FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, October 20, 2017

UPDATE: Arpaio At Trump Golf Club, Hanging At California Republican Convention After Being Found Still Guilty

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was stumping at President Donald Trump's Rancho Palos Verdes golf club last night while his attorneys were beginning to appeal yesterday's still-guilty of criminal contempt of court decision.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued her four-page order (read here) after business hours last night, and Arpaio's attorneys filed a Notice of Appeal within an hour of two.

At the same time, the former Sheriff was headlining a $250/person fundraiser for a 28-year old candidate challenging longtime Congresswoman Maxine Waters. "I don't know her, but I don't like her," Arpaio told the group.

The candidate, Omar Navarro, added that Arpaio would be hanging out with him in his hospitality suite at the California Republican Convention in Anaheim this weekend.

Unless the golf club donated its room and services, the President will make money from Arpaio's appearance, less than two months after Trump issued the pardon that halted the sentencing portion of Arpaio's contempt case.

(h/t to LA Daily News' Kevin Modesti)

UPDATE: Here's video of last night's event. H/t to Curious George.)

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

BREAKING, READ: Arpaio Immediately Appeals Decision That Lets Court's Guilty Finding Stand

Moments after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton notified his attorneys of her decision that her finding that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was guilty of criminal contempt of court would stand, Arpaio filed a Notice of Appeal.

Judge Bolton recognized that President Donald Trump's controversial pardon of Arpaio "undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case."

The court had found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt in July, for willfully violating orders of a different judge in the still-active civil rights case of Melendres v. Arpaio. After Trump's August 25 pardon, the Court suspended the pending sentencing hearing, and later accepted the pardon as ending the case.

Arpaio's attorneys asked that the Court go further and undo her July 31 order.  The decision today refused that, and the Notice of Appeal has been filed. You can read both below.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

BREAKING: "Abandoned the Prosecution"; Judge Must Appoint Private Attorney To Appeal Trump's Pardon Of Arpaio, Former Clinton and Obama Attorneys Tell Court (READ)

Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DOJ has "abandoned the prosecution", an independent, private counsel must be appointed by the U.S. District Court so that the effect of President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be appealed. A group led and represented by former attorneys for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton filed the brief earlier today.

The Amici Curiae brief was filed (read below) by The Protect Democracy Project, along with other attorneys from Perkins Coie, and Messing & Spector.  The Protect Democracy Project was formed by attorneys who served former President Barack Obama, the attorneys of Messing & Spector were senior counsel for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Perkins Coie represents the Democratic National Committee.

The brief (3 pages, below) brief is asking "that the Court take a modest action to provide for appellate consideration of this issue, by appointing a private attorney - as the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure command - who can then prosecute an appeal."  Claiming the "core power of the judiciary is at stake", they claim that Rule 42(a)  mandates ("must") that a private attorney be appointed in a prosecution for criminal contempt if the government declines the request.

Citing the Department of Justice's post-pardon statements that "this prosecution is over," that "[t]here will be no sentencing," and "[t]here will be no judgment", The Protect Democracy Project declares that "although  the Government obtained a conviction, it then abandoned any efforts to prosecute the contempt."

After finding Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court in July, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton recognized the validity of President Trump's August pardon of Arpaio, and on September 4, declared the case closed and vacated the sentencing date. However, she took under consideration whether her findings of criminal contempt should be wiped away - as Arpaio attorneys requested and the DOJ agreed.


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

NEW: Arizona's Kidscare Program Won't Run Out of Money In 2017 Despite Congressional Inaction, Per AHCCCS


Congress is allowing federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program ("CHIP") to expire - at least temporarily - this weekend, and Arizona has been identified as one of three states most at-risk. However, the Arizona Kidscare program is "expect(ed) to be funded through the end of the calendar year."


National articles discussing the federal lapse in funding on September 30 have cited an analysis of June data showing Arizona as one of the three states (and the District of Columbia) likely to run out of funding sometime in October, November or December.

However, AHCCCS Public Information Officer Heidi Capriotti tells Arizona's Politics that they have been working with the Governor's Office and the federal CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to make sure that the 22,000 Arizona children receiving healthcare coverage through the program remain covered.

"Through carry-forward allotments and re-distributions, we expect Kidscare to be funded through the end of the year,"  Capriotti said. She also noted that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona is not in as dire straits as several others.

The national report using June data expected that Arizona would have $60.1M in redistribution funding from prior allotments and that that would not last more than three months; only Minnesota, North Carolina and the District of Columbia had that small of a cushion.

In fact, while it only shows total revenues and expenses from the Kidscare fund, Arizona's OpenBooksAZ website shows that the state has received approximately $8M from the federal government in the months of July and August, and that the income had exceeded the outgo by about $1.5M. For Arizona's 2017FY (ended June 30, 2017), the revenue exceeded the expenses by approximately $0.5M.

Capriotti also notes that it appears that Congress is starting to move forward on approving the CHIP budget. If Congress and the President approve it in 2017, there would be no actual interruption of services.  She also points out that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona may not have one of the smallest cushions, after all.

Arizona is required to provide the 22,000 Kidscare members a 30-day notice if the benefits are expiring. No such notice is expected this year.

The national CHIP and its Arizona version have both had rocky periods where the hot winds of politics have threatened to run them aground. The current storm does not appear to be a Cat 5...yet.

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WATCH: Rep. Sinema Launches Senate Bid Vs. Flake (BREAKING)

Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) launched her long-expected bid to challenge Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) this afternoon.

Here is her announcement video:



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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Rep. Joins GOP Call For Special Counsel To Investigate Clinton's Emails, Obama Administration

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD5) today joined with fellow Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to renew their call on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a 2nd Special Counsel to investigate the Hillary Clinton private email server and other issues relating to the Obama Administration.

The letter (below) renews the GOP's call from July to set up another Special Counsel alongside Robert Mueller, in order to follow up on Congress' previous investigations into alleged Obama Administration wrongdoings. The Committee expresses concern that then-FBI Director James Comey and others may have pre-determined not to charge former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for having classified documents on her private email server.

Mueller is investigating the 2016 election and alleged ties between the Trump campaign/Administration and claimed Russian interference.

First-term Rep. Biggs joined in signing the letter, and tweeted its public announcement earlier today. The renewed call comes a few days after news reports indicating that high-level Trump Administration officials have used private email accounts for some official business.



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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BREAKING/READ: Arizona Supreme Court Unanimously Holds Parent In Same-Sex Marriage Has Similar Status

In a case that received national attention, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided this morning that both women in a same sex marriage are legal parents to a child born during the marriage.

The ruling vacates the Court of Appeals opinion finding that the non-birth mother in the lesbian marriage did not have the same parental rights after the marriage was dissolved.

Justice Clint Bolick agreed with the other six justices as to the determination that Suzan was a legal parent - due to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions - but wrote a dissenting opinion as to the effects on Arizona's paternity statutes.


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Thursday, August 31, 2017

UPDATE, READ: Arizona Corporation Commission Corruption Trial Continued To 2018; 9th Circuit Weighs In

The federal bribery trial involving the former Chair of the Arizona Corporation Commission has been pushed back to 2018, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has put defendant Jim Norton's appeal of the protective order on life support.

U.S. District Court Judge John Tuchi signed an order today re-setting the trial of former ACC Chair Gary Pierce, his wife Sherry Pierce, lobbyist Jim Norton, and utility company owner George Johnson from October 3 to January 3, 2018.

Sherry Pierce's attorney (Ashley Adams) requested the 90-day continuance because she is currently involved in a 6-week trial which would prevent her from being able to prepare for the October trial date. Prosecuting attorneys and fellow defense counsel did not object to the postponement.

Meanwhile, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has expressed its doubts about Norton's challenge to Judge Tuchi's earlier order restricting what information about the wider corruption investigation can be publicly disclosed by defendants. Norton has until September 12 to explain why the appellate judges should consider an appeal before conviction and imposition of sentence.

The judge had ordered prosecutors to turn over documents to defense attorneys, but restricted the defendants and their attorneys from releasing information, so as not to interfere with ongoing investigations. (Our previous article - with the protective orders - can be found here.)


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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

BREAKING, READ: Following Presidential Pardon, Judge Sets October Hearing On Vacating Arpaio Criminal Contempt Of Court Verdict

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton has set an October 4 hearing on whether Donald Trump's Presidential pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio should vacate the verdict that he is guilty of criminal contempt of court.

The Judge's late Tuesday afternoon Order vacates the sentencing hearing set for October 5, and replaces it with oral argument on Arpaio's Motion to vacate and dismiss the case with prejudice, on Octbober 4 at 10:00a.m.. If successful, that motion would have the effect of wiping away the July verdict finding him guilty of criminal contempt of court for flagrantly violating a court order in the Melendres v. Arpaio civil rights case.

Judge Bolton rejected Arpaio's request to rule immediately on the Motion "because it requests more than vacating the sentencing date and dismissal with prejudice."  She thus gives the Government an opportunity to respond.

Yesterday, Trump gave a 4-minute long defense of his Friday night pardon of his friend Arpaio, and the former Sheriff's attorneys' Motion and Proposed Order can be read here.


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