Russell Pearce Plot: Is His 260K "Reimbursement" Deal Dead? (w/Update)
Will pirate Pearce make off with the loot? Or is his dinghy sunk?
"The Governor has not proposed any such reimbursement, and it is not currently in the budget that she and legislative leaders have agreed upon."
Of course, that's not a commitment to oppose it, should an amendment be tacked on.
In any case, Pearce clearly believes he deserves the cash. Last night, Pearce was a guest on KTAR 92.3 FM's Jay Lawrence show. I called in and asked him how he could justify taking the $260K, as the money from the 2011 campaign came from donors. None of it came out of his pocket.
This query practically caused Pearce's head to explode. Here follows the content of his tirade:
"First of all, the constitution requires them to do that. I have not said I would take that money. I've said Randy Parraz, Jerry Lewis are responsible for the cost of that election. I've always had trouble with the taxpayers being on the hook for somebody who abuses the process. The constitution, which is brought out by the AP, the Associated Press are the ones that brought forward, the constitution requires the legislature to take action on reimbursement of a recall because it's a minority overturning the will of the majority.
"This recall started before I was even sworn in as Senate President for the 2010 election, before I was sworn in as president, a liberal, outside community organizer from Berkeley, California called Randy Parraz, who was joined by a liberal Republican, Jerry Lewis, who created this election. And they were very clever in what they did and I give them credit for being clever. But it had nothing to do with me not doing what's right. And the constitution requires that, and that's the debate, not whether I should take it or not. Who caused this? I didn't cause that expense. Also 300,000 for the taxpayers to put on that election. I didn't cause that expense.
"There was already a legitimate election. And I prevailed in that legitimate election. And this was folks that were unhappy with that, who because of SB 1070, who are open-border anarchists, who don't believe in the rule of law who came after me for that issue. And I understand that's the political process. But it was a political process. And again, I just talked to folks today, I said, 'You know I've got no part of that.' If they follow the constitution, kind of a nice thing to do, and do take action, I'm not sure I'll take that money, because I'd feel bad the taxpayers [unintelligible]. The bill should go to Randy Parraz and Jerry Lewis."
Regarding the state constitution's "requiring" legislators to fork over a quarter-million dollars, that's bunk, as I've already demonstrated in a previous post.
Also, the recall effort officially began after the 2011 legislative session began. Pearce had been sworn in as Senate President already.
On the elections tip: Maricopa County Elections Director Karen Osborne tells me the recall election cost Maricopa County $119,282.53, which was reimbursed by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.
Elections always cost money. And the recall itself was done by the book every step of the way, with the governor's office, county elections, the SOS, and even the Arizona Supreme Court each saying grace over it.
Pearce may not like that there was a legitimate recall election, or that he lost, but there's no reason for him to be compensated for money that was donated to him. That's crazy.
But the fact we're even discussing this is crazy.
Well, not so crazy, I reckon, for Arizona.
UPDATE: According to the AP, the proposal is still alive, it's just that Pearce's reimbursement will not be part of any budget deal. The AP's Paul Davenport writes:
"The Arizona Constitution provides for payment of officials' reasonable expenses for recall elections, but there's no state law on the books to do that or to define what's reasonable.
"Senate Majority Leader Andy Biggs, R-Gilbert, said the first thing that needs to happen is to pass such a law and determine what's reasonable.
"'But for the recall election, Russell Pearce would not have had to raise money. He would not have had to (spend) money, so these were all expenses,' said Biggs, a Pearce supporter. `The question is what's reasonable and what's not reasonable.'
"Biggs said the reimbursement measure would be separate from a new state budget now under consideration as lawmakers press to end their 2012 legislative session by later this week."
And so, the insanity rolls on like a mighty river...
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