Sen. Jeff Flake Stands Up for Arizona’s Consumers and Businesses

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.

Additional Information:

  • 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.

LD23 wastefully spends $27,000 on attorneys fees in ridiculous feud

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?

Border Adjustment Tax Could Derail Tax Reform

Americans for Prosperity - Arizona

By: Tom Jenney – Americans for Prosperity, Arizona

One of the most enduring symbols of Arizona is the Grand Canyon.  In fact, many people have nicknamed us the Grand Canyon State.  This most famous of the national parks also illustrates the stakes for Arizonans in the debate that is currently being waged in Washington, D.C. over tax reform.

Let there be no mistake: the so-called Border Adjustment Tax (BAT) would blow a Grand Canyon-sized hole in our economy and the budgets of working families.

In Arizona, the retail industry is a significant source of jobs.  There are more than 64,000 retail businesses that support 828,000 jobs, contributing $53 billion to our economy every year.  If you lined up the workers who are employed because of retail in Arizona shoulder to shoulder, they would span just about the entire length of the Grand Canyon.  That’s a lot of jobs and many of them could be on the chopping block if Speaker Paul Ryan, and U.S. House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady move forward with the BAT.

The BAT is a national sales tax that would raise $1 trillion in new revenue over the next ten years by taxing imports.  Small businesses, particularly retailers would be discriminated against, while big multinational corporations that ship products overseas, would have their exports exempted from federal taxes.  This is a classic example of Washington picking winners and losers among industries, but in this case, it would be middle-income working families who get the shortest end of the stick and pay the ultimate price.

The BAT would drive up the cost of everyday necessities, such as gasoline, groceries, food and clothing, including prescription medicines.  According to the National Retail Federation, the average Arizona family could end up paying more than $1,700 per year in higher prices.  This is a lot of money that struggling, working families, who have seen their wages stagnate in recent years, simply can’t afford to pay.

Fortunately, the BAT is running into a buzz saw of political opposition.  Conservative organizations such as the Club for Growth and Americans for Prosperity have blasted the BAT as being anti-consumer and anti-free market.  Senator Jeff Flake should take note of this opposition and publicly oppose it.  Moreover, Congressman David Schweikert sits on the Ways and Means Committee and should work to keep this tax increase on Arizona families from ever getting out of his committee.

Arizona’s elected leaders could do the vital retail businesses in our state and middle-class families a great service by formally announcing their opposition and driving a nail in the coffin of BAT.  Tax reform is too important to the health of the economy and the pocketbooks of working households for it to be derailed by an exotic, anti-consumer, anti-small business tax.  The BAT is simply bad policy, and it deserves to die an early death, so conservative, free market tax reform can get back on the right track.

It is time to save tax reform, which is badly needed for families and businesses alike in Arizona, by saying no to and killing the BAT.  That is the first step to fairly and equitably lowering the rates for everyone and allow the free market to work.  Conservatives were not elected to Congress to put their thumb on the scale and pick winners and losers, and that is exactly what a trillion-dollar tax increase on Arizona families does in exchange for a permanent tax holiday for multinational companies, many of which already exploit loopholes and receive special deals from lobbyists in Washington.  Senator Flake and Congressman Schweikert, voters sent you to the nation’s capital to fight for their interests and are watching who you stand up for.

Tom Jenney is the State Director of the Arizona Chapter of Americans for Prosperity.

Setting the record straight on AZGOP election records

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!

Republican Faction Just Can’t Let It Go

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.

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Opposing views are more than welcome to respond.

Guest Opinion: One Last Gasp

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:

Treasurer Race = 534 + 418 + 204 = 1156 votes cast
Secretary = 608 + 548 = 1156 votes cast
Chairman = 598 + 562 = 1158 votes cast
I sent them an e-mail asking for correction, but received no response.
the text of their post is below:

**************************************************************************
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://arizonafreedomalliance.ning.com/group/all-things-conservativ… Lettieri is a numbers guy, spent his work life working with finance and making the numbers work.  He will be a terrific asset to AZGOP.  Some of you remember when we did our own analysis and here is a link to the FEC.gov summary page: http://arizonafreedomalliance.ning.com/group/arizona-news/forum/top…

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!

The Mea Culpa…Sorta

It’s over.

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.

Team O’Connor and Religious Bigotry Didn’t Begin on Facebook

Following Gabby Mercer’s attack on LDS members of the GOP, more religiously biased behavior was revealed from several who have witnessed it first hand – from Jim O’Connor directly. Multiple reports from those in attendance at the MCRC Bylaws meeting this fall recall O’Connor attempting his own “purge” of voices within the party. Voices that don’t fit his idea of worthy.

After months of work by committee members, O’Connor showed up on the last day for the committee to meet and refer their approved changes to the EGC for the vote of the body at the January meeting. Jim came prepared with his “No Proxies, No Way, No How” proposal.

As a part of discussion on the merits of the proposed bylaw change that would have completely eliminated the use of proxies in any way possible, there were several points made about possible unintended consequences, according to those in attendance. Among them, he was reminded that there are many who have religious reasons for not attending on a Saturday, specifically hard-working PC’s who are observant Jews who cannot attend on the Sabbath, that this is a sacred religious obligation that cannot be broken. His direct reply to this specific situation, “Maybe they should rethink being a PC.” When asked directly if he was saying Jews had no place in the GOP as PC’s, he shrugged and failed to walk back the statement. Apparently, in the rules according to Jim O’Connor, observant Jews need not apply to the GOP grassroots. His statement was met with open mouths, audible gasps and obvious looks of astonishment. His proposal was handily defeated and his efforts rejected.

Gabby Mercer attacking the LDS, claiming cronyism with extremely flawed, and untrue, examples; her thread reading like a 1950’s profile in reasons to keep segregation alive. Replace LDS and insert black, would we think it appropriate? Would it be called racist and bigoted?

Jim O’Connor insensitive to the religious obligations of another specific group, stating that observant Jews who cannot attend meetings on their Sabbath should “reconsider” being a PC. What other group should reconsider? Seventh Day Adventist? What about the EGC meetings, if they are on Wednesday as they have been for the past year or so, should Baptists, Church of God and other evangelical churches with Wednesday services resign immediately? Or – is it just Jews, Jim?

The concept that this man would be so discriminatory in his perception of the right of all to participate in the GOP should send chills down the spine of everyone. Such deeply flawed beliefs have no place in 2017 America. Nothing ever said or claimed about Jim O’Connor should be as frightening as this.

These two have no place in GOP leadership

When a Dog Whistle is All You’ve Got Left – Religious Bigotry Erupts in the O’Connor Campaign

Desperate times call for desperate measures. Gabby Saucedo Mercer, current 2nd Vice Chair of the AZGOP but running to be the AZGOP Secretary candidate on the O’Connor slate, is holding up her end of the deal she made with O’Connor to gain control of the AZGOP. O’Connor would do his part by rigging the LD23 election, hoping for smooth sailing on Saturday. But, alas the good folks in LD23 didn’t play along, but instead demanded he play by the rules – which as you may have heard is a problem for Jim.

So, after weeks of scandal filled accounts from numerous current and former PC’s within LD23, Jim finds himself days from the election of his dreams and surrounded by trouble. This weekend in Pinal and Pima Counties he slipped and let it out that he had been conspiring with Frosty Taylor – the infamous writer of the MCRC Briefs. That explains the love-fest the Briefs has shown to O’Connor and completely removes the last shred of relevancy the online tabloid might still have. Now his gal pal Gabby has taken the reigns and holding nothing back!

Gabby dived into the deep end with dog whistle politics. On Monday evening, Gabby suggested that Chris Herring had endorsed Jonathan Lines because they were both LDS – Lines is, Herring not at all. There was some push back to the first assertion. So, today she doubled down on her supposition with this jaw dropping post:

More than a few have replied to her post that there isn’t any truth to her dog whistle that is tantamount to saying the Mormons have corrupted the state party with cronyism so don’t elect another one – Heywood is not related to Flake in any way, there are currently no GOP staffers that are LDS and again, Herring is not LDS. But to no avail. Nope – she’s going all in. After all, it isn’t the truth they seek, it’s the power!

Rigging elections, blatantly displaying religious bigotry and lying to prove your case. Denying the truth even when confronted with facts and promising more to come. Does this sound like the kind of folks you want to give a platform to?

I’m not sure what kind of big tent Gabby envisions, but apparently, it doesn’t include Mormons. If bigotry and corruption aren’t big enough reasons to reject O’Connor and Mercer, how’s this… there are 400,000 members of the LDS church in Arizona, ranking fourth nationally in LDS population, and statistics rate their voter registration as 70% Republican. She just said they are corrupt and not a part of their plan. That will shrink the ranks!

I wonder how many LDS State Committeemen will think twice before electing the team that thinks they are the problem with the GOP?

But most of all, I wonder who will be next?

My Concerns with Jim O’Connor

By Chris Herring

As the newly elected MCRC Chairman I feel it is vitally important that the relationship between the county party and the AZGOP be healed. Discord between the two has festered for too long, makes the party weaker, and is a public black eye to the conservative cause.

Chris Herring

Chris Herring

Key to a healthy working relationship is a foundation of trust. Trust that no matter our disagreements we all work towards the same goals, Republican victories, not personal ambitions.

Unfortunately I now have serious concerns regarding my ability to trust one of the candidates who may direct the AZGOP if elected.

Below you will see outlined multiple occasions over the last several months where I was purposefully lied to and misled by Jim O’Connor. The below have nothing to do with his personal politics or his goals for the party, on which O’Connor stated to me personally that we largely are in agreement. These examples show that with repeated actions by Jim, I cannot trust what he tells me face to face, looking me in the eye.

On September 7th Jim pulled me aside in the office of the AZGOP to discuss his intent to run for AZGOP chairman. I told Jim during this conversation of my intent to run for county chairman. Jim was aware that I was thinking about running and that was one reason he wanted to talk to me. He wanted to assure me that he would stay neutral no matter who may run against me. He said it was important he stayed neutral because if we both won we would need to work together. I agreed with him. Unfortunately he was lying.

After the meeting I was pulled aside by another person in attendance and informed that Jim was attempting to recruit a candidate to run against me and was trying to organizing meetings for people to meet the possible candidate. The exact opposite of staying neutral as he went out of his way to assure me just hours before. I never asked him to do that. He intentionally pulled me aside to try and deceive me.

Over the next two months I was contacted on multiple occasions by PCs across the county stating that Jim had personally talked to them and shared his negative feelings about me. Fortunately for me some of the people he was speaking with knew me personally and knew that the misinformation he was spreading was false.

Finally I had enough. I reached out to Jim through mutual friends and asked him to speak. I shared the information I had been told about him talking to others about me. Jim responded that he “had concerns” but had never reached out to me about them. He also shared that he had indeed been trying to personally recruit someone to run against me but despite significant effort hadn’t found anyone. This conversation took place on December 1st.

I invited him to ask anything he wanted and he spent over 2 hours doing just that. When we were done Jim said he felt we were far more aligned than he thought, I had addressed all his concerns, and he had no plans to back anyone else for county chair. Wonderful.

Unfortunately that was also untrue. Jim left the call stating he would set up meetings for me to meet other PCs so they could get to know me. Of course this never happened.

Twice more I met with Jim in December both on the phone and face to face, meetings he initiated. I asked about meetings he said he would arrange, he said he still would and praised me on the good job I was doing on my campaign.

Unfortunately he was secretly helping my opponent. I didn’t share with Jim but I was already aware that his continued outreach to me was disingenuous. But I wanted to see if he would come clean or continue going out of his way to lie to me.

As the election approached I stopped talking to Jim. Unfortunately he didn’t stop his deception. The day of the election he expressed well wishes and praise to me. After the election PCs came up to me and shared that Jim was personally going around to PCs during voting asking them not to vote for me.

It’s fine that he opposed me. It’s an election, people pick sides. But how can I trust someone who consistently went out of their way to privately pull me aside and then repeatedly lie and try to convince me I should trust him, when he was actively working against me.

If deception, deceit, and back room shenanigans are what you want for the AZGOP then vote for O’Connor. But don’t expect this county chair to trust a thing he says or does. I’m done believing his lies.

Chris Herring
Chairman, Maricopa County GOP