Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce, Scott Bundgaard Score Meaningless "Friend of the Family Awards" (w/Update/Correction)

Funny thing about the ruling Republican caste here in Sand Land: they like to give themselves meaningless awards that look legitimate to the unskeptical eye, in a bald attempt to trick the electorate into thinking that they're a bunch of good guys and gals.

Case in point, the "Friend of the Family Awards" doled out yearly by an organization in paper only called the Arizona Family Project, currently chaired by Chandler Republican state Representative Jeff Dial.

The 2011 list of winners is out, and guess who won? Nearly every Republican member of the state Legislature. No Democrats allowed.

This, despite the fact that the GOPers cut about a half-billion from the state's education budget for 2011-2012. 

Hey, them kiddies don't need no edu-ma-cation. That's what we got home-schoolin' fer...

Of course, Dial, in true sleaze-oid fashion, put himself on the awards list. What's the point of being chairman, after all? (Please see update/correction below.)

And Dial, knowing where his bread is buttered, made sure to give one to his jefe, state Senate President Russell Pearce, who is sure to tout the "award" during his recall battle.

Never mind that this Friend of the Family knocked down the door of wife number one, and allegedly choked his current wife LuAnne, as she attested to in a 1980 dissolution of marriage document filed with the court, one she disavowed when I first revealed its existence back in 2008.

Guess we should also overlook the fact that two of Pearce's sons have criminal records. Most notable of these is Joshua Pearce, currently cooling his heels in the state pen on a probation violation stemming from an extreme DUI, which Pearce the younger pulled with his wife and one of his kids in the car.

Yep, Mr. Friend of the Family has been one fine Daddy.

Perhaps the grossest example of the worthlessness of this plaudit is the fact that state Senator Scott Bundgaard was also awarded, right along with most of his fellow Rs.

Bundgaard famously invoked his Legislative immunity to the Phoenix police in February after a roadside brawl with his then gal pal Aubry Ballard, who was hauled away for a night in jail while Bundgaard avoided being pinched.

But he didn't avoid an assault charge and currently has an August 15 court date before the Phoenix Municipal Court. Class act. No wonder he's a Friend of the Family winner, despite being stripped of his title as Senate Majority Leader by his fellow Republicans.

Kudos to Craig McDermott who first noted the irony of the Bundgaard and Dial awards on his Random Musings blog. McDermott also pointed out that the Arizona Family Project reported a whopping $115 in net assets last fiscal year.

Nevertheless, the usual suspects, such as the wingnutty Sonoran Alliance blog, is posting the list uncritically, as if it actually holds some weight. Once more proving that there's no shame in the Repugnants' game.

UPDATE: According to the Republic's Political Insider column, Dial says he stepped down as the chair of this Republican organization-on-paper in June because he thought it could be a conflict of interest. This, though the CorpCom's records show him being the chair at least until May of this year. 

Dial's name is still on the CorpCom's records as chair, but to be fair, they may not have been updated yet. There are documents on file as of July 11, still waiting to be examined.

I did call Dial before I posted this item, asking for his comment. I didn't receive a call back. 

Nevertheless, I must apologize to Rep. Dial. If all is as he says, he did not give himself this meaningless award. Ditto the others. So who did? The Insider points the finger at GOP operative Constantin Querard.

One wonders if Dial left this meaningless organization in June so he could receive the meaningless award without any questions being raised as to a conflict of interest.

If so, I must praise Rep. Dial. Never before has anyone so deserved such a meaningless plaudit as the "Friend of the Family" award as he does.

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

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