Russell Pearce -- Infamous Already for Assaulting Arizona's Economy -- and His Ban Amnesty Now Hate Group Attack Local Businesses With Boycott

BAN's cowardly, free-speech-hating response to criticism
BAN's cowardly, free-speech-hating response to criticism

Funny how some conservatives are always against boycotts affecting Arizona businesses, unless they're the ones doing the boycotting.

I say this as the nativist hate group Ban Amnesty Now fires up its promised boycott of New Times' advertisers, with shrill messages on BAN's website and Facebook page

Weirdly, the brain surgeons at BAN -- recalled ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce and his mini-me, BAN founder Sean McCaffrey -- refer to their boycott as a "buy-cott," when, clearly, they are encouraging their "members" (i.e., those on BAN's e-mail list) not to do business with companies purchasing ads in New Times.

See, a "buy-cott" is the opposite of a boycott, wherein those participating purchase stuff from businesses. But apparently both McCaffrey and Pearce are too stupid to realize what a "buy-cott" is, or even Google the term.

In any case, BAN's boycott fits neatly into Pearce's pattern of destroying Arizona's economy -- as his relentless bigotry and his pimping of brown-bashing laws have plunged this state even further into the Great Recession than it already was.

Bigotry is bad for business, and when Arizona has a reputation as being filled with racist yahoos such as Pearce, business people stay away. Sure, the state probably would be hurting during a recession, but Pearce's racist shenanigans have made the situation far worse. 


Sean McCaffrey: Russell Pearce's cynical mini-me...
Sean McCaffrey: Russell Pearce's cynical mini-me...

One estimate released in November of 2010 pegged the loss of convention spending in Sand Land at $141 million as fallout from Pearce's Arizona Senate Bill 1070. Even if you don't buy that particular number, the boycott and backlash over 1070 have certainly affected Arizona's economy, and not in a good way.

But Pearce is so blinded by his hatred of Hispanics that he doesn't care about local businesses, as a good conservative should. 

As far as this current boycott against New Times' advertisers goes, it's McCaffrey and Pearce's childish, cowardly reaction to tough criticism meted out by this writer. 

For example, in one recent blog item, I discussed the slew of legal and ethical issues involved in Pearce's staying on as BAN president and as host of BAN's radio show on KFNX 1100 AM, while he campaigns for state Senate in Legislative District 25.

Indeed, BAN's status as a 501(c)4 tax-exempt organization should be in trouble because of Pearce's continuing ties to BAN. This is something McCaffrey admitted to me when we discussed BAN's hiring of Pearce in late January.

I also know that McCaffrey was personally upset that I had asked him to disclose BAN's tax forms, as 501(c)4 groups are required to do by federal law. I first asked for them in mid-February, and he stonewalled me until recently, when I made good on a promise to complain to the U.S. Internal Revenue Service if he did not comply.

BAN's tax form for 2010, the first year it was in business and the only one currently available, shows the organization's take for the year to be $102,480.

That's not bad, considering that McCaffrey started BAN in May 2010 -- and that he lost a major asset not long out of the gate, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio severed all ties with the organization.

(BTW, if you're curious, you can eyeball BAN's financial docs for yourself, here.)

As I reported in October of that year, McCaffrey messed up royally when he sent out an e-mail blast bearing Arpaio's signature as an "honorary national co-chair" of BAN, which claimed that "illegals" were plotting to steal the 2010 midterm elections. The e-mail also called on a "grassroots army" of "voter prevention volunteers" to waylay suspected illegal aliens at the polls.

Voter intimidation is illegal under the federal Voting Rights Act, and Latino groups were enraged. There were calls for the U.S. Justice Department to investigate, and Arpaio felt the heat, even though Arpaio's campaign manager Chad Willems claimed that Arpaio had never authorized his signature to be used on the e-mail.


Pearce, once more aiming to hurt Arizona businesses...
Pearce, once more aiming to hurt Arizona businesses...

McCaffrey was all apologies, but Willems was so ticked he put the kibosh on any further collaboration between Arpaio and BAN.

That gaffe took a bite out of McCaffrey's wallet. Pearce was also an honorary co-chair at the time, but Pearce's name doesn't have anywhere near the draw, fundraising-wise, as Arpaio's for obvious reasons (Pearce makes Arpaio look like an Einstein). Arpaio was also signing baseballs and the like as gifts to BAN contributors. 

Before Arpaio left BAN, I remember McCaffrey telling me he could get me a free baseball signed by Arpaio. Um, like wow! No thanks.

McCaffrey took a hit with the loss of Sheriff Joe as a frontman. In BAN's 2010 IRS filing, McCaffrey lists himself as the founder and chairman of the Conservative Leadership Coalition, an Arizona corporation doing business as "Ban Amnesty Now." And he awards himself a base salary of around $40,000, far less than the $60,000 salary he anticipated in his 501(c)4 organizing paperwork.

I'll be curious to review BAN's 2011 IRS filing when it's ready. I want to see if BAN made more or less in 2011 than its first year out. As Pearce was not hired as BAN "president" until late January, we'll have to wait till 2013 to find out how he was compensated by BAN.

McCaffrey was once executive director of the Arizona Republican Party under chairman Randy Pullen, and he and I were friendly toward each other. Though I regularly slammed him or the GOP or, later, BAN, he took it all in stride. 

In fact, before Pearce became the host of BAN's radio hour, McCaffrey had me on as a guest. And as I mentioned in a previous post, he once sent me an op-ed in hopes of having it published in the paper he's now boycotting.

Why has McCaffrey switched gears, opting for this campaign against businesses that   advertise with New Times

Plainly put, he and Pearce are terrified of the scrutiny. Pearce wants to use the radio hour as a platform while running for office, and McCaffrey hopes to make money off Pearce's name in the process. The unwanted attention negatively affects their plans. 

Fortunately, I am blessed to work for a publication that allows me to report the truth about characters like Pearce and organizations like BAN. And I will continue to do so. 

Pearce is a malevolent political presence, and, as I demonstrate in this week's column, a serial liar. While McCaffrey is a crass opportunist, eager to grow his income by exploiting the issue of illegal immigration, demonizing Latinos along the way. 

Who's worse in this case, the true believer or the cynic? To my mind, they are equally reprehensible, no matter if the motivation is prejudice, greed or a combination of both.

As for the dumbly termed "buy-cott" that really is meant to be a boycott, it's like being boycotted by the Ku Klux Klan. The righteous do not cave to established racists. 


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