Monday, January 28, 2013

Hate To Say We Told You So

But, We Told You So.

The sequel to the 2003   2005    2007 attempt at Comprehensive Immigration Reform starring John McCain and now
SENATOR Jeff Flake.
You can brush up on our previous Jeff Flake posts about his amnesty stance here, here, here, and here.

Jeff Flake's remarks at an Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University 2005
Flake discussed 3 key elements to ensure action on Comprehensive Immigration Reform:

1. President's active involvement
2. including businesses, labor and immigration advocates
3. Movement on the Senate side, particularly because the House is more polarized on this issue.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Thomas Paine

Thomas Paine
"A little matter will move a party,
but it must be something
great that moves a nation."

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Robert Graham And Prop 121: The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

THE GOOD:  Prop 121 was defeated 63% to 33%.

We watched the debate on Tuesday night between Robert Graham and Doug Little, two candidates who want to lead the Arizona Republican Party.
In the debate, Mr. Graham stated about the No on Prop 121 campaign, "I raised the money.  I was very instrumental in putting together the message, the targeting."
Bill Montgomery, the front man for "No on Prop 121" said back in July,"the other person involved in marshaling opposition to the initiative is former GOP Congressman John Shadegg." 

THE BAD:  Was it a poor use of resources and funds?

Regardless of who wants to   gets to take credit, it was pretty clear that Prop 121 was headed for defeat almost from the beginning.  Prop 121 was unpopular amongst not just Republicans but also Democrats, Libertarians and even members of the Green Party. 
For example:

Political Parties united on Prop 121
October 1, 2012

They don’t agree on much, but a plan to create “top two” primaries has Arizona’s major and minor political parties on the same page – or at least close to it.  Their responses range from outright opposition from Republican, Libertarian and Green leaders to noncommittal dislike from the Arizona Democratic Party.

The state Democratic Party hasn’t taken an official stand on the measure, but Executive Director Luis Heredia said there is little support for it.
Leaders of Arizona’s Libertarian and Green parties argue that the initiative would make it virtually impossible for their candidates to make it onto the general election ballot.
“There is a reason we have partisan primaries in Arizona,” said Angel Torres, co-chair of Arizona’s Green Party and a candidate for state House in a Phoenix-area district.

The day after this article was posted, Mr. Graham put out a youtube video opposing Prop 121.  The credit at the end of the video states it was paid for by "GrahamforArizona" and encourages viewers to visit the website. 

Graham for Arizona?

Another "thank you to the grassroots" video published on November 15th also showed "paid for by GrahamforArizona."  Was Graham's personal $5800 donation to Save Our Vote on August 17th used to create these videos with the intent of using them later as campaign material?  Graham conveniently announced his run for Chairman about 10 days prior to the release of the first video.  Graham responded to a question at the recent debate saying that the only money he spent on his State Party Chairman campaign was his own $4500 to cover the cost of t-shirts, buttons and signs. 

So who paid for the GrahamforArizona youtube videos?

His "targeted message" was seen a total of 1,100 times. To put this into context, there were 1,340,286 votes cast opposing Prop 121.  Not exactly a "targeted" audience.

Lake Havasu's News-Herald
October 17, 2012

Arizona State Senate, Dist. 5, candidates Republican Kelli Ward and Democrat Beth Weisser ...agreed again in opposition to Prop 121 citing reasons that everyone should have a voice, no matter the popularity of their political party affiliation.

During this same time, an article in the Tucson Sentinel said,
An obscure political group based in the Valley injected another $350,000 this week into the effort to defeat Proposition 121...
In all, Americans for Responsible Leadership has donated $450,000 to Save Our Vote, accounting for nearly all of the latter's fundraising reported to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.
Americans for Responsible Leadership also contributed $500,000 in mid-September to No New Taxes, No on 204...That contribution accounts for nearly all of that group's funding listed with the state.

In the recent debate, Mr. Graham stated that "he" raised the money for Prop 121 between September and November.  According to the article above, by mid-October, $450,000 had been donated to Save Our Vote by the Americans for Responsible Leadership which lists Graham as a Director since July 2011. 

Also, the article tells us that at least $100,000 to oppose Prop 121 and another $500,000 in opposition to Prop 204 had been received within the first 2 weeks of September.  This leads us to assume that Mr. Graham was able to somehow raise at least $600,000 in just two weeks time while also running his own company AND attending vigorous weekend-long MBA classes every other weekend at the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  

It becomes even more unbelieveable   impressive when we are told that he personally was able to raise $1M to oppose two propositions in less than a month while doing all of the things listed above PLUS attend a required Thunderbird study abroad in India during mid-October.  An amazing feat from someone who didn't raise a dime in the five months he ran for Governor

He must have found some new connections friends with deep pockets...

And finally just before the election, there was STILL very little support:

Western Free Press
October 26, 2012
Both major parties are opposed to the initiative, as are third parties...Only 37% of Arizona voters said they would vote in favor of open primaries in the latest Rasmussen survey.

THE UGLY:   Where did the money go?

Let's look a little closer at the donations from the Americans for Responsible Leadership PAC to the Save Our Vote campaign. 

The first thing we noticed was that the treasurer is our familiar friend, Hieu Tran, from the Republican Victory Fund/Republican House Victory fiasco as well as other endeavors such as Steve Chucri and Bob Worsley's campaigns.
We also discovered that less than $8000 of the $575,000 received came from individual donors.  The rest came from the Americans for Responsible Leadership PAC.

Now let's take a look to see where the money was spent:

$3,500 for website design

$2,000 to Hieu Tran for bookkeeping

$15,000 to Sign King for signs

$70,000 to Americans for Responsible Leadership for mailers

Reasonable expenses.  Here's where it gets less "grass-rooty":

$18,000 for sign installation (the signs cost more to install than they did to make? Couldn't this have been a grassroots, ground game effort instead of paying one guy to install signs?)

$40,000 to Jess Yescalis for consulting (Yescalis owns a fundraising firm that is connected to Sean Noble's Center to Protect Patient Rights who was involved in the money "laundering" accusation in California.  Noble was John Shadegg's former Chief of Staff.  Remember, it was Shadegg who Bill Montgomery cited in July as the other person involved in "marshaling opposition.")

$208,000  to Larry John Wright for "advertising." Mr. Wright has been busy over the last year producing videos for other candidates such as Bob Worsley and Jerry Lewis.   We were only able to locate one TV commercial created for Save Our Vote. 
The Chairman of Save Our Vote is Tony Bradley who formed a consulting company in 2009 called Roundtable Strategies.  Mr. Bradley's company was paid by the Save Our Vote campaign for communications and mailers.  Bradley consulted on previous campaigns for Paul Gosar, Amanda Reeve (LD 28 House candidate who was one of the few candidates directly supported by the ARL PAC...and lost) and Phoenix City Councilman Bill Gates. 

One of the debate questions asked on Tuesday night was, "Will you take a pledge that you will not pay a penny to a political consultant that is not a paid full-time employee of the Arizona State Republican party?"

Graham responded by saying, "We want to be frugal.  We want to be smart.  We want our dollars to stretch as far as we can.  Now remember, we're part of the Republican party, right?  We're supposed to do that.  When it comes to consultants, it's interesting to be asked to make a pledge like this because in my organization I PERSONALLY have gone to consultants and asked for help on how to be better with organizational to pledge that you won't use consultants is like a pledge that you won't get expertise (sic) advice at some time.  I'm not saying that we're going to go line the pockets of I'm not going to take the pledge."

Doug Little responded by saying he feels the political consultant community in Arizona is toxic for our party and was willing to take the pledge.

How capable IS Mr. Graham if he admits to relying on expensive political consultants for advice on how to do the job that many grassroots people already know how to do?

Other races which the ARL donated directly to included, ironically, $11,500 in the primary election to help union-supported Andy Tobin defeat Lori Klein.  Another $21,000 to help Amanda Reeve and Kate McGee and a measly $800 to "help" Frank Antenori. 

On August 15th, the ARL donated $7500 to the Republican Victory Fund.  Between August 16th and the primary election, the RVF spent over $40,000 to support Rich Crandall over John Fillmore.  Almost 1/4 of the money used during that time period came from Robert Graham's Americans for "Responsible Leadership" PAC. 

Did we mention that in the debate, Mr. Graham claimed he would never endorse one Republican candidate over another in a primary election?  Did he bother to ask where the money would be spent before he sent in the donation?  Or did he know?
Finally, there was a $5,300 head-scratching donation by the ARL that went to support Senator Orrin Hatch, R-Utah during the primary race when he ran against TEA Party backed candidate, Dan Liljenquist.

While Mr. Graham refused to answer the debate question regarding which slate he supported during the Maricopa County Republican Committee race two weeks ago, it would appear that he did manage to set up a table at the County meeting to advertise his book  candidacy. 

On a completely different topic, it would appear that Mr. Graham has ventured into the "green" demolition business by creating a new company called Green Steel along with his ARL PAC buddy, Eric Wnuck.  They quickly came across their first project this last fall in New Hampshire of all places to "recycle" an old paper mill which they purchased, sight unseen.  We wonder if they both know the former New Hampshire GOP Executive Director, Stephen DeMaura who is the current director of Americans for Job Security.... because that would be a very small world!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

If Scholastic News Wants To Celebrate The Re-Election Of Obama

 photo obamapg4_zps3caa0ea1.jpg

By spreading this kind of propaganda...

 photo Obamapg2_zpsd612afe3.jpg

It might be better to use a different photo rather than the one that shows Obama teaching students about Saul Alinsky.  photo Obamapg3_zpsfe53ec7a.jpg

Just saying.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Arizona Republican Chairman Candidate Robert Graham Reads Like "The 4-Hour Work Week" Book

For a little background, the book "The 4-Hour Work Week" written in 2009, describes a "new rich" which abandons the traditional work-save-retire plan for a new one that focuses on creating a life of luxury now.  The book says,

"Whether you are an overworked employee or an entrepreneur trapped in your own business, this book is the compass for a new and revolutionary world."

One of the tactics is to become a "top expert in 4 weeks."  In modern PR terms, proof of expertise is often shown with group affiliations, client lists, writing credentials and media mentions, not IQ points or Ph.D.s.  The author says,

"It is possible to know all there is to know about a subject--- medicine, for example---but if you don't have M.D. at the end of your name, few will listen.  The M.D. is what I term a 'credibility indicator.'  The so-called expert with the most credibility indicators, whether acronyms or affiliations, is often the most successful in the marketplace, even if other candidates have more in-depth knowledge...  It took a friend of mine just three weeks to become a 'Top relationship expert who, as featured in Glamour and other national media, has counseled executives of Fortune 500 companies on how to improve their relationships in 24 hours or less.' "

So, how do you pull this off?

1.  Join two or three related organizations with official-sounding names.

2.  Read the three top-selling books on your topic and summarize them (or write your own book based on these other books).

3.  Give a free (or pay money to give) one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university.  Then do the same at branches of two well-known big companies.  Tell the company that you have given seminars at University X or X College and are a member of those groups from Step 1. 

4.  Use PR websites like ProfNet or PRWEB to gain visibility when sending out a press release.

Now we'll show you what we mean.

1.  Join two or three related organizations with official-sounding names.

In late August 2009, an unknown candidate named Robert Graham announced his plans to run for Governor in 2010.   Back then, no one in the political arena had ever heard of Graham.  He wasn't even a precinct committeeman

Yet, his various bios found here, here and here claim that in 2008 he received a  Reagan Congressional Commission by the National Republican Congressional Committee recognizing his "lifelong commitment, contribution and service as a Republican."


Sounds impressively important, until we discovered that ANYONE could receive this recognition for the low price of a $500 donation to the National Republican Congressional Committee. Graham made two donations totalling $500.00 to the NRCC, one in December 2007 and the other in January 2008.  No other donations prior to 2008 by Graham were found.  A few months later, he was miraculously given this "prestigious" lifelong commitment to the Republican party award.

So did this guy who made two $250 donations to the NRCC.

And this guy who also made two $250 donations.

Product Details
So, was Graham really gullible enough to fall for such a "major award" knowing that on the one hand, he hadn't really done anything special to earn it while on the other, he would use it as a self-promoting tool?  Remember, at this point, he wasn't even so much as a Precinct Committeeman!

Other organizations which Graham has added to his list of "official" associations include the National Rifle Association, Arizona State University Financial Management Association, the ASU Leadership Dean’s Advisory Council and is a member of the Arizona GOP Leadership Council.

2.  Read the three top-selling books on your topic and summarize them (or write your own book based on these other books).

In 2010, Graham published his book, "Job Killers: The American Dream In Reverse" which is currently ranked #1,441,693 on the Best Seller list at 

The book "examines the role labor unions play on the American workforce, economy and livelihoods...and proves how labor unions are destroying American jobs."

Graham found his niche on the subject of unions.  Perhaps he was riding the wave of the Governor Walker recall which was happening around the same time? In fact, in the Gilbert Town Council race in 2011, he pointed out that three of the candidates had received several contributions from public-safety unions for their re-election campaign. 

<-------Walker received his own copy of Mr. Graham's book when they met in 2011.

He said, 

"What voters may not realize is how the hand of the unions strikes close to home, even as close as the general election for the town of Gilbert. We have all witnessed unions' underhanded tactics that have infiltrated the politics of incumbent candidates in Gilbert."

We've learned recently that it wasn't just politics in Gilbert that had been infiltrated and influenced by unions.  Not only was Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin's campaign shown to have been supported by unions but also his brother was the President of the Phoenix Firefighters Union from 2003-2005 which might explain why Speaker Tobin chose to table several anti-union bills in the last legislative session.

These facts make it very difficult for us to understand why anti-union Robert Graham, as a Director of the Americans for Responsible Leadership PAC, would contribute to union-supported Andy Tobin's campaign during the 2012 primary election in addition to making the largest donation to the Republican House Victory fund for which Tobin was responsible.  We know that Tobin and Pierce used the RHV fund and RVF to exclusively support those who would keep them in power.     

$11,500 IE expenditure

$50,000 to the RHV

We also know that the Democrats have jumped all over the Americans for Responsible Leadership PAC accusing the group of money laundering during the 2012 campaign.  A lawsuit was filed in California against the ARL PAC in an effort to disclose the donors.  Those who brought about the lawsuit have claimed, "We will pursue this vigorously, in all its permutations.''

If we want to strengthen our state's Republican party, do we really need to start out with this kind of distraction?  Do we want to make it easy for the Democrats to go after our party?  Are these the kind of headlines we want to see as we approach the 2014 elections?  Or these?

Other concerning contributions made personally by Graham include a $2000 primary donation supporting Ben Quayle over fiscal conservative hawk, David Schweikert.  He also donated $1000 to Kirk Adams' campaign over Matt Salmon.  Graham also donated in the primary election to two of the three candidates running for the House in LD22.  One was Lisa Gray's pal, Jeanette Debreil, the other was moderate Phil Lovas whose wife was the finance director for John McCain, Jon Kyl, Jeff Flake for Senate and Kirk Adams for Congress campaigns.  Lovas was supported by many of the same people who tried to oust Russell Pearce by donating to Jerry Lewis and Bob Worsley.

3. Give a free (or pay money to give) one-to-three-hour seminar at the closest well-known university. Then do the same at branches of two well-known big companies. Tell the company that you have given seminars at University X or X College and are a member of those groups from Step 1.

This step in the "become an expert in a day" strategy can be seen in all of Graham's bios.  For example, he can use this technique and then claim he is a "nationally recognized fiscal policy expert." Graham also states that he was "Chosen as a featured presenter for the Financial Advisor Symposium 2005, 2006, 2007."  

Here is how one becomes a "featured presenter" at the Financial Advisor Trade Show  Symposium.  You pay money.  A small fee will afford you the privilege of doing a 15-minute infomercial "rapid fire" presentation or a longer 30-60 minute opportunity to demonstrate your product.  The website even states, "Generate enormous credibility for both your company and your representatives" because remember, according to the book, you have to look credible for people to take you seriously.

From here, Graham began to add speaking engagements at local colleges and universities such as his invitation to give a "motivational convocation" to the students at ASU's School of Global Business Leadership and Management.  His bio for State Chairman also states,

"Graham was recently added to the 'Distinguished Speaker Series' of the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University in his home state of Michigan.  His topic centered on 'Globalization' and Michigan's opportunities to become globally competitive while promoting economic development and sustainability."
 (Aren't those some of the Agenda 21 buzz words?)

We aren't sure what his definition of "recent" might be since the same wording was found in his 2009 bio for a dental association lecture series  at which he was invited to speak. 

**UPDATE**  A reader has informed us that when they contacted Western Michigan University and asked for a transcript of Mr. Graham's speech, they were told that it took place back in 2007, prior to speeches being recorded.  Is 2007 really considered RECENT?  It comes across as trying to cover for a thin resume.

4.  Use PR websites like ProfNet or PRweb to gain visibility when sending out a press release.

For example, Graham used this technique when he announced his run for Governor in 2009.

Speaking of running for Governor, some have claimed that Graham excels at fundraising, however, from what we have discovered, he didn't receive a dime from any donors when he ran for Governor.  Instead, he loaned his own campaign over $44,000.

It all comes down to this:  Are we prepared to put our trust in a manufactured leader who can deliver a well-rehearsed "rapid-fire" presentation but has probably never printed out a precinct walking list?  Should we be concerned that potential litigation over his involvement with the ARL PAC could prove to be problematic?  Should it matter if a person is willing to mislead others into thinking they earned a "lifelong commitment to the Republican Party" recognition simply by making a $500 donation?  Would we be better served to have a leader who was more interested in creating a positive brand for the party rather than for himself? 

Surely, we can do better.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Congratulations To Our New Maricopa County Board

A.J. LaFaro (53.3%)
April Riggins (0.9% over Brierley)
Jose Borrajero (57.3%)
Jeni White (56.6%)
David Ludwig (56.4%)

Congratulations to our new board.  The team will be a great asset to the Republican party as we prepare to gear up for 2014.