January 24, 2018

Howdy, Friends O’Farley…

Two weeks ago, Governor Ducey told several journalists that he wasn’t going to campaign for re-election until after the session.

Last week his campaign finance filing revealed that out-of-state billionaires wrote scads of max-out checks for $5,100 each, apparently without him even asking. Their gratitude for his service to their interests seems to have been enough of an incentive to get them to pony up.

This week it would appear that these moneyed interests are already campaigning for Doug Ducey using the tools of dark money and a nonprofit corporation to cover the TV spectrum with ads telling us that the only problem with Arizona schools is the “negativity” that is going around.

Also this week the Arizona Republic revealed that taxpayer money may have been helping the Ducey campaign for years now, in the form of an unprecedented increase in the number and pay rate of public relations employees hired by the Governor across state government.

For details on this attempted big-money takeover of Arizona’s upcoming election, read on.

———

But first, the Pledge Break…

—> I am doing everything I can to be your next governor. This election offers the best opportunity in years to create real change in Arizona. Imagine our state as a light unto the nation, not a joke on late-night television. A place where public education is fully funded and everyone has quality, affordable healthcare and the opportunity to work at a livable wage. This future is within our reach, but I need your help in two ways:

1) Please contribute what you can. We are up against the Koch Brothers’ favorite son and we will need thousands of small donations to defeat Ducey’s few huge ones. He just reported that his average campaign contribution in 2017 was $1,900 per donor, including $5,100 from Charles Koch himself. Only 5 donors contributed $25 or less. But his money from out-of-state billionaires won’t be as strong as your deep engagement — this will be unlike any other election in our lifetimes. Ducey can’t buy Arizona. This is our time, but only if you help.

2) Please sign my nominating petition to help me qualify for the ballot in November 2018. Please tell your friends and ask them to sign my petition. The first step to bringing change to Arizona is to put me on the ballot! The only way we win this is together, and I am honored to have your support. You can find my petition here.

———

—> According to a January 12 article in The Arizona Republic, “…Ducey, 53, said that, for him, election-time won’t start until the legislative session ends. ‘Then begins the campaign season,’ he said. ‘Then begins the political cycle. But I’ve got a day job this time around, and I’m going to focus on it.’ The last time Ducey ran, he was state treasurer.”

He’s got no need to campaign if he’s got others doing his work for him. 

Here are the first few paragraphs from an excellent investigative report by Republic reporter Craig Harris:

“Gov. Doug Ducey has boasted about cutting the size of government, but the number of state public-relations jobs and the cost to promote his agenda have significantly grown during his administration, records obtained by The Arizona Republic show.

“The number of senior-level public-information officers has increased by 24 percent to 57 since 2014, the final year of fellow Republican Gov. Jan Brewer’s administration.

“The annual cost of those spokespeople has increased 29 percent, to nearly $4.2 million.

“The nearly $1 million in additional pay for 11 more public-information officers — who issue news releases, organize press conferences, write speeches and otherwise hone officials’ and agencies’ ‘messaging’ — is a tiny fraction of Ducey’s $10.1 billion proposed budget.

“But the governor’s willingness to spend additional tax dollars and hire more people to get his message out takes on greater significance coming at a time when Ducey has emphasized making government more efficient with fewer public employees.

“In some cases, spokespeople working for the Ducey administration received raises in excess of 25 percent or four times the rate of inflation compared with the same position under Brewer, records show.”

This is happening at the same time that we are facing an unimaginable teacher retention crisis wherein 52.8% of our public school teaching positions are either vacant or held by someone without proper qualifications.

This comes from the man who offered 0.4% raises to teachers — $15 a month on average, before taxes — to “solve” that crisis.

I have seen the work coming from many of these state spokespeople — always positive, often misleading, full of boosterism and puffery rather than clear-eyed evaluation of how we could do better as a state. Almost exactly what one would expect from a re-election campaign.

—> Earlier this week, a new TV ad campaign was rolled out by a new “educational” nonprofit, the Arizona Education Project (AEP).

It claims Governor Ducey “increased education funding $1.5 billion in the last three years.”

It doesn’t say that figure includes basic inflation, enrollment growth, and Prop 123 diversions from the land trust that was already going to schools, which settled a lawsuit and is only 70% of what was previously required to be spent when voters approved Prop 301 in 2000. That’s not new money.

It doesn’t say that each Arizona child currently receives $924 less in state support for education than each child received ten years ago. 

It doesn’t say that half our teaching positions are vacant or held by underqualified people.

It also doesn’t say who funds the ads.

Below is a list of the corporate donors behind AEP (all of whom are major Ducey backers), but we won’t know where the money behind these corporate donors came from until 2019 after the election, since AEP is legally organized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. That’s how dark money works.

  • >  Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry
  • >  Pinnacle West Capital Corp. (APS)
  • >  Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • >  Douglas Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • >  Sierra Vista Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • >  Ambos Nogales Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
  • >  Arizona Lodging & Tourism Association
  • >  Services Group of America

AEP’s spokesperson told the Arizona Capitol Times it has “no connection to any candidate, campaign, or legislative effort, and has nothing to do with Ducey’s re-election because of its nonprofit status.”

In the CapTimes article about the ads, the spokesperson was quoted saying that the organization is “led by moms and backed by Arizona businesses.” Then in a breathtakingly cynical move, the AEP spokesperson quote-tweeted the Capitol Times article, stating, “Read more about the Arizona Education Project, which @AzCapitolTimes says is “led by Arizona moms and backed by Arizona businesses.”

And about those moms — there are indeed three women listed as directors of AEP. One of those women is also listed as a director of a new independent expenditure committee called Arizonans for Sustainable Energy Policy which has raised $3.2 million to spend on “candidates that favor a mixed, sustainable energy portfolio.” Presumably distributed solar would not be a big part of their ideal mix, since the one donor of all $3.2 million is Pinnacle West, the capital arm of APS which has been actively opposing rooftop solar.

You can read more about AEP and its ad in Laurie Roberts’ column here.

And I would strongly suggest you support Terry Goddard’s “Dirty Money” initiative to try to strike down anonymous corporate campaign shenanigans like this in future elections.

—> So now we understand why Governor Ducey sees no need to campaign. He seems to have that all taken care of by others without his involvement.

But he underestimates the power of Arizonans who understand what’s at risk. We have seen for ourselves the damage wrought upon our public education system and our economy by the Ducey cuts to our K12, community college, and university systems.

We understand that our country became the strongest society in the world because of policies that favored a strong middle class and opportunities for all to rise. A future dominated by the few people at the top of the economic scale while the rest of us struggle is not what we deserve.

We refuse to allow our state to be bought and run by out-of-state billionaires for their interest, not ours.

The Ducey Administration may be set to the spin cycle 24/7, but we trust what is in front of our eyes. The winds of change are blowing across this land, and no amount of spin can slow it down.

—> Beyond the Legislature, folks all over this state are working hard for positive change and I am traveling throughout Arizona to offer support and resolve.

I marched in the Nogales Women’s March on Saturday, and on Sunday was one of more than 25,000 people in the Phoenix Women’s March raising our voices for a renewed democracy that responds to all people, not simply those with power and money. 65 people turned out for an event supporting my campaign in Tubac, and I am grateful for the more than 4,200 individuals who have supported our campaign in 2017, with many more jumping on board every day.

Please join our campaign so we can finally get the leadership we deserve right here in the state we love.

Thanks for your continuing faith in me as your Senator.

Steve

Steve Farley

Senator, District 9, Tucson

If you like my representation and want to keep me in office, CONTRIBUTE TODAY!

Paid for by Farley for Governor

January 24, 2018