voters wanted these issues fixed, Prop 206 can’t be modified because Arizona initiatives are bound by the strictest voter protection law in the country.  Once a measure is passed at the ballot, it can’t be changed unless it is sent back to the voters, and that can’t happen for two years.

As the saying goes, “elections have consequences.”  We suspect that the consequences of Prop 206, however, are not what Arizona voters signed up for.

Arizona LD-22 Legislators Endorse Chris Herring for Maricopa County GOP Chairman

Chris Herring

SURPRISE, ARIZ (December 15) – Today, three legislators from Legislative District 22 – Senator Judy Burges, Representative David Livingston, and Representative Phil Lovas – endorsed Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman. The LD 22 legislative team hails from the heart of CD 8, and have done great work to advance conservative values and principles across Arizona while holding their elected offices.

“Chris Herring is a remarkable young man who possesses deeply-rooted, pro-family values, sees the Constitution as the foundation on which our country has remained free, and desires to join President Donald Trump in ‘Making America Great Again,'” Burges said. “Our Republican values need to breathe new life into our state and nation. Won’t you join me in supporting Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman?”

“I’m supporting Chris Herring for MCRC Chair, and I’m asking that you would, too,” Livingston said.”Chris Herring was an exceptional chair of LD 21, which borders my district; and he was always a friend and ally of conservative legislators. Chris Herring knows what it takes to win elections, and I am confident that he will help to unify our party and help us to adhere to our platform as well.”

“I am very supportive of Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman and Aaron Flannery for 1st Vice Chairman,”Lovas said. “Chris worked very hard to turn out votes in his district and throughout the county for the entire Republican ticket in 2016 and Aaron ran a strong campaign for recorder.  To win elections, we need a chairman committed to working with grassroots Republicans and raising money to help the entire ticket.  Please join me in supporting Chris and Aaron.”

“I have been very fortunate to have built such strong relationships with many conservative members of our Arizona legislators – our LD 22 team being no exception,” Herring said. These three elected officials don’t just talk the talk, but they walk the walk each and every day. LD 22 is in a great position with Senator Burges, Representative Livingston, and Representative Lovas leading the way, and I look forward to working with them to help elect Maricopa County Republicans should I be elected as the MCRC chairman.”

Senator Judy Burges, Representative David Livingston, and Representative Phil Lovas join U.S. Congressman Trent Franks, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Senator Debbie Lesko, Senator-elect Steve Montenegro, Representative Jill Norgaard, Representative Anthony Kern, and Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring in endorsing Chris Herring for MCRC Chairman.

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Chris Herring is a lifelong Republican, who first registered to vote as a teenager in Los Angeles County. As a Valley resident for the past eight years, Chris loves living in a state where conservative principles are fought for on a daily basis. Chris earned a bachelors degree in history and a graduate degree in business management, two disciplines he believes will contribute to his ability to make the county party a more effective organization. Chris looks forward to working with our conservative grassroots committeemen across Maricopa County. He lives in Surprise with his wife and son.

Arizona Republicans – Picking Winners and Losers?

Robert Graham

There seems to have been widespread complaints from experienced precinct committeemen, in specific districts, of a total disregard of statute and bylaws in their election of State Committeemen. AZGOP Chairman Robert Graham apparently believes there’s more than rumor and sent the following letter to all chairmen:

Dear GOP District and County Chairmen,

We’ve received numerous accounts from precinct committeemen throughout the state regarding the organizational meetings taking place. Based on what we’ve heard, we need to remind all chairmen about the guidance provided by the state party over the years to ensure all organizational meetings are conducted with the full participation and authority vested in the PCs and state committeemen.

As you know, these party committee organizational meetings are referred to as “statutory” meetings because they are governed by state statute and therefore differ from normal monthly business meetings typically held by party committees. Normally, district and county parties operate with a great deal of autonomy, but in the case of the statutory organizational meetings, the state party has an important stake in the outcome of the elections. Not only are most of the state party’s executive committee members being elected at the organizational meetings, but all of the state committeemen are as well.

Our party is only as legitimate as the claim we make to represent Republican voters and only if we do so according to the law. From the primary election where PCs are elected, to the organizational meetings and ultimately the state party organizational meetings, all of our credibility and authority depends on having a process according to the rule of law. For example, the organizational meetings are not private. A chairman may certainly limit the meeting activity to the elections themselves, and has no obligation to allow the public any role other than to observe. But the committee has no legal authority to exclude the public from the meeting if they simply wish to observe.

We’ve also received complaints from PCs who did not receive a call letter at least ten days before the meeting. Some have complained that proxies they were carrying were not accepted by the chairmen, and others that their proxy documents were not considered to have the full legal effect of a proxy. Others were concerned that “alternates” were elected, when there is no such office, and anyone not elected outright as a state committeeman has no standing or claim to be “next in line.” Still others complained that the committee leaders and nominating committees operated a “closed shop” and deliberately excluded many eligible PCs from having their names printed on the ballot to run for a state committeeman position. Lastly, some committees prohibited nominations from the floor.

Some of these are serious concerns. Committees which do not reasonably follow the legal process of electing state committeemen risk having them fail to be recognized by the state party for the January 2017 meeting. In fact, any election with serious enough violations could be completely disregarded, leaving all the county or district’s positions considered vacant.

Of particular concern is the denial of a PC’s rights to participate by proxy. A lawful proxy carrier, with a completed form signed and dated and witnessed, is considered the legal representative of the proxy giver and the giver’s “attorney-in-fact.” That entitles the carrier to act on the proxy’s behalf, which includes voting, nominating and even being nominated for election to office. Any rule, bylaw or act that suppresses the proxy rights of a PC is not just violating the PC’s rights, but is offensive to an open and fair election process.

I will be working with our legal counsel to address the concerns presented to us to date. In the meantime, if your organizational meeting is yet to occur, please ensure your committee is following the rules and the law.

AZGOP Chairman Robert Graham

 

LD23 Responses on Recent District GOP Election Outcome

The following statements were provided by precinct committeemen in LD23 on their recent election and our post:

LD23 PC Ronald A. Smith:
I whole heartily agree with Boe James‘s argument that Dr. C.T. Wright deserves a position as State Committeemen. I therefore have submitted my resignation as an elected State committeeman from LD 23 and have requested that Dr. Wright be appointed in my place. “Tweek alert” While retired Naval Officers ponder a problem, former enlisted Marines adapt and overcome.

LD23 Credentials Chair Lynn Breyer:
In life, there are two sides to every story. This is the side Boe James did not tell in his letter Saturday. I’ve run the credentials committee for the past three LD23 Chairmen. I run it by the book! And because of that position, I know many, if not most, of the PCs in LD23. Let me tell you, LD23 is afloat with wonderful, hardworking and dedicated Precinct Committeemen. Many of them hold down jobs, are invested in other organizations and give 100% to the position of Precinct Committeeman in LD23. They volunteer for whatever is needed in an engaged LD. Every one of those who submitted their names to become State Committeemen were well worthy of election. LD23 had 119 seats to fill. There were many more applicants than that. Some of the PCs are fairly new to the district. The people they voted for were likely those they have met at events/meetings or while working with LD23 to help candidates. It’s normal and rational to vote for those you know and work beside. The 202 PCs present in person or by proxy voted the way they saw fit. I doubt any one of them voted against anyone, including Dr. Wright or Mark Lewis, both admirable men named by Boe James. These are busy men and don’t get to all the events and so are unknown to many. It’s unfortunate that everyone who submitted to run could not be elected. If LD23 made the rules, they would have been. But the rules were followed and 119 were fairly elected. I take exception to anyone who would engage in the shaming that has become so much a part of the political landscape. It’s neither constructive nor serves any good purpose.

Jonathan Lines Announces Support for AG Brnovich Office to Protect 2nd Amendment

 

Candidate for AZGOP Chairman Supports Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s Repeal of Tucson Gun Ordinance

Jonathan Lines

Jonathan Lines

PHOENIX​ — Today, Jonathan Lines, a candidate for the Chairmanship of the Arizona Republican Party announced his support for Arizona’s Attorney General Mark Brnovich and the Attorney General’s Office. This week, Attorney General Brnovich filed a petition to repeal Tucson’s unlawful gun ordinance. State law prohibits the government from destroying firearms, which the City of Tucson instructed its police officers to do upon seizing firearms.

According to SB 1487, if an Attorney General finds a local government violating the constitution or state law, the Attorney General is then required to file a Petition for Special Action. Representative Mark Finchem submitted the request to have an investigation into the City of Tucson’s gun ordinance.

“I wholeheartedly support Attorney General Brnovich’s petition that asks the Arizona Supreme Court to rule on Tucson’s illegal gun ordinance,” said Lines. “As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I find the City of Tucson’s actions reprehensible and view it as an attack on our constitutionally protected freedom. However, this is a broader issue than an attack on the Second Amendment: this is an encroachment on our personal freedoms by the government. A bloated government — especially one that oversteps its boundaries — is dangerous to any democracy.

“I am thankful that we have strong, principled conservative leaders in our state, like Mark Brnovich, who will stand up to unlawful abuses of power and personal or political agendas.”

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The election of a new AZGOP Chairman will take place on January 28th at the Statutory Meeting and will be voted on by newly elected State Committeeman from every district or county committee.

For more information about Jonathan Lines, go to www.linesforazgop.com.

LD23 Shenanigans Continue

Submitted by a trustworthy Precinct Committeeman in LD23.

Dr. C.T. Wright

Dr. C.T. Wright

Unfortunately in LD23, for the 2nd time in 4 years DR. C.T. Wright (who last year won the Barry Goldwater award and was the President of the Best Republican Club – the Fountain Hills Republican Club) was not considered a good enough Republican by LD23 leadership and other PCs to be elected as an LD23 State Committeeman.  What a disgrace, what a shame.  Good enough to be an Elector in 2012.  Good enough to win the Barry Goldwater Award Good enough to be asked by President-elect Trump to lead the invocations at all his Arizona rallies, but not good enough to lead the invocation at the LD23 organizational meeting (even though he gave the invocation at all other LD23 meetings) and not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  But that is LD23.  What a disgrace, what a shame.

It is also noted that Mark Lewis, a LD23 PC who won a county-wide election in November, was not chosen as a LD23 State committeeman. Good enough to win county-wide, but not good enough to represent LD23 as a State Committeeman.  Hum.

So these fine individuals who are good Republicans and many other longtime loyal PCs (such as Paula and Bruce Linker and Larry and Joanna Hagan, for example) will NOT be able to vote for or against their own (immediate past) District Chair, as he runs for State Chair.  Nor will they be able to vote on other matters such as resolutions and By-Law changes that are proposed at the state Mandatory Meeting.  Wow.  What a shame.  What a disgrace within LD23.

 

Sessions’ First Move at DOJ Should be to Clear Rep. Rick Renzi

Reprinted from The Hill
By Rachel Alexander

Jeff Sessions

Jeff Sessions

Once Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) is confirmed as Attorney General, he must work with Congress to clean up the corruption within the Department of Justice. One of the first cases he should review is the prosecution of former Congressman Rick Renzi.

As a former Assistant Attorney General for the state of Arizona and a former prosecutor with the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, I have never seen a more egregious political prosecution as well as corrupt electioneering by a foreign interest than the DOJ’s crusade against Renzi.

 

Some may remember that Renzi was convicted in a split verdict on some corruption counts involving two proposed federal land exchanges. What I’ve found since casts grave doubt on the legitimacy of the investigation, prosecution, and conviction.

Rick Renzi

Rick Renzi

The DOJ’s investigation of Renzi originated with a South African citizen named Bruno Hagner, who was the head of Resolution Copper. The foreigner wanted Renzi to give his company the right to mine on federal lands that were sacred to Renzi’s Native American constituents. When Renzi sought to change Hagner’s proposal to mitigate the environmental fallout and help the Apaches, Hagner decided that he wanted someone else to hold Renzi’s congressional seat. Hagner launched a plan to take out Renzi that he called “Operation Eagle,” which involved paying off a retired FBI agent to pass along false allegations against Renzi to Tucson FBI Agent Daniel Odom.

Odom took the case to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gary Restaino, whose wife was former Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano’s general counsel. A savvy politico, who saw the potential political threat Renzi posed to Napolitano, Restaino seized the opportunity to pursue a Republican congressman along with Odom.

Odom soon identified Philip Aries, who had also approached Renzi about a potential land exchange, as a potential witness he could manipulate. But during their initial meeting, Aries told Odom that he had developed his land exchange proposal with one of Renzi’s aides — not with Renzi himself. Still, Aries agreed to try to get evidence by recording phone calls with Renzi, but he soon backed out. That’s when Odom told him that he could be paid if he could help the government prosecute Renzi. Aries agreed to continue. He eventually testified that he hoped to be paid for his help, that getting $10,000 would be a “home run,” and that getting $25,000 would be like “winning the lottery.”

Evidence that a witness has a financial stake in the outcome of a case must be turned over to the defense. Restaino and Odom knew this, but they concealed the evidence about Aries’ financial motives from Renzi and his defense team. As a result, the jury never knew that the principal witness against Renzi expected to be paid for changing his story to convict him. Hiding evidence of a witness’s bias is prosecutorial misconduct, plain and simple.

That’s not the only misconduct, though. The DOJ used a wiretap to record Aries’ calls with Renzi, and the FBI also recorded Renzi’s calls with his lawyers. Remarkably, the DOJ illegally recorded, monitored, and reviewed attorney-client privileged calls. The FBI even prepared transcripts of several privileged calls, which only emerged when the defense exposed the misconduct in an extensive evidentiary hearing. The courts eventually ruled that the DOJ had lied to the court supervising the wire tap and that it had illegally spied on Renzi. It suppressed the entire wiretap, which did not contain anything incriminating anyway.

If the evidence against Renzi had been overwhelming, then maybe we could attribute the DOJ’s misconduct to overzealousness. But the evidence of corruption was fabricated. The land exchange proposals Renzi supported involved a property that conservationists and the military alike had sought for years because of its importance to Fort Huachuca. In fact, prior to the trial, the district court forced the DOJ to admit that Fort Huachuca was “essential” to national security and that Renzi’s efforts to preserve the water was “in the public interest.”

Renzi filed a motion for a new trial, and the judge ruled that the evidence proved that the FBI had concealed “important” information about its meetings and offers of money with Aries, that Odom had induced Aries to continue cooperating by dangling a financial reward, that Aries believed that he deserved a reward for his cooperation, and that the prosecutors’ argument about Aries having not received “one thin dime” was, in the court’s words, “disingenuous” and “misleading to the jury.” Yet bizarrely, the court dismissed its own findings, saying they were “immaterial,” and denied the request for a new trial.

Renzi appealed to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which will hear his case in March. Renowned litigator Kelly Kramer, co-head of Mayer Brown LLP’s white collar criminal defense practice, and Sidney Powell, one of the nation’s best defense attorneys and author of the book Licensed to Lie, are his attorneys.

It is imperative that Congress and the new Attorney General look into this outrageous case. Renzi has been fighting this political witch hunt and clear electioneering by the DOJ, a foreign interest and the retired FBI agent the South African was paying for 10 years now, a gross abuse of taxpayers’ dollars. Correcting this wrong against Renzi would send a strong signal that this administration is going to have zero tolerance for corrupt prosecutors – and corrupt wealthy foreign interests. As for Congress, if it can happen to Renzi, it can happen to any member of Congress.