Occasionally, I slit my proverbial wrists and read the Phoenix New Times. Upon hearing a rumor yesterday that a campaign had begun to recall Arizona State Senate President Russell Pearce, I went looking for the article and was shocked to find that the Somos Republicans were leading the way, along with Democrats and Libertarians (add a few Green Party candidates and they’d spontaneously combust). Aside from the fact that I believe the Somos Republicans to be flirting with RINO status, I was surprised to read a blip at the very end of that article that announced a rumor of a SECOND recall effort.
Today I looked on the New Times’ website and, sure enough, a second recall effort has been started. A group calling itself Citizens for a Better Arizona now has a FaceBook group page on which it has posted its leaders, its intent – and some potentially damning information on the level with another ACORN-like move.
The “info” tab contains the announcement of the new group and the campaign…it starts out a little something like this:
Over the past couple of months people have been meeting in Mesa and other parts of Arizona to develop a strategy to recall Senator Russell Pearce. Out of those discussions came the idea of creating Citizens for a Better Arizona to bring together people from all walks of life with the same committed goal of removing State Senate President Russell Pearce from office. Our numbers are growing rapidly as word spreads about this important movement.
Now, there was another group with the same name that went belly-up in 2006 after losing too much money. This is an entirely different group which, as the announcement points out, “officially” began this morning. That is despite this announcement on Google and this, from their newest announcement:
Strategies have been planned and implemented with our “Hold Russell Pearce Accountable” campaign , including our January 10th event at the capitol, our January 15th District 18 Door-to-door canvass and our January 22nd town hall meeting in District 18. These efforts also include fundraising, community outreach to other supporters throughout Maricopa, and as of this morning the official formation our newly formed political committee – Citizens for a Better Arizona.
If the group just formed this morning, then why were they raising political funds all month? In Arizona, any political committee that intends to accept contributions is required to register before ever taking one red cent or distributing a single flyer – if they will only take in less than $500 annually, they are required to file an exemption. Here’s the part of their announcement where they boast about the funds they’ve already raised:
We are a well-established group that has what it takes to raise the necessary funds both across the state and across the nation and we’re rapidly closing on $10,000 already raised to help us achieve our goals!
They even took a thinly-veiled stab at the Somos Republicans here:
It takes courage to undertake this important effort. And while anyone can draft a petition to start a recall, it is good organizational skills and dogged determination that will actually get the job done. While other groups are welcome to undergo their own efforts, the results cannot be combined (signatures from one group can’t be added to those of another). We urge everyone who has a true commitment to removing Russell Pearce from office to be part of our diverse and non-partisan coalition. Together we can succeed!
Here’s the kicker: they’re offering part-time jobs for people to go canvassing for their efforts:
Finally, as planned, we are moving forward on Monday, January 31, 2011 at 12:00 noon to file our recall petition at the Arizona State Capitol, and because of our successful efforts at fundraising, we are launching our paid canvassing operation to collect signatures in District 18 on Monday afternoon. Now is not the time to hold potlucks to plan strategy. Now is the time to implement the plan. We hope you will join us to show your support!
Citizens for a Better Arizona
PS. If you are interested in working part-time (16 hours a week) on this campaign please contact us. Canvassers will earn $10/hour. Volunteers will also go door-to-door on weekends to collect signatures.
Where’s the money coming from? We don’t know, because the group isn’t registered as a political committee in Arizona. How are they going to pay the part-time canvassers who will go door-to-door to collect signatures on a petition to recall District 18 Senator Russell Pearce? Well…there’s something to be said about Michelle Malkin’s hard work in calling out union thugs.
The group was founded by Randy Parraz, who finished dead last in the Democratic primary last year to attempt to unseat John McCain. Parraz originally came to Arizona in 2002 as the state leader of the AFL-CIO. His Linkedin profile says that he is currently a political organizer for the Laborer’s International Union. Last year, when the Teamster’s Local 104 held a strike against Tucson public bus company Sun Tran, Parraz joined the picket line to shake hands and kiss babies and show just how much of a “working man” he is (never mind the fact that he went to UC-Berkeley for a law degree and Harvard for a master’s in public administration – yep, he’s a working schlub just like you and me!).
Think we’ll get any answers? I’d give that a resounding NO. The unions don’t answer for anything these days. Organizations that used to be about protecting the rights of workers are now about getting the biggest and the best, regardless of the cost. Union refusal to budge on pay rates and annual pay raises for police officers and firefighters in Camden, NJ cost the city 168 police officers and 67 firefighters.
Randy Parraz is playing a dirty political game that already downed one major organization. His law degree and years with the unions tell me that he knows he’s playing with fire and doesn’t care. With the unions getting a free pass that exempts them from Obamacare and any and all ethics laws (campaign finance among them), why should he be afraid?
I should mention that ARS 16-919 specifically prohibits labor unions from making large contributions to any political campaigns or committees. Corporations and LLC’s are barred, too. The only exceptions (listed in ARS 16-914) are “cumulative” expenditures (meaning multiple transactions, not block contributions) of $5000 for statewide elections, $2500 for legislative elections, and they must be reported in detail to the secretary of state’s office PRIOR to the transaction. ARS 16-902.1 states that ANY “political committee that intends to accept contributions or make expenditures of more than five hundred dollars shall file a statement of organization with the filing officer before accepting contributions, making expenditures, distributing any campaign literature or circulating petitions.”
Citizens for a Better Arizona has reportedly been operating for at least two months according to their own announcement posted today…and I can’t find a single listing for them with the AZ secretary of state. OOPS.
UPDATE: The FaceBook page maintained by Citizens for a Better Arizona has been changed. The announcement posted yesterday about the “official founding” of the group was, as expected, removed. Gone are the sections bragging about already having ten grand in funds and being in the works for two months despite not being registered with the secretary of state. Ladies and gentlemen, this is what screenshots are for (and believe me, I have plenty of them…click for larger images):
UPDATE: Randy Parraz has been removed as an admin on the Facebook page – and two known Democratic Party employees are now pictured as “volunteers” at Desert Free Press, a website that is stumping hard for this committee.