By Sonny Daze
Sources tell Sonoran Alliance that the author of a vicious, divisive and dishonest hit piece in Monday’s Arizona Daily Independent was authored by none other than failed AZ GOP Chairman candidate Jim O’Connor.
Mr. O’Connor, who left his LD 23 committee with over $26,000 in legal debt, is clearly attempting to create controversy and division amongst Republican PCs.
Mr. O’Connor and his supporters have clearly still not come to grips with that fact that Mr. O’Connor lost his race for chairman. It was a close contest, but it was decisive: Chairman Jonathan Lines actually won by 3 times as many votes as Treasurer Bob Lettieri, who required a 2nd ballot to garner the required 50%-plus-one of the votes. However, unlike Mr. O’Connor, 2nd place finisher Eric Morgan graciously conceded defeat, without demanding any recounts, proxy reviews or credentialing fights. Eric Morgan knows, of course, that these internal disputes only harm the party, and do not help us unify to register voters, recruit candidates, or win elections. Lettieri also seems to have moved on with his life and is doing a professional job.
Unfortunately, we’re once again reminded that Jim O’Connor and his allies care less about defeating Democrats, and more about settling scores, launching personal attacks against fellow Republicans and lies. In short, they are interested in raw power, NOT in winning elections.
Mr. O’Connor’s latest gambit may be his most pathetic yet. According to our sources, he has authored, and posted anonymously, a blog post chock full of lies, deceptions and personal attacks. Next, he’s posting his vitriol on his Facebook page, and even urging PCs to work towards recalling our new chairman.
This is what desperation looks like. Unable to win fairly, Jim O’Connor and his supporters are reduced to cowardly, anonymous blog posts and dreams of overturning the will of the State Committee through a wild goose chase of a recall.
It is increasingly clear that the Arizona GOP dodged a major bullet when the State Committee rejected Jim O’Connor last January.
All you Airbnb fans take heed! The company has decided to inject itself into Arizona politics by funneling dark money against Republicans. In this letter, former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Bob Stump hits back with an email to Arizona legislators.
Dear Honorable Member:
It is rare for me to contact you as a private citizen and former colleague. I believe this issue is important enough to merit it.
An extremist far-left organization, Checks and Balances, is active again in Arizona. Yet again, it is attacking elected Republicans.
I fully expect Republican members of the House and Senate to be next.
Airbnb, which has enjoyed a friendly regulatory environment in Arizona thanks to you, is funding Checks and Balances. According to Penn State’s Daily Collegian, “Airbnb representative Nick Papas said Airbnb supports the work CBP does.”
What exactly is this “work”? Smearing, suing or harassing Arizona Republican officeholders such as Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, members of the Arizona Corporation Commission — including four Commission chairs — and yours truly.
Consider the “work” of the group Airbnb supports financially:
In an act of pure malice, Checks and Balances published my mother’s private mobile number on the Internet.
At a cost of hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars and staff time, and with the help of Democratic activist Dan Barr, Checks and Balances sued the Arizona Corporation Commission in an attempt to break the chain of custody of my phone and publish private text messages to my family and friends. Despite Checks and Balances’ conspiratorial fantasies, I was vindicated in court: Two judges determined that nothing retrieved from my phone met the definition of a public document.
Undeterred by losing in court every single time, Checks and Balances has taken to the pages of the Arizona Capitol Times to attack Arizona Corporation Commission Chair Tom Forese and Commission legal counsel Tim LaSota, who defended me in court.
Until recently, SolarCity, the nation’s largest solar rooftop leasing company, sponsored Checks and Balances. SolarCity’s aim was to attack and sue sitting regulators nationwide, in an attempt to alter regulatory outcomes and thereby enhance SolarCity’s bottom line.
SolarCity was shamed into withdrawing their support for Checks and Balances.
It is past time for Airbnb to follow SolarCity’s lead and cease funding a mercenary band of character assassins which exists to intimidate citizens at the behest of its corporate sponsors.
Airbnb’s CEO, Brian Chesky, ignored my letter to him, written when I was a sitting member of the Arizona Corporation Commission. Perhaps he will be more responsive to you.
I would suggest you contact Mr. Chesky and his lobbying team and ask why Airbnb is funding an unsavory group that sues and smears Arizona Republicans.
Thank you for your attention to this matter. And thank you for your service to our great state.
Former member and Health Committee Chair, Arizona House of Representatives (2002-2008)
Former Commissioner and Commission Chair, Arizona Corporation Commission (2008-2017)
Takes to the Senate Floor to Raise Concerns with Border Adjustment Tax
Phoenix, AZ – Today, Americans for Affordable Products, a coalition of nearly 200 businesses, local organizations, and trade associations united to stop the Border Adjustment Tax or BAT, and its resulting increased prices on everyday necessities, thanked Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) for speaking out on the U.S. Senate floor to raise his concerns with the BAT.
The Border Adjustment Tax is a provision of House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) tax reform plan, which, if enacted, would levy a 20 percent tax on imported goods.
During the floor speech, Senator Flake expressed his worry that BAT “could make everyday consumer products more expensive at the very places that middle-class families shop the most…[and] household staples could be pushed out of reach for those who can least afford it.” He went on to say that he’s looking forward to working with his colleagues on tax reform, “but we ought to make sure that the middle class isn’t in the losing column.”
“Senator Flake’s stout defense of Arizona’s businesses and consumers earlier today cannot be lauded enough,” said John Arterburn, owner of Ace Hardware in Pinnacle Peak. “A 20 percent tax on imported products could threaten the viability of my business, forcing me to make tough choices – I’d either have to raise prices or eliminate staff.”
If enacted, the Border Adjustment Tax could result in American consumers spending an additional $1,700 per year on basic necessities like food, clothing, medicine and gasoline.
“Everyone agrees, simplifying our complicated tax code is very much needed, but shifting the burden onto the backs of the middle class while killing U.S. jobs is not the way to do it,” said Robert Medler, VP of Government Affairs for the Tucson Metro Chamber. “Senator Flake hit the nail on the head today – we need tax reform in this country, but introducing a Border Adjustment Tax which amounts to a hidden tax on consumers and punishes those that are the least fortunate dampens what would otherwise be a popular plan.”
Americans for Affordable Products is a coalition of job creators, entrepreneurs, business leaders and consumers united against higher prices on everyday necessities. To learn more, please visit: www.KeepAmericaAffordable.com.
- Resources: Coalition Infographic, Myth vs. Fact, and More
- Press Release: AAP Launches Opposition to BAT
To schedule an interview with an Americans for Affordable Products representative, please email press@KeepAmericaAffordable.com.
By Millenial Maven
Just when you thought the debacle in LD23 could not get any more bizarre, it has!
At the February 9th LD23 Meeting, the Chairman finally admitted to the grand total for the attorney fees that they had spent.
It came to an astonishing amount of $27,000, an amount that equals approximately two years of typical income for LD23.
There was an audible gasp as this amount was announced. The Board had never approached the PCs for their inputs on spending this huge amount of money.
The LD is now deeply in debt, and the Executive Board offered no real solution to paying off their debt.
The question now remains:
Can an LD be repossessed?
By Rachel Alexander
Tim Jeffries, a well-loved director of Arizona’s state welfare agency, the Department of Economic Security, was fired in November of last year. As I covered previously, this valiant conservative merely followed the governor’s orders to trim the agency of bad employees. Arizona’s left-wing media pounced on the firings — note that the left frequently takes the side of criminals — and sure enough, some of the fired employees had been caught stealing from the agency, stealing from the poor.
Jeffries was also targeted because he took on Democrat dishonesty. His predecessor was too afraid to take on a Democrat legislator who was illegally receiving food stamps. Jeffries discovered the full story from a DES investigator and had the fraudulent legislator prosecuted. Sadly, that honest investigator was later fired over this, even though a grand jury indicted Rep. Cecilia Velasquez on three felonies. A former Democrat state legislator, Leah Landrum-Taylor, received an appointment under Jeffries at DES, but used the position to undermine him, hoping to move up in the ranks. The Arizona Republic has still not revealed the actual facts, despite the fact there is photographic evidence proving her lies.
One of the employees who was terminated was featured sympathetically in the Republic. What the yellow journalism didn’t reveal is that she was terminated for hostilely telling (threatening?) a member of the public who came in for services, “You’re lucky you’re on the other side of the counter!” In contrast, under Jeffries’ tenure, there was an outbreak of clients who sent DES letters of support, something which had never happened before.
Over 1,000 DES employees contacted Jeffries after he was fired, expressing their condolences. The newspaper didn’t bother to report that. His Facebook page is full of photos of DES employees smiling and joking around under Jeffries’ fun-filled leadership. Thousands of the 7,000-plus employees there loved how he transformed the stodgy, unhappy agency into a workplace environment that was fun and efficient. He called those he worked with colleagues, not employees, and responded personally to emails from each and every one of them.
Incredibly, 40 of the 475 fired DES employees are now being reinstated, and firings have slowed to a trickle. The liberal reporter at the Republic responsible for many of the hit pieces on Jeffries, Craig Harris, bragged, “Firings of state government workers plummeted during the final three months of 2016, with just 17 involuntary separations in December, following a series of Arizona Republic and azcentral stories that uncovered questionable and improper dismissals at state agencies.” The governor’s chief of staff admitted that agency directors are now afraid of seeing their names publicly linked to “wrongful” firings. However, the termination rate of Jeffries’ predecessor was about the same, approximately one a day.
Jeffries recognizes the names of many of the DES employees who are being hired back, and says they are “bad apples” who have no business getting their jobs back. He fired “bullies, racists, sexual harassers and slackers.” Fraudsters were arrested.
The “fake news” has continued since Jeffries’ firing. Incredibly, even after my article refuting much of the Republic’s hit piece on Jeffries’ firing came out, the Republic ran another piece repeating much of the fake news. It was such a well-done hit piece, if you only read that article, you’d likely think Jeffries really was a bad dude.
For example, the left-wing local media ignored the restructuring Jeffries implemented, which put in place better management. “People who had iron grips on their respected positions were exited,” Jeffries said about some really bad characters. The biased media deliberately did not report that the Arizona Department of Administration approved every firing — it wasn’t just done by Jeffries and DES. All state agencies are required to have a Human Resources chief who is actually an employee of ADOA. After Jeffries was fired, his HR director was fired as collateral damage. Now, ridiculously, the state HR chief will have to review every firing in the state. It’s “bureaucracy gone wrong,” Jeffries says.
Jeffries is fighting back, giving interviews to local news stations and submitting his opinion to the Republic. Why would a very successful private businessman in the private sector like Jeffries (I’ve known him for years) agree to head a state government agency? When the governor asked him if he wanted to head a state agency, Jeffries chose DES. It is because he comes from a poor background himself, and knew he could make DES much more efficient as he’d done running business in the private sector. Jeffries transformed the agency into something unimaginable. Originally a state agency with a bad reputation (the case in most states), DES became a part of government where both Democrats and Republicans were proud to work.
Jeffries is a role model for how state agencies should be run — not merely for efficiency, but for his compassion. Seven colleagues reached out to him as director and told him they were homeless, and he helped them. They have said they would speak to the press, but Jeffries has asked them not to, because he is worried something might happen to them. He and his wife spent over $40,000 of their own money helping others they met at the agency. One woman spent two weeks sleeping in a DES closet. Don’t expect the left-leaning media to report the fact that Jeffries helped her.
Does this sound like a state agency director who should have been fired, or more like a left-wing witch hunt against a kind, successful conservative reformer? “I was the governor’s top reformer, and I’m gone,” he told Arizona’s ABC-15. His final message to his remaining DES colleagues after being fired? He loves them and he looks forward to remaining their good friend. There may be litigation. Let’s hope this top reformer finds his way back into government. He’s desperately needed.
By Timothy Schwartz
Yesterday, a spin doctor from AZGOP released a deceptive account concerning Gabby Mercer’s attempt to obtain records.
The facts: On January 28th at the annual State meeting, the race for Chairman was extremely close. Out of over 1,200 votes cast, there were 34 votes separating the candidates. O’Connor’s campaign chairman Tim Horn asked to see the records and was told he would be able to. The meeting did not happen.
Gabby Mercer, the newly elected Secretary began asking for the records. She was stalled with the excuse that the office was in transition. After the “transition”, no changes were made as the personnel running AZGOP were the same. Gabby was denied access to the records. Mercer persisted against continued obstruction. Each attempt was faced with a new excuse, none of them valid.
The Rules state that after an election of officers, there is a period of 10 days for all the records to be turned over to the newly elected official, the date of that deadline was February 7th. Obviously that deadline has passed, and Mercer’s attempts were still in deadlock. Her calls weren’t returned, and neither were her emails and text messages.
Several days ago, Mercer sent a letter to Chairman Lines asking for a meeting at HQ to obtain the records. On Monday, February 20th, Lines confirmed her appointment for that purpose.
With the confirmed appointment of Tuesday Feb.21 at 10 am, Gabby arrived with the support of Tim Horn, Timothy Schwartz and Lynn Breyer. Though Tim LaSota is lawyer for the party, Kory Langhofer and associate Thomas were there. We suspect that the lawyers were only there to learn of our desire, as it was never their purpose to give us the records. They reviewed our list of files requested, but after a meeting that lasted for more than 2 hours, never allowed us to see or obtain any of the files we came for. Avinash said all records were available on the website, but none of our requested items exist on the website except a preliminary list of State Committeemen that was dated January 9th and was never updated to the actual list.
Chairman Lines has advocated transparency, yet all the signs from the last 3-1/2 weeks show anything but transparency.
It is truly time for there to be a protest from every elected State Committeeman. We don’t give another 2 weeks for you to produce what should have been given weeks ago. The Credentials committee’s work ended on January 28th. What do you have to hide? Does 2 weeks give time to ‘make corrections’? This was an election! Those results should speak for themselves.
We demand immediate action!
By Millennial Maven
What the liberal mainstream media and Democrat elites are doing to President Trump is despicable. They tried to de-legitimize his election and cast doubt on it. Now they are putting off approving his nominees. Obama hold overs in the agencies are leaking information to try and damage the Trump administration. People are trying to make it impossible for President Trump to build the team he needs to accomplish the promises he campaigned and won on.
The same thing is happening in our own state GOP. Last month, Jonathan Lines, Gabby Mercer and Bob Lettieri were all fairly elected…from the credentialing process to the vote tabulation, the process was clear, open and transparent. No challenges were lodged to the credentials report, and no issues were raised during or immediately after the credentials committee submitted and the state body unanimously approved the credentials report. Now, Mercer and Tim Horne (not an elected State Officer) wants to undermine the election process, the credentials committee, and the duly elected State Committeeman by going on a self-proclaimed “fishing expedition.”
In further evidence of Mercer’s disruptive agenda are the events that took place on the morning of February 21, 2017. Chairman Lines invited Mercer to the State Party to review all of the documents that she is responsible for and begin planning the upcoming Excomm meeting. Instead, Mercer arrived with Horn, along with Timothy Schwartz, and the three of them proceeded to badger and threaten AZ GOP staff. While Secretary Mercer had requested a number of documents to review, it was clear that her only intention, and the only intention of her group, was to attempt to obtain control of the proxy forms and credentialing documents, ostensibly to remove them from the office. For obvious reasons, these demands were rejected, causing another round of belligerence and threats.
Like the Democrats and mainstream media in Washington, DC, it’s time for O’Connor and his minions to accept the results of the election and move on. While it’s true that the race was close, Lines actually won by three times as many votes as Bob Lettieri, our new treasurer. Yet neither Eric Morgan nor Wes Harris has attempted to challenge the results.
To review: The credentials report was given multiple times and less people voted in each of the three elections than were credentialed and yet they continue to try and cast doubt on Chairman Lines term as chairman. They continuously spread rumors, attack his staff, and now Mercer, Horne and Schwartz want to review all the proxies and look for non-existent “fraud. This is a direct attack not only on Chairman Lines, but on the dozens of activists, credentials committee volunteers and State Committeemen who openly and transparently conducted the election.
Never before has a new chairman been attacked so much in his first month in office. Chairman Lines hasn’t attended his first RNC meeting yet, hasn’t been given the time to get his team in place, nor has he even had his first fundraiser and executive committee meeting. Yet the constant campaign, procedural maneuvers, rumors, and fake news have been designed to keep him from governing.
Let’s hope the AZGOP has had enough of the nonsense and is ready to move forward as a board and as a body to accomplish conservative victories and elections success here in Arizona. Don’t let LD 23 and the AZRA club disrupt our ability to have success in Arizona as we work to Make America Great Again.
Opposing views are more than welcome to respond.
By Joe Romack
The State GOP Elections have concluded. But sadly Jim O’Connor has decided to follow Jill Stein and whine about the results of the Election. Immediately after the election results were announced, he and his entourage headed to the hallways in a last ditch feeble attempt to challenge the results. There were grumblings about some mysterious proxy votes, which is ironic, considering his abuse of proxy votes. For the record, his wife and son are Precinct Committeemen, but never appear at ANY events, therefore “paper PCs”.
Their complaints were proved false, the outcome of the election was concluded. Sadly, at no time after the election did I see Mr. O’Connor approach Chairman-elect Lines and congratulate him. So much for decorum and working towards unity.
Now today in the Arizona Freedom Alliance, there was a post that first called Eric Morgan a liar, then accused Robert Graham of somehow doctoring the election results. Their claim was that the race for chairman had 45 fewer total votes than the down ballot races. This is simply not true. The results were as follows:
Secretary = 608 + 548 = 1156 votes cast
Chairman = 598 + 562 = 1158 votes cast
Yesterday, the Statutory Meeting of AZGOP took place in Phoenix. The primary purpose was to elect a new Chairman. Along with that, the two other officers who are also statutory officers – required by state statute – were elected.
We can say, WHEW! Glad that is over! Or is it?
First we offer our congratulations to Treasurer candidate Robert Lettieri who survived a run off against Eric Morgan. Eric started his commentary saying he was not going anywhere, indicating that there was some reason for people to think he was. We had two AFA team members present with him when he said the reason he was not going to run for MCRC chair was because he was moving out of state “in a couple of months.” Others told us the same thing so is there any wonder people might think he was moving? Some told us he said he could handle the treasurer’s job from his future re-location! Does anyone tell the truth anymore?
But back to Lettieri. His remarks during his time to speak were eye opening to most. He just laid it out: the AZGOP is in trouble and he did an analysis based on campaign finance reports. http://
We are hoping that Lettieri will be able to sort through the web of receipts and expenses of ALL accounts to find out where this really stands.
We also offer our congratulations to Gabby Mercer for her win of the Secretary’s position. As Secretary, Mercer should be given all of the records from the time of Robert Graham. That could make for some interesting reading. What is not there might be of interest, also. Gabby’s remarks were pointed and on target as she called out the misdeeds that have been going on in the AZGOP for the past four years. Gabby has been the 2nd Vice Chair for the past two years and says she has not once been called to a Board meeting.
Now to the big one, the Chairman’s race. Jonathan Lines walked away with the prize. O’Connor came up 34 votes short. It happens. The odd thing – with Robert Graham, there is always an “odd thing”- is that the total votes in that race was 36 fewer than there was in the down ballot race of treasurer and secretary. Folks, the point of the meeting and the focus for the past six months has been the Chairman’s race. Those in attendance came there early in the morning until four in the afternoon to elect a Chairman. Is it reasonable to think 45 people didn’t care enough to vote?
We smell a rat and it smells just like John McCain!
We may have more on this as team AFA analyzes the information we have collected or more info comes in.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL WINNERS!
After months of needless foot-dragging, dishonesty, personal attacks and fake martyrdom, LD 23 has finally admitted what we’ve all known all along: Jim O’Connor’s organizational meeting was run improperly, rules were broken, and duly elected PCs were denied their right to seek elected office.
And a massive floor fight at Saturday’s GOP State Meeting has been averted.
On Thursday afternoon, LD 23 leadership released a “Letter of Understanding,” acknowledging for the first time that major mistakes had been made, and that the complaints from dozens of elected PCs were legitimate. In response, Chairman Graham did what he promised he’d do all along: he has agreed to seat the 119 State Committeemen who were “elected” at O’Connor’s flawed Organizational Meeting.
And so, here we are. Months after the statutory violations were pointed out, and weeks after multiple remedies were offered, LD 23’s leadership has admitted to its mistakes, albeit clinging to the lie that the complaints were “anonymous” (they weren’t) and denying they were notified prior to the meeting with requests for a remedy (they were).
But more importantly, this proves that this was never about the rules, or fairness to elected PCs. No, this was nothing more than a cheap political stunt by Jim O’Connor, giving him a platform on which to campaign. After all, why bother presenting a vision for the future or a plan of action at the party, when you can shamelessly demagogue and complain about big, bad Robert Graham.
Unfortunately for O’Connor, he has overplayed his hand. Now, just one day before the election, his LD leadership has admitted to a flawed and unfair process, and he is left with no plan, no platform, and no agenda for the AZ GOP. He’s proven that he is unable to run a proper meeting, and has not bothered to come up with a plan to move the party forward.