Russell Pearce's Desert Divas Connection and Chuck Coughlin's Threats
Give and give generously, lobbyists, or feel the wrath of Khan
I have to give a nod to the Arizona Republic's Mary Jo Pitzl for nabbing a little item I'd been sitting on regarding a fundraising e-mail to fellow lobbyists sent from Mike Williams of the Phoenix firm Williams & Associates. This, on behalf of state Senate President Russell Pearce's anti-recall effort, People Who Oppose the Pearce Recall.
The e-mail announces the fundraiser for August 17, with "location and time to be announced," and is recruiting lobbyists to sit on the host committee for the shin-dig, with a deadline of July 20.
Those unfortunate lobbyists who fail to heed the call of the most powerful politician in Sand Land in time have another option, pull out the checkbook and mail those contributions to 800 North First Avenue in Phoenix.
As the e-mail notes in bold, contributions from Political Action Committees will be accepted.
Pitzl mentions the names of some of the lobbyists who've signed on so far, but what she fails to mention is that Republican fundraiser Mike Williams' name was once linked to the Desert Divas prostitution scandal.
Williams' name popped up in the Desert Divas' client list, along with the former address of his firm, and this tidbit was promptly reported on by several blogs and other outlets.
Williams denied that he's ever paid $375 for the unnamed services of a lass named Samantha, or had dealings with Desert Divas in general. (Williams was never charged, BTW.)
Granted, only a fool would give his right name to a pimp or prostitute, though former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer comes to mind as being in this category. Not that I care if someone wants to partake of the world's oldest profession.
Of course, most politicians and lobbyists are whores of an entirely different kind. Interestingly, the Desert Divas scandal did hurt Williams' fundraising efforts, despite his denials, according to a 2009 blog by my colleague James King.
(In January, before the recall paperwork was even filed, Pearce had a mega-fundraising event, with scores of lobbyists in attendance. How much loot does this guy need, you have to wonder?)
When the pro-Pearce e-mail came into my possession, I called Mat Tolman, chairman of Citizens Who Oppose the Pearce Recall. He claimed no knowledge of the fundraiser, though he admitted there were fundraisers aplenty going on that he didn't know about.
I e-mailed Williams and his employees and called his office for a comment, but have yet to receive a reply. I also e-mailed Pearce, who, not surprisingly, did not get back to me.
Ironically, the one-floor building Williams and Associates now calls home still bears on its side the name of Ashland Media Group, former owner of the Spanish-language newspaper La Voz.
Indeed my colleague, veteran political reporter Valeria Fernandez, long a thorn in the sides of politicos like Pearce and his ally Sheriff Joe Arpaio, told me she used to work in that very building before La Voz was bought out by the bean-counters at the Republic. Fernandez is an independent journo these days.
She also related that there were various legends surrounding the building, that it was haunted, and that its front gate was once the site of a suicide.
Sounds like the perfect place for a suicide of a different kind, political this time.
Along those lines, the Arizona Guardian's Dennis Welch scored a cool item about political Sith Lord Chuck Coughlin, who promised retribution to any Republican daring to oppose Pearce in the November 8 recall election.
Which Coughlin seems to assume is happening, despite the fact that Pearce's lawyer is challenging the recall's signatures in court.
This tells you a couple of things.
First, the lawsuit against Maricopa County Elections and the Arizona Secretary of State's Office over the recall petitions is doomed to fail, and Pearce and his folks know this.
Second, Pearce and his operatives seem to be clueless as to why this is happening to their jefe. More than anything, Pearce's slash and burn style of politics is under attack.
Coughlin may be looking to smear potential contender Republican Mormon Jerry Lewis, who has yet to announce against Pearce. But Coughlin's nefarious plans could well backfire, and offer proof of everything negative Pearce's detractors have to say about the man, as well as about Coughlin, for that matter.
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