Must be nice to be an unethical Republican (that's not redundant - I do know some ethical ones. Of course, this being the 21st Century, the ethical ones have no chance of winning an R primary, so we don't hear about them).
For the most part, when they get caught doing something dirty, they don't face penalties harsher than a slap on the wrist...with a wet noodle.
- Susan Bitter Smith, Bob Burns, and Bob Stump, Republican candidates for the Arizona Corporation Commission all, accepted funding from the Citizens Clean Elections Commission and agreed to follow Clean Elections' rules concerning expenditures. One of those rules is that candidates cannot use funds that are specified for use during the primary for general election-related activity.
The threesome did so, however, expending primary funds on a mailer that attacked their three general election opponents.
A complaint was filed and an investigation ensued.
This week, they agreed to "give up" $29K in public funding for their campaigns in exchange for making the matter go away and for not having to admit their guilt.
No jail time, no fines, and not even a whisper of a hint of removal from the ballot. They just won't have as much public money to spend on their own campaigns.
And there is nothing in the agreement that will do anything to minimize the vast amount of money that can and will be spent by industry-funded PACs and Independent Expenditure committees to ensure the election of willfully blind people serve as society's watchdogs.
- - "Cronyism" addendum one to the above story: The chairman of the ACC, Republican Gary Pierce, is a "marketing consultant" for the company that printed the mailers, Americopy. Americopy is owned and operated by a big R donor, Alan Heywood. In other words, even when getting caught doing dirt, the R candidates found a way to funnel public money to campaign contributors.
- - "Cronyism" addendum two to the above story (not directly related to the above story, but highly illustrative of the glad-handing atmosphere that surrounds the current ACC): The Sierra Club, with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest (ACLPI) is suing the ACC to stop the construction and operation of a power plant that will generate electricity by burning trash. The Republicans on the ACC, Gary Pierce, Brenda Burns, and Bob Stump, have declared this to be a "green" initiative, in spite of the massive amount of pollution that it will create as it generates electricity.
Turns out that the company behind the proposed project, Reclamation Power Group, is fronted by one Ron Blendu.
If that name sounds a little familiar, it should. Ron's brother Bob Blendu is a former state legislator. Some of Bob's colleagues during his stint in the lege? Gary Pierce, Brenda Burns, and Bob Stump.
Oh, and another of his colleagues during his time in the legislature? Bob Burns, a current candidate for the ACC.
The fifth Republican in this brew of "it isn't what you know, it's who you know" is perennial R candidate Susan Bitter Smith. She's never been a member of the lege so far as I can tell, but if she wins a seat on the ACC, she should fit right in with the other R's - she's a career corporate lobbyist.