CBP’s Operations ‘Plaza Spike’ and ‘Apollo’ Intercept Cartel Drug and Weapons Trafficking Across U.S. Borders

Illegal Firearms

As a result of intensifying efforts by multiple law enforcement agencies, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced in a series of statements that record amounts of illicit fentanyl and other dangerous drugs, as well as hauls of illegal weaponry have been seized.

Through two programs dubbed “Operation Plaza Spike” and “Operation Apollo,” officials say that as of June in FY 2024, over 15,000 pounds of fentanyl have been seized, exceeding the total amounts from the previous eight fiscal years combined. Despite a 17 percent decrease in nationwide drug seizures from May to June, CBP notes that significant quantities of drugs and firearms continue to be intercepted at the border.

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Maricopa County Says Some Voting Locations Affected by Global Tech Outage

People Voting

The Maricopa County Elections Department announced Friday that some of its voting locations are experiencing outages because of the worldwide tech outage.

“Due to the global tech outage, Maricopa County Elections is also experiencing an outage at some voting locations,” the county department wrote in a post on X Friday morning. “Please visit Locations.Maricopa.Vote for the most up-to-date information about locations that are open and their hours of operations.”

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Report Finds Numerous Laws Violated in Pima County’s 2020 and 2022 Elections: ‘Malfeasance, incompetence, and Possible Criminal Activity’

A new report investigating Pima County’s 2020 and 2022 elections found multiple ways the Tucson-based county is likely violating the law, allowing opportunities for election tampering. The illegalities were described as “malfeasance, incompetence and possible criminal activity.”

The report came out about the same time as another report which found that over 18,000 ballots lacked chain of custody records in the county’s 2022 election. Coincidentally in the same election cycle, Katie Hobbs edged out Kari Lake for the Governor’s office by just 17,117 votes.

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New Arizona Semiconductor Apprenticeship Hopes to Bolster Local Workforce

Intel Headquarters

Intel is starting up a workforce development program with some help of the state of Arizona in order to bolster the state’s growing semiconductor industry. 

The program is meant to train people to become manufacturing facility technicians in a formal apprenticeship, the first of its kind in the United States from the technology company. According to a news release, the apprenticeship will feature educational components from the Maricopa County Community College District. 

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Arizona Delegation at the 2024 Republican National Convention

Kari Lake

The Arizona delegation is poised to significantly impact the 2024 Republican National Convention, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this week. The delegation includes several high-profile figures, including Kari Lake, election security expert Shelby Busch, and three alternate electors with pending court cases. The path to Milwaukee was tumultuous because of internal disputes, such as the attempted replacement of six delegates. The delegation has maintained a strong presence at the convention, and according to the delegates, there has been a powerful show of unity.

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Arizona Court Shoots Down Border Ballot Measure Lawsuit

Illegal Immigrants

The ‘Secure the Border Act’ will make it onto the November ballot for Arizonans after the Maricopa County Superior Court shot down a lawsuit from activist groups challenging its legality.

The proposition would make it a state crime to cross into Arizona through an illegal point of entry, as well as other provisions to crack down on the high levels of migrant crossings and the fentanyl crisis.

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Kari Lake Appeals to Arizona Supreme Court over Denial of Her Lawsuit That Provided New Evidence from Tabulator Log Files

Kari Lake filed an opening brief with the Arizona Supreme Court last week, appealing the Arizona Court of Appeals’ denial of her second election lawsuit, a Rule 60(b) challenge containing new evidence. A significant part of it emphasized that over 275,000 signatures were not verified on early ballot envelope affidavits. Rule 60(b) of the Rules of Civil Procedure allows a court to “relieve a party or its legal representative from a final judgment, order, or proceeding” based on certain factors, such as new evidence or wrongdoing.

Lake’s opening brief, drafted by attorneys Jennifer Wright and Tim LaSota, emphasized “new information showing that, contrary to Maricopa’s claims of an ‘Election Day hiccup,’ nearly two-thirds of Maricopa’s 446 vote center tabulators failed on a massive scale — averaging over 7,000 ballot rejections every thirty minutes shortly after polls opened to polls closing.”

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DNC Sends $15 Million to Battleground States Pennsylvania, Arizona and Georgia After Trump Selects Vance for VP

Jaimie Harrison

The Democratic National Committee confirmed the transfer of $15 million to battleground states after former President Donald Trump selected Senator JD Vance (R-OH) to serve as his vice president on the Republican ticket for president in 2024.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the party claimed the transfers to local parties would increase state coordination and give President Joe Biden a better shot at retaining the White House in November.

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Arizona Lawmakers Rally in Support of Trump After Assassination Attempt

Jake Hoffman, Kari Lake and Donald Trump

Arizona lawmakers and political officials issued public statements and interviews in support of former President Donald Trump following an assaination attempt during a campaign rally in Butler, Pennsylvania. 

The FBI has identified the suspected shooter as Thomas Matthew Crooks, a 20-year-old from Bethel Park, Pennsylvania. The attack, which occurred just as Trump began his speech, resulted in the death of former fire chief Corey Comperatore and critically injured two others before Crooks was killed by the U.S. Secret Service. Trump suffered a grazed bullet to the ear and later said, “It was God alone.”

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Pima County Election Records Show Chain-of-Custody Problems for over 18,000 Absentee Ballots in 2022 Election: Study

A new report obtained by The Arizona Sun Times found that more than 18,000 absentee ballots counted in the 2022 election in Pima County alone had severely lacking or no chain-of-custody paperwork, meaning there is an inadequate record of the whereabouts or origins of the Tucson-area ballots.

Coincidentally in the same election cycle, Katie Hobbs edged out Kari Lake for the Governor’s office by just 17,117 votes.

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Arizona Wildfire Funding Headed for Gila County

Arizona Wildfire

Four hundred thousand in state taxpayer dollars will be open for assisting Gila County as the Watch Fire persist in eastern Arizona.

The fire is largely impacting the San Carlos Apache Tribe as over 1,000 acres have burned and some people have lost homes, according to Arizona’s Family. The money is coming from the Joint Heat Relief Initiative through the state Department of Emergency and Military Affairs, according to a news release.

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Military Pharmacies Tell Arizona Active Duty Soldiers, Veterans, and Their Families There Is No Money for Prescriptions

Active duty soldiers, veterans, and their families in southern Arizona are being told by pharmacies located on federal military bases that their prescriptions cannot be renewed due to lack of funding. The Raymond W. Bliss Army Health Center pharmacy located at Ft. Huachuca, known as an installation pharmacy, is currently undergoing one of these shortages, telling customers there will be no funds available until July 17. The pharmacy is directing customers to commercial pharmacies where they must pay out of pocket for their medications.

Army veteran Jack Dona, who is part of CONELRAD, a think tank looking into election fraud, told The Arizona Sun Times he discovered the problem when attempting to refill prescriptions over a week ago there. He was forced to refill them out of pocket at a nearby Walgreens instead. 

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Over $1 Million in Fentanyl Pills Confiscated by Local Arizona Police

Mesa Fentanyl Seizure

Major fentanyl seizures are not exclusive to just border authorities, as $1.2 million worth of the deadly drug was confiscated by the Mesa Police Department on Independence Day.

The seizure of roughly 750,000 blue fentanyl pills weighed around 200 pounds and were put into nearly 60 “bundles” throughout a gold Cadillac. According to the news release, the police were flagged after a call of three people being in a car where ” the driver appeared to be unconscious.” 

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The Rise of Conservative Support Among Hispanic Voters in Arizona

Yelin Snyder

In exclusive interviews with The Arizona Sun Times, conservative activists Gary Garcia Snyder and Monica Yelin unveiled the Republican Party’s progress in engaging Hispanic voters as the 2024 elections draws near. Stressing the necessity of understanding the community’s intricacies and advocating for involvement beyond political realms, Snyder and Yelin emphasized a strategic shift towards sustained, organic outreach efforts over sporadic election-focused approaches.

Their observations from the 2022 midterm elections, revealed a noteworthy trend: a growing inclination towards the GOP among Hispanic voters. With 39 percent aligning with Republican candidates — an incremental rise compared to previous elections — Snyder and Yelin emphasized the potential significance of even minor shifts in Hispanic voter sentiment within Arizona’s fiercely competitive political arena.

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Biden Has ‘A Lot to Do’ to Beat Age Concerns in Reelection Bid, According to Hobbs

Governor Katie Hobbs

Gov. Katie Hobbs carefully measured her words of support for President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign, as polls show the president could potentially dash her hopes of a Democratic trifecta in swing-state Arizona.

“That’s up to the president,” was her answer when asked Monday morning in Phoenix about whether Biden should drop out of the race.

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Arizona’s Legislative District 2 Voted to Suspend Republican Precinct Committeeman Christian Lamar

committeeman Christian Lamar of Arizona

Christian Lamar was suspended from attending Arizona Legislative District 2 meetings, where he remains a precinct committeeman and member-at-large for the state’s 8th Congressional District. The body voted overwhelmingly for his suspension, with margins of 80-16 barring access to the legislative district and 76-23 to revoke his state committeeman status.

“I was just expelled as the only Black Republican from AZGOP executive committee by RINOs in AZGOP LD2 for: supporting President Trump, signing up 285 new Trump Precinct Committeemen & holding the Republican AZ state legislature accountable for allowing 2020/2022 stolen elections,” Lamar tweeted.

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Arizona Rancher Charged for Shooting an Illegal Migrant on His Property Scores Final Court Victory

A rancher previously charged with the fatal shooting of an illegal migrant who encroached on his Arizona ranch will not have to face trial again.

An Arizona Superior Court judge on Tuesday dismissed murder and assault charges against George Alan Kelly “with prejudice,” according to 9 KGUN. This ruling means the rancher cannot face charges again, closing a final chapter in a case that began over a year ago.

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Grant Applications Open for Veterans Organizations in Arizona

Veterans

Arizona veterans organizations can now apply for grants through the state’s Department of Veterans Services.

The application for the Veterans’ Donation Fund reopened on July 1 and is intended for 501(c) groups seeking $4,999 or less in state assistance. The state also sometimes doles out more significant veteran-related grants ranging from $5,000-75,000, but that application is currently closed. 

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Veteran Lawmen Face Off in Competitive Republican Maricopa County Sheriff Primary

Maricopa County Sheriff Candidates

The 2024 Republican primary for Maricopa County Sheriff is set to be a very close contest, featuring three prominent candidates with extensive law enforcement backgrounds. Mike Crawford is a veteran with a multifaceted career as a sheriff deputy, police officer, and former DEA agent. Colonel Frank Milstead, is the former Mesa Chief of Police and the past director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Jerry Sheridan, with a 40-year tenure in the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO), has served in roles ranging from detention officer to chief deputy.

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Arizona State Republicans Lament Water Basin Bill That Didn’t Find Hobbs’ Desk

Katie Hobbs

Some Republican lawmakers have expressed disappointment with the fact that a water basin management bill did not make its way to Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs’ desk this session, which finished last month.

Senate Bill 1221 would have stopped “new groundwater pumping” in the Gila Bend, Wilcox and Hualapai basins as well as cut back on current usage of the water by 10-15% over the course of the next two decades, according to a news release. The bill passed the Senate in February, but absences from the Republican side and united votes against the bill on the Democratic slide led the bill to die in June.

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Arizona State Rep. David Cook Challenges State Sen. Wendy Rogers amid Controversial Election Integrity Stance

David Cook and Wendy Rogers

State Representative David Cook (R-Globe), an election fraud denier who regularly receives very low ratings from right-leaning organizations, is running for the Arizona Senate against election integrity champion State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff). Rogers, who raised over $3 million in recent years, the most of any legislative candidate in state history, mainly due to that issue and tireless campaigning, is widely expected to defeat Cook in the LD 7 primary.

After the 2022 election, Cook denied that there was cheating. He posted on X, “I realize today my party has been taken over by people that like to yell and scream and blame everyone but themselves for a loss.”

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Criminals Released in Arizona by Border Patrol Later Arrested in New England

Illegal Immigrants

Border Patrol agents continue to release violent criminals into the U.S. who are later arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers thousands of miles away. While numerous examples exist, in three recent cases, Border Patrol agents in Arizona released violent criminals who were later arrested nearly 3,000 miles away in New England.

On June 12, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations-Boston agents arrested an Ecuadorian illegally living in Northampton, Massachusetts, who was wanted by Ecuadorian authorities.

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Arizona Senate Primary Heats Up: Lake Leads, Lamb Continues to Fight

Kari Lake and Mark Lamb

As the primary election day in Arizona approaches, the race to replace outgoing Senator Kyrsten Sinema (I-Tucson) intensifies. For the Republicans, the contest is between Kari Lake and Sheriff Mark Lamb, with the winner set to face Democrat Reuben Gallego (D-AZ-03). According to the latest poll by Noble Predictive Insights on May 24, Kari Lake leads with 46% support, while Mark Lamb trails at 21%. Additionally, 25% of voters remain unsure, and 9% support other candidates.

Many voters expressed a desire to see the Republicans square off against each other. The sole opportunity to watch the candidates is a virtual debate that was held on May 23, hosted by the Association of Mature American Citizens (AMAC) Action. This forum provided Arizona primary voters with a clear view of their contrasting perspectives. Opting out of the Arizona Clean Elections Commission debate, Lake chose instead to engage directly with voters throughout the day at a series of events.

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Three Dead After Crossing Border in Arizona Despite CBP Warnings of Heat Risk

Arizona Desert

Three people crossing the border from Mexico into the United States died as a result of the high summer temperatures.

United States Customs and Border Protection announced on Friday that three Mexican migrants were found dead after a search and rescue mission near Ajo, Arizona, by federal border authorities on Wednesday morning. The border law enforcement agency explained that human smugglers routinely take advantage of those seeking to come to the U.S.

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Arizona’s 7th District Sees Butierez vs. Grijalva Showdown in Congressional Race

Daniel Butierez endured nine and a half years in jail for a crime he was never charged with or tried for. After a three-decade battle, the courts finally admitted their mistake and cleared his record. Now, driven by a deep passion for justice, Butierez is challenging Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ-03), who has held the seat since 2003. As the only Republican candidate stepping up to represent Arizona’s 7th Congressional District, Butierez stands ready to face Grijalva, who announced on April 2 that he is battling cancer. Grijalva’s last confirmed public appearance was in mid-February 2024, when he placed a vote in the House of Representatives.

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Opinion Issued Aims to Clear Up ‘Medical Emergency’ in Arizona Abortion Laws

Kris Mayes

Attorney General Kris Mayes issued an opinion as abortion policy in the state is likely to be on the ballot in November.

The 15-week law is still on the books in Arizona, and it was signed into law by former Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in 2022. The opinion, which was sent to four Democratic state lawmakers on Thursday, is meant to explain what can be considered a “medical emergency” under the law.

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Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Rejects Kari Lake’s and Mark Finchem’s Appeal Alleging Arizona Officials Lied to the Court, No Sanctions Granted

Kari Lake and Mark Finchem

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals rejected an appeal from Kari Lake and Mark Finchem alleging that Arizona officials made false statements to the courts regarding their lawsuit to stop the use of electronic voting machine tabulators. The panel of three justices, two who were appointed to the bench by Democratic presidents, gave no reason for their dismissal on June 20, and also denied a motion for sanctions by defendant Maricopa County, which was filed three days prior. 

Lake’s and Finchem’s Motion to Recall Mandate, drafted by attorney Kurt Olsen, stated, “Maricopa’s violations of Arizona law mean its elections have not been shown to be any more reliable than a Ouija board.” The motion said the officials’ alleged lies and perjury, which involved lying about committing misdemeanors, were discovered after obtaining Maricopa County’s tabulator system log (SLOG) files, which the pair maintained contradicted the statements of officials. 

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Maricopa County Employee Who Allegedly Stole Tabulator Programming FOB/Key Has Ties to Soros Deleted, Had Vowed to Stop Election Day Attorneys

Walter Ringfield

A LinkedIn account belonging to Maricopa County Elections temporary employee Walter Ringfield, Jr., who was arrested last Friday for allegedly stealing a digital magnetic key used to program Election Day voting machine tabulators, was deleted sometime after his arrest. This erased his connection to a radical group with ties to progressive billionaire George Soros, One Voice, One Vote.

When investigators looked through Ringfield’s social media that wasn’t deleted, they discovered a post he’d made vowing to thwart Republican lawyers combating wrongdoing on Election Day.

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Arizona Court Rules Opioid Settlement Funding Is Legal

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs

The opioid settlement funds headed to the Arizona corrections system are legal, according to a judge’s ruling on Monday.

The part of the budget that would divert $115 million in total to support the Arizona Department of Corrections, Rehabilitation and Reentry with what’s outlined as substance abuse treatment. Although the original legal action from Attorney General Kris Mayes resulted in a temporary restraining order for the funds to be transferred, this recent decision from the Maricopa County Superior Court scrapped that. 

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Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs Faces Mounting Pressure as Corruption Investigation Heats Up

Katie Hobbs Investigation

Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs will face increased scrutiny following revelations of an alleged “pay-for-play” scheme uncovered by a left-leaning publication with media ads hitting the airwaves this week. State-solutions, Inc., affiliated with the Republican Governor’s Association, has invested in a six-figure advertisement campaign to highlight the investigation into Hobbs. Media attention is intensifying, with the ad urging, “Tell Hobbs to cooperate and cut the corruption.” Both Attorney General Mayes, a Democrat, and Republican County Attorney Mitchell have asserted claims over the investigation. Attorney Gina Godbehere, who is challenging Mitchell in a competitive primary told The Arizona Sun Times, “My opponent [Mitchell] should be more concerned about the effect of her lenient policies on our community, the victims, and law enforcement rather than chasing the political spotlight.  

The story broke after the progressive news organization revealed Sunshine Residential, a significant donor to the Hobbs Inaugural fund and the Democrats, received a nearly 60% increase in state contracts. The ad released this week told Arizonas, “Three days after a state agency denied a contractor’s request to charge taxpayers higher rates, a donation appeared: One hundred thousand dollars from the same company… into a slush fund controlled by Governor Katie Hobbs. Within months the Hobbs administration reversed course, approving the request for more taxpayer money. Pay-to-play so brazen, Democrat Attorney General Kris Mayes has launched a criminal investigation.”

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Maricopa County Elections Worker Arrested for Stealing Tabulator Programming FOB/Key Also Allegedly Broke into AZ Senate

Walter Ringfield

An Arizona State Capitol insider with knowledge of recent incidents there told The Arizona Sun Times that progressive activist Walter Ringfield, Jr. – the same man who was arrested for allegedly stealing an election machine tabulator key fob – was caught breaking and entering into the Arizona Senate recently. Video surveillance footage allegedly caught him stealing collectible coins from the security area and walking around on the third floor unauthorized. When apprehended by security, he was asked to leave. The insiders said that Ringfield told security he was there to deliver some documents to State Senator Juan Mendez (D-Tempe).

News reports about the election key fob theft broke a Monday. According to a police report obtained by The Sun Times, surveillance video shows Ringfield putting the set into his pocket.

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Maricopa County Temp Worker Arrested for Alleged Theft at Election Center

Walter Ringfield mugshot

A temporary worker at the Maricopa County Tabulation and Election Center (MCTEC) was arrested for theft, forcing the county to reprogram its security equipment, which will cost around $20,000.

On Friday, Walter Ringfield, 27, who was on probation for a prior felony, was arrested for allegedly stealing a security fob and keys from MCTEC, KTAR News reported. Ringfield was booked on charges of theft and criminal damage.

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Two Arizona Prosecutors Fight over Gov. Katie Hobbs Investigation amid Conflict of Interest Concerns

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, and Gov. Katie Hobbs (composite image)

by Natalia Mittelstadt   Two Arizona prosecutors are conducting independent investigations into Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) regarding an alleged pay-to-play scheme, with both accusing the other of having a conflict of interest. Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes (D) and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell (R) are both investigating Hobbs for alleged criminal conduct, but each are telling the other prosecutor to stand down from their investigation because of potentially improper motivations. Last Friday, Mayes opened a criminal probe into corruption allegations involving Hobbs and donations from a group home business. Mayes notified the state legislature that she had received a criminal referral from a GOP lawmaker involving allegations with Sunshine Residential Homes. “The Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office is statutorily authorized to investigate the allegations and offenses outlined in your letter. To that end, the Attorney General’s Office will be opening an investigation,” Mayes wrote. The announcement came after The Arizona Republic reported that the group home business that cares for vulnerable children was approved for a 60% rate hike after it donated about $400,000 to Hobb’s inauguration and the state Democratic Party. Sunshine requested the rate hike to address financial hardships amid the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation, the newspaper…

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Biden DOJ Report Alleges Phoenix Police Violate Rights Based on Race; Insiders Warn Consent Decree Could Be Imminent

Phoenix Police Department

The Biden Department of Justice (DOJ) issued a 126-page report on Thursday claiming that it found probable cause after a three year investigation that the Phoenix Police Department (PPD) violated the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments when dealing with the public. The investigation began in August 2021, alleging five problem areas. The DOJ accused PPD of using excessive force, discriminating against nonwhites, treating homeless people unlawfully, violating the First Amendment, and discriminating against the mentally ill.

A PPD officer who preferred to remain anonymous told The Arizona Sun Times that there were all kinds of problems with the report. He said the consultants hired by the DOJ to visit PPD were fresh out of law school and knew nothing about law enforcement. He said they pulled a few files and didn’t interview relevant people. There was a lot they didn’t do, he said. Additionally, the cases cited in the report are old, and key details were omitted from the report, including that those cases were resolved.

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Republicans Battle to Unseat Stanton in Arizona’s Congressional District 4

Arizona CD 4

The Republicans are hoping to unseat Congressional Democrat Greg Stanton in District 4, who has won three consecutive terms. This district covers all of Tempe, and parts of Mesa, Phoenix, Scottsdale and Chandler.

The Cook Political Report lists Stanton’s seat as a solid Democrat despite CD4 having a “D+2” rating. This means on average, a Democratic candidate in this district would perform 2 percentage points better than the national average for Democratic candidates. Pundits say, this slight edge should be beatable with the right candidate. This district is labeled “solid Democrat”  instead of “lean Democrat” due to Stanton’s incumbent status and significant war chest of  $1,517,082.

Republican consultants believe the key to defeating Stanton lies in the significant number of independent voters, which is a huge 34% in all registered voters.

Republicans are entering 2024 with a registration advantage and can highlight Stanton’s consistent alignment with President Biden by showcasing his voting record. The lawmaker votes with Biden almost 100% of the time.

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Arizona Abortion Law Repeal to Take Effect in Time to Avoid Territorial-Era Law

Stop Abortion Bans Rally

Arizona has avoided potential abortion law confusion with the conclusion of the legislative session.

Since the session concluded on Saturday night, all normal legislation without an emergency clause signed by Gov. Katie Hobbs will go into effect on Sept. 14. This also includes the May repeal of the abortion law that was created in 1864 and re-codified in 1977 that banned abortion in nearly all circumstances.

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Arizona Appeals Court Ignores Evidence to Throw Out Kari Lake’s Second Election Appeal

Kari Lake Speaking

An Arizona Court of Appeals panel of three judges issued a 23-page unpublished decision last week, affirming a trial court’s dismissal of Kari Lake’s Rule 60(b) second election lawsuit. The court claimed that Lake’s Rule 60(b)(3) motion, which means requesting a second trial based on newly found evidence, constituted merely relitigating her first election lawsuit.

The court said that instead, “The focus must rather be on the fraud or misconduct that prevents a litigant from trying otherwise meritorious claims.” However, the court ignored Lake’s evidence of misconduct and affirmed the high standard the trial court judge set for election contests, which is not found in Arizona case law.

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Maricopa County Pays Down Pension Liabilities

Maricopa County Board of Supervisors

Maricopa County is taking a victory lap for taking steps toward wiping out some pension debt in this year’s budget.

The Public Safety Personnel Retirement System and Corrections Officer Retirement Plan, which is used for law enforcement when they retire, will have $500 million sent its way for “unfunded pension liabilities.” This came after a vote in which every member of the Board of Supervisors agreed to tackle the debt.

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