by David Safier
I considered writing a snarky post but changed my mind. This is a pretty interesting event without any attititude from me.
This Sunday I got a short email from Constantin Querard referring to me as his "designated Go To Baja Arizona Leftie [followed by a smiley face]." He said he wanted to run a bill by me to see if I might support it. I replied sure, tell me more.
If the name isn't familiar, Querard is an Arizona conservative political operative who has run campaigns for many of our legislators on the far, far right, which makes him about as far away from me politically as he can possibly get. He has a reputation for using underhanded tactics that have infuriated even some highly placed Republicans. But he and I had a back-and-forth on BfA a number of years ago, so we've had some previous contact.
The bill is HB2551: "financial institution records; disclosure; notice." Querard wrote a long email trying to convince me it was a wonderful bill that Democrats would agree with if only they understood how wonderful it was. I got the impression he thinks the bill might not get enough Republican votes, so he was hoping to pull in a few Democrats, and I might help him secure a few votes. (I hope he doesn't think Dem legislators kiss my ring and beg for favors and advice. Not likely.)
The bill's sole sponsor is David Gowan (R, LD-14), a right winger from the area around Sierra Vista. That was my first clue I might not like the bill. My second was an article about the bill in the Phoenix New Times by Stephen Lemons, one of the best pull-no-punches investigative reporters in the state. To give you an idea of how strongly he dislikes Querard and HB2551, here's how the article begins:
If you're political sleaze maestro Constantin Querard, the Arizona Legislature is practically your own personal Downton Abbey.
Querard's team of taxpayer-funded butlers, bootblacks, and maids is extensive — at least 20, by his own claim — in the both the upper and lower chambers.
Querard appeared before the committee to pimp a bill near and dear to his heart, one his vassals obediently voted out of committee with a "do pass" recommendation, House Bill 2551.
The article tears both Querard and his bill a new one, in great detail, which is Lemons' specialty. So far as I can tell, Lemons is pretty much on the money.
That being said, Querard was very cordial in his emails, and when I wrote back to say the bill "most definitely does not have my support," Querard replied, "Okay, thanks for looking." He spent a little while explaining why he thinks Lemons got it wrong, then ended with "I’ll keep looking for things we can agree on!"
So, no snark from me. I'm always willing to talk with the other side. And who knows? Maybe Querard and I will agree on something sometime before Hell freezes over. Constantin, you can email me any time. Let's keep the lines of communication open.