Republican Sedition Party is holding its biannual reorganization meeting this coming Saturday. Far-right extremist and “Stop The Steal” conspiracy monger Dr. Kelli “Chemtrails” Ward who filed numerous frivolous lawsuits to disenfranchise Arizona’s voters is running for another term as chair of the party, claiming Donald Trump’s endorsement. Ward should properly be exiled to the island of misfit toys along with all of the other QAnon cult members in the Arizona Sedition Party.
The time is now for any sane and patriotic Republicans left in the party to purge these far-right extremists and QAnon cult members, or you will be stuck with these nuts as the face of the AZ GOP for another two years.
The official call has gone out for the @AZGOP’s state committee meeting on 1-23. The agenda includes resolutions to censure @dougducey, @cindymccain and @JeffFlake, and demanding an end to Ducey’s state of emergency. https://t.co/8df7LNr51d pic.twitter.com/ePtxW8nCF8
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) January 12, 2021
But no vote on condemning the attack on the Capitol and Murder of a Capitol Police officer. https://t.co/pHXYrTnP1h
— Thomas Galvin (@ThomasGalvin) January 12, 2021
Show up where? Here? pic.twitter.com/AvgAFaUojr
— TheScorpionEqualizer (@ScorpionKiller) January 12, 2021
"Undisclosed location" in this case = "location we posted on our website" https://t.co/lipNlvFk48
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) January 12, 2021
These are generally considered open meetings that are open to the press and public. The location is always public. People tweet from the meeting and post photos. @AZGOP didn't even ask people to keep the location secret. The idea that the location could be kept secret is absurd. https://t.co/HGso8BJQXX
— Jeremy Duda (@jeremyduda) January 12, 2021
POLITICO reports Trump blows up the Arizona GOP on his way out:
The Trump era did more damage to the Republican Party in Arizona than almost anywhere else. Over the past two years, Republicans lost both Senate seats. In November, the state flipped Democratic in a presidential race for the first time since 1996. The GOP state party chair is currently at war with the governor.
President Donald Trump’s fingerprints are on all of it, yet the state party will likely pass a resolution next week to officially “support & thank” the president. It’ll also vote on measures to censure three prominent Republicans who were deemed insufficiently beholden to Trump: Gov. Doug Ducey, former Sen. Jeff Flake and Cindy McCain, the wife of the late senator.
The adulation is an expression of GOP grassroots loyalty to Trump, but it’s also a portrait of a party that’s run aground in service to him. His defeat has triggered attempts to adopt an even harder pro-Trump line, raising questions about the party’s ability to compete in an increasingly diverse state that’s edging leftward.
“The craziness from the state Republican Party … it’s pretty embarrassing,” said Kirk Adams, a former Republican state House speaker and former chief of staff to Ducey. “We have been fed a steady diet of conspiracy theories and stolen election rhetoric and, really, QAnon theories from the state Republican Party since before the election, but certainly after.”
He said, “What’s … consequential is the effect the state Republican Party is having on the Republican brand in the state of Arizona.”
The fallout has been swift. Several thousand Arizona Republicans have abandoned the party since the U.S. Capitol riot that Trump helped to incite, with the majority of the defectors re-registering without a designated party, according to state elections officials. Business leaders are publicly recoiling from the GOP after party officials thrust Arizona into the center of Trump’s failed effort to overturn the election results, further dividing an already fractured party.
“Let us be clear: we find the weeks of disinformation and outright lies to reverse a fair and free election from the head of the Arizona Republican Party and some elected officials to be reprehensible,” read a full-page ad in The Arizona Republic this week from Greater Phoenix Leadership, a group of CEOs. “The political party organization and these elected officials, which some of us have supported in the past, have again embarrassed Arizona on a national stage.”
The hard-right pull of the Arizona GOP was evident long before the rise of Kelli Ward, the state party’s current chairwoman and fierce Trump ally … Ward is not the first chair to feud with moderate elected officials of her party. But for a party that lost so much ground during Trump’s tenure, the Arizona GOP is now operating as an almost wholly-owned subsidiary of the outgoing president. Rep. Andy Biggs, chair of the House Freedom Caucus, played a leading role in congressional Republicans’ effort to challenge the electoral vote count in Arizona – undermining the vote in his own state. Following the riot perpetrated by Trump supporters at the Capitol, the official Twitter account of the Arizona GOP has been referring to Trump as the #PresidentofPeace. [gag inducing.]
“Ignore the false claims against President Trump and against supporters of President Trump,” Ward said in a video address this week, at a time when at least some establishment Republicans were beginning to breakwith Trump. “President Trump has never, never called for violence. All he’s called for is peaceful protest to demand the integrity of the vote.” [Denying reality is simply delusional.]
Bill Gates, a Republican Maricopa County supervisor, said “we’ve always had different members in different places on the spectrum and we’ve always had what you would call a hard right contingent. But here in the last few years we’ve seen that contingent come to the point now where they’re running the party apparatus.”
In that climate, Arizona Republicans who fail to toe the pro-Trump line are finding knives in their backs. Ward told Ducey on Twitter to “#STHU,” or shut up, when he defended the integrity of the vote in the state, and the party is considering censuring him for enacting restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic, which is raging in Arizona.
Flake, according to the proposal to censure him, “has joined with those who condemn President Trump.” Cindy McCain’s sins, in addition to backing Joe Biden, include supporting “leftist causes such as gay marriage, growth of the administrative state, and others that run counter to Republican values, a Republican form of government, and the U.S. Constitution.”
Given the party’s losses, more traditionalist Republicans are appalled the state GOP had nothing better to do.
“So, the state party is picking fights with the standard-bearers of the party for no good reason other than to show an outgoing president that Kelli Ward has his back,” said Barrett Marson, a Republican political strategist in Arizona. “The Republican Party does need to have a bit of a reckoning with itself. Will it be the party that follows a demagogue, or will it be the party that follows conservative principles? And so far, some in the leadership apparatus have chosen demagoguery over conservative principles.”
[T]he Arizona Republican Party has regressed amid the state’s changing demographics. On top of losing the presidential election in November, Republicans saw Democrat Mark Kelly take down Sen. Martha McSally, just two years after Kyrsten Sinema put Arizona’s other Senate seat in the Democratic column.
McCain, in a statement, said she was “not surprised by the continuous insults and personal attacks from Arizona GOP Chairman Kelli Ward. She’s shown how attacking Republicans like me can impact elections — her involvement in both Senate elections to replace Jeff Flake and my husband John McCain, two regular targets of her personal attacks, resulted in Democrat wins.”
As chairwoman of the party, McCain said, Ward “managed to turn Arizona blue in November for the first time since 1996. Maybe she should be reminded that my husband never lost an Arizona election since his first win in 1982; he and Governor Ducey are the last two Republicans to win statewide races in Arizona.”
Censuring her — or any other winning Republican — may not have its intended effect.
T.J. Shope, a Republican state senator, said the politicians targeted by the GOP “tend to have a lot more in common with the average person on the street than the folks doing the censuring.”
He said, “We need to go ahead and get to a point in time we’re going to realize we need to grow the party in a positive way once again.”
The storming of the U.S. Capitol on January 6 has brought to the fore a host of activists on the extreme right whose violent rhetoric helped to create the conditions for an assault that left five dead. One of the most prominent of those activists is Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward.
On December 19, Ward fired off a tweet urging President Donald Trump to “cross the Rubicon,” referring to the historical event that led to Julius Caesar declaring a dictatorship in ancient Rome. The tweet was shared by former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn. On January 4, Ward’s Arizona Republican Party retweeted Ali Alexander, one of the organizers of the event that culminated in the Capitol siege, who said that he was “willing to give my life for this fight”; the Arizona GOP said, “He is. Are you?” Later that day, the Arizona GOP tweeted, “This is what we do, who we are. Live for nothing, or die for something.”
At a rally that also occurred on December 19, Alexander praised Ward, saying “I want to thank Chairwoman Kelli Ward and the Arizona Republican Party. I work in seven states, and there is no party like the Arizona GOP Party, so let’s thank Kelli Ward.” Alexander added that Ward’s Arizona GOP was “like no other.” Ward spoke at the rally.
Ward’s role could bring attention to her biggest financiers in politics: hedge fund manager Robert Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah Mercer. The Mercers were the largest donors to Ward’s super PAC in both the 2016 and 2018 election cycles, giving $1.5 million in total as well as over $33,000 in direct contributions to her campaigns.
The Mercers have funded numerous other organizations now peddling baseless claims about the election.
These two are the principal financiers of far-right extremism in this country. “Drain the swamp!” Charge them with seditious conspiracy, 18 U.S. Code § 2384, and send them away for 20 years.
Rebekah Mercer is a principal investor in the Parler social media network and has an equity stake in Breitbart News, which has propagated false information about the election being stolen, and she is a close associate of former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and current Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway as well as Flynn. Robert Mercer was a major investor in Cambridge Analytica, which mined data on behalf of the Trump campaign and shared office space with Mercer-funded conservative advocacy group Reclaim New York.
On Monday, CNBC reported that the Black Conservatives Fund, a super PAC that Robert Mercer gave $150,000 to in 2014, promoted the march on Capitol Hill. Alexander, one of the siege organizers, was a former “senior adviser” to the Black Conservatives Fund.
In 2017, the Mercers gave $200,000 to the Gatestone Institute, which has advanced theories about a stolen election. The following year, they gave $8.1 million to DonorsTrust, which recently donated $1.5 million to white nationalist hate group VDARE, which has also advanced evidence-free theories surrounding the 2020 election results. In 2017, the Mercer Family Foundation donated $1.725 million to the Government Accountability Institute, whose research director, Eric Eggers, appeared on Sean Hannity’s radio show at the end of November, suggesting that fraudulent activity had tilted the election to Joe Biden. In 2018, they followed up with an additional $500,000. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., who has also used violent rhetoric around the election, has received $21,600 in campaign contributions from the Mercer family.
In 2016, the Mercers spent over $22 million on efforts to support Trump and other Republicans like Ted Cruz, who helped lead a dozen senators to baselessly challenge the election results. While they spent much less publicly this election cycle, they still pumped over $1.8 million into efforts to elect Republicans. Robert Mercer donated over $300,000 to the Republican National Committee and an additional $1.5 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s super PAC. McCarthy, R-Calif., was the highest-ranking member of Congress who sought to challenge the election results on January 6.
Given the delay of nonprofits in releasing tax statements and the ease of hiding dark-money donations, it will be several years before the public will have a complete sense of how much the Mercers spent to influence the election.
For example, the Mercers have a close relationship with right-wing Catholic activist Leonard Leo of the Federalist Society. Leo, the society’s top lobbyist and co-chair, in turn is closely associated with dark-money group the Judicial Crisis Network and its affiliate the Concord Fund, which pumped $3.7 million into the Republican Attorneys General Association in 2020. Neither group discloses its donors.
NBC recently revealed that the Rule of Law Defense Fund, an arm of the RAGA, had sent out robocalls announcing that “at 1 p.m., we will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal.”
The elected leadership of the RAGA has denied culpability for the robocalls. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who heads the RLDF, said in a statement this week that he was “unaware of unauthorized decisions made by RLDF staff with regard to this week’s rally. Despite currently transitioning into my role as the newly elected chair of RLDF, it is unacceptable that I was neither consulted about nor informed of those decisions.”
While the RLDF sought to blame it on employees, the group’s dissemination of information about the rally points to tacit support from high-profile conservatives and donors.
The Alabama Political Reporter adds, After aid to deadly rally, Republican Attorneys General Association director resigns:
The executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association resigned Monday amid mounting criticism after the group’s policy arm, the Rule of Law Defense Fund, paid for robocalls urging people to attend the rally that resulted in a riot and deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall, who heads the Rule of Law Defense Fund, in a statement Monday did not address why RAGA’s executive director, Adam Piper, resigned.
“Every decision Adam made on behalf of RLDF was with the best of intentions and with the organization’s best interests in mind,” Marshall said in a statement. “Adam leaves a void that will be difficult to replace, but we wish Adam well as he pursues other opportunities that will allow him to spend more time with his family.”
“Serving Republican attorneys general has been the honor of a lifetime and honestly a dream job,” Piper said in a statement obtained by the Associated Press.
* * *
“We will march to the Capitol building and call on Congress to stop the steal,” the robocall says, as recorded by Documented. “We are hoping patriots like you will join us to continue to fight to protect the integrity of our elections. For more information, visit MarchtoSaveAmerica.com. This call is paid for and authorized by the Rule of Law Defense Fund.”
* * *
Former RAGA chairman and current member Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton spoke at the Wednesday rally just before riots broke out, criticizing the U.S. Supreme Court, which quickly dismissed his lawsuit seeking to overturn election results in Wisconsin, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Michigan. Marshall and 15 other Republican attorneys general signed on to Paxton’s failed lawsuit.
“One of the great things about the state of Texas is that we did not quit. If you look at what Georgia did, they capitulated,” Paxton told the crowd before the riots.
The Judicial Crisis Network is the largest donor to the RAGA, giving over $11 million in the last two cycles. The RLDF has received significant support from the Judicial Crisis Network as well.
“You can’t have the mass radicalization that we’ve seen without extraordinarily wealthy people funneling money in,” said Michael Edison Hayden, a spokesperson for the Southern Poverty Law Center.
Finally, the Mercers have donated $3.8 million to Citizens United, which is headed by David Bossie, Trump’s 2016 deputy campaign manager, who Trump tapped on November 6 to lead his efforts to challenge the election results in the states.
Leo, Rebekah Mercer, Ward, and the Arizona Republican Party did not respond to requests for comment.
“The Mercers have been more than willing to finance efforts to blow up the political system altogether. That seems to be part of what they’ve done,” said Brendan Fischer, the director of federal reform at the Campaign Legal Center.
The “vast right-wing conspiracy” is an actual thing, backed by the money of far-right extremist billionaires. “Drain the swamp!” Take apart this seditious conspiracy and use the RICO statute as well to seize its assets.