Republic rebukes SCA for non-disclosure of contributors, but ignores liberal organizations doing the same thing

Note – Sonoran Alliance was asked to print this since the Republic refused to print it.

Guest Op-ed
by Timothy La Sota

Last Thursday The Arizona Republic ran an editorial heralding the release of the names of people who gave money that was ultimately used to boost Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s reelection chances last November. (“PAC donors were deputies, friends of Arpaio,” 7/16/09). This was the second editorial the Republic devoted to promoting full disclosure in this matter.

The Republic is correct that our laws require the filing of campaign finance reports, which let the public know who is giving money to elected. It’s just too bad the Republic’s commitment to campaign openness is newfound—they have not applied the same standard with regard to those the Republic agrees with.

Several years ago a group called Mainstream Arizona formed, with the goal of ridding the world, or at least the Legislature, of conservative Republicans. They raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from community elites and spent it on their candidates, many of whom were also supported by the Republic.

But the group refused to register as a political committee and file campaign finance reports. Eventually they were forced to pursuant to a settlement agreement with the Attorney General’s office, but that was after the election.

Oddly enough, the Republic did not get into a lather over the lack of disclosure from Mainstream Arizona.

In 2008, opponents of the employer sanctions law pushed a ballot initiative that would have gutted that law. The misnamed ballot initiative, Stop Illegal Hiring, was funded largely by a group called Wake up Arizona. The backers of Stop Illegal Hiring refused to name Wake up Arizona’s donors, leaving the public in the dark over who was really funding it.

The Republic, a critic of the employer sanctions law, did not raise a stink about this.

Also in 2008, the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce engaged in an effort to boost the election chances of their favored Scottsdale City Council candidates and incumbent Mayor Mary Manross (full disclosure: I work for the current Mayor, who defeated Manross). They spent hundreds of thousands of dollars but refused to name their donors. This matter is the subject of a pending civil complaint.

The Republic largely supported the Chamber’s candidates, but what’s more troubling is the role the Republic played in this political campaign. The Republic is a member of the Scottsdale Area Chamber, and sits on the Chamber’s executive board of directors, which presumably approved this political campaign.

The Republic made hardly a peep about the lack of full disclosure here, including about the Republic’s own role in this campaign.

By law, all these groups should have disclosed their contributors, and the Republic should come clean about what role they played in the political efforts of the Scottsdale Area Chamber.

But one thing is clear. When the Republic writes a breathless editorial demanding that another person or group disclose something, here’s what they really mean: full disclosure is good, except when it involves disclosure about the Republic’s own campaign activities, or campaign activities on behalf of those causes the Republic supports.
Timothy La Sota is the chief of staff to the Mayor of Scottsdale and former Special Assistant County Attorney


  1. Matt Sh. says

    You got that right bro’!

  2. Conservative Observer says

    John Kaitis did the same stunt with his Project for Arizona’s Future. Him and the AZ Tech Council ran this organization for years.

  3. New Handle says

    This article is exactly right. Ordinarily the media hates hypocrites, unless it’s them.

  4. TIM knows says

    I found out last week that the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors is in the process of purchasing a warehouse from the Arizona Republic.

    Looks like another way for the BOS to get closer to the AR so they can continue to get favorable press.

  5. They purchased land and a building from the Republic a couple of years ago right next to the Mesa Superior Court. That is one of the reasons forcing criminal downtown at this time is so wrong. There is tons of free parking and space for expansion in Mesa.

  6. That and hiring the guy from the Az republics editorial board certainly explains the incestuous relationship with the County Board of Supervisors. When are they going to register as a PAC?

  7. Whiskey Jack says

    I vaguely remember these things, and it does seem outrageous that the only people to ever pay a price for campaign violations are Republicans (David Burnell Smith, Doug Quelland, now Joe Arpaio).

    It’s a wonder liberals even follow the campaign finance laws since there is never a consequence when they don’t do so.

    Conservative Observer is also right–this blogger left out the Project for Arizona’s Future, which was led by Tom Ziemba, a far leftist with close ties to Napolitano…

  8. New Handle says

    Whiskey, it could be a coincidence, but don’t forget Stapley. While the accusations against him are not directly about campaign funds, they are about the finances he’s supposed to disclose as an officeholder and a candidate. How come no one looks at the D’s and finds them out of compliance?

    Republicans need to smarten up and beat the Democrats at their own game. D’s may or may not be following the laws, but they sure are good at pointing out when R’s don’t.

  9. kralmajales says

    Maybe its because the Ds just aren’t out of compliance…and the point is…you guys clearly clearly are.

    Don’t do it…then you will have the high ground.

  10. Truth Be Told says

    Huge Nuze-

    The reason why the AZ Republic made such a stink, is that what the AZ GOP and SCA did was illegal.

    You are correct- there are several organizations who did not disclose their donors; but they set up proper groups designed conceal their donor’s identity.

    Jason Rose didn’t quite have all of the pieces figured out when it came to plotting the SCA’s backing of Arpaio with Randy Pullen. There was an inconvenient piece (the law) which they discarded.

    I agree- we need to enforcement on both sides of the aisle. This may be selective enforcement- but it doesn’t make it any right.

  11. Whiskey Jack says

    Truth Be Told-

    I think that’s the writer’s point–SCA should disclose, but so should these leftist organizations…

  12. kral – also what us the proportion of dems to republicans in count and statewide office?

  13. kralmajales says

    Good point Todd.

    I want to know where that state budget is?

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