Arizona Republic gets caught in campaign finance scandal

Our opinion of The Arizona Republic just got lower if that is possible.

Mike Ryan, a Vice President of the Republic and General Manager of the Scottsdale Republic (the Scottsdale community section of the Republic), has had to take the unprecedented step of defending himself in a Republic column today over his role in illegal campaign finance activities.

At issue is a political campaign conducted by the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce to try to ensure the election of a liberal Mayor and liberal Councilmembers. Only problem was the Chamber refused to file campaign finance reports or disclose who was funding their campaign, which is a major campaign finance violation. And now they are facing a massive fine and must disclose their contributors, though they decide today whether to appeal this. (article)

In his Republic column today, Mike Ryan, who is a member of the Chamber’s Executive Board, admitted to being present while the illegal campaign activities were discussed, and also admitted that he did not object to these illegal activities. His lame defense was that there was no vote taken to approve the campaign so he didn’t vote in favor of it. But what do you call sitting by as underlings discuss their plans to engage in what amounted to illegal campaign activities without protesting? That sounds like approval to us.

This is a huge credibility problem for the Republic. The Chamber tried unsuccessfully to defeat current Mayor Jim Lane (the Republic also editorialized in favor of his opponent). Now that Mike Ryan, the GM of the paper, and also an editorial board member, has been exposed for his role in the Chamber’s illegal activities, how can readers trust that the editorial and news coverage in the Republic will be fair, and the product of solid, ethical journalism rather than a political agenda?

They can’t.


Comments

  1. GOP Stalwart says

    What did you expect, it’s the Republic.

  2. Whiskey Jack says

    This is great news! In addition to the legal problems the Republic is stuck in, this gives conservatives more ammunition to show their liberal bias!

    We’ve seen that bias in news and editorial coverage, now we have evidence that they are so committed to the liberal cause that they are participating in illegal political campaigns to knock off conservative Republicans!

    This will be brought up again and again to undermine their cred–a gift that keeps on giving!

  3. Agree. Why would anyone be surprised? What we need are more psuedo pimps and prostitutes running around with cameras…EVERYWHERE. Corruption has taken hold of the national psyche.

  4. Whiskey Jack – Yeah, the Republic has a bias – towards the Chamber of Commerce. When has the CoC become a ‘liberal’ group?

  5. If the Republic doesn’t dump this guy they really will show their true colors. Uhhh–never mind.

  6. So his answer for everything is that he’ll recuse himself from voting on issues where there’s a conflict with his job at the Republic, because he says that job comes ahead of his Chamber job.

    But curiously he also says “I will recuse myself from any chamber decision on whether it will challenge legal orders to comply with campaign-finance law.” Really? That decision has nothing to do with the Republic.

    Why stop there? He ought to just go ahead and recuse himself from everything the Chamber does by resigning.

  7. Whiskey Jack says

    Todd-

    I don’t know where you have been, but yes, many chambers of commerce, including the Scottsdale one, have become very liberal and anti-free market.

    Taxpayer subsidies for private businesses, taking private property and giving it to other private interests, and supporting wasteful spending and government largesse are all ideas various chambers have succumbed to. They are liberal ideas, NOT conservative ones.

  8. Veritas Vincit says

    re: #4 above … Todd, what do you know of the AzCofC exactly? From you comments, not much.

  9. nightcrawler says

    Whiskey Jack, put down the bottle sir.

    I am no fan of the C of C, used to be a member and gave it up because I didn’t believe they spoke for me politically.

    That said, as in any group, the members are very diverse. Just because one board or committee stands for a specific position doesn’t mean that the entire membership feels that way. Painting with a board brush is ignorant.

    I like Mike Ryan, but in this case there is a conflict. He moderates many televised interviews with candidates and frankly should have excused himself from the board or any political discussions. The stench of bias is hard to shower off.

  10. Well, look at that, Mike Ryan has just resigned from the Chamber.

    http://www.azcentral.com/community/scottsdale/articles/2009/09/18/20090918sr-ryan0919.html

    The bottom line is that he was not just a member of the Chamber, he was on their board of directors, and not only that also on their executive committee. Now that the organization is facing a six-figure fine for activities that went on under his watch, he’s going to skate away.

  11. Hello. Great job. I did not expect this on a Wednesday. This is a great story. Thanks!

  12. You you could make changes to the blog subject title Sonoran Alliance: Arizona Politics for Conservatives » Arizona Republic gets caught in campaign finance scandal to more generic for your subject you create. I loved the blog post however.

Trackbacks

  1. […] As reported on this blog earlier, Mike Ryan, a Vice President of the Republic and General Manager of the Scottsdale Republic (the Scottsdale community section of the Republic), had a clear conflict of interest by serving on the Scottsdale Chamber of Commerce. It was hampering his judgment to report on issues involving the Chamber, such as the scandal last fall when County Supervisors’ attorney Tom Irvine advised the Chamber that it was perfectly acceptable to run a political campaign supporting candidates for Mayor and City Council without registering as a political committee. No wonder no one reads the newspapers anymore. Am just surprised this kind of stuff ever sees the light of day, the Republic has ignored it for the past year. Now, after publishing an article in the Republic defending his position to remain in both positions, Ryan has backed off and resigned from the Chamber. The Phoenix New Times has the full story here.   […]

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