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Cathi Herrod's Center for Arizona Policy Hates Gays, Abortions, and Likes to Tell Politicians What to Do

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"No member should be intimidated by anybody," the Tucson Republican says, adding, "If they don't have the guts to stand up to them, they don't belong up there."

Groups such as the Secular Coalition for Arizona accuse CAP of violating strictures that federal law places on 501(c)3 groups. SCA and others have complained to the IRS, asking that it audit the nonprofit and claiming that, according to IRS rules, CAP has exceeded a vaguely defined limit on lobbying.

The IRS has acknowledged the letters but has taken no action. An IRS spokesman declined to comment on any complaints about CAP.

CAP itself didn't respond to requests for an interview with Herrod.

Asked about the IRS complaint against CAP, Equality Arizona President Rebecca Wininger, often Herrod's foil on issues related to gay rights, said she doubted that Herrod and CAP were breaking the rules.

"I bet she's pushing it right to the line," Wininger says. "I don't see her as the type of woman who's going to jeopardize her organization and their power base by doing something illegal."

As for affecting CAP's influence, the LGBT community's victory in the struggle over 1062 has been a boost for its morale, an opportunity to organize and raise money for anti-CAP forces.

But Wininger is realistic. She hopes for a Democratic governor and/or a possible tie in the state Senate after the fall elections. These are the changes that can lessen CAP's influence.

"Everyone wants to blame Cathi Herrod and CAP," Wininger says. "But I have no doubt that if Cathi Herrod and CAP went away, tomorrow another group would pick up the reins — until the voters of Arizona rise up and say, 'No more!'"

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons