Bar disciplinary judge’s appointee made anonymous website to target complainant

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Saturday,  March 14th, 2015

Evidence continues to mount against State Bar disciplinary judge O’Neil

O’Neil’s “ethics” buddy Mark Salem retaliated against Mark Dixon with a disgusting smear website for going public about O’Neil’s corruption 

Arizona Republic
Critic of Arizona courts claims libel, defamation in suit
by Dennis Wagner
March 10, 2015

A Pinal County man who lodged numerous ethics complaints against Arizona’s top disciplinary judge claims in court filings that an associate of the judge waged a libelous smear campaign against him on the Internet.

In a Maricopa County Superior Court lawsuit, and in a complaint submitted to the state Commission on Judicial Conduct, Mark Dixon of Casa Grande said he was branded as a liar and a cross-dresser on an Internet site operated by Mark Salem, a past member of an Arizona Supreme Court committee on judicial oversight.

Salem, as a Supreme Court appointee, has in the past helped adjudicate numerous State Bar complaints with Arizona Presiding Disciplinary Judge William “Bill” O’Neil, who oversees lawyer ethics and discipline for the Arizona Supreme Court. Salem resigned Aug. 12, 2014, as a disciplinary panelist, six weeks after Dixon’s lawsuit was filed.

Dixon contends Salem launched the website as retribution after Dixon publicly sought to have O’Neil disciplined or removed from power. In April, The Arizona Republic published a detailed account of that controversy.

Dixon and others have alleged in court papers and hearings that O’Neil engaged in unethical and unlawful behavior involving abuse of power, conflicts of interest and real-estate transactions.

Salem, a former Scottsdale police officer, is co-owner of Salem Boys Auto. He hosts talk-radio shows on auto repairs and for years has been a guest columnist for newspapers including The Republic. He and his attorney declined comment for this story.

To date, Dixon’s allegations regarding O’Neil have been dismissed, or discarded without publicly disclosed investigation, by the Supreme Court and other agencies. Nevertheless, Dixon contends his efforts to expose wrongdoing made him a target on Salem’s now-defunct website known as pinaljustice.com.

In a Dec. 23 disclosure, Salem attorney Matthew Kleifield denied all the defamation claims but acknowledged his client created an Internet site to rebut Dixon’s public allegations against O’Neil. Kleifield contended Salem’s criticisms were not libelous because they were true or drew reasonable inferences from Dixon’s own words. He also disputed whether Dixon suffered any damages.

In 2010, Salem, O’Neil and others were appointed by then-Chief Justice Rebecca White Berch to a state Supreme Court Committee on Improving Judicial Oversight and Processing of Probate Court Matters. In recent years, Salem also has served as a “public” member on at least eight panels convened by O’Neil to hear disciplinary cases against Arizona lawyers.

O’Neil did not respond to requests for comment.

Divorce dispute

Dixon began investigating O’Neil, a longtime acquaintance, in 2009 after being detained by Pinal County sheriff’s deputies in connection with a divorce dispute over ownership of a dog.

In a lawsuit and other public documents, Dixon alleged that O’Neil sided with Dixon’s ex-wife in the canine controversy, and used his power as a then-Pinal County Superior Court judge to influence deputies.

As the feud escalated, Dixon filed complaints against O’Neil with the Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the FBI and other agencies. All were dismissed.

O’Neil was appointed as the state’s first and only presiding disciplinary judge in 2010. Under a new Arizona system, he became the only judge in the state responsible for deciding whether Arizona lawyers have violated ethical rules, and meting out sanctions against those found culpable.

According to domain history records, Salem is the registrant, administrator and billing contact for pinaljustice.com.

Pinaljustice.com was shut down in late November, according to the records, but print-outs made before that date were submitted as exhibits in Dixon’s suit. Postings include Dixon’s phone number, home address and messages such as: “Mark is said to be (a) big, fat, stupid, ugly, recently divorced 52-yr-old a–hole.” Some postings attempt to refute Dixon’s allegations about O’Neil.

Dixon said he filed a new complaint against O’Neil with the Commission on Judicial Conduct. He provided The Republic a signed copy dated Sept. 30, 2014. It alleged the judge “directly or indirectly engaged in an act of retaliation by conspiring with Mark E. Salem,” but he offered no evidence to support that assertion. The commission does not comment on pending cases, but an agency dismissal published online Nov. 19 says the commission decided O’Neil did not violate ethics or the judicial code.

Last week, Dixon’s attorney in the civil complaint against Salem filed a request to withdraw from that case.

Earlier allegations

The prior complaints from Dixon, and motions filed by attorneys who had sought to remove O’Neil from disciplinary cases, alleged that the judge:

— Ghost-wrote court filings on behalf of Dixon before they became alienated, including a complaint lodged against another Superior Court judge in Pinal County.

— Took part in an allegedly unlawful short-sale of a Casa Grande house owned by O’Neil’s mother-in-law. Records show O’Neil’s close friend and business partner, Brian Brenfleck, purchased the residence for $75,000 at a time when records showed mortgages totaling over $600,000. After the short sale eliminated mortgage debts, records show, O’Neil paid $25,000 to Brenfleck for a half interest. O’Neil’s mother-in-law remained as the home’s occupant.

— Presided over Arizona lawyer discipline hearings with a co-panelist, the late Robert Gallo, who was a family friend, without informing defendants of the relationship.

During an interview with The Republic last year, O’Neil denied ghost-writing legal documents for Dixon. He said transactions involving his mother-in-law’s house were not fraudulent. He acknowledged serving on ethics panels alongside Gallo without advising defendants about the friendship, but said there was no impropriety.

Dixon and others also alleged that O’Neil engaged in conflicts and bias while playing multiple roles in the disbarment of Andrew Thomas, the former Maricopa County Attorney.

Thomas and assistant Lisa Aubuchon were accused of prosecutorial misconduct in the 2010 filing of criminal conspiracy charges against Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe and other county officials. Donahoe and the other county officials ultimately were exonerated.

O’Neil presided over the high-profile ethics trial of Thomas and Aubuchon in 2012. Aubuchon asked O’Neil to withdraw due to an alleged conflict of interest, but he refused and ultimately wrote the 247-page judgment against her and Thomas.

The Arizona Supreme Court rejected Aubuchon’s appeal.

Dixon, a former construction contractor with a 1997 conviction for fraud, contends the state’s legal establishment has repeatedly covered up wrongdoing while trying to discredit him. He said Salem’s Internet site was the latest and most vile example. Besides describing Dixon as a “habitual liar,” it refers to him as “a woman in drag,” a “turd” and other slurs.

Dixon said he e-mailed a copy of his latest Judicial Conduct complaint to Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales with a message that says, “You as the Chief Justice can shrug your responsibility of the Judicial Complaint but the responsibility for the Supreme Court appointee Mark Salem is definitely yours. It is beyond any level of acceptance that these events were ever allowed to occur. What is more disturbing though is that Mark Salem represents the level of integrity of the Supreme Court.”

Heather Murphy, a Supreme Court spokeswoman, said justices cannot comment on lawsuits or other pending legal matters that may come before them in the future.

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The Time To Rescue Sexually Abused Children Is Now!

By Paul Boyer

Thousands of children in Arizona are waiting to be rescued and it will not happen for most of them unless we act.

In Arizona, we know of 15,000 IP addresses (the Internet Protocol labels assigned to each computer device) belonging to people who are trading and downloading child pornography. A significant number of these videos and images consist of infants and young children being raped, tortured, and sexually abused. Some of them even include “how to” instructions on how a grown man can rape a three-year-old and groom him or her for years of abuse.

Statistically, 50 to 70 percent of those who download and trade child pornography are considered “hands on” offenders who are actively molesting and abusing children.  Meanwhile, 60-65 percent of the images intercepted in Arizona are of prepubescent children, while infants make up nine percent of victims.  Because of these very young ages, most victims cannot or do not report the abuse.

As the House Education Chairman, I care deeply about good education policy. But for the children who cannot sleep at night for fear of sexual abuse by child predators, no education policy, however well designed will help them. They desperately need law enforcement to rescue them from their abuser.

I have just introduced legislation that would enable the state to equip, train and hire 10 to 15 full-time investigators and forensic examiners for the Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) task force. House Bill 2517 has 79 co-sponsors and uses $5 million of state lottery money – $4.5 million to equip, train and hire full time investigators and forensic examiners, and $500,000 to help victims.

Every state that has passed similar legislation was experiencing budget struggles, and Arizona is no different.

Last year, we appropriated an additional $60 Million to create the new Department of Child Safety making it an $834 million funded agency after realizing there were 6,600 uninvestigated cases of children in harm’s way. With nearly three times the amount of uninvestigated cases of children being raped, tortured and sexually abused, how can we not act now?

National studies show the average offender has between 14 – 23 victims before law enforcement catches them, which is why ICAC investigations are so critical. While Arizona has tough sentencing laws for those who prey on children, there are currently only four full time investigators in the state to proactively look into this depravity, and just a handful of part-time investigators from various agencies.

Right now, those investigators are focusing on triaging leads to locate “hands on” predators. With hundreds of new leads of child pornography coming in every month, they cannot keep up with current leads. This means less than two percent of known child exploitation cases are being investigated. We need to act and we need to act now.

Let the 52nd Legislature be known as the one that acted swiftly to rescue kids when it was in our power to do so.

Republican state Rep. Paul Boyer represents Legislative District 20 in Phoenix and Glendale.

Leftist Agitator Goes Berserk At Scottsdale Police Memorial

Recently, a small rally and memorial for fallen police officers was held in Scottsdale in the Scottsdale police headquarters parking lot. The event featured a reading of names of police officers and public safety officer who were killed in the line of duty.

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp and Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell were in attendance along with 75-100 police supporters. About a dozen anti-police agitators crashed the gathering.

To the shock and disgust of many, liberal agitators showed up wearing NAZI and communist uniforms as they shouted down police supporters trying to honor the lives of these deceased police officers.

Dennis Gilman, perhaps one of the most notorious leftist agitators and videographers in Arizona, also showed up at the event and interrupted the gathering attempting to provoke a violent confrontation. He is heard swearing profanities and even physically confronting a supporter. This is Gilman’s normal tactic of provocation in order to acquire a violent reaction on videotape. Gilman, later posted his version of the protest, labeling his video, “Pro Cop Rally Turns Violent.”

CommieNAZI

In his video footage, Gilman stages a false attack on himself in order to give the impression that pro-police supporters are assaulting him as he continues to videotape the “attack.” What you don’t see is what actually took place.

Gilman pushes his camera into the sign of a supporter and then starts swinging wildly at the sign holder while he throws profanities. Police on site have to step in to warn Gilman to back off from his assault on the sign-carrying supporter. All this is caught on video tape (first person) by Dennis Gilman and then posted on his YouTube account.

Surprisingly, Gilman’s colleague Ray Stern also filmed the “attack” which was also posted on the Ray Stern YouTube account. Those who follow leftist journos will recognize Ray Stern as a staff writer with the liberal Phoenix New TimesHere is his video (and yes, we captured it before it disappears from public views!)

It is clear watching Stern’s video that Gilman launched the provocation first by throwing a litany of profanities and then by pushing his camera into the sign. And Stern caught it all on tape!

But most disgusting was the behavior demonstrated by the anti-police protesters as the names of fallen officers were read during the memorial. As a woman uses the back of a pickup truck as a platform to announce the names of police officers, a protester is heard blowing an air horn to interrupt each name. This continues as anti-police protesters laugh, applaud and jeer the deaths of several police officers. At the end of the video as the name of Officer John Hobbs is read, what appears to be a young woman wearing a “FUCK POLICE” T-shirt yells, “Fuck John Hobbs because you have to arrest the black man!” Those familiar with the tragic death of Phoenix police detective John Hobbs will know that Officer Hobbs was killed on March 3, 2014 while attempting to arrest a white man who had a violent criminal history.

A word of caution to conservatives organizing or participating in these rallies. Be wary of leftist agitators seeking to provoke a confrontation for the purpose of capturing it on video. Leftist agitators are seeking to cause a violent reaction for the purpose of using it in a propaganda stunt. We also encourage attendees to bring cameras and film the event and those filming the event. Be mindful of personal space but hold your ground when charged.

This Saturday, another conservative rally is scheduled in downtown Phoenix with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Gilman and his provocateurs are expected to be there attempting to cause an incident. If you plan on attending, do not be provoked and do not engage. And bring your cameras!

Huge breaking ethics scandal with Mary Rose Wilcox and APS

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Friday,  October 24th, 2014

APS sold Mary Rose Wilcox a plot of land for nearly $100,000 below market value

She rents it back to APS for at least $5,000 a year; didn’t disclose when voting on APS projects as county supervisor

Retrieved from http://www.facebook.com/APSpayingoffMaryRoseWilcox

For the first time, we now know that APS gave Mary Rose Wilcox a shady, below-market land deal AND is paying her at least $5,000 a year for the right to rent back that property.

The Phoenix New Times reported yesterday that the land Mary Rose Wilcox bought from APS for $152,750 “should have gone for at least $675,000.”

But Wilcox never disclosed this business deal with APS while voting to give APS millions of dollars in county contracts. So what is Mary Rose Wilcox hiding?

But what is APS getting from Wilcox?

The Phoenix New Times reports: “Wilcox increased her net worth through land deals, with at least one in 2003 involving an acre purchased from Arizona Public Service for hundreds of thousands of dollars below market value. She didn’t disclose that transaction even as she voted as a county supervisor on APS-related projects.”

Mary Rose Wilcox bought a parking lot from APS for, according to the New Times, between 1/3rd and 1/5th of fair market value — and then rented the space back to APS for thousands of dollars a year.

Not a bad deal if you can get it, right?

When asked why she had received tens of thousands of dollars from APS without disclosing it, Mary Rose Wilcox’s only explanation was: “APS says, ‘We need to pay you.'”

Demand to know why APS is paying Mary Rose Wilcox.

Why is APS paying Mary Rose Wilcox while she votes on their projects such a big deal? This breaks it down pretty well:

“What is APS? The largest electric utility in Arizona and 27th largest coal energy producer in the United States has ownership interests in three huge coal-fired power plants: the Cholla Generating Station, the Four Corners Steam Plant, and the Navajo Generating Station. It’s a corporate funder of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, and sits on its energy, environment, and agriculture task force. APS is notorious for its attack on net metering solar energy, pouring $9 million – or $9 per ratepayer – into an effort to convince regulators that Arizona’s precious sunshine is so rare that solar panel owners must pay to access it.”

Mary Rose Wilcox drives a North Star SLS Cadillac with a “MRSROSE” vanity plate. But it should read: “APSPAYSME”

For more information, visit the Facebook page

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Scottsdale Sign Thief Caught On Camera!

Watch as a sign thief is caught red-handed by hidden camera as he steals three candidate yard signs. The signs were posted on private property with the consent of the owner. The theft occurred in Scottsdale.

The campaigns of David Schweikert, Michele Reagan and Shawnna Bolick are probably not happy.

We’ve learned that police did contact the perpetrator and he does have a court date.

Let this be a lesson to all those contemplating a little sign thievery. You may be caught on camera!

Fred DuVal Aided the Clintons in Granting Clemency to Convicted FALN Terrorists

By Joseph F. Connor

Of all the malfeasant scandals the Clintons have committed, from lying under oath, to Whitewater to the Marc Rich pardon, little compares to the politically craven 1999 clemencies to 16 unrepentant terrorists of the Puerto Rican terrorist group FALN (Armed Forces for National Liberation).   Fred DuVal was the co-chair of President Clinton’s White House Interagency Group of Puerto Rico, one of the groups that actively promoted clemency for terrorists.

From 1974 to 1983, the FALN waged a merciless, bloody war against the United States, attacking civilians mainly in Chicago and New York. On January 24, 1975, the FALN’s most deadly attack, the infamous lunchtime bombing of Fraunces Tavern, a New York City landmark, killed my father, Frank Connor, 33, and three other innocent men. It was supposed to be the day we would celebrate my brother’s 11th birthday, and my 9th.

An FALN communique of that day took credit for the attack, which it called a blow against “reactionary corporate executives.” In fact, my dad was born to immigrants and raised in working-class Washington Heights in northern Manhattan, not far from several of the FALN terrorists themselves.

The FALN continued its reign of terror until the early 1980s, when 11 of its members were arrested, tried and convicted of (among other serious felonies) weapons possession and seditious conspiracy. The entirely appropriate prison terms were to run from 55 to 70 years.  During their Chicago trials, these defendants rejected US jurisdiction, claiming to be prisoners of war. Several FALN members threatened to kill or maim the judge, Thomas McMillan.

However, on August 11, 1999, President Clinton, (almost certainly in an attempt to gain favor with New York’s Latino community for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 NY senate run) offered 16 FALN members executive clemency.  The FALN terrorists did not even request their own clemency.  Freedom was engineered on their behalf by none other than then Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder with the help of DuVal’s interagency group. Disgracefully terror supporters were provided a reported nine meetings with the Justice Department while victims and families like ours were ignored.  We only found out about the clemencies after they had been offered. If the unrepentant terrorists weren’t granted a month to decide to accept their freedom, they would have been released before families even knew of the offers.

Tellingly, one of the terrorists, Oscar Lopez Rivera, whose release DuVal’s office championed, was so committed to his comrades and cause that he outright refused clemency and remains in prison today.

DuVal and terrorist supporters may recite the line that these terrorists were not accused of killing or harming anyone.  In fact, they were convicted of willfully and knowingly joining a conspiracy to commit various acts of violence, including 28 Chicago-area bombings that maimed several people.

Further, all evidence indicates that those convicted in Chicago were part of the same national conspiracy that killed five people in New York, including the Fraunces murders and the New Year’s Eve 1982 attacks on Police Headquarters that left three NYPD detectives permanently injured.

The most vital role of government is to protect its citizenry.  As I said when testifying at Eric Holder’s AG confirmation in hearing in 2009, by releasing terrorists Holder (and by extension, DuVal) was playing Russian roulette with the American people.  Arizonans saw the results of that again through Operation Fast and Furious and the death of Border Agent Brian Terry.

Does Arizona want a governor who has already put cheap politics ahead of the safety of the citizens he is sworn to protect?   I think not.

Joseph Connor works in the financial services industry.  He testified at Eric Holder’s 2009 Senate AG Confirmation Hearing and is co-author of “The New Founders,” a novel bringing the American founders alive in the 21st Century.

H/T to Western Free Press.

Federal judge upholds $638,148 wrongful termination suit for Deputy County Attorney against county supervisors for whistleblowing

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N S E N S E , in Arizona

Tuesday,  September 9th, 2014

Supervisors waste more taxpayer dollars appealing verdict against them for retaliating against whistleblowing Deputy County Attorney Maria Brandon

Maricopa County Supervisors will not stop abusing tax dollars in witchhunts against those exposing their corruption

MCBOS-Jail-Card1-1024x791 You don’t need to hear it from us, even the Phoenix New Times is reporting on this latest abuse. Here are some excerpts from their article today:

Maricopa County officials violated the rights of a former deputy county attorney by firing her after she spoke to a local newspaper, a federal judge confirms.

In an eight-page ruling last week that upholds February’s $638,148 jury verdict in the case, U.S District Judge Frederick Martone wrote that “more than sufficient evidence” proved lawyer Maria Brandon’s allegations that the county retaliated against her for talking to an Arizona Republic reporter in 2010.

The case stemmed from a brief, innocuous-sounding quote that Brandon gave to the Arizona Republic for a 2010 article by veteran scribes Craig Harris and Yvonne Wingett Sanchez. The article was about a lawsuit settlement with seven anti-Sheriff Joe Arpaio demonstrators who were arrested unfairly by the sheriff’s office in two 2008 incidents.

Brandon, acting as lawyer for the Sheriff’s Office, didn’t want to pay the protesters more than $7,500 each in a settlement deal. Unexpectedly, lawyers for the Board of Supervisors and Assistant Risk Manager Rocky Armfield had the payout bumped up to a total of nearly half a million bucks.
“I don’t know why they did what they did, and I’m sure they have their reasons,” Brandon told the Republic for the July 9, 2010, article.

 

Whether she realized it, or not, Brandon had stepped on a hornet’s nest. At the time, county administration officials were engaged in a serious feud with the Sheriff’s Office, which was acting unethically in a no-holds-barred attack on the Supervisors and county management that stemmed from a budget dispute. The feud culminated with the 2012 disbarment of former County Attorney Andy Thomas, Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “unholy” ally.

 

Armfield and Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson (who sued the county in June 2010, later receiving a $122,000 settlement) complained about Brandon to her employer. County Attorney’s Office supervisors then took the suggestion to strip Brandon of all of her risk-management cases. The move “all but eliminated her workload and undermined her reputation and standing” in the county attorney’s office, which ultimately led to her firing, Judge Martone wrote.

Evidence in the case revealed that Wilson and Armfield, in pressuring the County Attorney’s Office to do something about Brandon, overstepped their authority.

As we covered earlier this year, the County Attorney’s Office blamed Brandon for causing an altercation with paralegal Jackie Garcia — even though Garcia had made threats in front of other office employees to “kick [Brandon’s] ass.” Garcia was given a five-day unpaid suspension, while Brandon, a 31-year employee of the county, was fired.

Larry Cohen, Brandon’s lawyer, told the jury that discipline for the altercation with Garcia was the invented “pretext” for firing Brandon. Judge Martone seems to back up that contention in his new ruling — thus making Brandon’s supervisors at the CA’s Office look underhanded.

 

In an accompanying ruling last week, Martone also ordered the county to pay an additional $10,817 to Brandon for various court costs.

 

Read Judge Martone’s full ruling 

 

If the county supervisors attempt to appeal this to the Ninth Circuit, when are the grown-ups going to step up and stop this abuse of taxpayers’ dollars?

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Remove Rob Robson – Cited!

VOTE for John King and Jill Norgaard for LD18 House –  Tom Morrissey for LD18 Senate

Arizona Legislator Rob Robson, recently endorsed by Governor Brewer, was cited late Monday with a Class 2 Misdemeanor for stealing yard signs! The Maricopa County Sheriffs Department cited the thieving Legislator for violating section 16-1019A – tampering with campaign signs and set a court date for September 2, 2014 in the San Marco Court, presided over by Judge Frankle at 9:00 am.      Robson Censured

Robson received $15,000 from Governor Brewer who refers to all who have promised to keep Obamacare and Common Core in Arizona as “responsible, considerate Republicans.”  Suspending the Rules is considerate?  I call that cheating. Spending more money than Arizona taxpayers make and pay in taxes to the state is responsible?  I call that stealing. Only the Governor who calls a Special Session to pass a budget that is in-between committee could make these statements with a straight face.

Rob Robson was harshly  censured by the Republican Party throughout Arizona for a list of votes which violate the core Republican principles of limited government and individual liberties including Obamacare Medicaid Expansion, Common Core, and increasing spending leaving Arizona taxpayers with a potential tax increase.  Robson cheated in the Special Session when he voted to suspend the rules of the house to force OBrewercare Medicaid Expansion on Arizona.

Robson was then BLACKLISTED by the grassroots in Arizona and two excellent conservative candidates, John King and Jill Norgaard,  stepped up to primary him in legislative district 18.

Throughout LD18 ‘Arrow of Truth’ signs begin popping up next to Robson’s signs with simple ‘Voted for Obamacare’ and an arrow pointing to the signs. The signs began disappearing so a team sat one night

Arrow of Truth

and witnessed Robson and an accomplice working as a team removing the signs and destroying them before disposing of them.  They captured the vehicle leaving the scene with a license plate clearly reading “ROBSON”. The investigation is still ongoing.

‘Tidy the Tent’ in Arizona. 

Remove ROB ROBSON.  And Don’t Dial his buddy.

VOTE for John King and Jill Norgaard for LD18 House –  Tom Morrissey for LD18 Senate

 
Christine Bauserman, Chairwomen, Alliance of Principled Conservatives

Hugh Hallman Statement on Accusations of Sign Tampering

Hugh Hallman

STATEMENT BY HUGH HALLMAN ON JEFF DEWIT’S ACCUSATIONS ABOUT POLITICAL SIGN TAMPERING

Today, Jeff DeWit accused our campaign of blocking the view of his road signs to passers-by by placing our signs in front of his.

We know signs are a lightening rod for mischief. And we know that pictures can tell false stories — and the ones produced by Jeff DeWit’s campaign are no different.

To be clear — our campaign has a strict policy to never purposefully interfere with the signs of any other candidate, and to be fair with the placement of our signs near the signs of any other candidate, including competitors. This is a policy for all campaign staff and has been clearly communicated from Day 1.

Why would we take the risk of embarrassing our campaign to block one or two out of the thousands of road signs currently positioned by all candidates statewide?

Our campaign can also produce photos showing Hallman signs that have been blocked by DeWit signs, taken down and/or tampered with. But we’re not going to accuse a grown man running for office of being behind teenage shenanigans. Candidates running in an important statewide race should have more important things to worry about.

When we find instances where our signs have been tampered with, we fix them and move on. We don’t have a fit about it on Twitter.

Instead, we try to address these issues like adults. We’re not going out and making baseless accusations about anyone. If Jeff DeWit — or any other candidate for that matter — has a problem with the placement of any of our signs, we invite them to call us at 480.423.0515 and let us know.

It would also be helpful to let us know where they are, which DeWit didn’t do. Our staff went out today to make sure there were no instances of these kinds of shenanigans, spending several hours where we believed the “gotcha” photos were taken to make sure we caught any sign placements others may have done that were improper.

With less than two weeks left until Election Day, we can’t help but wonder if Mr. DeWit is looking for a distraction — any distraction — to keep voters from focusing on the concerning record of risky business by his day-trading firm, or the lack of support he has from statewide conservative leaders, or the fact that he has had to almost entirely self-fund his campaign because he can’t raise money from supporters.

But if it’s really signs Jeff is most concerned about, then Jeff, give us a call. We’re happy to discuss it like adults.

State Rep Paul Boyer Files Complaint with Clean Elections, SOS over Scott Smith Campaign Coordination

Randy ReddState Representative Paul Smith filed the following complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office along with the Citizens Clean Election Commission regarding illegal campaign coordination between the Scott Smith campaign, Better Leaders for Arizona and Randy Redd. In the complaint, Boyer alleges that Smith’s campaign and the independent expenditure committee illegally coordinated an attack against Doug Ducey using ads. The complaint states that Smith’s committee and Better Leaders for Arizona violated Arizona Revised Statute § 16-911.

Here is the complain in entirety:

August 1, 2014

 

Ken Bennett
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Citizens Clean Elections Commission
1616 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007

I submit the following campaign finance violation complaint against the following individuals and committees:

1.         Scott Smith
            Smith for Governor
            PO Box 5057
Mesa, AZ 85211

2.         Jim Simpson
            Virginia Simpson
            Better Leaders for Arizona
            6022 N. 51st Place
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

3.         Randy Redd
            52 W. Red Fern Rd
San Tan Valley, AZ 85140

In late July, 2014, Better Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure committee making expenditures in the Arizona governor’s race, released on its website a video advertisement featuring Randy Redd.  Mr. Redd is a failed Cold Stone Creamery franchisee.  The advertisement included commentary from Mr. Redd complaining about his failed experience as a Cold Stone Creamery franchisee.  Mr. Redd blames his business failure on gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey.

On August 1, 2014, the Smith for Governor Campaign issued a press release featuring Mr. Redd.  The press release tracks the same talking points that Mr. Redd used in his advertisement with Better Leaders.

The definition of independent expenditure is found at ARS § 16-911.  That statute provides that an expenditure is not “independent” if:

1. Any officer, member, employee or agent of the political committee making the expenditure is also an officer, member, employee or agent of the committee of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure or an agent of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure.

2. There is any arrangement, coordination or direction with respect to the expenditure between the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employee or agent of that person.

Or

4. The expenditure is based on information about the candidate’s plans, projects or needs, or those of the candidate’s campaign committee, provided to the expending person by the candidate or by the candidate’s agents or any officer, member or employee of the candidate’s campaign committee with a view toward having the expenditure made.

The facts illustrate several reasons for your agency to open an investigation to see whether the Better Leaders video and Smith press release are not “independent” of one another.  Both communications featured the same person, Mr. Redd, who complained about his failed Cold Stone franchise.  In both communications, Mr. Redd follows the same basic script.  In both communications, Mr. Redd blames Doug Ducey for his personal business failure.  Both communications were released close together in time.

Applying the facts to the law also justifies an investigation.  By providing services to both committees, Mr. Redd may be acting as a member, employee, or agent of both by supplying them with similar information about his experience.  He may be directing information on what content about his failures that each committee should include in the ad, based on the “plans, projects or needs” of Smith’s campaign.  It is reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign helped direct the Better Leaders expenditure through Mr. Redd and a pass-through, by requesting that they post the video a few weeks prior to Smith issuing his press release.  It is also reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign worked directly with Better Leaders to coordinate this “double punch,” with Better Leaders’ video followed by an aggressive press release and media campaign by Smith.

In conclusion, I ask that your agencies open an investigation into Better Leaders, Smith, and Mr. Redd based on the apparent lack of “independence” between the video and press release.

The contents of this letter are based on my personal knowledge.  I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.

Sincerely,
Paul Boyer