A special message from Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio:
Due to my efforts fighting for the elimination of the food tax, pension reform and other government reforms, a liberal group with a secret donor list, is attacking me and the accomplishments we’ve made over the past few years. Unfortunately, this group has chosen to attack me with mailers and emails full of half-truths and some outright lies. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the members of this liberal group tie directly to Mayor Greg Stanton. View the infographic below to learn more about their operation. It’s time to blow their cover!
Arizona Corporation Commission reference link: http://starpas.azcc.gov/scripts/cgiip.exe/WService=wsbroker1/corp-detail.p?name-id=18291457
In the most general of terms, a conflict of interest is “a set of circumstances that creates a risk that professional judgment or actions regarding a primary interest will be unduly influenced by a secondary interest.”
In Arizona, there really are no rules governing legislative conflict of interest statutes. Essentially, as long as at least 10 people benefit from a piece of legislation, there is no conflict of interest. Should allegations of conflicts of interest arise, there’s really nothing anyone can do about it. Arizona is one of only nine states without an independent organization to oversee ethics comp
It is not uncommon for legislators to sponsor or vote on bills that affect their personal career industry. When you have a “citizen legislature” it’s impossible to not vote on bills that relate to education, doctors, lawyers, real-estate agents, landlords, etc. But what about political consultants? Does that pass the “citizen legislature” smell test?
The Arizona Republic pointed out earlier this year that there are a number of lawmakers who run or work for consulting firms whose scope of work remains unclear. The campaign disclosure forms do not require lawmakers to reveal their clients, making their potential conflicts of interest even murkier. But, some of these contracts are no doubt related to campaigns and public policy objectives.
House Minority Leader and potential Democratic candidate for Governor Chad Campbell lists “public affairs consulting” for Inspired Connections on his financial disclosure form. The “About Us” page for Inspired Consulting does not list Campbell as a member of their staff and it is unclear what his role is with the firm. Other state legislators who serve as “consultants” include Sen. Al Melvin, Sen. Steve Gallardo, and Rep. Ruben Gallego. Melvin recently made news by announcing he’s exploring a run for governor.
Former LD15 State Senator David Lujan (and good friend of Kyrsten Sinema) directed an independent expenditure effort against Republicans during the 2012 election cycle. “Building Arizona’s Future” spent over $700,000 in the last cycle defeating Republicans, funded in large part by national Democratic money from D.C. that Sinema helped direct into Lujan’s committee coffers. Lujan is now running for Phoenix City Council District 4.
This isn’t the first foray in the consulting arena for Campbell or Lujan. In 2007 Campbell and Lujan formed a political consulting firm with then Democratic legislator and colleague Kyrsten Sinema. It is unclear what Forza Consulting did or whom they represented, but according to records with the Corporation Commission the LLC still remains “open.”
Democratic Representative and rising star of the Left Ruben Gallego currently has the most prolific consulting background. Before being elected to office in 2010, Gallego previously spent time with Valley PR firm Reister, and also served as Chief of Staff for Democratic Phoenix City Councilmember Michael Nowakowski. He was also the Vice Chair of the Arizona Democratic Party. Gallego’s wife, Kate Gallego, is running for Phoenix City Council in District 8 to replace term-limited Councilmember Michael Johnson.
Ruben Gallego is listed as the Director of Latino and New Media operations for Strategies360’s Arizona office. Gallego works with Director of Arizona Operations Robbie Sherwood, a former reporter for the Arizona Republic and former Congressman Harry Mitchell’s Chief of Staff.
During the 2012 election cycle, Strategies360 was paid by the Yes on Prop 204 committee (“Quality Education & Jobs”) to handle communications on behalf of the union-funded campaign. Prop 204 proposed the single-largest permanent sales tax increase in Arizona’s history and was viewed by many as a “special interest giveaway.” Voters defeated the proposition nearly 2-to-1
Strategies360 was also paid at least $10,000 during the 2012 election cycle to handle “earned media outreach & strategic communications” for the Arizona Accountability Project (AAP). The AAP was one of the chief committees used to funnel liberal money into the last election cycle to defeat Republican candidates. AAP spent almost $600,000 last election cycle targeting Republicans including efforts against Jerry Lewis, Joe Ortiz, Frank Antenori, and John McComish. They also did work in support of Democrat Tom Chabin.
Strategies360 was involved in the 2012 election to defeat Sheriff Joe Arpaio and is currently involved in the present effort to recall Arapaio. Recently, Gallego appeared at a “Respect Arizona” rally (the group organizing the recall). Also present at that event was Minority Leader Chad Campbell.
During 2012, Gallego even helped lead the efforts of the group opposing Arpaio, Citizens for Professional Law Enforcement PAC. Arpaio’s campaign manager at the time, Chad Willems, questioned the financial motivations of Gallego and others:
“This is just another group out there of people lining their pockets,” Willems told HuffPost. “It seems like a full-time employment group for these guys.”
Gallego’s reach into the far-Left elements of the Democratic Party are deep. He even served as the professional consultant for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona during the 2012 cycle, orchestrating their attacks against pro-life Republicans. His firm was paid nearly $5,000 in consulting fees, and they were paid more than $20,000 to handle the mail program attacking several Republican lawmakers and candidates.
Let me be clear: there’s nothing illegal about what Gallego or his firm is doing. Consultants on both sides of the political spectrum are involved in these sorts of efforts every cycle. Some would argue this is no different than the efforts of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House and their Victory Funds last cycle. That’s a fair comparison, but unlike Gallego (and possibly other legislators), the President and the Speaker were not financially compensated for their involvement.
Current Arizona statute provides for a one-year ban on former legislators serving as lobbyists after they leave the legislature. Specifically, ARS 38-504(a)(b) state that for one year, a former public officer, including legislator, shall not represent another person for compensation before the legislature concerning any matter with which the legislator was directly concerned and personally participated.For two years after he or she leaves office, no public officer, including legislator, may disclose or use for personal profit information designated as confidential. Further, section c states:
A public officer or employee shall not use or attempt to use the officer’s or employee’s official position to secure any valuable thing or valuable benefit for the officer or employee that would not ordinarily accrue to the officer or employee in the performance of the officer’s or employee’s official duties if the thing or benefit is of such character as to manifest a substantial and improper influence on the officer or employee with respect to the officer’s or employee’s duties.
When legislators like Gallego are using their positions of influence to help direct thousands of dollars in independent expenditure efforts designed to defeat their colleagues and change the partisan make-up of their chamber, while simultaneously making money off of these efforts, how is that not a conflict of interest?
Conservative activists Marcus Huey just released the following email:
US House Representatives Franks, Schweikert, Salmon and Gosar have sent a letter to Arizona House Speaker Tobin, urging him to debate and vote on the union reform bills currently proposed in the legislature.
As of today, Tobin is still holding these bills. The logic (excuse?) Tobin seems to be using is to wait and see if the AZ Senate passes any union reform bills. If the Senate does not pass union reform bills, then why should the House be bothered?
This is not true leadership. A real leader would be working for the distressed taxpayer and rallying his membership to get behind union reform. Passing off excuses and hiding behind the Senate is cowardly and WILL have consequences. If you are a government union supporter then man up and publicly admit it, stop using the system to hide. What happens at the legislature no longer stays in the legislature. Those days are gone.
Please help get Representative Ugenti’s HB2026, Paycheck Protection, and Representative Montenegro’s HB 2330, Union Transparency, moved out of Robson’s Rules Committee so that these important bills can be debated and voted on on the House floor. This is how true Democracy is supposed to work.
Please Email Rep. Robson at: email@example.com | 602-926-5549
Also, let’s call Tobin’s bluff and get Senator Griffin’s Paycheck Protection bill SB 1182 approved in the Senate. This bill will be voted on at the beginning of this week. The vote is EXTREMELY close.
Please email and urge the following Senators to vote YES on SB 1182:
Senator Biggs: firstname.lastname@example.org | 602-926-4371
Senator McComish: email@example.com | 602-926-5898
Senator Crandall: firstname.lastname@example.org | 602-956-3020
Senator Worsley: email@example.com | 602-926-5760
Time is short – we need to get this done in the next few days or these bills will die!
We have two important pro taxpayer bills being held in the House Rules Committee:
HB2026 (Rep. Ugenti) Paycheck Protection & HB2330 (Rep. Montenegro) Transparency in Government Union Negotiations
The Chair of the Rules Committee is Rep. Bob Robson. In last year’s legislative session Robson killed two pro taxpayer bills, by never giving them a hearing.
HB2330 & HB2026 meet Arizona Constitutional requirements and should be sent to the House floor for a vote, not held to die in Committee.
In the last session we scored a stunning victory. Versions of Consolidated Elections had been put forward and defeated in the AZ legislature for over 10 years.
Last session Rep. Ugenti sponsored HB2826, Consolidated Elections, and fought tooth and nail for this bill throughout the entire session. The activist community joined Rep. Ugenti in this battle and responded with hundreds, perhaps over 1,000, phone calls and emails to resistant legislators. In the end we prevailed.
It will take this same effort to get further union reform bills passed as we, unfortunately, still have Republican government union supporting legislative members.
We need HB2330 & HB2026 to continue the effort to level the playing field for the overburdened taxpayer.
It appears that Rep.Robson has chosen to be on the side of the government unions.
It is up to us to stand up for the hardworking Arizona taxpayer.
PLEASE email and/ or call Rep. Robson, everyday if possible, and tell him that the taxpayers want HB2330 & HB2026 sent out of his Rules Committee immediately.
We need to get this done as quickly as possible.
Rep. Bob Robson: firstname.lastname@example.org 602-926-5549
If Robson is opposed to these bills, he can cast his vote on the House floor along with all of the other State Representatives.
This is a democracy, not a dictatorship.
Thank you again!
The state of Arizona has been innudated by some of the nastiest attack mailers and radio ads ever seen in legislative races, the tab being paid for by independent expenditures Revitalize Arizona and Arizona Accountability. These two political committees have spent nearly $800,000 against five Republican candidates for the Senate in just the last few weeks.
Luige del Puerto, from Arizona Capitol Times notes, “The aggressiveness of the attack suggested that organized labor in Arizona and its allies adopted a specific strategy — to take out as many Republicans as they can, even those who are perceived to be somewhat sympathetic to unions.”
Senator Frank Antenori in LD 10 has endured 20 separate independent expenditure hits in the last 21 days, 14 from Revitalize Arizona and Arizona Accountability. The pummeling of flyers include attacks about slashing schools money and programs like all-day kindergarten. Senator John McComish endures attacks of accepting perks and freebies. Senator Jerry Lewis, Chester Crandell, and Joe Ortiz round out the targeted group.
Robert Welch, Founder of the John Birch Society
Parker Plan Specifically Called for New Spectrum Releases and Creating Jobs in Arizona
Phoenix, AZ – Today Vernon Parker pushed back against an ad launched by the Communication Workers of America, falsely attacking him.
FACT: CWA is intentionally lying about Vernon Parker’s position on the Paul Ryan Budget; they are using a Facebook page “like” as justification of this. ABC 15 in Arizona has previously called this line of attack “Fiction.”
“ABC15 determined that allegation is, once again, FICTION.”
FACT: In Vernon Parker’s “Plan for Prosperity” he specifically calls for greater broadband access which will create more jobs here at home. From the Parker jobs plan, p.5 col 3:
“CLEAR THE WAY FOR BROADBAND EVERYWHERE
The digital age needs new solutions. We must open new spectrum to handle the growing need for more users of mobile devices. I will work with the FCC to allow for more spectrum releases and work to make sure rural and urban areas receive coverage. The more coverage we have will result in direct GDP growth.”
To read the full Parker “Plan for Prosperity” click: http://vernonparker.
“I support releasing more broadband spectrum so that our economy can continue to grow and we can create good jobs here in Arizona and around the nation. I challenge Irene Robles, to tell her bosses in Washington that she supports my plan for increased broadband and jobs for Arizona,” said Vernon Parker.