To cop a line from the Notorious B.I.G., "Gimme the loot! Gimme the loot!"
That's what Republican state Senate President-elect Russell Pearce might as well be saying with a recent e-mail announcing a fundraiser on January 7, 2011, just three days before Arizona's legislative session begins. Suggested donation: $250 a pop.
It's the so-called "host committee" for the party that is eye-opening. It includes the names of more than 70 individuals, almost every one of them a lobbyist who will no doubt be pimping legislation in the 2011 session.
You can check out the names and their affiliations below. There are some familiar ones: Corrections Corporation of America shill and Governor Jan Brewer's Svengali Chuck Coughlin; Mark Spencer, President of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association; Bas Aja of the Arizona Cattlemen's Association; Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu; and former Arizona Congressman Matt Salmon, of the Washington, D.C.-based Upstream Consulting.
Perhaps the most unexpected name is that of Genevra Richardson, of the Democratic-leaning Ziemba Waid Public Affairs, which has offices in Phoenix and D.C. ZWPA backed turncoat Democrat Jon Hulburd for Congress in CD3.
But ZWPA also backed the 2008 "Solar Team," three Dems who ran for Arizona Corporation Commission. Two of those candidates, Paul Newman and Sandra Kennedy won seats on CorpCom in 2008.
Founding partner Tom Ziemba worked in the Clinton administration and was once chief of staff for failed presidential hopeful John Edwards. David Waid, the firm's other founding partner, is a former chairman of the Arizona Democratic Party.
Oddly, or not depending on your point of view, no one at Ziemba Waid has returned my several calls for comment on why Richardson is on this list for Pearce's shake-down shindig.
Erstwhile gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon was not so skittish. He returned my call and pointed out there was nothing illegal about such fund-raising. In fact, it's commonplace, as legislators are barred from holding fundraisers while the legislature is in session.
"There's nothing untoward," said Salmon of the event. "It's the way things are done. Countless elected officials do their fundraisers in the same week."
Salmon said he's knows Pearce for 20 years, has been a lobbyist for 10, and has always been willing to help out his friend. He called the issue a "tempest in a tea pot."
Lobbyist Farrell Quinlan of the National Federation of Independent Businesses is also a host of the fund-raiser. He generally agreed with Salmon's assessment that this is standard operating procedure. Quinlan referred to the week before session as "hell week" for lobbyists.
Arizona Secretary of State spokesman Matt Benson confirmed that there was nothing illegal about such pre-session cash-grabs, and that they are common the week preceding the legislature's opening day.
Nevertheless, Pearce is clearly sending a message to those who'll be jockeying to have their clients' legislation move through the state Senate: Be a good little lobbyist and kiss the emperor's ring.
The fact that this emperor happens to be a colossal bigot, bent on driving the state's reputation and economy into the mud, doesn't seem to matter. Not even to some Dems, apparently.
PS: Kudos to the Three Sonorans blog for posting the raw Pearce e-mail yesterday. I had it as well late yesterday, but decided to hold off to jawbone with a couple of people on the list prior to posting.
Note: The names below came from the list pictured above. Their affiliations came from the Arizona Capitol Times lobbyist directory. All other info came from the various Web sites of those listed or other research. I don't have time to call all of those listed, so if Pearce's list is incorrect, and you're on it by mistake, feel free to get in touch, and I'll make a correction. Pearce himself has not responded to my request for a comment.
Barbara Meaney, Triadvocates LLC
Barry Aarons, Aarons Company
Bas Aja, Arizona Cattleman's Association
Brian Livingston, Arizona Police Association
Brian Tassinari, Upstream Consulting
Charles Bassett, Blue Cross Blue Shield
Chris Herstam, Lewis & Roca
Chuck Coughlin, HighGround Public Affairs (clients include Corrections Corporation of America)
Courtney LeVinus, Capitol Consulting LLC
Dave Childers, (lawyer)
Dave Kopp, President, Arizona Citizens Defense League
David Landrith, Arizona Medical Association
Richard Foreman, Southwest Gas
Donald Hughes, Kutak Rock LLP
Donald Isaacson, Isaacson & Moore
Doug Cole, HighGround
Ellen Poole, United Services Auto Association
Farrell Quinlan, National Federation of Independent Business - Arizona
Genevra Richardson, Ziemba Waid Public Affairs (clients include Democratic candidates)
Gretchen Jacobs, AZ Governmental Affairs
Gretchen Kitchel, Pinnacle West Capital Corp.
Gibson McKay, Veridus, LLC
Jaime Molera, Molera Alvarez Group
Jake Logan, former aide to Jake Flake, not sure who he works for
Janna Day, Fennemore Craig
Jason Bezozo, Banner Health
Jason Isaak, Policy Development Group (clients include CCA)
Jay Kaprosy, Veridius, LLC (clients include ATT, American Express)
Jeffery Hill, Hill and Hill Accounting
Jeff Sandquist, Veridius LLC
Jim Norton, R&R Partners
Joseph Abate, of counsel, Curtis Goodwin Sullivan Udall
John Kaites, Public Policy Partners (clients include EDS)
John MacDonald, Husk Partners, Inc (clients include CCA, Hopi Tribe)
John Mangum, Law Offices of John Mangum
John Wentling, VP, Arizona Citizens Defense League
Joseph Sigg, Arizona Farm Bureau
Ken Quartermain, Public Policy Partners
Kevin DeMenna, DeMenna & Associates (clients include City of Phoenix, Pickens Fuel Corp)
Kristen Boilini, KRB Consulting,
Kurt Davis, FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs (clients include AZ Cardinals, American Traffic Solutions)
Laura Knaperek, former legislator
Lee Miller, Mario E. Diaz and Associates
Lyn Harry White, FreeportMcMoranCopperandGold
Marc Osborn, R&R Partners
Marcus Dell'Artino, FirstStrategic Communications and Public Affairs
Mark Barnes, Barnes and Associates
Mark Spencer, PLEA
Matt Salmon, Upstream Consulting
Michael Racy, Racy and Associates
Michelle Ahlmer, Arizona Retailers Association
Mike Gardner, Triadvocates, LLC
Mike Williams, Williams and Associates Public Relations
Nick Simonetta, KRB Consulting
Norm Moore, Isaacson & Moore
Penny Allee Taylor, Southwest Gas
Rip Wilson, SRW Consulting
Rob Dalager, Galagher and Kennedy
Robert Shuler, The Shuler Law Firm
Russell Smoldon, SRP
Sheriff Paul Babeu
Stan Barnes, Copper State Consulting Group (clients include Covance, Blue Cross)
Spencer Kamps, Home Builders Association of Southern Arizona
Stuart Goodman, GoodmanSchwartz
Susan Anable, Cox Communications
Susie Stevens, Stevens and Stevens Law
Sydney Hay, Southwest Policy Group
Thomas Dorn, Dorn Policy Group
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Suzanne Gilstrap, Capitol Consulting, LLC
Tim Lawless, NAIOP-AZ, trade association representing the commercial real estate industry in Arizona
Tom Farley, Arizona Association of Realtors
Wendy Briggs, Veridius LLC