Russell Pearce's Sycophants Try to Score Him Some Free Money from the Taxpayers

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Uncle Russ needs him some free gub'mint cheese. He ain't got a job no more because of them dang liberals, and that cheese will only cost y'all taxpayers $230,000. Plus, the Constitution promises it to him.

Such are the pathetic trial balloons being floated by ex-state Senate President Russell Pearce's sycophants in the media and in the state Legislature. 

Such local hacks as Howard Fischer and Republican Legislators like Jack Harper are entertaining the notion that Pearce -- having just suffered a humiliating 12-point loss in the Legislative District 18 recall race -- is now entitled to recoup personal expenses from his failed campaign.

Um, even though Pearce has incurred no personal expenses: No tabs not picked up by his slavish supporters.

See, Fischer, Harper and other fawning Pearce-worshippers would have us believe that the following passage from the Arizona Constitution translates into Pearce scoring a giganto unearned severance check from the taxpayers:

"The general election laws shall apply to recall elections in so far as applicable. Laws necessary to facilitate the operation of the provisions of this article shall be enacted, including provision for payment by the public treasury of the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officer."

What does this language actually mean? Though the stewards of our elections have so far been clueless when asked, the pro-Democrat Blog for Arizona applies this Occam's razor:

"If you want to know what it means, look to the implementing statutes at Title 19, Chapter 2, Recall and Advisory Recall, A.R.S. §§19-201 to 19-234.

"A.R.S. §19-208.05 provides for a Special Fund for Reimbursement of County Recorders which covers the expense of validation of signatures and certification of a recall by County Recorders under A.R.S. §19-208.02.

"A.R.S. §19-210 provides for Reimbursement for County Expenses in Conducting Special Recall Election: The political subdivision or district in which a public officer subject to recall serves shall reimburse the county for all expenses incurred in conducting the special recall election.

"Since Legislative District 18 is a state political subdivision, the state of Arizona is to reimburse Maricopa County for "the reasonable special election campaign expenses of such officer," i.e., the Maricopa County Elections Director, not the elected official recalled."

For idiots like Harper and Fischer, however, it means that because Pearce's campaign committee Patriots for Pearce raised nearly $230K, Pearce should be awarded the same amount for being such a lousy state Senate President that he was kicked out of office by the voters of his own district.

One interesting thing about the Patriots for Pearce campaign committee: on its pre-election financial disclosure, it showed a cash balance of $70,694.79, unspent.

Whether Pearce's committee will have a cash balance on its post-election report is yet to be seen. If it does, Patriots for Pearce has a number of options for that dough, according to A.R.S. 16-915.01.

It could give the money back to the contributors (don't bet the farm on this one). Donate it to another political entity. Contribute excess funds to a charity. (Unlikely, unless it's the "Keep Russell Pearce Fat Fund.") Or retain the money for a future political run. 

There's even some tantalizing stuff in there about transferring remaining funds to an officeholder's expense account. Though, as Pearce's no longer an officeholder, not sure how this would apply.

Finally, ain't it funny that the very same politicians who were ideologically opposed to the federal extension of unemployment benefits -- and who killed such an extension by refusing to change two words in state statute during a special session called by the governor -- are now trying to concoct some legal rationalization for gifting political welfare to their all-gub'mint-is-evil-unless-it-benefits-me wingnut pals?

Whatever happened to the far right mantra of the "poor deserving their fate"? At least in the case of someone like Pearce, I might be willing to agree with them, karma-wise.

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