When a man is so duplicitous as to mislead others about his faith, what does it say about his character?

The question is more complicated in the case of former state Senate President Russell Pearce, because he's been caught fibbing about his religion before, during his failed effort to win in last year's recall election.

Pearce's 12-point loss was a result of many factors, not the least of which were the efforts of fellow adherents of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, most of them Republicans.

Russell Pearce faces an uphill battle to become a state senator again.
Stephen Lemons
Russell Pearce faces an uphill battle to become a state senator again.

Fed up with Pearce's bigotry and bullying, and troubled by the black eye his Mexican-bashing was giving their community, Mesa Mormons recruited political neophyte Jerry Lewis, an LDS member who could appeal to conservatives and moderates alike.

Ironically, the Pearce camp was of great assistance in Lewis' double-digit victory.

Because at the core of Pearce's campaign was intrinsic dishonesty. His friends, family members, and supporters engaged in a slew of dirty tricks, foremost being Olivia Cortes' sham candidacy, a shameless attempt to dilute the vote in favor of Pearce.

All this backfired to Lewis' benefit, of course, resulting in the historic recall of a sitting state Senate President, one who had predicted that he would win the contest handily.

Now, just four months later, Pearce has announced his run for the state Senate in newly formed Legislative District 25.

And, again, Mesa Mormons have recruited a political newbie, Republican LDSer Bob Worsley, founder of the lucrative SkyMall catalog, to best the bad seed in their midst.

Arizonans have seen this flick before, and we know how it ends, even if a clueless Pearce seems to be mimicking Bill Murray's role in Groundhog Day.

At a packed meeting of Legislative District 18 Republicans last year, Pearce told his most politically damaging lie yet, claiming that the LDS church had green-lighted his breathing-while-brown legislation, Arizona Senate Bill 1070.

"I got hold of the church headquarters in Salt Lake," Pearce avowed. "And they said they absolutely do not oppose what Arizona is doing."

When video showing Pearce making this statement surfaced, the LDS church smacked down Pearce — hard.

Contacted by Channel 12's Brahm Resnik for comment, LDS spokesman Michael Purdy said that the church had not taken a stand "on any specific immigration legislation in Arizona."

Purdy also said, "We have made our position on immigration clear. The church believes that an enforcement-only approach is inadequate."

But this message meant nothing to Pearce. One week before the announcement of his LD 25 run, Pearce repeated the canard when confronted by a caller on his Monday-night radio show on KFNX 1100 AM, sponsored by the nativist organization Ban Amnesty Now, of which Pearce is president.

"I called [the church's] PR room personally," Pearce contended. "They said they were not opposed to Senate Bill 1070."

Pearce added: "They simply, as a compassionate plea, talked about their concern [for] families. The appropriate thing on their side . . . I mean, the message was a little confusing to a lot of folks. But lie? I have never done that."

I e-mailed Pearce's comments to LDS headquarters, seeking a response. Church spokesman Eric Hawkins wrote back to me with the following reply:

"The church's position on immigration is principle-based and applies universally. Any position adopted by individual politicians or members is theirs alone and does not indicate the endorsement of the church."

He continued, "I know of no communication with Russell Pearce. When asked about our position on immigration by anyone, we have consistently explained that we believe it is important for any legislation to balance the three principles [previously stated by the church] and that 'enforcement only' approaches were not sufficient."

The three principles, as detailed by the church's 2010 declaration of support for the Utah Compact, a document advocating humane solutions to America's immigration problems, include: Jesus Christ's teaching to love one's neighbor, opposition to the separation of families, and the right of every nation to enforce its laws and secure its borders.

Lest anyone be confused by that last point, the church added in the same message that public officials should "create and administer laws that reflect the best of our aspirations as a just and caring society."

In June 2011, the church reiterated its stance in starker terms, demonstrating its concern that "any state [immigration] legislation that only contains enforcement provisions is likely to fall short of the high moral standard of treating each other as children of God."

SB 1070 is not mentioned, but it certainly falls into the category of enforcement-only immigration legislation.

This is not the only lie Pearce has repeated lately.

On the same radio-show episode where Pearce restated his whopper about the Mormon Church and SB 1070, another caller wondered why he was fired in 1999 as head of the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division.

As he's done before, Pearce depicted his ouster as unrelated to any wrongdoing on his part, making it sound as though he garnered a pink slip because of a change in gubernatorial administrations.

"I was the last Fife Symington appointee to go under Jane Hull," he insisted. "Badge of honor . . . I did nothing wrong, ever. It was simply a political process."

Pearce noted that he was "an appointed official" whom the governor could cut loose at any time. Then he added a new twist, one I hadn't heard before in previous versions of this tall tale.

"The person who was the head of ADOT at the time has apologized to me several times since then," he said. "So my legacy is good."

Mary Peters was the director of the Arizona Department of Transportation under Governor Hull. She eventually went on to serve as U.S. Secretary of Transportation in the George W. Bush administration.

It was Peters who sacked Pearce after he and two other MVD employees altered the driving record of a Tucson woman who'd caught two DUIs in 10 months.

According to press accounts from 1999, these changes would have allowed the woman to avoid a one-year mandatory suspension of her license. Allegedly, Pearce and his subordinates did this as a favor to a state legislator.

When Pearce's former assistant director claimed Pearce and his employees had been cleared, Peters shot back in the press: "There's a big difference between being cleared and choosing not to file criminal charges."

Currently, Peters runs her own Peoria-based consulting firm. I caught up with her by phone while she was in Washington, D.C. She denied ever apologizing to Pearce over his firing.

"I've talked with Russell, and I would say we've agreed to put the past in the past," she told me. "But I didn't apologize to him. That's just not an accurate statement."

Peters confirmed that she axed Pearce because of the scandal involving the Tucson woman's DUI conviction and the license-record change.

She said firing Pearce had nothing to do with the switch in administrations from Symington to Hull, both of whom are Republicans.

"I was deputy [ADOT director] when Fife stepped down, then Jane appointed me to be director," Peters said, noting that Symington had approved her appointment as deputy director.

On March 19, Pearce made the official announcement of his LD 25 run before a crowd of enthusiastic senior citizens at the Red Mountain Tea Party, which, interestingly, meets at a charter school in the new LD 16, not LD 25 in which Pearce is running.

The rally pretty much mimicked a pro-Pearce gathering that took place at Mesa's Hohokam Stadium during the recall. The same far-right politicos were present. The same elderly faces in the crowd.

As for Pearce, he regurgitated the same rhetoric and stale jokes that he's used over and over again during his career.

And at least one of the same lies.

"You know, it's interesting to me they would have you believe that 1070 was divisive," Pearce said of his anti-brown statute, without ever identifying who "they" are.

He continued, "Do you know, after it was passed, [a] Rasmussen poll said 60 percent of Hispanics voted for it? Of course, you don't see that [in] the Arizona Republic."

The reason why you won't see that factoid in the Republic (or any credible news source, for that matter) is that it's not true. The conservative Rasmussen Reports has not done a poll of Hispanic voters on 1070.

To my knowledge, there's never been a poll showing that a majority of Hispanics in Arizona, or the United States in general, support SB 1070.

Though I've caught Pearce in this lie before, I decided to check with Rasmussen again to see whether anything had changed since my initial debunking of it in 2010.

Rasmussen spokeswoman Beth Chunn told me that Rasmussen had not done a poll on 1070 restricted to Latino voters.

"It is difficult to get a sample of just Hispanic voters," she said.

The last time Rasmussen surveyed Americans on a 1070-style law, in January, 61 percent of respondents expressed support. But that was from a general pool of likely voters and was not confined to Latinos.

Those results are consistent with what Rasmussen found in 2010, when 1070 was passed. Then, 60 percent of Americans and 70 percent of Arizonans supported the new law.

In 2010, a Rasmussen representative told me the racial breakdown of that poll of Americans in general was: 77 percent white, 11 percent black, and 12 percent "other."

The 2010 poll showing 70 percent support from Arizonans was 81 percent white.

Rasmussen may not have surveyed Hispanics, but other firms have. A 2010 poll by Latino Decisions showed that 70 percent of Hispanics nationwide opposed 1070. A Rocky Mountain Poll from 2010 reported that 69 percent of Hispanics in Arizona were against the measure.

Perhaps Pearce is a student of Russian Communist Vladimir Lenin, who is reputed to have said: "A lie told often enough becomes the truth."

Or maybe Pearce simply is delusional and believes his own crusty falsehoods, no matter how often they're disproved.

Either way, a vote for Russell Pearce is a vote for a serial liar who repeatedly has been exposed to the public.

Which, among other reasons, is why Pearce is headed for defeat yet again at the hands of his brother and sister Mormons in Mesa.

To them, honesty is a revered quality that Pearce does not possess.

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117 comments
Travis Johnson
Travis Johnson

I am white and from Mesa, and I'm proud to say I don't support SB 1070, and I don't support Russell Pearce.

mangosmum
mangosmum

I love reading about the polital mess that is AZ. You guys have such interesting people...DA's who charge Judges and others with crimes when there was no investigation YET or lawyers lying to other County attorneys...and it goes on and on and on. If they did a movie about AZ no one would believe any of this stuff.

BLUE PILL  RED PILL
BLUE PILL RED PILL

alot of cia and ,nsa,dia is infected with these goons,,,ex army general is a satanist.....is well known they kill people.....satanists..burn em up,no evidence....also the cia ect is full of nazi's brought over from ww2.....

BLUE PILL  RED PILL
BLUE PILL RED PILL

cia and ex fbi say teens abucucted and sacrificed...its an old evil cannanite thing....of mason elite politcians.... nver walk beaches alone,alot have gone missing,covered up as murders,blamed on families or made up as missing kids....,police join masons globally ,also racist nihilists..

BLUE PILL  RED PILL
BLUE PILL RED PILL

watch towr mormons is a nwo front,they can only go to people doors and hope,philapelhia is there evil hot bed...and utah....where they hide bodies in caves abucted teens...

BLUE PILL  RED PILL
BLUE PILL RED PILL

incapablity brown..... please read my twitter things on nwo illumanti mineerva schoool,,minerva is actually statue of liberty...

Miguelobrien
Miguelobrien

Our son was a missionary and he still won't talk about it. He did take the blood oath, dontcha know?

Miguelobrien
Miguelobrien

They excommunicated Deborah Laake, award-winning journalist and editor at New Times for exposing their "secret ceremonies." She finally did kill herself over it all. Just learned that recently. Breaks my heart, breaks, breaks, breaks my heart. And speaking of filthy liars, anyone making a Mitt list? Anyone reading about the white horse prophecy? Maybe Russell thinks he is the anointed one. He sure acts like it.

Miguelobrien
Miguelobrien

Doesn't his church excommunicate people for moral as well as actual crimes? What about his son? Is that creep still a member? Don't they both have records of domestic violence? Last I heard, the son was in jail. Any updates? And we won't get into fat, power tripper, cop syndrome. Adding Reince Priebus to the list. Subtle upper lip lisp. comparing the GOP war on women to a war on caterpillars. And filthy liar, to boot.

Miguelobrien
Miguelobrien

Ben, of course, is ostensibly a dem, but check his record.

Miguelobrien
Miguelobrien

I began studying politicians' upper lips. It began with John Mitchell during the Watergate hearings. Insufficient or distorted, crazy crooked, like their minds and their words. I have quite a list: G.W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Ben Nelson, and many others. Russell Pearce is maybe the worst. Even this profile photo reveals the crazy ripple there. Call me kinky or whatever, but my theory is that they were teased in high school and got into politics to get revenge. Just remember, politics is show business for ugly people. Check it out for yourself; make your own list. Most belong to right-wingers and most have what I call the Republican lisp. Watching RP is like pressing on an abscessed tooth for me.

S A Wallick
S A Wallick

This is really, really old news. Remove it. Find some real news.

issy
issy

we know he is scum

RRJenn
RRJenn

It is time to start boycotting businesses that advertise in this liberal, pro illegal alien rag.

HUMANVOICE
HUMANVOICE

WHEN RUSSEL PEARCE IS SUPPORTED BY THE MORMON CHURCH IN MESA AZ. : Than the Mormons are no church - THEY ARE BIASED BY IDIOTIC DECISIONS - DECISIONS TO STOP ILLEGALS @ THE BORDER, BUT HIRING THEM AT HOME TO REMODEL THE KITCHEN, GARDEN, LANDSCAPE - AND PAY THEM CHEAP DOLLARS. WE ALL KNOW THAT!!!! WE ALL KNOW THAT!!!! A WHOLE AZ INDUSTRY HAS LIVED FROM THEM. CHEAP LABOR. AND GUESS WHAT - NOBODY CAN STOP THEM - IN 25 YEARS THE SOUTHWEST IS HISPANIC - THANKS TO IMMIGRATION.. AND DRUG USE BY WHITE SUPREMACIST AMERICANS AND OLD FAME BORDER ACTORS!

Marcos Martinez
Marcos Martinez

How big are his hands and how many straws can they grasp?

Gino
Gino

I am no fan of Pearce, but what disturbs me is that a majority of Americans support SB1070 and yet it is being blocked. When I see rallies against SB1070 and Pearce, there is always an abundance of illegals present (they are proud to tell us they are there). If this is truly a Democracy, why not get this out of the courts and just put it to a vote. Then maybe we could get our politicians and courts working on real issues that impact our lives everyday.

Ddesertdawg
Ddesertdawg

Just exactly is the zip code for the Pearce's "Church of NAZI"?

Jewel in the desert
Jewel in the desert

Take a good look at Pearce's picture in this article. I'm seriously wondering about his health. He's looking more and more like Darth Vador.....after they took the mask off.

teknik1200
teknik1200

who needs facts when your supporters will blindly believe anything they are told?

The Real David saint
The Real David saint

yet again, this loser is using a variation of my SN..and its been done with others too, Shadeaux, LD19, etc...when doing this, i hope you morons realize how pathetic that makes you look by using our SN and posting opposing views of ours. Im betting you work for the county, more specifically MCSO. that you lil hendershott?

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

["I got hold of the church headquarters in Salt Lake," Pearce avowed. "And they said they absolutely do not oppose what Arizona is doing."]

You notice he NEVER gives the name of a real, live person he spoke with? That way it's not possible to invalidate his statement.

He certainly did learn well from the Master Spinmaster of all Evil, the MCSO shurf.

Coz
Coz

Thats pretty funny coming from Pearce considering all he does is lie every time he opens his mouth..

>>But lie? I have never done that."

BJ
BJ

Guess that makes him in the same league as the Phoenix New Times

TOM
TOM

nyuck nyuck

Car_del99
Car_del99

To him , taking bribes or lying are not " wrongs " he is used to them..

gregg r
gregg r

what does it say about his family. Well i will tell you. They are fat, ugly , racist and disgusting. A family of white-trash shit. The scum in my shoe is a better person than Pierces family of assholes

palangibaker@hotmail.com
palangibaker@hotmail.com

Russel Pearce is a joke and shouldn't be in office anywhere. There is more scandals that need to be reported. Russel Pearce son was also fired for forging driver liscence's so he and friends are able to be drinking. What about the Fiesta Bowl scandal? He was on that. What about him supposing contributing money to the armed forces and he was a guest speaker? That became a lie as well.
The man is a hypocrite.

Rvhobo1954
Rvhobo1954

Poor ole Elder Pearce, baptized a avowed racist Neo-Nazi JT Ready, and thinks no one will notice he is hob knobing with the white supremacist's!:-) Especially when they have photo's to prove it, cook outs, baptismal events etc.!

Adrian Cruz
Adrian Cruz

I know there's only so much internet in which to document Pearce's lies, but what about his multiple denials of knowing J.T. Ready?

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Pearce reminds me of Saddam Hussein's information director Bagdad Bob - completely delusional about the desperate situation unfolding around him. He still believes that the recall was the work of leftists, labor unions, and MoveOn.org. He refuses to accept the reality that Republicans and Mormons abandoned him in droves when presented with a more moderate option. Given the 12 point margin that Jerry Lewis won by, Pearce could not have won a majority of either demographic. Add in the fact that Pearce no longer has the bully pulpit or fund raising advantage of the Senate Presidency, and more importantly the fact that his dirty campaign tactics have been exposed for all to see, and Pearce faces an almost impossible task.

Russell, do yourself and Arizona a favor - take a step outside of your Tea Party echo chamber. You're not very well liked in Mesa or Arizona.

majii
majii

What is wrong with exposing a liar? The major focus of the post was NOT SB 1070 but the lies that Pearce has been telling.

issy
issy

dont you mean republican state that is what is wrong with arizona

Kpehjer94
Kpehjer94

Plain language ......sb1070 does not pass constitutional. muster........thats more important than who is for or against. it......

Coz
Coz

66666

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

Sort of like the birther investigation.

Bobby
Bobby

Hey BJ, you are in desperate need of one.

Dogbiter
Dogbiter

Idiot, racist, trailer-trash alert!

Stan Plum
Stan Plum

Haha! BJ! Is that you Babeau?

Coz
Coz

Shut up Bobby.

BJ
BJ

Are you black? Or someone who don't know what race you are?

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

That's not true. There are a lot of nice Pearces. Russell Pearce just feels entitled to office, and if you disagree with him, he stands ready to call you all sorts of names. Since he is granted office for life by divine power, he feels anything he does or says is justified in pursuit of office.

LD19 Resident
LD19 Resident

Pearce learned real well from his hero, mentor and savior the MCSO shurf.

Pearce will say "Who's J.T. Ready? I don't recall ever meeting him."

Gerry_C
Gerry_C

"Not very well liked" = despised

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

With a handle like "BJ" one would think it could be the gay sheriff from the south of Phoenix.

Jack Seift
Jack Seift

I'm black. Want to come and talk to me about it, motherfucker! Name the place, and I'll be there to educate you in race relations.

 
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