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Ruling: No Corporate Donations For Russell Pearce In Arizona Recall Election

Senate President Russell Pearce will not be able to get financial help from corporations to keep him in office, at least not directly.

In a formal legal opinion, state Solicitor General David Cole rejected the contention of Lisa Hauser, an attorney who represents Pearce, that the prohibition on those donations that applies in regular candidate races is inapplicable in recall elections.

Cole said the law is clear that neither corporations nor unions can make contributions designed to “influence an election.’’ And he said a bid to oust a sitting legislator from office fits that definition.

Cole wrote the decision rather than Attorney General Tom Horne, who had recused himself because of his political ties to Pearce.

Under Arizona law, a formal opinion from the Attorney General’s Office can be cited as legal precedent, much like a court ruling. The fact that this opinion was signed by Cole and not Horne does not change that.

Hauser said a campaign committee formed to aid Pearce had accepted a small corporate check — she said it was about $1,200 —but returned it when state Elections Director Amy Bjelland questioned the legality of the move. It was Hauser who then sought the formal opinion.

“If that’s the AG’s opinion, unless we go to court to change it, it is what it is,’’ she said. But Hauser said that is unlikely to happen.

If nothing else, she said, the opinion clarifies that corporate and union money will be off limits not only to Pearce but to anyone who decides to run against him.

“We just want to make sure everybody’s playing by the same set of rules,’’ Hauser said.

But Cole pointed out there is a loophole of sorts in the law.

He noted that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last year that corporations and unions have some of the same free-speech rights as individuals. While that does not disturb state or federal laws prohibiting contributions directly to candidates, there can be no laws which bar either type of organizations from forming or contributing to separate efforts to elect or defeat any particular candidate.

The only requirement is that these committees be completely independent of — and have no connection of any sort to — the candidate.

Randy Parraz, one of the recall organizers, said his committee has not accepted either corporate or union money. But Parraz will not disclose who paid for the successful petition drive, at least not yet.

“A lot of this has to do with people’s fear,’’ he said, intimating that those who helped with the recall might be the subject of some sort of unspecified retaliation. He said some people gave just $25 because the sources of contributions at that level and below do not need to be detailed.

“We’re going to comply,’’ he said. “We don’t feel compelled to have to disclose at this point.’’

Bjelland confirmed that for this unusual election — the first ever for a statewide or legislative office — the first campaign finance reports do not have to be filed until Oct. 27. That is only two weeks before the vote.

In a separate event Monday, Parraz attempted to deliver a letter to Pearce at his Senate office asking him to resign.

That is one option he has under state recall laws. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors would then choose a replacement.

But Pearce said he has no intention of quitting and believes he will win the recall and be able to serve out the balance of his two-year term.

By: Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services, Published in East Valley Tribune.com, July 12, 2011

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Arizona, Conservatives, Corporations, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Governors, Ideologues, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Arizona Senate President Pearce Has Been Recalled

Mark down July 8th as a day history was made in Arizona.

In a swift affirmation of Arizona’s fast-growing and powerful new political movement, Secretary of State Ken Bennett notified Gov. Jan Brewer that the once seemingly invincible architect of the state’s controversial SB 1070 “papers please” immigration law has officially been recalled. Bennett confirmed that the recall petitions delivered by the Citizens for a Better Arizona “exceeds the minimum signatures required by the Arizona Constitution.”

“Let’s make no mistake about it,” said Randy Parraz, co-founder of the Citizens for a Better Arizona. “Russell Pearce has been recalled.”

According to Bennett’s statement, Pearce has two options: Resign from office within five business days, or become a candidate in the recall election. Either way, Pearce becomes the first state senate president in recent memory to be recalled in the nation.

“No one expected this or picked up on this political earthquake,” said Parraz, one of the main organizers behind the extraordinary grassroots campaign, which electrified a bipartisan effort in Pearce’s Mesa district. Parraz credited a “dramatic shift” over the past six months due to Pearce’s often extremist leadership in state senate.

“We had people pouring into the office,” Parraz said, citing the role of Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the door-to-door canvassing initiative, “and they told us: Russell Pearce is too extreme for our district and state.”

Beyond his self-proclaimed key role in the state’s notorious SB 1070 law, Pearce oversaw a near circus-level of extremist and reckless legislation in the Arizona senate this past spring, including draconian cuts in education and health care. Mired in various scandals, Pearce infamously accused President Obama of “waging jihad” on America. And last month Fox News Phoenix explored his widely denounced connections to neo-Nazi hate groups. In a recent interview with FOX News, Pearce dismissed the recall effort as the work of “far left anarchists.”

In truth, the Secretary of State’s office confirmed that an additional one third of the necessary signatures had been properly collected and verified.

Within 15 days, Gov. Brewer must set the date for the recall election, which presumably will take place in November.

And while no single candidate has emerged to claim the frontrunner’s position, one thing is clear: The Citizens for a Better Arizona has galvanized a new era in Arizona politics.

 

By: Jeff Biggers, CommonDreams.org, July 11, 2011

July 12, 2011 Posted by | Conservatives, Democracy, Elections, GOP, Government, Ideologues, Ideology, Immigration, Lawmakers, Politics, Republicans, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Recall Arizona… From The 19th Century

The dictionary definition of insanity should be changed to spell A-R-I-Z-O-N-A and its state capitol building should be designated as a home for the criminally insane. But lest we kid ourselves, this Arizona insanity has now spread nationwide. Let’s take a tour of the [police] state.

On the educational front, Tucson Unified School Superintendent, John Pedicone, has managed to militarize school board meetings. He has done this because several weeks ago, the high school group UNIDOS, tired of having their Mexican American Studies program targeted for elimination, chained themselves to the school board members chairs, prompting the board to cancel its meeting. For this, the students and others have received death threats. At the subsequent May 3rd meeting, officially, some 100 police officers were deployed to the TUSD headquarters. However, on top of TUSD security guards, including those staffing metal detectors, along with bomb squad officers, helicopters, plus riot squad officers deployed inside and around the building and neighborhood, it is likely that the officers totaled closer to 200.

At this meeting, seven people were arrested for the criminal act of attempting to speak to the board. One elderly and disabled professor, Lupe Castillo, 69, was arrested by some 20 helmeted and shielded officers for attempting to read ”A Letter from the Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr. The other arrestees were [secretly] sent to two jails before they were booked and released. In the action inside, dozens of riot squad police physically threw other people out the building, including elders, this while hundreds of MAS supporters outside stood their ground. Then later, the violence, caught on videotape, started behind the building. Police officers in full riot gear began throwing young students, parents and other community members around like rag dolls. Officially, the officers did a great job, commended by the chief of police.

All this is the calm before the storm, precipitated by a 2010 law (HB 2281), purportedly inspired by Martin Luther King Jr, that has declared the teaching of Ethnic Studies illegal. This week, an audit ordered by the state schools superintendent, John Huppenthal, who ran on the campaign to “eliminate La Raza” (the Mexican people) – is scheduled to be released, with expected pre-ordained findings that will declare Tucson’s highly successful MAS program to be out of compliance.

That’s from the sane part of the state. Now, from the insane sector:

This past week, the governor signed SB 1404, a law that attempts to wall the state from the rest of society. Not satisfied with the federal walls that line the U.S./Mexico border, Arizona will soon be embarking upon creating its own wall along the Arizona/Sonora border, financed through online donations and built by prison labor. Being that imprisoning migrants is a growing multi-billion dollar industry, look for the state to employ incarcerated migrants to attempt to build it.

Beyond the state’s 2010 (SB 1070) racial profiling law, this year, state legislators attempted to pass nearly two dozen even more stringent laws, including one that would overturn birthright citizenship as guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.  Legislators also attempted to pass two other laws that can only be construed as attempts to secede from humanity; SB 1443 and SCR 1010 were attempts to exempt the state from federal and international laws, respectively.

Most of this legislation is designed to incarcerate migrants and to enrich the private prison industry. The mastermind of most of this legislation is state senate president, Russell Pearce, who in addition to facing a recall, is also embroiled in the Fiesta Bowl “gift” scandal that threatens to bring down he and many of his associates.

And then there’s Maricopa County’s unindicted Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who continues to thumb his nose at the feds with his ongoing racially motivated mass dragnet raids. Recent investigations have found that in eight years, his department has misspent close to $100 million, and that his top commanders targeted “enemies,” confirming he is the most corrupt Sheriff in America. Federal investigations into his activities continue.

Outside of the state, the governor of Georgia recently signed HB 87, joining Arizona, Utah and Indiana in implementing anti-immigrant racial profiling laws. Twenty other states are pursuing a similar return to the 19th century. The good news is that Utah’s HB 497 anti-immigrant law, was recently blocked by a Utah judge, and the DREAM ACT has again been introduced in Congress.

Given recent dramatic events on the international front, it is generally thought that the president can now restore sanity and actually bring about actual immigration reform. Regarding Ethnic Studies, not sure he can do anything about those intent on “eliminating La Raza.”

By: Roberto Rodriguez, Professor, University of Arizona; CommonDreams.org, May 17, 2011

May 18, 2011 Posted by | Arizona, Bigotry, Class Warfare, Conservatives, Democracy, Equal Rights, GOP, Governors, Ideology, Immigrants, Immigration, Lawmakers, Politics, Racism, Right Wing, State Legislatures, States | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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