Posted by AzBlueMeane:
More accurately, ol' Russell's wingnut compatriots Sen. Steve Smith (R-Maricopa) and Rep. Steve Montenegro (R-Avondale) want YOU to pay him, on behalf of the true beneficiary of this taxpayer money windfall, sleazy GOP political operative Constantin Querard.
As Stephen Lemons explains, "Something wicked this way comes." Russell Pearce Wants $260,000 of Your Money, and His Flunkies Want to Give It to Him (w/Update) - Phoenix New Times:
Remember when I informed you of the trial balloon being floated by toadies of recalled state Senate President Russell Pearce, lickspittles who long to give their lord and master more than $260,000 of taxpayer funds because he had to endure a recall election, one he lost by a humiliating 12 points?
Well, it's no longer a trial balloon, it's a full-fledged push from Pearce's proxies in the state Senate and House, who claim that the Arizona Constitution requires them to grant Pearce the $260K.
* * *
The effort to help Pearce cash in and recoup money that was donated to him during the recall election by lobbyists, political committees and individual donors is being spearheaded by two Republicans, state Representative Steve Montenegro and state Senator Steve Smith.
Montenegro and Smith, as well as other Pearce lackeys in the Republican Party, have been making this massive payoff a condition of a budget deal with Governor Jan Brewer.
Arizona Senate Minority Leader David Schapira told me that the Rs wanted to make Pearce's $260K-plus welfare check a requirement of any Democrat-Republican deal, an idea still alive and well in the state Senate.
* * *
Schapira also observed that this reimbursement idea not only misreads the Arizona Constitution, it likely violates it, particularly Article 9, Section 7, known as the "gift clause," which prohibits the state government from making "any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation."
* * *
As far as the Pearce camp's misreading (or more likely, deliberate twisting) of the Arizona Constitution, the passage in question is Article 8, Part 1, Section 6:
"The general election laws shall apply to recall elections in so far as applicable. Laws necessary to facilitate the operation of the provisions of this article shall be enacted, including provision for payment by the public treasury of the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officer."
The bull the Pearce crowd will be feeding the public is that the phrase "shall be enacted" means that the legislature must cut Pearce a check.
Which, as Schapira and election law experts observe, is total hooey.
"The term reimbursement implies if not explicitly states that the person would have to have encumbered their own funds," Schapira stated. "You can't write a check to Russell Pearce as a `reimbursement,' if he himself did not make the expenditure."
[Note: Campaign finance disclosure reports indicate that Russell Pearce did not incur any campaign expenditures out of his own money. Reimbursing "zero" dollars equals "zero" dollars -- zip, nada zilch.]
Elections law attorney Tom Ryan, who successfully defended the 2011 recall against the Pearce camp's challenge ... pointed out that there's currently no statute detailing how or in what amount the subject of a recall would be reimbursed.
Seems Arizona once had a law allowing for a reimbursement of $200 to recalled legislators, but the legislature repealed it in 1973 and has yet to replace it. Ryan indicated that a 1988 opinion issued by then Arizona Attorney General Bob Corbin stated that the legislature would have to pass a new law in order to reimburse a recalled candidate.
That is to say, the constitution may allow for such a payment to be made, but the legislature does not have a statute in place to make that possibility a reality.
* * *
Interestingly, the two Steves -- Smith and Montenegro -- employ the services of sleazy GOP political operative Constantin Querard, Pearce's primary political pimp, a man who made bank running an independent expenditure committee supporting Pearce during the recall.
Potentially, Querard stands to gain from Pearce's windfall, either directly or indirectly, by garnering business for his consulting and printing companies. It's just a little too obvious that two of his clients happen to be the most outspoken proponents of handing Pearce a six figure unemployment check.
* * *
[T]he Pearce camp is overreaching. If he takes the money, he'll create a talking point for Bob Worsley, his opponent in the LD 25 GOP primary.
Plus any legislator who votes to give Pearce the people's cash will have fashioned a poisoned dagger their enemies are sure to use against them. These Pearce-worshipping lemmings are about to take the concept of political suicide to a whole new level.
Any member of the legislature who violates the Arizona Constitution by "gifting" taxpayer money to the disgraced Russell Pearce for reimbursement of personal expenses that he did not incur should be removed from office by the voters in this election. Political suicide indeed.