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Political Notebook: AZ GOP profits from election-fraud claims; plus more local fallout from the Jan. 6 D.C. disorder
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Political Notebook

Political Notebook: AZ GOP profits from election-fraud claims; plus more local fallout from the Jan. 6 D.C. disorder

The Arizona GOP’s efforts to overturn the results of the presidential election may have been divisive, but they were also profitable.

The party reported more income in the period that ended after the general election than it did in any period before the general election.

For the period from Oct. 18 to Dec. 31, the party reported donations of $297,896, most of it coming in after the election. After spending $70,353 over the period, that left the party in the unexpectedly healthy post-election position of having a $640,870 cash balance.

By comparison, the party reported donations of $179,147 in the period ending Oct. 17, $184,469 in the period ending Sept. 30, and $77,598 in the period ending July 18.

After the election, party chair Kelli Ward and the rest of the party apparatus committed themselves to spreading the dubious idea that now-President Biden had stolen the election in Arizona and nationwide from then-President Donald Trump.

By Nov. 9, the party had filed the first of about a half-dozen suits it or Ward eventually filed or signed on to, and Ward began fundraising off the idea the election had been stolen. It wasn't an original idea: Then-Pres. Trump, too, was fundraising constantly after the election, claiming the money was going to protect election integrity, when it actually was going mostly to a new political action committee he had formed. 

Already using the hashtag #StopTheSteal, Ward said in a Nov. 9 email, “Here in Arizona we’re taking steps to ensure President Trump isn’t robbed of a victory by fighting for election integrity.”

Time and again, judges threw out the GOP’s or Ward’s lawsuits either for procedural or evidentiary reasons, though one remains outstanding, but week after week the GOP continued pushing out emails with similar pitches. They worked.

Among the top donors after the election was an LLC or corporation associated with George and Nancy Records, founders of Oklahoma-based MidFirst Bank. They donated $25,000.

The push to contest the election divided the party, though. Ward and others have criticized fellow Republicans Gov. Doug Ducey and House Speaker Russell Bowers for not giving their complaints of election fraud more of a hearing.

On Saturday, the state party holds its annual meeting, including an election of new officers.

As to Trump's effort, his windfall topped $200 million in the two months after the election, most of it going to his PAC and the Republican National Committee. 

‘Scholar’ Finchem compares deplatforming to Holocaust

In February 2020, state Rep. Mark Finchem said this about the Holocaust during a House Judiciary Committee hearing: “This is probably one of the most horrific things that has ever been done in modern man’s history.”

He had not yet seen the deplatforming of U.S. Sen. Josh Hawley.

On Sunday, Finchem, the Oro Valley Republican representing LD11, tweeted his dismay that Loews Hotels had canceled a planned fundraiser in February for Hawley. He’s the Missouri Republican senator who performatively objected to the certification of electoral votes in the Senate, from Arizona, among other states, amid the Capitol insurrection Jan. 6.

Arizona officials have certified Joe Biden’s narrow victory over President Donald Trump in the state. Democratic Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Republican Gov. Doug Ducey stood up for the integrity of the election even as lawyers for Trump were across town Monday arguing without evidence to nine Republican lawmakers that the election was marred by fraud.

“Lowe’s has permanently lost my business,” Finchem said, initially misspelling the name of the hotel chain. “This is what Hitler and Stalin did, what’s next camps? Ovens? Patriots you might want to #cancelLoews reservations.”

Finchem constituent Sidney Finkel, who traveled to the state Capitol to support a bill related to anti-Semitism last session, is a Holocaust survivor and was aghast at the comparison.

“Him using the Holocaust as a political stunt minimizes the Holocaust,” he said. “It makes a mockery of my mother and father and three sisters who died in the Holocaust.”

Finkel is the author of the autobiographical book “Sevek and the Holocaust: The Boy who Refused to Die.”

Finchem is, by his own description, “a scholar of history.” He is also facing a recall effort as a result of his attendance at the Jan. 6 rally that became an insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Recall leader attended DC event

The man who is chairing the effort to recall Tucson Mayor Regina Romero also attended the Jan. 6 event in D.C.

Joseph Morgan, who ran unsuccessfully for the GOP nomination for the U.S. House in Congressional District 2 last year, began the recall effort in September.

A devoted supporter of Trump, Morgan says the election was stolen from him and supports the effort to commit civil disobedience at the U.S. Capitol.

“I fully support the occupation,” Morgan said via text. “Vandals and looters should be dealt with harshly.”

“That was a great day in America,” he said. “The saddest part of that day was later on that evening.”

He was referring to the vote to certify the presidential election, not to the indisputably sad and frightening moments in the day.

Morgan, who held a demonstration outside Romero’s home last year, said the recall effort has about half the signatures it needs in final, notarized form. The campaign needs a little under 25,000 valid signatures to force a recall.

Morgan contributed opinion columns to the Arizona Daily Star’s editorial page until he decided to run for Congress.

Biggs’ Tucson brothers call for his removal

U.S. Rep. Andy Biggs has been spearheading efforts to question the presidential election results, and his brothers in Tucson apparently are sick of it.

The Arizona Republic reported Wednesday that Biggs’ brothers, Daniel and William, sent a letter to the editor decrying the Arizona congressman’s actions.

“By attempting to cause uncertainty in the election’s outcome, Andy is at least partially to blame for the riot at the Capital on January 6,” the Biggs brothers wrote in their letter, according to the Republic, which wrote a story about it but hadn’t published the letter yet. “Political ambition, peer pressure and fealty to (former President Donald) Trump proved to be too strong a drug to resist.

“These are violations of his oath of office and erode the trust of the American electorate. For these reasons we call for the timely removal of Congressman Biggs from office.”

Contact: tsteller@tucson.com or 807-7789. On Twitter: @senyorreporter


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