Arizona and Florida U.S. Representatives Introduce Bill to Fight Inflation, Boost Retirements

Rep. David Schweikert (R-Ariz.-06) is concerned that Arizona is undergoing the highest level of inflation within the continental states (urban Alaska is the only part of the country with a higher level). To combat the problem, he co-sponsored H.R. 8579, the Retirement Protection Act, with Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.-19).

In a statement, Schweikert said, “This bill would play a critical role in fighting inflation while helping Americans protect their savings.” He told The Arizona Sun Times, “It improves people’s retirement future so they stay even and don’t become a victim of inflation.” 

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Goldwater Institute Files Lawsuit to Remove ‘Misleading’ Healthcare Debt Initiative from Ballot

Eight ballot initiatives are on the Arizona ballot this fall, with three still waiting for approval after submitting petition signatures. One of those three is the Protection from Predatory Debt Collection Act (PPDCA) which is being challenged by the Goldwater Institute over its description that will appear on the ballot, which the think tank alleges is “inaccurate and misleading.”

Filed on Aug. 8, the lawsuit states, “The Arizona Protection from Predatory Debt Collection Act would institute sweeping changes to debt collection in Arizona that extend far beyond the measure’s purported purpose of limiting the interest rate on medical debt.”

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Maricopa County GOP Censures Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer over Election Fraud Denials and Mishandling: ‘Resign or Be Recalled’

After an Arizona primary election last week full of anomalies, the Executive Guidance Committee of the Maricopa County Republican Committee (MCRC) issued a resolution on August 4 censuring Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer, a Republican. The resolution cited problems that arose during the election and Richer’s previous denials that election fraud occurred in the 2020 presidential election.

Member-at-large Brian Ference drafted the resolution, which passed 13-11 with two abstentions. It cited “irregularities” in the primary election, including “reports of printers and scanners not working,” “Pentel felt-tip pen smearing and not drying,” and “late counting and delayed results.”

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Arizona and Texas Continue to Bus Thousands of Willing Illegal Immigrants to Washington D.C., Add NYC as a Destination

Arizona and Texas have bused over 6,100 illegal immigrants they apprehended crossing the border since May to Washington D.C.. The migrants volunteer for the trips, motivated partly by more generous laws towards the indigent in those cities.

NPR and other new outlets interviewed the migrants, confirming that they preferred to be bused out of Texas or Arizona. One reporter said, “Ronald told me that he felt welcomed in Washington in a way he just didn’t in Texas.” The city is finding resources to deal with the migrants. D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser secured a FEMA grant for an international nonprofit called SAMU to offer emergency services to migrants. The Catholic Charities umbrella organization is also assisting.

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Republicans Look to November as Concerns Linger over Ballot Tabulation Delays in Arizona

Although Arizona’s primary election was Tuesday, not all of the ballots have been counted yet, leaving the Arizona gubernatorial primary race for Republicans uncalled until Thursday evening. The Associated Press finally declared Trump-endorsed Kari Lake the winner, after Lake’s victory increased to 20,000, 46.78 percent to Karrin Taylor Robson’s 44.03 percent. By 1 p.m. on Thursday, there were still at least 242,414 outstanding ballots statewide. 

Arizona Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward appeared on Steve Bannon’s War Room: Pandemic Wednesday evening to discuss the slow results. At that time, only 82 percent of the ballots had been counted. Ward blamed incompetence by Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer. “France can count millions of ballots within hours of their election,” she pointed out, calling him a “disgrace.” (She retweeted the information about France) Ward said his office announced they would have more results to announce at 7 p.m. from the 125,000 outstanding ballots left from people who had dropped their ballots off at polling locations, but never did.

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Investigation Finds, Names the Maricopa County Elections Employee on Video Removing 2020 Election Files from Servers

The Arizona Senate-ordered independent Maricopa County ballot audit of the 2020 presidential election revealed questionable findings, including a Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) employee captured on video deleting, or what officials stated later was merely archiving, hundreds of thousands of files from an election server the day before the server was to be turned over to the audit. Last weekend, investigative journalist Lara Logan and cyber expert Matt Van Bibber stated at an election security forum hosted by We the People AZ Alliance that the employee has been identified, along with a couple of his co-workers who allowed him access into the election server room.

Van Bibber, who discovered the information through viewing videos and matching what he saw against server room logs, said the employee was Brian Ramirez, a database administrator at MCED. Van Bibber said Ramirez did not have the required credentials to enter the server room where the computer was, so two other employees gave him access with their card keys. One was Kristi Passarelli, assistant elections director, and the other was an employee named Charles Cooley, who appears to be an Administrative/Operations Specialist.

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Freedom From Religion Foundation Files Complaint With IRS Against Mesa Church After GOP Candidate Addresses Event

The Wisconsin-based, “freethought” watchdog Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF) filed a complaint with the IRS against the Redeemer Apostolic Church in Mesa after pastor and CD 4 candidate Jerone Davis appeared at a prayer revival event hosted by America’s Revival, which is separate from the church. Davison was endorsed there by the founder of America’s Revival, Pastor Joshua Feuerstein. The FFRF wants the church’s tax-exempt status revoked, asserting that it crossed the line into the type of political activity that nonprofit 501(c)(3)s are prohibited from engaging in.

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Kari Lake Files Complaint Against Gov. Doug Ducey for Flying Her Opponent from a Joint Campaign Event in a Taxpayer-Funded Jet

Trump-endorsed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake has filed a complaint with Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich against Gov. Doug Ducey for using a state government helicopter to fly back from a campaign event with her opponent Karrin Taylor Robson after he hosted a campaign event with Robson. 

The complaint letter from Lake’s attorney Tim La Sota stated, “The state airplane is not a shuttle service that can be rented out by wealthy politicians when the private jet they normally use is unavailable. And the Governor has no power under the law to permit such effective rental agreements to those he favors politically. Surely after over a decade in public office he must know this.”

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club Files Lawsuit Against ‘Radical’ Elections Ballot Initiative

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) filed a lawsuit last week against a sweeping elections initiative modeled after the federal HR 1 that is seeking to get on the ballot this fall. The complaint alleges the PAC behind it committed seven statutory violations, including collecting over half the signatures illegally, and provides evidence that many of the initiative’s paid circulators provided false information or failed to register with the Secretary of State.

“After analyzing over 45,000 petition sheets and 420,000 signatures, it’s clear that well over half of the signatures on this election initiative were collected in violation of state law,” said AFEC President Scot Mussi. “That should be more than enough to invalidate this initiative.”

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In Response to ‘2000 Mules,’ Arizona Republican Party Offers $50,000 Reward for Evidence of Vote Buying in 2022 Election

The Arizona Republican Party announced last week that it would reward anyone who provides evidence of vote buying in the 2022 election a $50,000 reward, with up to two rewards. The evidence must lead to an arrest and conviction. 

The press release explains how vote buying occurs, usually with mail-in ballots since they are not secret from everyone. “Unfortunately,” the AZGOP said, “the movement towards mass mail-in voting completely undoes secret ballot reform. Mail-in ballots are not secret — once a person has a ballot in their home, they can easily show it to anyone, including bad actors.” 

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Arizona State House Republicans Launch New Caucus

Following in the footsteps of the federal Congressional House Freedom Caucus, legislators in the Arizona House have started an Arizona Freedom Caucus. A group of conservative lawmakers announced during a press conference last week that nearly a third of the Arizona House’s 31 Republicans have already joined it. 

The founding chairman is State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), who said he was humbled to “to lead them in battle against the left and the establishment GOP that refuses to answer to the will of the people and instead chooses to answer to special interests and lobbyists’ groups that reside down here — they fill the halls.” 

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Arizona Republican Party Censures House Speaker Rusty Bowers: ‘Unfit to Serve’

The Arizona Republican Party’s Executive Committee formally censured Arizona Speaker of the House Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) this week, calling on Republicans to vote him out of office during the primary election this year, and urging his Legislative District 10 and the Maricopa County Republican Party to issue their own censures.

The two-page censure contains a lengthy list of Bowers’ actions on bills in the Arizona Legislature, and declares he is “unfit to serve the platform of the Republican Party and will of the voter of the Republican Party of Arizona.” AZGOP Chair Kelli Ward tweeted, “he is no longer a Republican in good standing & we call on Republicans to replace him at the ballot box in the August primary.”

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Kari Lake Accuses Karrin Taylor Robson of Tricking ‘a Record’ 1,200 Plus Mostly Elderly People into Donations, Including Autorenewals

Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who is leading the GOP primary race, accused opponent Karrin Taylor Robson of tricking elderly Arizonans into donating to her campaign by pretending the money would go for “Trump, Truth Social & the Wall.” She also accused the mostly self-funded candidate, who is the other main contestant left in the primary, of fooling donors into committing to automatically renewing their donations each month. 

In a video, Lake holds up over 1,000 pages of “potential victims.” She said she is warning retirees or those married to a retiree about “a fundraising ploy that they could have very likely gotten caught up in, especially if they are patriotic and worried about the direction this country is going.” She went on, “Thousands and thousands of Americans, most of them retirees, most of them living on Social Security, got tricked into donating to my opponent in one of those recurring donation schemes.” 

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Concerns Arise over Envelopes Containing Ballots Mailed to Maricopa County Voters That Reveal Political Party in Clear Window

Envelopes containing ballots sent to voters in Maricopa County last week contained a small square with clear plastic on the top left side revealing part of the ballot. The political party of the ballot can clearly be seen in the window, and in some cases, it appears individuals’ voter registration numbers as well. Concerns have been raised that renegade postal workers or election workers might throw Republican ballots out before they reach voters.

State Rep. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa) tweeted, “The post office doesn’t need to know this information. The Recorder’s office is being awfully cavalier & open with personal information in a time when people already don’t trust the mail or AZ’s voting systems.” 

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Kari Lake, Blake Masters Up Double Digits in Their Races: Poll

The Arizona primary election is less than two weeks away, as large numbers of undecided voters contribute to wavering poll numbers. However, a new poll by Gateway Pundit/Cygnal on the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial GOP primary races shows the Trump-endorsed candidates, Kari Lake for governor and Blake Masters for U.S. Senate, leading by double digits.

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Kari Lake Responds to Gov. Doug Ducey’s Criticism, Notes RINOs ‘Travel in Packs’ Citing Rival’s Pence, Christie Endorsements

Early ballots for Arizona’s primary election were mailed last week, prompting a flurry of last minute endorsements for candidates. Gov. Doug Ducey, former Vice President Mike Pence, and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie endorsed Karrin Taylor Robson in the gubernatorial race, and Ducey took it a step further, criticizing Trump-endorsed gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake during a CNN appearance, prompting a sharp response from Lake. 

Lake, who is leading by a substantial amount in recent polls, has portrayed Robson and those endorsing her as RINOs. She told The Arizona Sun Times, “Doug Ducey, Chris Christie and Mike Pence are all herding around Karrin Taylor Robson. It turns out RINOs travel in packs.”

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Arizona State Legislators Jake Hoffman, Neal Carter, and Warren Petersen Top Republican Liberty Caucus’s 2022 Rankings

The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona (RLCAZ) released its 2022 rankings of Arizona legislators based on how they voted to advance or restrict liberty, and eight scored a perfect 100 or above. State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) and State Rep. Neal Carter (R-Casa Grande) tied with 106 for the top scores in the State House, and State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) received the highest score in the State Senate, 102.

Hoffman told The Arizona Sun Times, “It’s an honor to be recognized for my efforts to defend liberty. I am humbled to be one of the highest scoring members of the Arizona legislature; however, while I’m grateful for the recognition, it’s not why I, or any of the other top scorers, fight so hard to defend constitutionally limited government. We do it because we take our oath of office and the Constitution seriously. Unlike so many in the swamp, we view elected service as an awesome responsibility to fight for the people we represent at all times, especially when it’s unpopular amongst the political establishment to do so.”

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Arizona Democratic Party Extends ‘A Warm Thank You to Karrin Taylor Robson for Her Longtime Financial Support to Help Elect Democratic Candidates’

The Arizona Democratic Party (ADP) issued a statement this recently thanking Karrin Taylor Robson for contributing money to Democrats in recent years while a Republican.

“The Arizona Democratic Party would like to extend a warm ‘thank you’ to Karrin Taylor Robson for her longtime financial support to help elect Democratic candidates up and down the ballot,” said the press release. The ADP said Robson is “a big funder of Arizona Democrats, funneling thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates as recently as 2020.”

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Arizona Judge Rules Father May Present an Argument That He Is Representing the Estate of His Aborted Baby to Sue Abortion Doctor

According to Pro Publica, an Arizona judge this week ruled that U.S. Marine veteran Mario Villegas may represent the estate of his aborted child and sue the abortion doctor, and refer the doctor for wrongful death.

Villegas asserts in his complaint that doctors failed to properly inform his now ex-wife of the long-term medical risks of abortion, nor the “reasonable alternatives to abortion” such as counseling and putting the baby up for adoption. He said they failed to talk to her about the “intense and emotionally satisfying maternal bond and relationship inherent in birthing and raising that child.”

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Concerns Arise That Cochise County Elections Official Skeptical of Election Fraud Is Screening Election Integrity Proponents from Working at the Polls

Arizonans applying for poll worker positions in Cochise County during this fall’s election are being asked to answer some unusual questions, including regarding their motives. Cochise County Elections Director Lisa Marra added the questions this year to the application that applicants fill out, some believe in an effort to screen out those with concerns about election fraud, which Marra speaks derisively about frequently on Twitter.

Republican Party Chair Kelli Ward tweeted in May that she heard “Election Departments around Arizona are requiring illegal ‘ideological tests’ of poll workers & that they are actively discriminating against #AmericaFirst Republican applicants.”

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Conservatives Back Trump-Endorsed Candidate to Defeat Term-Limited House Speaker Rusty Bowers, Now Vying for State Senate Seat

State Representative Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) is facing stiff competition for the Republican nomination for the state senate seat he is now running for, political watchers say, as the term-limited Arizona House Speaker campaigns against the well-known, Trump-endorsed former State Senator David Farnsworth to represent the people of the 10th Legislative District.  

State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) warned that Bowers is a “career politician” who “will betray you repeatedly then lie to make you think they were on your side the whole time.” In a post on Telegram, he relayed a couple of his bad experiences in the Arizona Legislature with Bowers, while refuting Bowers’ new campaign ad.

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Kari Lake Calls Out Fellow Republican Karrin Taylor Robson as Only GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Who Says There Was Not Election Fraud in 2020

Election fraud is an important issue to Republican voters, but one of the Republican candidates for governor does not believe there was any fraud in the 2020 presidential election. During the PBS GOP gubernatorial primary debate last week, Trump-endorsed Kari Lake asked for a show of hands from the other three candidates regarding whether the 2020 election was “corrupt” and “stolen.” Only Karrin Taylor Robson did not raise her hand.

Instead, Robson tried to duck the question, responding, “I’m not going to play your stunt.” Moderator Ted Simons asked the candidates to explain why they believed the election was “rigged, stolen, or whatever the phrase might be.” Lake expounded, “It was corrupt and stolen. I’ve looked at the evidence, we did a forensic audit.” 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Urges Gov. Ducey to Declare an Invasion on the ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ Border

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich issued a legal opinion in February declaring that Arizona has the constitutional authority to declare an invasion on its border with Mexico, but since Gov. Doug Ducey has not done so, Brnovich is now urging him to. In a letter sent to Ducey on July 6, Brnovich, who is now running for U.S. Senate, laid out the reasons why.

“This horrible situation is a ticking time bomb,” Brnovich said. “It’s just a question of when, and not if, the unspeakable will occur.” He went on, “[W]e have every indication that the border crisis will continue to escalate. If there is more that we as a state can and should do, it can be pursued with your declaration of an ‘invasion’ at our southern border.”

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Arizona Republican Gubernatorial Primary Race Reveals Divide Between Moderates and Conservatives as Ducey Endorses Robson

The race for the Republican gubernatorial nomination has intensified over the recent days, as key candidates and political players make their moves to influence the outcome of the upcoming primary election. Former Congressman Matt Salmon’s exit and subsequent endorsement of Karrin Taylor Robson was followed by Gov. Doug Ducey, who offered the Phoenix-area businesswoman a full-throated statement of support of his own.

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Sheriff Lamb and True the Vote Launch ‘ProtectAmerica.Vote’ for Sheriffs to Combat Election Fraud

Arizona’s Sheriff Mark Lamb of Pinal County has been outspoken about taking action on the local level when the Biden administration will not, recently starting Protect America Now (PAN) to bring sheriffs together with patriotic Americans on important issues like border security. This past month, he formed a coalition with the election integrity organization True the Vote to ensure secure elections, ProtectAmerica.Vote.

“Sheriffs’ primary duty is to protect the rights of their constituents, which includes their rights as voters,” he said on the website. “ProtectAmerica.vote aims to solve this problem and bridge the gap between voters and local law enforcement. Our work will ensure we have secure elections in this country.”

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Mailchimp Suspends Account of Arizona Attorney General Candidate Andrew Gould

Arizona Attorney General candidate Andrew Gould, a Republican and former Arizona Supreme Court Justice, said he has been suspended from Mailchimp for violating its terms of service. He believes it may have been due to a press release he issued on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision striking down a New York gun control law, New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. 

Gould stated in a message to his supporters, “After a year of using this service, they have suspended our account without the opportunity to appeal it. Mailchimp claims that we have violated their Standard Terms of Use and Acceptable Use Policy. They will not specify the violation. I find it highly suspicious that, immediately after the release of my statement supporting the Supreme Court’s decision regarding the 2nd Amendment in New York, Mailchimp shut down my account.” 

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On Salmon’s Exit, Founder of Arizona’s State House Freedom Caucus Urges ‘Principled, Stalwart Conservatives’ to Support Kari Lake for Governor

In the wake of Matt Salmon’s exit from the Republican gubernatorial nomination race, State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) – founder of the Arizona Legislature’s House Freedom Caucus – issued a statement urging the former state representative’s supporters to switch their support to Kari Lake.

With Salmon out of the running, the Arizona race for governor is down to two major candidates on the Republican side.

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Kari Lake Challenges Fox News Host Bret Baier for Not Covering Election Fraud: ‘Mama Bear Takes Down a Fake News Baier’

Leading Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake came from the media, where she was a local anchorwoman for KSAZ-TV, so has considerable knowledge of how the media works. Since she started running for governor over a year ago, she frequently turns interviews around and puts the interviewer in the hot seat. During an interview with Fox News host Bret Baier on June 27, she turned the focus to Fox News’ lack of coverage of fraud in the 2020 presidential election. Baier has consistently expressed skepticism of former President Donald Trump’s belief that there was significant election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.

Baier already interviewed the other main candidate in the race, Karrin Taylor Robson, who is polling much lower than Lake, a week previously, and he failed to mention that Lake was endorsed by Trump when he introduced her.

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Arizona 2022 Legislative Session Ends with $18 Billion Budget, Failure to Ban All Abortions, and 79 Bills Waiting for Ducey

The 2022 Arizona Legislative session ended Friday, after passing the annual budget and 385 bills – 79 of which are waiting for Governor Doug Ducey to sign or veto. Among the spending priorities is a massive expansion of the state’s school voucher system, which Ducey is expected to sign.

However, some political watchers note that the nearly $18 billion budget, composed of 12 bills, is full of pork – one example of which is a large tax credit for Hollywood the Republican leadership insisted on passing.

A proposed bill banning all abortions, meanwhile, was blocked.

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Republicans Rumble in Final Forum for Arizona Sec State and Treasurer

The grassroots organization America Pack put on its last Republican primary debate Friday night, featuring the candidates for Arizona Secretary of State followed by the candidates for Arizona State Treasurer. During the first debate, Secretary of State candidate and current State Senator Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) took an aggressive stance toward her opponents, and her fellow Republicans responded in kind. 

During the second debate, State Representative Jeff Weninger (R-Chandler) went after the sitting treasurer, Kimberly Yee, who responded back just as feistily.

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Sparks Fly at U.S. Senate GOP Primary Debate in Arizona Between Brnovich, Lamon, Masters, McGuire, and Olson

The first Republican primary debate for the U.S. Senate race in Arizona took place Thursday night in downtown Phoenix, organized by Freedomworks. Three candidates polling in the lead participated; Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich, solar billionaire businessman Jim Lamon, and Trump-endorsed, Thiel Foundation President Blake Masters. Two candidates who are lagging in the polls also debated; former Adjutant General of the Arizona National Guard Mick McGuire, and former Arizona legislator Justin Olson.

The debate got quite heated at times, with the candidates calling each other out and the audience often wildly cheering or loudly booing (even though they had been asked to remain silent at the beginning). Lamon and Masters, the candidates with the most money in the race, have been running TV ads attacking each other the last few weeks, and those attacks played out throughout the evening. 

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Maricopa County Republican Leadership Passes Unanimous Resolution Rejecting the 2020 Presidential Election Results

In a unanimous vote, the Maricopa County Republican Committee Executive Board voted on Tuesday to approve a resolution rejecting the certification of the 2020 presidential election for Joe Biden. Modeled after a similar resolution passed by the Texas Republican Party last weekend as part of its platform, the board urges the Arizona Republican Party to pass it and the Arizona Legislature to take steps to decertify. 

Brain Ference, who serves on the board as member at large, drafted the resolution after the documentary 2,000 Mules came out, concerned that it exposed massive election fraud through ballot harvesting. He told The Arizona Sun Times, “It’s clearer than ever that Joe Biden and his regime should not have won.”

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Kari Lake’s Campaign Says Former Friend, a Drag Queen Who Called Her ‘A Complete Hypocrite,’ Will Be Subject to Defamation Lawsuit

A drag queen who said he used to be friends with leading gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake turned on her this month after she posted some concerns about introducing sexualized drag queens to children. However, Lake made it clear that she has no problem with adults engaging in drag shows, or impersonators who aren’t sexualized interacting with children. Rick Stevens, who goes by the stage name Barbara Seville, appeared to blur the distinction. The Arizona Legislature is working on legislation to prohibit children under age 18 from attending drag shows, which Lake supports. 

Lake tweeted criticism of a video of a scantily dressed drag queen dancing provocatively for young children in Dallas on June 4, stating “This is grooming. This is child abuse.” 

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Arizona Legislature Considering ‘Build Back Broke’ Type of Budget with Earmarks, Funding for School Social Workers, and Government Employee Pay Raises

The Arizona Legislature is rushing to pass a budget before the 2022 session ends in a few days on June 30, but some Republican legislators are balking at agreeing to vote for the 12 budget bills due to the amount of spending, $17.9 billion. State Sen. Michelle Ugenti (R-Scottsdale) tweeted on Monday, “Arizona’s version of @JoeBiden’s Build Back Broke (aka the legislature’s introduced budget) is not fiscally responsible. You cannot spend your way out of a looming recession.”

She objected to the budget adding an extra half a billion dollars. “I can’t think of anything more fiscally irresponsible than spending recklessly on member pet projects while Arizonans struggle to keep up with crushing inflation,” she tweeted. The Republican Liberty Caucus of Arizona called the budget “bloated and wasteful.” 

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Arizona Attorney General Brnovich Leads 24 States Objecting to SEC Requiring Climate Change Disclosures by Businesses

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is leading a coalition of 24 states objecting to proposed rule changes by the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) that would require publicly-traded businesses to disclose information about their greenhouse gas emissions and discuss climate risks. The coalition filed formal comments indicating the 500-page rule titled “The Enhancement and Standardization of Climate-Related Disclosures for Investors” goes beyond the jurisdiction of the SEC and into environmental regulation. 

In a 44-page letter addressed to the SEC, Brnovich and the others stated that the Biden “administration has tried and failed to impose regulation directly, and it now appears content to use back-door financial regulatory actions to implement its political will.” The coalition warned, “profit will become secondary to political interests, and capitalism will fall by the wayside.” The proposed rule “seeks to make ‘decisions of vast economic and political significance.’” They accused the SEC of “taking on major policy decisions that belong to Congress.” 

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‘Maricopa County Transit Slush Fund Tax’ Looks ‘Optimistic’ for Legislative Referral to the Ballot

A transportation bill dubbed the “Maricopa County Transit Slush Fund Tax” by the Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) is steadily advancing through the legislature, and its supporters say it will probably make it through the Arizona Legislature this year in a referral to the ballot. Senate Bill (SB) 1356 has passed the Senate, the Senate Transportation and Technology Committee, and the House Transportation Committee. Valley Metro’s new CEO Jessica Mefford-Miller said this week about it, “We are cautiously optimistic about SB 1356.”

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Arizona Legislature Considering ‘Most Expansive Education Savings Account Program in the Nation’

The 2022 Arizona legislative session is almost over, but there are still a few key bills policy watchers say have a good chance of making it into law. One is HB 2853, which would expand school choice by opening Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs) to all K-12 students in the state.

Cory DeAngelis, a national education policy expert who serves as national director of research for the school choice organization, American Federation for Children, tweeted, “This would be the most expansive education savings account program in the nation. All families would be able to take their children’s education dollars to the education providers of their choosing.”

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City of Phoenix to Vote on Increasing Phoenix Police Officers’ Starting Salaries by 40 Percent

The Phoenix City Council is set to vote next Wednesday on a salary hike for new recruits that would lift their base pay from $48,942 (or $51,459 if they have college degrees) to $68,661. Officers making less than the new minimum base pay would be brought up to $72,779, and pay grade steps from recruits to assistant chiefs would increase. Other Phoenix Police Department (PPD) employees would receive a 3% pay increase in October.

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Maricopa County Spokesperson Admits 20,000 ‘Late’ Ballots Were Scanned Before Verification; Expert Says Likely a Crime

In an email exchange with The Arizona Sun Times this week, a Maricopa County Recorder’s office spokesperson may have unwittingly admitted that the county mishandled thousands of ballots from the 2020 general election that one watchdog groups says were accepted after the legal deadline.

Megan Gilbertson, the communications director for the Maricopa County Elections Department (MCED) – a department of the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office – said that the department processed ballots by scanning them into the tabulating machines at MCED before transferring their custody the next day to Runbeck Election Services, which verifies their legitimacy with signature verification.

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Maricopa County Officials Declare ‘Election Is Over’ as Newly Revealed Records Show 19,000 Ballots Were Counted After 2020 Election Day Deadline

Maricopa County election officials ignored questions Friday about an 11-page report by an election integrity group that say they discovered 20,500 ballots were received by the Maricopa County Recorder’s office — and subsequently counted — after the legal deadline of 7 p.m. on Election Day, November 3, 2020. Only 934 of those ballots, the groups says, were rejected for lateness. Joe Biden was certified the winner of Arizona by 10,457 votes.

The Arizona Sun Times asked the recorder’s office several questions regarding the ballots, including why they had difficulty producing the ballot receipts for months; why the late ballots were tabulated; whether there were really only 934 ballots rejected for being late; and why there were no records indicating whether ballots received the day after the election were transferred to the Maricopa County Treasurer.

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Leading Arizona Gubernatorial Candidate Kari Lake Celebrates First Anniversary of Campaign on a ‘Lakefront’: ‘We’ve Set So Many Records’

Trump-endorsed Kari Lake celebrated the one year anniversary of launching her leading Arizona gubernatorial campaign Wednesday with a party. Still leading her Republican primary opponents by double digits, she told the crowd of her top supporters at the Pleasant Harbor Marina in Peoria, which she referred to as a “Lake front,” that the campaign has broken multiple records. 

Lake brought the crowd to laughter multiple times, especially describing her opponents. She characterized one of the other Republican candidates, Karrin Taylor Robson, “If John McCain had a baby with Liz Cheney, who grew up to marry a 95-year-old billionaire.” Taylor Robson is “frail, nervous; a RINO who puts millions into deceptive ads, trying to buy the election.” 

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True the Vote Testifies to Arizona Legislators Regarding ‘2,000 Mules’ Documentary on Ballot Harvesting, Urges Passage of HB 2289

Two representatives from True the Vote, the election integrity organization whose work using GPS smartphone data to investigate ballot harvesting in Arizona and other states was featured in the recent 2,000 Mules documentary by Dinesh D’Souza, testified during an Arizona Legislative hearing on Tuesday providing further details. Catherine Engelbrecht, the founder and president, and Gregg Phillips, a data expert, drew frequent gasps and clapping, despite a request for no clapping at the beginning. When asked by legislators what Engelbrecht recommended for action, she said pass HB 2289. Sponsored by State Rep. John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), it bans drop boxes and has passed the House, but has been held up in the Senate. 

Democrats in the legislature tried to interfere with the hearing by forcing a vote on a gun control bill, stalling it for well over an hour. Right Side Broadcasting filmed the hearing live on YouTube, but it was yanked by YouTube by the time it was finished. 

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Five Arizona Cities, Led by Queen Creek, Are Among 15 Fastest-Growing Cities in the Country

New census data reveals that Arizona has five of the fastest-growing 15 cities in the U.S.

The five areas are Queen Creek, Buckeye, Casa Grande, Maricopa City and Goodyear. While Phoenix was further down on the list, it was one of only two of the largest 10 cities in the country to gain residents.

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Arizona Senate Plan to Address Water Concerns Would Scale Back Governor’s Proposed Arizona Water Authority

Concerns are growing in Arizona that a water shortage may be looming down the road. Gov. Doug Ducey proposed creating an Arizona Water Authority (AWA) earlier this year in his 2022 State of the State address, but now the Arizona Senate majority caucus is suggesting a simpler plan that would use the existing Water Infrastructure Finance Authority of Arizona (WIFA). 

Ducey’s plan to augment water resources, which he forged in partnership with Arizona Senate President Karen Fann (R-Prescott) and Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa), would cost $1 billion and include integrating new technologies such as desalination, start large scale water augmentation projects, and encourage reuse and efficiency with current supplies.

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State Lawmaker Alleges House Speaker Bowers Is ‘Playing Games’ with Election Integrity as Key Bills Fall Short

State House Speaker Rusty Bowers (R-Mesa) considered sending armed Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers after two conservative legislators during remarks on the State House floor, despite State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) telling multiple members of House leadership and their staff that there would not be enough legislators present for a vote to hear election integrity bills.

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Gov. Ducey Suggests Reviving His ‘Red Flag’ Gun Control Bill, Arizona Citizens Defense League Responds with 53,000 Email Alerts

Politicians, including some Republicans, are calling for gun control after a recent spate of mass shootings, particularly last week’s involving a gunman who shot and killed 19 students and two teachers at an elementary school in Texas. Gov. Doug Ducey pushed for “red flag” gun control laws previously, including in 2019 after two mass shootings in Texas and Ohio, and indicated this week he may renew that effort. The Arizona Citizens’ Defense League (AZCDL) immediately sent out 53,000 email alerts.

“Politicians like Ducey are dancing in the blood of victims as opposed to saving people’s lives,” AZCDL Communications Director Charles Heller told The Arizona Sun Times. “We need to stop the psychopaths who are doing this, by taking action like implementing FASTER, which trains teachers and staff at schools to arm themselves after proper training. Ducey’s statement is a profile in cowardice, he’s acting like politicians do when they are afraid of not getting votes.”

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Arizona Sens. Sinema, Kelly Pivotal Two Votes Preventing Confirmation of ‘Radical Left-Wing’ Gigi Sohn to FCC

Gigi Sohn has been nominated by President Joe Biden to serve on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), but not a single Republican in the Senate has said they will vote to approve her confirmation. If every Senate Democrat votes to confirm her, plus Vice President Kamala Harris as a tie-breaking vote, Sohn will be confirmed, but insiders say two pivotal Democratic senators have indicated they will vote no, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema and Mark Kelly.

In an op-ed for The Register-Herald, former West Virginia legislator Mike Oliverio said Sohn has “radical left-wing viewpoints.” He cited her “record calling Fox News state-sponsored propaganda and questioning whether Sinclair Broadcasting should have their broadcast licenses revoked.”

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11 Substantial Election Integrity Bills Were Signed into Law Last Year in Arizona; So Far This Year, Only One

A couple of Republican legislators have been holding up election integrity bills from passing this year, but there was plenty of groundwork made last year. The Arizona Legislature pushed hard to get 11 of these bills passed in 2021, in large part due to concern there was fraud in the 2020 presidential election. So far this year, Gov. Doug Ducey has only signed one election integrity bill into law. 

Along with a list of last year’s successful bills provided to Republican Briefs, State Sen. Vince Leach (R-Tucson) said, “For those of you who think that our legislature did nothing for election security, here are the actual bills passed this [past] session. … The rest will have to wait until we have a larger majority.”

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Arizona Free Enterprise Club Labels Red4ED ‘One of the Most Expensive Failures in Arizona Political History’

The Arizona Free Enterprise Club (AFEC) analyzed the success of the Red4ED movement in Arizona since it launched a little over four years ago, and concluded that after spending over $30 million, the movement not only failed to accomplish anything, but failed to stop historic tax cuts. Red4Ed’s two initiatives and referendum were struck down by courts as “legally flawed,” resulting in AFEC labeling its efforts “the largest, most expensive failure in Arizona political history.” 

Arizona Educators United launched Red4Ed in 2018 ostensibly to increase teachers’ salaries and funding for K-12 education. People and teachers showed up all over, at the state capitol and at events and protests, wearing red shirts and carrying red signs. But AFEC said “the movement was quickly hijacked by the teachers’ unions and other out-of-state special interest groups.” It soon turned into “a singular quest to double the state income tax through a ballot initiative.”

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After Felony Conviction in for Casting Ballots in Arizona and New Hampshire in 2016, Man Obtained Arizona Ballot for 2020 Election

A man who was convicted of voting in Arizona and New Hampshire for the same election has continued voting in Arizona. Court documents show Sigmund Boganski, 77, voted in both states in the 2016 election, but according to the Maricopa County Recorder, he requested an early ballot for the 2020 election.

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