Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce Shakes Down Scores of Lobbyists, Legally

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

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

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