As he already has demonstrated through his vile comments on the forced sterilization of female Medicaid recipients, recalled ex-state Senator Russell Pearce has complete contempt for the poor.
The outrage over these remarks, made by Pearce on his weekly radio show, recently forced Pearce's resignation as first vice chair of the Arizona GOP.
But Pearce still has his $85,000-a-year gub'mint job working for fellow Republican and Maricopa County Treasurer Charles "Hos" Hoskins. And Pearce has no problem letting Hoskins know what he thinks of poor folk, as he did on September 2, via his county e-mail address.
"We have 47% that pay no taxes," Pearce wrote to Hoskins. "We have the wealthier in the most part because of the free market concepts and entrepreneur risks and rewards. He really wants redistribution from those that work to those that don't work. The invasion of illegal aliens and legal immigrants from 3rd world countries is a huge contributor to this growing class of poor. We are importing our poverty to bring cheap labor to the Chamber of Commerce type folks."
The e-mail is one of about 60 I obtained from the Treasurer through a public records request.
The context of Pearce's statement is not clear, though he is replying to something Hoskins sent him on August 29, referring to an earlier conversation between the two.
Pearce's statement echoes infamous remarks by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 campaign.
Pearce's version of it is untrue. It might be correct to say that close to 47 percent of Americans pay no federal income tax, but just about everyone who lives in this country pays taxes in one form or another: sales taxes, state taxes, property taxes, payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, and so on.
A CBS News fact check on the subject from 2012 reported that "only 18.1 percent of American households paid neither federal income taxes nor payroll taxes in 2011 . . . of that 18.1 percent, 10.3 percent were elderly."
That's a serious irony overload as Hoskins hired Pearce to be the public face of the county's Elderly Assistance Fund, a program that helps poor seniors pay their property taxes. Pearce started his job on July 28.
In his September 2 e-mail, Pearce also refers to the "invasion of illegal aliens and legal immigrants from 3rd world countries," a fairly routine condemnation of immigrants from someone who, as TPM Muckraker recently observed, is still comfortable with the use of the term "wetback" in public.
Hoskins has yet to respond to my request for comment on this and other matters related to the e-mails.
On Monday, protesters with Citizens for a Better Arizona, the group which forced Pearce's 2011 recall election, deluged Hoskins' office in downtown Phoenix, demanding that Pearce be fired over his sterilization comments.
To what degree Hoskins agrees with Pearce's extreme views is unknown. But there are some in his office who evidently feel comfortable sending ethnic jokes to each other and to Pearce.
On September 5, county employee Dave Browning sent the following joke about "teaching math" to Royce Flora, Hoskins' chief deputy, who helped Pearce get his current position.
Flora passed it on to Pearce.
Tell me if you think it's an appropriate communication for a government office, one that both employs and serves members of the Hispanic community:
Subject: Math changes in the last 60 years
1. Teaching Math In 1950/60s (when we were in school) A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price. What is his gross profit?
2. Teaching Math In 1970s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is 4/5 of the price, or $80. What is his net profit?
3. Teaching Math In 1980s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80. Did he make a profit? Yes or No
4. Teaching Math In 1990s A logger sells a truckload of lumber for $100. His cost of production is $80 and his profit is $20. Your assignment: Underline the number 20.
5. Teaching Math In 2000s A logger cuts down a beautiful forest because he is selfish and inconsiderate and cares nothing for the habitat of wild animals or the preservation of our woodlands. He does this so he can make a profit of $20. What do you think of this way of making a living? The topic for class participation after answering the question: How did the birds and squirrels feel as the logger cut down their homes? (There are no wrong answers, and if you feel like crying, it's ok).
6. Teaching Math In 2016 Un hachero vende una carretada de maderapara $100. El costo de la producciones es $80. Cuanto dinero ha hecho? ANSWER: His profit was $375,000 because his logging business is just a "front" for his family marjuana farming.
To be fair, the large majority of the e-mails I received are about mundane stuff: Pearce buying doughnuts one day for the office; technical issues related to the EAF; a random sampling of calls from the public; upcoming meetings; problems resulting from the recent flooding in the Phoenix area; and so on.
Pearce and others also like to pass around the Arizona Capitol Times' "Yellow Sheet," which comes electronically, and briefings from the Maricopa County Republican Committee.
According to Maricopa County's ethics handbook, which the county claims is not and has never been in force, "Electronic and voice mail are to be used only for official business and are to be used in a respectful and professional manner."
I reckon it's good for Pearce that Maricopa County's ethics policy is nonexistent.
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That should dovetail nicely with Pearce's own lack of shame.
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