Election Complaint: Scott Smith Failed to Disclose Travel and Event Gifts

Smith ComplaintFriday afternoon, Mesa resident and city hall activist Gene Dufoe filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State arguing that former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith failed to disclose travel and event gifts, a requirement candidates must follow when seeking public office.

The complaint provides a detailed list of travel expense gifts that Smith did not claim on his personal financial disclosure form when he submitted the forms on May 21, 2014.

Exhibits in the complaint detail expense reports filed with the City of Mesa in the year leading up to his announcement for Governor. Those same gifts are also required to be disclosed with the Secretary of State when becoming a candidate.

Smith’s failure to disclose the gifts draws into question whether he may have any conflicts of interest issues related to seeking the office of governor.

Dufoe’s complaint states:

Whether Mr. Smith was justified in accepting these gifts is not the issue here; the only issue is that he failed to report them. Arizona has several important reasons to require candidates to disclose gifts. One reason is so that voters may assess whether a candidate is beholden to special interests. The disclosure may reveal the leanings of the candidate on policy issues. It also reduces the possibility of corruption, or the appearance of corruption. Here, the United States Conference of Mayors is a policy-driven organization, and voters have a right to know that they have flown Mr. Smith all around the globe, put him up in nice hotels, and fed him at nice restaurants.

With Wednesday’s controversy over the use of government resources during a campaign trip to Yuma now drawn into question, this latest complaint may reveal a pattern of shielding important financial information from the general public.

In 2011, several Arizona lawmakers were caught up in a controversy surrounding unreported gifts received to travel and attend sporting events. That investigation led to the conviction of the Fiesta Bowl CEO, John Junker. (Arizona Republic article)

Due to conflict of interest issues, the Secretary of State’s office will forward the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for an investigation.

To read the complaint letter, click here.

Take The Quiz! Who Said It?

Who Said It!

It’s time to have a little fun and see if our readers can tell the difference between Fred DuVal and Scott Smith. We’ve pulled a number of quotes from or about each candidate on issues important to Arizonans. We’ll post the issue followed by the quote and then let the readers guess who said it. (And no using Google search to cheat!)

COMPREHENSIVE IMMIGRATION REFORM

A. “…we cannot continue with a broken system that keeps millions of people living in the shadows of our communities.”

B. “he supports driver’s licenses for young immigrants awarded work permits under a new Obama administration program. He also praised the U.S. Senate’s Gang of Eight for working on comprehensive immigration reform legislation.

DREAMERS

A. “My first action as governor will be to rescind Gov Brewer’s Executive Order against driver’s licenses for Dreamers.”

B. “The federal government’s half-steps on immigration are not doing us any favors, taking us further from the goal. These side discussions, such as the driver’s licenses discussion, are a distraction. The end game is a fair and just immigration process that includes allowing our DREAMERS to become legal.”

SB 1070

A. On Gov. Brewer “I think she got 1070 wrong…

B. “It’s not exactly the law I would have written.”

COMMON CORE

A. “I believe (Arizona’s) College and Career Ready Standards (Common Core) accomplish these objectives, and I support their implementation.”

B. “I fully support Common Core and applaud Governor Brewer’s efforts to ensure the implementation of these vital standards despite opposition from some members of her party.”

C. “And what we have proposed here, whether you call it common core or ready achievement or whatever, I don’t care the label you put on it, we have to do it. …”

D. “Rather than a top-down, one-size-fits-all, Washington, D.C. approach to education, Common Core is a perfect example of how states can lead the way on improving education.”

OBAMACARE MEDICAID EXPANSION

A. “It would be a terrible mistake not to expand Medicaid on federal dollars.”

B. “I supported the governors Medicaid restoration because she did what was best for Arizona.”

TAXES / BUDGET

A. “After the massive cuts to K-12 schools, defunding all-day kindergarten, and ending the once-cent sales tax that funds our children’s schools, the last thing the folks at the Capitol should do is to set another tripwire on our children’s road to opportunity.”

B. “Nothing is more frustrating than seeing a state legislator cutting spending without raising taxes.”

ENVIRONMENT

A. “It’s the Senate’s turn to pass energy-climate legislation.”

B. “I welcome the opportunity to join with 1,000 of my peers in this truly bipartisan effort to improve not only the environment, but our communities and our nation.”

POLITICAL LEANINGS:

A. “…a self-described moderate, said serving in the House would be a “wonderful opportunity to reach across the divide.”

B. “He will allow himself to be called a progressive, but takes pains to note the lowercase ‘p’…”

 

Feel free to post your answers in the comments!

Scott Smith Flips and Withers over Kyoto Protocol

The race for Arizona governor took to the national airwaves on Hugh Hewitt’s show today as the conservative talk show host took the former Mayor of Mesa to task over his record on the Kyoto Protocol.

The conversation originated as Hugh Hewitt discussed his op-ed in the Washington Examiner in which he made the case for electing Doug Ducey as Arizona’s next governor – “Unlike his ice cream, Doug Ducey won’t melt in Arizona’s political heat

Hugh lambasted Ducey’s main foe Scott Smith and Governor Jan Brewer as big government Republicans (Brewer endorsed Smith last week for his support of expanding Obamacare in Arizona.) In addition to Obamacare expansion, Hugh mentioned Smith’s support for Common Core and the Kyoto Protocol. Scott Smith Twitter trolls then began attacking Hewitt online which prompted more discussion about Smith’s record.

Scott Smith then tweeted to Hewitt to let him on the show so he (Hewitt) would learn something

Smith Hewitt Tweet

Hugh cleared the phone lines and invited the mayor to call in to discuss his positions.

Scott Smith called in and Hewitt then proceeded to cross-examine him on why he supported the US Conference Mayors Climate Protection Agreement (Kyoto Protocol) as the 1,000 signatory.

SmithUSConfKP

Smith then tried to argue why he signed off as the 1,000 mayor but wouldn’t mount a defense why he opposed provisions of the document.

Here’s the full audio of the call:

As the audio reveals, Scott Smith flipped and flopped over his support for the Agreement but then withered over his objections.

Hewitt pressed Smith if he even reviewed the the press release announcing his support of the agreement and why he didn’t demand a retraction, correction or clarification of his signature on Kyoto Protocol Agreement. Smith’s answer was he didn’t review it and didn’t want to cause waves.

Any listener who heard the exchange is left to believe that if Mayor Scott Smith was willing to sign off on the Kyoto Protocol without any protest, what kind of leadership could we expect from a Governor Smith when the EPA begins pressuring Arizona?

Call it a flip, flop or a wither. We don’t thing Scott Smith is up to the job of Governor.

=======================

A follow-up: Negotiations appear to be taking place via Twitter for Smith to call in again to the Hugh Hewitt show on Tuesday. We’ll wait and see if that actually happens.

The Links between Arizona Media and Leftist Non-Profits Attacking Dark Money

There’s a story in the Arizona Republic today about [queue eerie music]… “dark money.”

LeftsTangledWebIt is basically a hit piece on conservative Sean Noble and gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey. The underlying theme is that those “evil” Koch Brothers are trying to buy the election here in Arizona because organizations that they have supported are spending money on political ads.

Because I worked for one of these organizations – which are 501(c)3 and (c)4 organizations – I am very familiar with why donors who give to these are protected and not subject to campaign finance laws. There is a good reason for that and you can ask other organizations like NAACP or AIDs research non-profits why.

What the article doesn’t tell you is that the term “dark money” was coined by a non-profit organization called the Sunshine Foundation. The biggest donor to the Sunshine Foundation is another progressive organization called the Knight Foundation. That organization receives and gives to progressive causes. They also give to journalism work like the Cronkite School at ASU and have members of the Morrison Public Policy Institute at ASU sitting on its advisory board

I imagine if I dug a little deeper I would probably discover that they have also supported work associated with the Arizona Republic. The lesson in all this is that there are two sides. You just have to decide which side you’re on.

Top Journalists who serve on Soros-funded Boards of Directors or Advisers

Doug Ducey – Good For Business

Doug Ducey

Lisa Rigler

Lisa Rigler – President, Small Business Alliance

As a small business owner and president of the Small Business Alliance, I get to work with some of Arizona’s most energetic entrepreneurs on a regular basis. The entrepreneurial spirit and fresh energy I see in other small businessmen and -women are qualities that I also see in Doug Ducey, and I know he will bring them to the governor’s office.

Doug built Cold Stone Creamery from a few shops in Arizona to a worldwide brand, so he’s well aware of the challenges small business owners face. He has an aggressive tax reform agenda that will attract businesses in a dynamic yet fiscally responsible way while also benefiting growing Arizona businesses.

With Doug’s leadership talents, reform-based approach to problem-solving, and positive outlook, I’m confident Arizona will have a bright future if he is our governor.

So, I encourage you to step up and cast your vote for Doug Ducey.  Whether you’re voting early at your kitchen table or you’re going to the polls on August 26th, if you’re looking for a small business champion, Doug should be your choice.

Doug can kick-start our economy, but he has to get elected first. Please sign up for a volunteer shift, put a bumper sticker on your car, and tell your employees, colleagues, friends and family: Doug Ducey for governor!

Let’s go Doug!

Lisa Rigler, President, Small Business Alliance

Scott Smith’s Pursuit of Big Pay Raises

At a time when millions of Arizonans have struggled to make ends meet through the Great Recession, there’s one gubernatorial candidate who’s been indifferent to the plight of his paycheck-to-paycheck neighbors.

Former mayor of Mesa Scott Smith, whose net worth still remains undisclosed (although we know it’s well over $100K), pushed hard twice while mayor of Mesa to increase his pay and the pay of his fellow council members.

Prior to the increase, the charter for the city of Mesa locked in the mayor’s compensation at $33,600/year with a $1,800/year vehicle allowance and $960/year phone allowance. To change that compensation, the mayor and council are required to vote rather than send the issue to voters.

Smith made the first push to increase his salary on December 10, 2012 during a regular session of the mayor and council. In the video, Smith argues for increasing his pay and not to reject the recommendations of an independent commission.

During that first attempt, he asks the council to support him for the 118% pay raise and allowance increase of 122%. As the video shows, Smith’s temperament reveals a man on a mission to make more money as mayor.

If you haven’t worked out the math yet, the 118% pay raise would take the mayor’s salary to $73,300/year and the vehicle allowance to $6,600/year. Keep in mind, this is for a part-time mayor and council.

During the first attempt, the vote fails with Smith visibly upset that the council turned down his request.

One year later, On December 9, 2013, Smith makes the push to hike his salary once again using the same commission recommendations. He chides the council, “it was right a year ago and it’s right now.” This time Smith is successful in pressuring the council to raise his and their pay.

The Mesa Charter is amended with the new and outrageous increases but what the average citizen never sees (unless they watch the December 9, 2013 video) is that the mayor and council also voted to make themselves eligible for benefits “consistent with those provided to executive level City employees.” So now in addition to the pay raise, Mesa’s mayor and council are now receiving the same benefits as senior city management.

Mesa Mayor & Council Compensation Footnotes

One comment that sticks out during the debate, is that Smith notes that Mesa is the 38th largest city in the country and its mayor and council deserve to be compensated as such.

Given Mesa’s population is ranked between Tucson and Chandler, we reviewed their compensation rates to see if Mesa ball parked itself proportionally on elected official compensation rates.

Tucson, which is the second largest city in Arizona, compensates its mayor at $42,000/year. Chandler, ranked as the fourth largest city, pays its top elected executive $49,500/year. Mesa ranked third, is well above the Arizona cities above and below it by $23,800.

But we also took it a step further and looked at Mesa in terms of its population ranking among other US cities. Just above Mesa is Kansas City, Missouri which pays its mayor $123,156/year. Right below Mesa, is Virginia Beach whose mayor makes $10,000/year. Quite a variation but more like comparing apples to oranges.

Finally, we reviewed 2012 US Census data to see what the average median income is for the city of Mesa. According to this latest data, the average family in Mesa earns $47,256/year.

For the mayor of Mesa to relentlessly push for a dramatic pay raise during a time when many Mesa citizens remain in financial hardship due to reductions in salaries, hours or even job loss, anyone can see that Smith’s crusade to raise the mayor and council’s salary was not the right thing to do.

Arizona voters are worried that this style of governance will be more of the same business-as-usual. Conservatives reformers are trying to put an end to runaway spending, backroom union deals and corporate cronyism. Scott Smith’s style of management proves he’ll push the former and disturbingly his own self-interest no matter what it cost the citizens he’s supposed to serve.

Scott Smith: His multimillion-dollar foreclosures, settled class action lawsuits, unpaid tax liens

What Scott Smith doesn’t want you to find out…

S-Files

2 multimillion-dollar foreclosures, 2 settled class action lawsuits, $78,000 in unpaid tax liens

PHOENIX (August 4) – Former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith wants to make business records an issue in the Arizona governor’s race, but refuses to address questions about his business background. Today, The S Files looks into his record as a homebuilder, including two multimillion-dollar foreclosures and two settled class action lawsuits.

“Scott Smith and his campaign keep underscoring that he ‘pays his debts’ and ‘keeps his promises,’ but, with two multimillion-dollar foreclosures, two settled class action lawsuits and $78,000 in outstanding tax liens, his record shows that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Melissa DeLaney, spokesperson for the Ducey campaign. “If his plan to “Build a Better Arizona” is anything like his background as a homebuilder, it’s bound to be equally as defective. Arizona voters deserve better.”

SOLCITO LANE INVESTORS LLC
In January 2010, a $4.2 million note was called by a bank with regards to the development of a property by Solcito Lane Investors LLC. Scott Smith is co-owner of Solcito Lane Investors and he personally guaranteed the loan. The property sold at auction in April 2010 for $3.5 million – resulting in a $700,000 loss to the lender.

GW INVESTORS I, LLC
In May 2009, a $5.54 million note was called by a bank with regards to the development of properties by GW Investors I, LLC. Scott Smith again personally guaranteed the loan. The property sold at auction for $2.5 million, resulting in a $3 million loss to the lender.

2 CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT SETTLEMENTS

Scott Smith’s homebuilding company, Great Western Homes, settled two class action lawsuits with residents of Stonegate Estates, located in Mesa.Both cases were eventually settled but, curiously, no details on the settlements are available.

The plaintiffs claimed that Great Western Homes’ poor building standards led to:

  • Defective architectural building resulting in water intrusion through several sources, including:
    • Defectively constructed stucco exterior
    • Roofs with defective installation
    • Windows with defective installation
    • Defectively planned, designed and constructed grading and drainage systems, and block wall failure

Resulting in:

  • Defective architectural elements resulting in water intrusion and damage
  • Defective grading and draining systems resulting in cracking, deterioration and weakening of building components.

Latest Poll Shows Doug Ducey Leading Pack by 11 Points

Reposted from Conservative Leadership for Arizona:

PHOENIX, AZ – This week Conservative Leadership for Arizona and Harper Polling conducted a poll of likely Republican primary voters in Arizona.  Results revealed that Arizona Treasurer and entrepreneur Doug Ducey leads the pack with 26%.  Christine Jones and Scott Smith are tied for second with 15%

Below is a comparison of the ballot test in all five polls Conservative Leadership for Arizona has commissioned:

April 10*   May 15*    June 5*    July 11*    July 30*

Bennett   15%        13%          12%        11%          12%

Ducey      9%          27%         28%         26%          26%

Jones      14%        12%          12%         22%         15%

Smith       6%          12%          16%         14%         15%

Thomas   6%           6%            5%           6%           11%

Riggs       1%           1%            2%           2%            5%

Undecided 45%     28%           23%        19%          16%

CLA Chairman Sean Noble said, “Our latest poll shows that while some candidates experienced bumps in their numbers, they have only been temporary.  As the election gets closer and Arizonans learn more about the candidates, Ducey’s lead over Smith and Jones has grown.  While there has been some rearranging of the orchestra, the first chair has been occupied by Ducey.”

For more information on Conservative Leadership for Arizona and to view the full poll results, visit www.conservativeleadershipaz.com.

###

*Polls conducted by Magellan Strategies.

CLA AZ GOP Primary Topline Results — July 30, 2014

Scott Smith – Only Gubernatorial Candidate Who Supports Common Core

Of all the GOP candidates seeking the highly coveted governor’s seat, former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith doesn’t try very hard to hide is support for Common Core. Oh, sure, he’s fallen in line with the establishment’s politically correct makeover of Common Core’s name change. But he is on the record as being that one GOP candidate furthest on the left on Common Core and education in general. And he’s in good company and much aligned with those Republican legislators now in trouble for abandoning the Republican majority to support big government, democrat-supported policy shifts.

So why would a candidate who wants to win the GOP primary run furthest on the left from the rest of the pack? Maybe he’s received bad political advice. Or possibly Smith is so accustomed to running as an establishment candidate. Or perhaps he’s never run in an actual GOP statewide primary that requires firing up the base unlike a city election. One can only guess.

But the obvious observation is that Scott Smith is the more liberal candidate on education issues who is seeking the Republican nomination. And this stands out in his support for Common Core.

Here’s an excerpt from an answer he gave back in March at a Mohave County candidate forum when asked about his position on Common Core:

One blatant revelation is Smith’s condemnation of Arizona’s performance in education. For someone running to replace a Republican Governor with a state education system headed by another Republican, this is simply bad form to indirectly blame Republican executive leadership.

But is what Smith says about Arizona’s education system even true? Is Arizona really at the bottom of the list on all education measurements? The answer is it depends on what you’re measuring, when you’re measuring and who you’re measuring. Anyone can jump on the National Center for Education Statistics website, plug in the variables and see where Arizona ranks. It’s not impressive but then again, it’s not dismal as Smith suggests. Arizona has made tremendous strides when it comes to education reform in the charter and school choice movement – and its helping to our rankings but more important, it’s helping our children.

But Arizona does have a problem as we’ve pointed out before. We’re paying a ton of money into the system and not getting a good return on our investment. For example, Arizona roughly spends $8,900 per pupil (2013 ADE financial reports). With average classroom size set at 25, $222,500 should be designated per classroom (in the most direct sense). We know that there are other costs but even considering non-classroom related costs, we’re talking about a lot of money that should be going to the classroom that simply is not. That needs to be fixed and Republicans have been working on that for years despite voracious attacks by teacher unions every single session.

Common Core will make matters worse – a lot worse. With a federally driven, top-down approach to educating students, one can imagine what another federal program will do to waste money, time and the lives of our precious children. Scott Smith wants Common Core and he wants the same old big-government approach to educating our children. AIMS was a disaster. No Child Left Behind was a mistake and now Common Core is trying to dig deeper into Arizona’s education system. If Scott Smith gets elected, it will be business as usual and the education establishment wants it and expects it. The next governor of Arizona needs to push back against the Obama’s Department of Education and reject Common Core. Scott Smith won’t do that and its the reason we want you to reject Scott Smith for governor.

Our question is, if all the national conservative organizations (listed below) oppose Common Core, why would any Republican candidate running for Governor in Arizona support it?

Heritage Foundation

CATO Institute

Heartland Institute

Goldwater Institute

Family Research Council

American Enterprise Institute

Americans for Prosperity

Concerned Women for America

RNC-GOP Resolution regarding Common Core

Quiz: Match the Music Video with the Gubernatorial Candidate Campaign

I’m poking a little fun at the Arizona gubernatorial candidates by matching music (or commercial) videos with my take on their campaigns. So here goes. Try to match the music video with the gubernatorial candidate:

Which gubernatorial candidate is playing a high stakes game of political wannabe using her best poser face?

One particular gubernatorial candidate could take a lesson from this rock icon. (And I bet he can even perform as well!)

This gubernatorial candidate hails from the place where this commercial originates and says to speak the language of the fans. 

This song is the theme for which former mayor’s gubernatorial candidate’s campaign? Hint: A tale of two cities.

This gubernatorial candidate is so “hot” no one wants to stand near him!

Finally, this gubernatorial candidate will be singing this on Tuesday night, August 26th.