Russell Pearce's Ban Amnesty Now Announces Boycott of New Times

It's pretty easy for a scribbler in this town to know when you've drawn blood from local hypocrites: Those skewered squeal like hogs being boiled alive in Karo syrup.

Recalled ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce is no exception, despite his tough-guy pose. Make that double for his mini-me enabler Sean McCaffrey, one-time executive director of the Arizona Republican Party. 

Seems this Mexican-bashin' duo is so peeved at my recent journalistic endeavors that on Monday they announced a campaign to boycott New Times' advertisers.

McCaffrey is the founder of Ban Amnesty Now, which has a one-hour radio show it pays for on KFNX 1100 AM. Recently, McCaffrey turned the radio show over to Pearce, who now serves as BAN's president. 

McCaffrey told me in January that Pearce would have to relinquish both the BAN presidency and the AM hour once Pearce announced his campaign for state Senator of the newly formed Legislative District 25. This, because BAN is a 501(c)4 non-profit, which is not supposed to spend the majority of its time sponsoring candidates for public office.

But Pearce being Pearce, he's staying on as head of BAN and will still host the radio show,  rules be damned. 

I recently blogged about the legal and ethical issues involved in allowing Pearce to do this. And in an odd acknowledgement of that blog entry, Pearce announced at the start of Monday's show that he could not campaign on air and preferred not to take calls about his lame comeback attempt.

Nevertheless, one caller commented on the flap, supporting Pearce's use of the BAN show as a "platform" for his run for office. That call is a perfect example of why Pearce, in his current role, will not be able to maintain a wall between his candidacy and McCaffrey's 501(c)4.

Later in the show, McCaffrey lambasted New Times as being, among other things, "anti-law enforcement, anti-jobs, pro-amnesty, pro-illegal immigration, anti-Sheriff Arpaio, anti-you," the "you" being Pearce, natch.

McCaffrey then announced that BAN's goal would be to get out a list of New Times' advertisers and encourage those on BAN's mailing list (which McCaffrey rents out to politicians such as GOP U.S. Senate Candidate Wil Cardon) to stop patronizing those advertisers.

"Because the New Times is a free publication," McCaffrey advised Pearce and his listeners, "they rely 100 percent on advertising revenue to distribute their attacks on conservatism in Arizona."

You know, unlike a tax-exempt non-profit that relies on donations from people dumb enough to write a check so McCafrey doesn't have to work for a living.     

Indeed, I could never call for a boycott on advertisers to BAN's radio show, even if I wanted to. That's because there are none.

I'm exaggerating, but not by much. The radio show does feature a lot of ads from BAN's parent organization, the Conservative Leadership Coalition, of which McCaffrey is head honcho. (BAN and CLC share the same Tempe address.) And there are occasional ads from others.

True to form, Pearce added a racist touch to the boycott, with this Archie Bunker-esque statement:

"I don't know why you'd spend your money to support [publications]...like New Times...that supports the groups of folks most likely to steal your car," said Pearce in tortured English.

"If you fund evil, you're gonna get evil," Pearce added at one point.

Because we all know it's "evil" to oppose Pearce, right?

This "boycott" is pretty amusing considering that McCaffrey's organizations, their conservatism aside, are the beneficiaries of what right-wingers like to call "socialism." 

See, the federal government grants 501(c)4 groups exemption from federal tax because they are "social welfare organizations," in the parlance of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.    

New Times, by contrast, is a pure capitalist venture. 

Before McCaffrey hired Pearce as chief cook and bottle washer, he had me on BAN's radio show as a guest. McCaffrey even once sent me an op-ed of his in hopes of having it published by New Times

Sadly, I think my blog about BAN's potential legal problems and my recent request to see BAN's tax-returns -- a request McCaffrey must comply with by law -- has messed with McCaffrey's fragile noggin. 

The more McCaffrey persists in this ridiculousness, the more he draws attention to the simple fact that BAN is now shilling full-time for Pearce. That's a no-no for a 501(c)4, which can engage in some lobbying and political activities, as long as it's not the organization's raison d'etre

But with Pearce at the helm, BAN has but one mission: Promoting Russell Pearce and ensuring his return to the state Legislature. And all the boycotts in Sand Land won't change that.

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