Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Friday, August 1, 2014

Dark Money gets darker? At least more persistent, in some Arizona races

Leading off, we have Trash Burner Bob Stump whining in the Arizona Capitol Times that his favored candidate for Corporation Commissioner, Doug Little has been treated unfairly by an advocacy group. Little, by the way, just happens to be one of the beneficiaries of a HUGE Dark Money purchase, likely funded by Arizona Public Service, of $254k for television ads targeting opponent Vernon Parker, from a group called Save Our Future NOW.
My friend, Barry Goldwater Jr., paid spokesman for TUSK (“Tell Utilities Solar Won’t Be Killed”), has spoken on the race for Arizona Corporation Commission, and his words are an incitement to hearty debate. I write in defense of the candidate I have endorsed, Doug Little, whose candidacy has elicited a degree of ferocity that is entirely disproportionate to his views — which are mainstream — and disrespectful of his values, which are stellar. [...]
It is too cute by half, and the irony makes the mind reel: Out-of-state solar company executives — fond of the president’s agenda, with business before the commission, and financially supportive of their preferred commission candidates — painting as an Obama supporter a conservative whose integrity, they claim, is in doubt because he is the beneficiary of alleged political spending from a utility with business before the Commission.
TUSK’s behavior speaks volumes. Little’s views and character would speak for themselves, if only TUSK would stop misrepresenting them.
Yes, the irony STUMP presents is striking indeed. Consistent with many of his Republican colleagues in Arizona, Trash Burner Bob obfuscates in a big way. How so?

Well, to obscure the fact that a regulated IN STATE monopoly (Arizona Public Service), which constantly has business before the Arizona Corporation Commission, of which Stump currently serves as chairman, he points to and criticizes alleged "out-of-state" solar company executives with meaningless drivel.

I mean really, what does "fond of the president's agenda" have to do with anything in the race for election to the ACC? It's nothing but misdirection, a shiny object. Doug Little's campaign signs, with his partner-in-crime (so to speak) Tom Forese proclaim Little's agenda being "fighting Obama." Whatever the hell that means.

By the way, those "out-of-state" solar company executives, if they have business before the ACC, are focused on IN-STATE business development and transactions. Otherwise, they wouldn't have "business before the commission."

When I first read Trash Burner Bob's latest screed, his conclusion struck me as incredibly peculiar.
Little’s views and character would speak for themselves, if only TUSK would stop misrepresenting them.
I attempted to comment on the Cap Times guest opinion piece but apparently did not pass muster with the moderator.

 In case you are unable to read it from the pic, here's what I said:
Seriously, Bob?
You're saying that TUSK has made it impossible for Doug Little to state his views or demonstrate his character?
Wouldn't your conclusion suggest less strength of character on Mr. Little's part than you seem to infer? [I probably should have said, "imply" rather than "infer."]
So, Trash Burner Bob Stump, crony capitalist extraordinaire, bitches, in a corporatist rag, but doesn't disclose that the in-state monopoly he is responsible for regulating brazenly attacks those Stump has not endorsed.


Also in the Dark Money category today, we have Sean Noble endorsed Mario Diaz and his Friends of Arizona IE group now having put up more than $3k worth of campaign signs for APS-owned senatorial candidate Catherine Miranda.

All I can say about that is that apparently Cathi Herrod and APS REALLY want Miranda elected in a big way. Obviously, because of protections Antonin Scalia and his gang gave to Dark Money operators, right now all I can do is speculate about possible sources of the money Mario Diaz and his Friends of Arizona, as well as Save Our Future NOW have for the mailings, signs and television spots being paid for lately. But...

The motives for APS and Save Our Future NOW are not so well hidden. Vernon Parker is a target because he supports solar energy. In 2013, Miranda voted for a bill to protect her benefactor, APS, from having to disclose environmental audit findings. As did Lydia Hernandez. Hernandez is now in a tight primary race for senate in another Phoenix legislative district, with Martin Quezada, currently each is an incumbent state Rep. in that LD(29).

Hernandez benefited from $4,078 expenditure by Save Our Future NOW just days ago for mailers. I'm confident that was quid pro quo for Hernandez vote, along with Miranda in 2013, to exempt APS from the environmental audit disclosures.

Miranda and Hernandez also support Herrod's agenda to deprive women of the autonomy over their own health decisions. Hernandez signed Herrod's pro-life pledge but was absent when the vote was taken on Herrod's latest bill to intimidate abortion clinics and providers. Miranda, however, voted in favor of Herrod's abortion bill and one of her private school voucher bills.

We shouldn't have to rehash the discussion about Dark Money operators buying votes on legislation every time the issue comes up, but it has, in fact, been shown very clearly through rigorous academic research that these big money donors have very clear expectations for a return on their investments in the political process.


By the way, former Attorney General Terry Goddard, currently a candidate for Secretary of State, has made Dark Money a key issue in his campaign. In an interview with the Arizona Republic, Goddard said,
"We must stop dark money. Period. Arizona voters have the right to know who is trying to buy our votes. As a Clean Elections candidate, I only take contributions when donors are clearly identified, but the sad fact is Arizona has become a major center for anonymous political funds. Millions of dark money dollars are flooding into our state and polluting elections here and across the country.
"As Secretary of State, I will fight to stop this deplorable practice:
"First, I will use my experience as Attorney General to uncover the names of the original contributors by every means available and will publicize any groups that conceal the actual source of their funds.
"Second, I will push in the Legislature for an effective anti-dark money law.
"Finally, if the Legislature keeps refusing to ban dark money, I will draft an initiative that does the job and lead the campaign to win Arizona voters' approval."
It is way past time to put a stop to Dark Money usurping the authority of and/or co-opting the Arizona voter.

Right now, for this month's primary election, that means we must support and elect Aaron Marquez instead of Miranda; Martin Quezada instead of Lydia Hernandez; and Ken Clark instead of Richard Bauer. And we must send Ruben Gallego to Congress instead of Mary Rose Wilcox. Conservative blogger Greg Patterson recently blogged about APS' connection to Wilcox, as documented nine years ago by investigative journalist John Dougherty. That's worth a read now.

We must persist until we succeed. The fate of a (small "d") democratic Arizona is at stake here and now.

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