FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Thursday, December 7, 2017

BULLETIN: Franks Statement Resigning As Of Jan.31


I have always tried to create a very warm and supportive atmosphere for every last person who has ever worked in my congressional office. It is my deepest conviction that there are many staffers, former and present, who would readily volunteer to substantiate this fact.

Given the nature of numerous allegations and reports across America in recent weeks, I want to first make one thing completely clear. I have absolutely never physically intimidated, coerced, or had, or attempted to have, any sexual contact with any member of my congressional staff.

However, I do want to take full and personal responsibility for the ways I have broached a topic that, unbeknownst to me until very recently, made certain individuals uncomfortable. And so, I want to shed light on how those conversations came about.

My wife and I have long struggled with infertility. We experienced three miscarriages.

We pursued adoption on more than one occasion only to have the adoptive mothers in each case change their mind prior to giving birth.

A wonderful and loving lady, to whom we will be forever grateful, acted as a gestational surrogate for our twins and was able to carry them successfully to live birth. The process by which they were conceived was a pro-life approach that did not discard or throw away any embryos.

My son and daughter are unspeakable gifts of God that have brought us our greatest earthly happiness in the 37 years we have been married.

When our twins were approximately 3 years old, we made a second attempt with a second surrogate who was also not genetically related to the child. Sadly, that pregnancy also resulted in miscarriage.

We continued to have a desire to have at least one additional sibling, for which our children had made repeated requests.

Due to my familiarity and experience with the process of surrogacy, I clearly became insensitive as to how the discussion of such an intensely personal topic might affect others.

I have recently learned that the Ethics Committee is reviewing an inquiry regarding my discussion of surrogacy with two previous female subordinates, making each feel uncomfortable. I deeply regret that my discussion of this option and process in the workplace caused distress.

We are in an unusual moment in history – there is collective focus on a very important problem of justice and sexual impropriety. It is so important that we get this right for everyone, especially for victims. 

But in the midst of this current cultural and media climate, I am deeply convinced I would be unable to complete a fair House Ethics investigation before distorted and sensationalized versions of this story would put me, my family, my staff, and my noble colleagues in the House of Representatives through hyperbolized public excoriation. Rather than allow a sensationalized trial by media damage those things I love most, this morning I notified House leadership that I will be leaving Congress as of January 31st, 2018. It is with the greatest sadness, that for the sake of the causes I deeply love, I must now step back from the battle I have spent over three decades fighting. I hope my resignation will remain distinct from the great gains we have made. My time in Congress serving my constituents, America and the Constitution is and will remain one of God’s greatest gift to me in life.

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4 of Arizona's 9 Representatives Vote Against Party On 2-Week Spending Bill

Nearly half  of Arizona's Congressional delegation switched sides on today's vote to keep the government open for business for the next two weeks. Republican Reps. Andy Biggs (CD5) and Paul Gosar (CD4) voted against the measure, while Democrats Kyrsten Sinema (CD9-running-for-Senate) and Tom O'Halleran (CD1) voted with the majority. (14 Dems and 18 Republicans switched, total.)

The measure passed the House, 235-193 and then passed the Senate 81-14. It heads to President Donald Trump's desk for signature. It keeps the government funded through the 22nd.

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BREAKING: Arizona Rep. Trent Franks "Expected To Resign", Reports Roll Call

(UPDATE, 3:25pm: TheHill is reporting that "a senior Arizona GOP strategist" confirmed to them that Franks is resigning.)

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) is "expected to resign," according to a new article from RollCall.com. The "rumors of inappropriate behavior" are swirling, per the article.

Arizona's Politics has asked the long-time Arizona Congressman's office for comments, and will update this article, as needed.


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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Arizona Rep. Biggs On Short End Of 423-3 Vote Condemning Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya (READ)

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD5) was one of only 3 Representatives to vote this evening against a resolution condemning the apparent ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Burma. The House voted 423-3 for H.Con.Res.90.

Arizona's Politics has reached out to the Congressman's office for an explanation of this seemingly-unusual vote, and will update this article as necessary. (Rep. Biggs was about to appear on Fox News' Hannity program - to talk about the FBI - shortly after the vote, so a delayed response would be understandable.)

Arizona's Politics tries to highlight votes by the Arizona Congressional delegation that cut against the grain. If you become aware of such a vote, please email us at info@ArizonasPolitics.com.



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Grijalva Only Arizona Rep. Voting To Move Forward On Trump Impeachment Resolution

Arizona Rep. Raul Grijalva voted this afternoon with 57 other Democrats to try to move forward with an impeachment resolution against President Donald Trump. The other three Arizona Democrats voted to table Texas Rep. Al Green's measure.

The impeachment resolution was tabled by a vote of 364-58, with 4 Democrats voting "Present".

Here is a link to the text of the now-tabled resolution.



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NRA "Targets" Dems Sinema, O'Halleran For Today's Concealed Carry Vote; Arizona AG Brnovich Urges Support (READ)

(UPDATE, 3 pm: Arizona's 9 Representatives split strictly along party lines for this vote. All 5 Republicans voted "aye", and all 4 Democrats voted "nay". Overall, 6 Democrats and 14 Republicans split with their party.)

(UPDATE, 2:50pm: The House has passed the concealed carry reciprocity bill by a vote of 231-198. The Arizona delegation's votes will be updated as available.)

The NRA has asked its many Arizona members to "target"* Democratic Representatives Kyrsten Sinema and Tom O'Halleran today as the House of Representatives votes on a law that would require states to accept concealed carry permits from any other state. Meanwhile, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich signed onto a letter urging Congress to pass the measure.

The call to arms went out late yesterday, as the NRA (National Rifle Association) announced that today's vote would also be one of its "scored" votes and called it "the most expansive piece of self-defense legislation to ever garner a vote in the United States Congress".

Like other states, Arizona has its own laws and requirements allowing concealed carry of handguns. However, most states have their own permitting requirements and very few have reciprocity agreements which allow their permit holders to concealed carry in other states.

The bill also loosens some restrictions for concealed carrying in school zones and on federal lands.

Almost all of the Republican House Members are listed as co-sponsors (210 out of 240), while only three Democrats signed on. The NRA is targeting potential Democratic votes to get it over the 217 threshold. (An identical bill in the Senate has similar numbers.)

All Arizona Republicans in the House and Senate are cosponsors.

There were no hearings on the bill in Committee, and it passed there on a strict party line vote last week. Democrats in the House Judiciary proposed a number of amendments that were voted down.

Here is the Congressional Research Service's summary of the bill:
This bill amends the federal criminal code to allow a qualified individual to carry a concealed handgun into or possess a concealed handgun in another state that allows individuals to carry concealed firearms.
A qualified individual must: (1) be eligible to possess, transport, or receive a firearm under federal law; (2) carry a valid photo identification document; and (3) carry a valid concealed carry permit issued by, or be eligible to carry a concealed firearm in, his or her state of residence.
Additionally, the bill specifies that a qualified individual who lawfully carries or possesses a concealed handgun in another state: (1) is not subject to the federal prohibition on possessing a firearm in a school zone, and (2) may carry or possess the concealed handgun in federally owned lands that are open to the public.
The entire bill can be read here.

Arizona AG Brnovich signed onto a letter with 23 other state Attorneys General urging support. (17 other state AG's oppose the bill, according to Democrats.) That letter can be read below.


* The NRA press release sent to Arizona's Politics uses the word "targets" in its subject line and headline; it does not repeat it in the body of the release or in the sample email sent to NRA members. The use of the word has become controversial in the wake of the attempted shooting of now-former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and this year's shooting at a Congressional baseball practice. Giffords' organization is opposing this bill.

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Friday, December 1, 2017

UPDATE - MUELLER/FLYNN SIDEBAR: Judge Allows Rick Gates Out Of House Arrest...For 4 Hours (Over Mueller's Objection)

(UPDATE, 9:40am: U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson ruled this morning that Rick Gates can escape house arrest for 4 hours tomorrow, in order to attend his daughter's competition. The Judge did note that the Special Counsel's Office is correct that Gates has not yet met the terms of lifting the house arrest. Here is the full text of today's Minute Entry:

Upon consideration of the motion and the opposition, the 67 Motion to Modify Conditions of Release as to RICHARD W. GATES III is GRANTED. Defendant must notify Pretrial Services of the precise times and locations. The government is correct that defendant Gates has yet to provide the Court with the information that would enable it to eliminate the condition of home confinement, and that condition, along with GPS monitoring, remains in place at all other times. SO ORDERED. Signed by Judge Amy Berman Jackson on 12/1/2017.)

In the shadow of today's plea deal with former Trump National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has filed a response opposing a four-hour reprieve from Rick Gates' house arrest.

Gates was previously indicted and arrested by Mueller's team for alleged crimes he committed with business partner Paul Manafort (a Trump former campaign manager). He was released on the condition of posting a $5M bond and being confined to his Richmond (VA) house.

Yesterday, Gates asked the court to let him attend "his daughter's first competition in a particular event" on Saturday afternoon in Richmond.

Mueller's team (Greg Andres) opposed the request this morning, stating that Gates has not yet posted the required bail package. "Despite the defendant’s promises to secure an appropriate bail package that would allow him to leave his residence, he has failed to do so and, as far as the government is aware, has also failed to make any material advancement in those efforts."

No hearing has been set, and Gates' attorney did not request an expedited decision.




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Monday, November 27, 2017

BREAKING: Pelosi, Schumer, 24 Others Ask Court To Listen To Them Re: CFPB's Dueling Acting Directors (READ ORDER, EMERGENCY MOTION)

(UPDATE, 11/28, 12:25pm: Texas and 7 other states come to the support of President Trump & Mick Mulvaney in the CFPB Dueling Dual Acting Directors showdown.  Read the Motion as to why court should listen to TX/WV/AL/AR/GA/LA/OK/SC.)

(UPDATE, 11/28, 9am: Judge Kelly ordered a further hearing on the Emergency TRO request and set it for 4pm today. Further, he accepted the Amici brief filed by Democratic Members of Congress (lead by Minority Leaders Pelosi and Schumer. READ DOJ's Opposition to TRO and Dems' Amici brief below.)

U.S. District Court Judge Timothy Kelly has conducted a hearing on the battle of CFPB's dueling Acting Directors.  Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and 24 other current and former Members of Congress have asked the Court to listen to their perspective on the dispute. The Trump-nominated judge will consider the Sunday request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) filed by Leandra English.

English was named as Deputy Director of the Consumer Financial Bureau's outgoing Director, Richard Cordray. Hours after that naming, President Donald Trump announced that his Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, would become the CFPB's Interim Director.

English filed her lawsuit Sunday, along with an Emergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order against both President Trump and Mulvaney. The Motion asks that Mulvaney be prevented from serving as Acting Director becaause "it would severely undermine Congress’s goal of insulating the CFPB Director from presidential influence or control by requiring that it be established as an “independent bureau.” It also asks that the President be restrained from appointing any Acting Director. (He can nominate a permanent replacement who must be approved by the Senate.)

Just before 5pm (ET), the Constitutional Accountability Center filed the Motion for permission to file an Amici Curiae brief on behalf of Pelosi, Schumer and Co. (Motion published below.)

(The Plaintiff's Ermergency Motion for a Temporary Restraining Order is also reproduced below.)

Both English and Mulvaney both reported to work this morning and sent out emails to Bureau employees signed as "Acting Director". Mulvaney's email instructed employees to "please disregard any instructions you receive from Ms. English".

Judge Kelly was confirmed less than three months ago by a Senate vote of 94-2. Prior to the nomination to the lifetime appointment to the federal bench, he was Chief counsel for national security and senior crime counsel to U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley (R-IA).

The disagreement as to whether the President or the CFPB Director can appoint the Acting Director involves two different sets of U.S. Code sections - the portions of the Dodd-Frank Act that created the CFPB in 2010, and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998.

English is represented by Washington attorney Deepak Gupta (of Gupta Wessler PLLC) and the Justice Department has registered the appearance of Matthew Joseph Burns.

(This article provided by Phoenix election law attorney Paul Weich.)




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Friday, October 27, 2017

UPDATE: Arizona GOP Redirects Insys-Related Contributions To Southwest Behavioral Health Services

Last night, Arizona's Politics reported that newly-arrested Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor had donated monies to the Arizona Republican Party (in addition to President Trump and other Republican groups). The Arizona GOP informs Arizona's Politics that it disgorged the $1,500 the same day and gave the money to Southwest Behavioral Health Services.

Our report yesterday noted that AZGOP Communications Director Torunn Sinclair had tweeted that the monies had been donated. However, it was later in the evening that she gave the details.

"They gave us $1,500, once we learned of the indictment today, we immediately donated the money. The funds were donated to Southwest Behavioral Health Services," Sinclair told Arizona's Politics. (SBHS runs opioid four addiction treatment centers in central and northern Arizona.)

She went on to compare and contrast the AZGOP's swift action to the Arizona Democrats and Democratic candidates who had received money from the founders of Backpage. While there are similarities and it can be argued that candidates/parties should not be required to disgorge contributions even from people under indictment, the $500,000 Insys/Kapoor contribution to fight the marijuana legalization initiative in Arizona cannot be disgorged, had some impact on the defeat of that initiative, AND was designed to further the business interests of a company allegedly mis-selling an opioid product.

The $2,700 to President Trump's campaign, the $1,500 to the NRCC and the $3,000 to the Republican National Committee are still at large.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

UPDATE: Arrested/Indicted Insys Founder John Kapoor Recently Contributed To Arizona GOP, Trump, National Republicans; AZGOP Says Money Was Donated

On the day that President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction a public health emergency, the federal government arrested Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor for fraud and racketeering in marketing its Fentanyl spray.

According to FEC records, Kapoor contributed $2,700 to Trump's Presidential campaign last year, and has contributed $1,500 to the Arizona Republican Party this year. Additional contributions in 2017 include $3,000 to the Republican National Committee and $1,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

However, the political contribution that Kapoor and Insys are best known for was the $500,000 given to the Arizona committee fighting last year's initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Torunn Sinclair, the Communications Director for the Arizona GOP, indicated on Twitter tonight that the Kapoor monies were "already donated".  She has not yet replied to Arizona's Politics' requests for further details.

(READ the unsealed indictment here)

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BREAKING: Insys Founder John Kapoor, Others Arrested For Selling Subsys; Indictment Unsealed (READ)

Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor was arrested in Phoenix today and charged with racketeering and paying kickbacks related to the company's fentanyl spray.

(UPDATE: Arrested/Indicted Insys Founder John Kapoor Recently Contributed To Arizona GOP, Trump, National Republicans; AZGOP Says Money Was Donated)

Kapoor was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Phoenix today. The 74-year old is accused of setting up a national conspiracy using bribes and fraud to maximize sales of Subsys.

Kapoor's Initial Appearance and Arraignment has been set for November 16 in Boston.

Here is the newly-unsealed indictment:

<p  style=" margin: 12px auto 6px auto; font-family: Helvetica,Arial,Sans-serif; font-style: normal; font-variant: normal; font-weight: normal; font-size: 14px; line-height: normal; font-size-adjust: none; font-stretch: normal; -x-system-font: none; display: block;">   <a title="View Unsealed Indictment vs. Insys Founder John Kapoor, others on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/document/362727686/Unsealed-Indictment-vs-Insys-Founder-John-Kapoor-others#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >Unsealed Indictment vs. Insys Founder John Kapoor, others</a> by <a title="View arizonaspolitics's profile on Scribd" href="https://www.scribd.com/user/218365445/arizonaspolitics#from_embed"  style="text-decoration: underline;" >arizonaspolitics</a> on Scribd</p><iframe class="scribd_iframe_embed" title="Unsealed Indictment vs. Insys Founder John Kapoor, others" src="https://www.scribd.com/embeds/362727686/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-QCVuaF1lG0juaaJ8n19l&show_recommendations=true" data-auto-height="false" data-aspect-ratio="0.7747205503009458" scrolling="no" id="doc_84114" width="100%" height="600" frameborder="0"></iframe>

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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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