Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fun with campaign finance reports...

Oh, the stuff that I dig into when I'm feeling bored diligent... :)

Notes:  Most information gathered from the last four finance reports of the cycle.  In addition, I didn't go through the reports of Democratic candidates.  Partly because I'm a partisan hack (like that's breaking news to any regular readers! LOL) and partly because most of the Democratic candidates financed their campaigns through Clean Elections, and CE candidates are actively discouraged from using their campaign funds for non-campaign purposes.  I checked a few, but their reports, as well as the reports of R candidates who utilized CE funding, were really boring.

Today, between basketball games and gift unwrappings, I was perusing some Maricopa County and State of Arizona campaign finance reports (political geek that I am), and learned that many candidates and PACs use their campaign funds "creatively".  Nothing that is necessarily illegal, but stuff that doesn't seem to have much to do with electing candidates.

From recent reports filed with the Maricopa County Recorder and the Secretary of State -

Associated Highway Patrolmen of Arizona PAC, 11/18/2010 - $1000 to the ALEC Scholarship Fund (page 51 of the linked .pdf), which pays for legislators to attend various ALEC functions.  The memo on the contribution was "Various Republican Candidates/Committees Contribution."  They can contribute to anyone they want to, but have they forgotten who leads the annual charges to underfund DPS and to mess with the public safety employees' pension fund?  It sure isn't the Democrats...

Arizona Dairymen PAC, 11/15/2010 - $500 to the ALEC Scholarship Fund.

Transportation Association (Legislative and Educational PAC), 9/15/2010 - $449.41 to SRP for "ALEC AZ Nite Dinner"

Apollo Group Inc. Organization for Legislative Leadership in Arizona, 10/14/2010 - $2500 directly to ALEC

Note: The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) is a somewhat shadowy* right-wing group dedicated to putting state legislators into contact with lobbyists and executives from its corporate sponsors.  The Scholarship Fund is intended to pay for member legislators to attend various ALEC functions.

* = shadowy because its membership is semi-secret (members can self-publicize their association with ALEC, but generally ALEC doesn't publish a complete list of its members, and it also keeps secret its contributors and the amounts contributed).

Other interesting entries include -

Frank Antenori, R for Senate in LD30, spent $104.90 on 11/3/2010 for a power strip for his laptop and a blue tooth headset.  The election was on *11/2.*  He's not the only candidate to use campaign funds for computers/electronics, but most were discreet enough to make the expenditures *before* the election.

Nancy Barto, R for Senate in LD7, spent $334.40 on 11/11/2010 for airfare, $246.34 for lodging on 11/13/2010 (and a $25 baggage fee on that date), and $175 on 9/25/2010 for a fee for a Wallbuilders conference in Texas.  Wallbuilders is an anti-choice/historical revisionist group based in Texas.

Chuck Gray, R Senator in LD19...well, actually, since Gray is retiring (for now, anyway) and didn't run this year, technically speaking nothing he spent from his campaign funds this year was intended to help him win an election, but let's not quibble over details. How about we just cover some of the highlights. 

He spent $265.43 on 10/28/2010 to renew a subscription to the Wall Street Journal.  Also, $194.04 from 10/1/2010 through 10/6/2010 on miscellaneous charges related to a trip to Boston, over $1500 on travel-related charges from 8/9/2010 through 9/13/2010.  Many, but not all, of the other things that he used his campaign funds for this year were also travel-related.

Jack Harper, R for House in LD4, spent $100 on 9/23/2010 on a two-year membership in ALEC.

John McComish, R for Senate in LD20, spent $130 on 8/13/2010 for a donation to Tempe Right To Life.

Steve Montenegro, R for House in LD12, spent $82 on 7/17/2010 to pay the fee for submitting a ballot proposition argument to the Arizona Secretary of State.

Russell Pearce, R for Senate in LD18, spent $551.17 on 11/5/2010 for "airfare and lodging" (no destination listed).

Michelle Reagan, R for Senate in LD8, spent $418.80 on 11/18/2010 for airfare to Colorado for a fellowship.  In August, she spent $675 on dues for the National Rifle Association and AZ Citizens Action for the Arts.   On 7/26/2010, she spent $86 out of campaign funds on a subscription to the Arizona Republic.

Bob Robson, R for House in LD20, spent $227.70 on 9/2/2010 on "newspaper subscription to Phoenix Newspapers (aka - the Arizona Republic).

Jim Weiers, R for House in LD10, spent $75 on 7/7/2010 to submit a ballot proposition argument to the Arizona Secretary of State.

Interesting stuff...interesting to political geeks.  :))


Steve Muratore said...

I seem to remember Pearce having gone to San Fran about that time to the appeals court hearing on the injunction for SB1070 or maybe to DC for the SCOTUS arguments on the Employer Sanction law.

Anonymous said...

thanx man good post