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Russell Pearce Fundraiser Uses New Times Photo, Sans J.T. Ready

Shucks, seems I'm doing my bit to help state Senate President Russell Pearce beat back the recall, too. 

Albeit, inadvertently.

See, the anti-recall committee "Patriots for Pearce," chaired by Jesse Hernandez, a staffer for Republican Arizona Congressman David Schweikert, has been circulating a new e-mail that pimps an August 17 fundraiser for Pearce at Alexi's Grill in Phoenix.

It was no surprise to find a bunch of registered lobbyists hosting the event, including Mike Williams, the Republican money-man whose name wound up on the client list for the Desert Divas prostitution ring a while back

(I should mention Williams denied all at the time, and was never charged with anything.)

This is apparently the same event Williams was peddling in July, with the killer catch phrase, "PAC Contributions Accepted."

But the pic of ol' Russ attached to the announcement does raise an eyebrow, particularly since I took it back in 2007 at a nativist rally where I spotted Pearce and white pride poster-boy J.T. Ready working the crowd together.

Over the years, I've used different versions of the shot, one showing Pearce and Ready together, and one cropped to just show Pearce.

Apparently, Patriots for Pearce opted for the latter, though you can see a sliver of Ready's shoulder on the right.

I called Hernandez at Schweikert's Scottsdale office. He at first acknowledged that the fundraiser e-mail was legit.

"There's no question that is coming out from us," he told me initially.

Then he said to be sure he would check with some of the others involved. I forwarded him a copy of the e-mail. He hasn't gotten back to me, but he seemed familiar with the event itself when we spoke.

He was unaware of the source of the photo used in the announcement. 

Well, I reckon Pearce owes me one now. Maybe he could score me some free tix to the next Fiesta Bowl? 

I also asked Hernandez, one-time head of the Arizona Latino Republican Association, if he'd been doing work for the PFP while on the clock for the Congressman. He assured me this was not the case.

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"I'm very sensitive to that," he explained. "I don't do anything for [Patriots for Pearce] during the daytime hours."

Wonder why there's no "suggested contribution" on the e-mail? Admittedly, I forgot to ask Hernandez. 

After all, Alexi's ain't Durant's, price-wise, but it ain't no Pete's Fish and Chips, neither. 

Still, I hear good things about Alexi's calamari.

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