Problem Solvers Hide Identity To Accuse #AZ02 Candidate Heinz Of Hiding His; James Rupert Murdoch Largest Contributor

FROM OUR OVER-WORKED IRONY DEPARTMENT: A centrist group that is apparently trying to hide its identity disclosed last night that it is spending $10,000 to accuse Democratic Congressional candidate Matt Heinz of hiding his positions. The group is likely supporting former Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick in this month’s primary, and its largest single donor is 21st Century Fox CEO James Rupert Murdoch.

Progress Tomorrow, Inc. filed its independent expenditure report with the Federal Election Commission last night. The spend is on digital advertising opposing Heinz. Progress Tomorrow has received all of its $1.3M in funding from two other new Super PACs – Forward Not Back and United Together.

And, they have received their funds from a variety of donors – the largest donation coming from 21st Century Fox owner James Rupert Murdoch*. (His was the only $500,000 check.) Sometime-Arizona residents Jerry Reinsdorf and Bud Selig are other large contributors.

Further, this network of Super PACs – while not dark money – seems to trace back to the No Labels group/movement. No Labels works to bring Democrats and Republicans together in Congress, and sponsors the Problem Solvers Caucus. Former Rep. Kirkpatrick was a member of the caucus during most of her time in the House representing CD1. Here is a link to the Chicago Sun Times investigation that made the connections between Progress Tomorrow & Co., and No Labels.

Their efforts to disguise the connection makes their digital ads against Heinz all the more ironic. (Bonus irony: Kirkpatrick has also been accused of being too NRA-friendly.)

* CLARIFICATION: James is actually one of Rupert’s sons. And, he has supported both R’s and D’s in the past.

Initiatives may not be decided at the ballot box but by seven justices of the Arizona Supreme Court

Back in July, the Arizona Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a  legal challenge to void a statute requiring initiative petitions to be in “strict compliance” with each election law. State argues case on ballot-measure rule not ‘ripe’:

Assistant Attorney General Kara Karlson who signed the legal brief, told the justices that they don’t even have to consider whether the new requirements violate the constitutional rights of voters. She said only those who have suffered some harm from the new law — or are at least immediately threatened — have a legal right to challenge it.

Karlson said that’s not the case here.

She pointed out that none of the groups that filed suit have a pending initiative which is in danger of being disqualified from the ballot based on the new strict compliance mandate. And Karlson brushed aside their claims that the law interferes with efforts to plan future ballot measures, saying that amounts to little more than “a naked assertion that they may want to circulate initiatives at some unspecified point in the future.”

And that, she said, means the case is not legally “ripe” for the court to consider.

The justices gave no date to consider the issue.

Well the issue is now “ripe” as a result of two conflicting opinions issued yesterday on strict compliance versus substantial compliance in legal challenges to two initiatives. The Arizona Supreme Court will now have to rule on the issue. Judge rules tax on rich initiative can go to ballot:

A judge has slapped down efforts by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry to block people from voting whether to hike income taxes on the rich to generate $690 million a year for education.

In an extensive ruling Thursday, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge James Smith acknowledged that, strictly speaking, hiking the top income tax rate from 4.54 percent to 8 percent for those earning more than $250,000 a year actually increases the tax rate on those earnings by 76 percent. Similarly, taking the tax rate for earnings above $500,000 for individuals to 9 percent is a 98 percent increase over the current rate.

But Smith said that did not make it inherently misleading for organizers of the Invest in Ed initiative to describe the tax hikes as 3.46 percent and 4.46 percent, the absolute difference between the current rate and the proposed new ones.

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Arizona Supreme Court Opinion Upholds Bush Death Sentence In Minutemen Murders

The Arizona Supreme Court today upheld the death sentence issued to Jason Eugene Bush on a 6-1 vote, for his role in the break-in and murders committed by a group of Minutemen militia members near the Arizona-Mexico border in 2009.

Benjie Sanders/Arizona Star

Judge Larry Winthrop* concurred that there were no reversible errors by the trial court, but that the death penalty itself is “unconstitutionally cruel” and “unconstitutionally unusual” and therefore should not be imposed.

Writing for the majority, Justice John Pelander called Winthrop’s dissent “odd” and spent the next five pages dissecting it before concluding that there was no basis in this case for determining whether the death penalty is constitutional. (Chief Justice Scott Bales wrote a one-paragraph concurrence echoing that last point.)

Bush was part of a group of Minutemen border militia members who decided to try to fund their organization by robbing and killing drug smugglers. They pretended to be immigration officials and entered the Arivaca home and killed 29-year old Raul Junior Flores and his 9-year old daughter Brisenia. Ringleader Shawna Forde is already on Arizona’s death row.


*Winthrop is a Court of Appeals judge who was sitting on the case due to the recusal by Justice John Lopez.

Happy Birthday Tucson at Historic Train Depot

www.tucsonhistoricdepot.org

Happy Birthday Tucson!

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As Governor, Steve Farley Will Fight for Education and Against Dark Money

Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Steve Farley, the Arizona Senate Assistant Minority Leader

In his Phoenix campaign headquarters on 7th Street, state Senator Steve Farley detailed how he will serve the people as Arizona’s next Governor in the areas of promoting quality and safe education, fighting Dark Money corruption, expanding democracy, bolstering social justice programs, modernizing our state infrastructure while protecting our environment and water supply, and helping to secure our borders.

Who is Senator Steve Farley? Continue reading

Journalists are not the enemy

I mentioned in a previous post that The Boston Globe invited newspapers across the country to stand up for the free press with a coordinated series of newspaper editorials condemning Donald Trump’s attacks on “fake news” and suggestion that journalists are “the enemy of the people,” to be published on Thursday, August 16, 2018. (h/t Boston Globe graphic).

The New York Times editorial today links to  a selection from the hundreds of newspaper editorials across the country today that answered the clarion call of The Boston Globe. A FREE PRESS NEEDS YOU. (A Google search did not locate a complete list).

Here in Arizona, the Lee Enterprises owned Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, The press is not the enemy of the people, and the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson published editorials. Star Opinion: The free press is not the ‘enemy of the people’.

In southern Arizona, the Tucson Sentinel published an editorial, What we stand for at TucsonSentinel.com, as did the Sierra Vista HeraldWe’re Not The Enemy, and Green Valley News. EDITORIAL: Reflection needed for Trump, media.

While the national publication USA Today published an editorial, What our investigative journalists expose isn’t fake news, Arizona’s largest circulation newspaper, The Arizona Republic, in the USA Today network did not. Subscribers should demand to know why.

UPDATE: I am informed The Republic did publish an editorial, which I did not find onIine early this morning at azcentral.com. Good on them!

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