Feathered Bastard

Russell Pearce's Radio Show and Its Potential Legal Problems

The most interesting item to drop from the lips of recalled state Senate President Russell Pearce at Mesa's Red Mountain Tea Party meeting on Monday was not the fact that he's running for state Senate in Legislative District 25. 

Rather, it was something Pearce said to me as I buttonholed him just before the shindig started: That despite being a candidate for the state Legislature, he would remain in his position as president of the nativist organization Ban Amnesty Now, and that he would continue to host the weekly radio show BAN sponsors on KFNX 1100 AM.

This is at odds with what BAN-founder Sean McCaffrey told me when I spoke with him in January about Pearce joining up with McCaffrey's 501(c)4 non-profit

At that time, McCaffrey explained that in order to protect BAN's 501(c) 4 status, Pearce would have to step down as president and relinquish his duties as a radio host if he ran for any "public elective office." McCaffrey specifically related his understanding that a 501(c)4 cannot back candidates.

But on Monday, Pearce said he could keep the show as long as he doesn't campaign while on it. Still, wouldn't he be de facto campaigning if he's on the air?

"No," Pearce said. "Why is it campaigning on the radio? Is everybody who's on the radio campaigning?"

I mentioned what McCaffrey had told me about him having to resign.

"I talked to my attorney and he said absolutely not," he replied. "There's things I can say and can't say, but I'll follow the rules, like I always do."

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