Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Olivia Cortes Fiasco: Complaint Shot Down by SOS, Lawsuit Will Be Filed Soon

The complaint filed by Democratic precinct committeeman and former candidate for state Senate in Legislative District 18 Robert McDonald in the ever-widening Russell Pearce/Olivia Cortes scandal has just been shot down by the Arizona Secretary of State's Office.

In a letter from State Election Director Amy Chan (formerly Amy Bjelland, Chan is her new married name), the SOS dismissed McDonald's claims of election fraud, writing:

McDonald was disappointed by the response, and said he would be holding a press conference later today.

"It's not surprising that the Secretary of State has decided to play politics," he told me. "Everyone knows there is a connection between Olivia Cortes and Russell Pearce."

To be fair, the SOS has played the entire recall of state Senate President Russell Pearce by the book. And it may indeed lack the "statutory authority" to pull Cortes into court and place her under oath. 

You can read the entire Chan letter, here. Also, Pearce's 2010 general election opponent Andrew Sherwood has produced an interesting flow-chart showing some of the connections between Cortes and Pearce. You can take a gander at it, here.

As I write this, a lawsuit is brewing over the Cortes affair. A well-known Arizona elections lawyer is currently working on a complaint based on a case from the 1950s involving what's known as a "diversionary candidate." 

It's expected that the lawsuit will either be filed late today or Monday. More as I get it.

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