Brewer's PAC adds $230K in bid to influence elections

Finger-wagging photo used in fundraising email
2013-08-03T00:00:00Z Brewer's PAC adds $230K in bid to influence electionsHoward Fischer Capitol Media Services Arizona Daily Star
August 03, 2013 12:00 am  • 

PHOENIX - Despite limited success last time, Gov. Jan Brewer is again building a war chest to try to influence federal elections in Arizona and elsewhere.

New reports with the Federal Election Commission show Jan Pac collected $230,335 in the first six months of this year, added to nearly $215,000 she had left over after the 2012 races.

Even after spending $116,000 on fundraising, that still leaves Brewer with nearly $330,000 in the bank with more than a year to go before primary elections for congressional races.

And she's using her now famous finger-wagging incident with the president last year to advance her cause.

In an email earlier this week to potential donors, the governor chastised the Obama administration for citing a reduction in the number of apprehensions of would-be crossers to show the border is more secure than ever. That, Brewer said, is not the whole story.

"The administration refuses to release metrics on how many illegals evade capture, how many are caught multiple times, and what percentage successfully enter the United States," she wrote.

"What are they hiding?" the governor declared. And, underneath a picture of her pointing her finger at Obama, she says people should send money to her PAC to help demand release of the data.

Brewer's largest donor is Willis Johnson, chairman of the board of Copart, a nationwide chain of auto auction houses. He gave her $10,000, plus another $10,000 from his company, on top of the $110,000 he gave last year.

Another $16,325 came from Infrastructure Corp. of America, a firm that manages government construction projects as well as tollways.

The governor also has picked up a fair amount of change from health-care providers, many of whom stand to benefit from her successful push to expand Medicaid in Arizona.

Charles Martin, chairman of Vanguard Health Systems, which operates six Arizona hospitals, kicked in $10,000.

Iasis Healthcare, with four hospitals, and Lifepoint Hospitals, with two facilities, each provided another $5,000.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Arizona put in $5,000, with $3,000 from Pfizer and $1,000 from Sanofi Aventis, both pharmaceutical firms.

Brewer press aide Andrew Wilder said the governor was "unavailable" to talk about where the money is coming from.

The governor formed her political action committee in 2011, hoping to parlay her time in the national media spotlight on the issue of illegal immigration into some influence in federal politics.

"I think it's important that we change the flavor in Washington, D.C.," she said at the time. "I think that I could be a big participant in having that happen."

She spent $40,006 on a mailer urging residents of CD 1 to support Republican Jonathan Paton, and another $35,567 in a separate mailer attacking Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick. Paton lost.

The governor had no better luck backing Republican Martha McSally in her bid to take away the CD 2 seat that Ron Barber inherited from Gabrielle Giffords.

Her support of Republican candidates Vernon Parker for Congress and Mitt Romney for president were equally fruitless.

Other major donors included Apollo Group, parent company of the University of Phoenix, the energy industry, American Teleservices Association, which represents companies that operate call centers, Associa, a firm that manages homeowner associations, and the Susan B. Anthony List which backs abortion foes.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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