Democrat Katie Hobbs was sworn in as Arizona’s governor on Monday, in the first of two inaugural events this week. A third related event is raising eyebrows, a ball which is funded by special interests, including lobbyists, companies that do business with the state, developers, and builders. Hobbs refuses to disclose how much they are contributing.
Michele Swinick of the Save my Freedom Movement told The Arizona Sun Times she believes it is inappropriate for Hobbs not to disclose the amounts contributed by special interests. “The public has a right to know who is putting the most money into bribing their taxpayer-funded government,” she said. “This is a continuing pattern Hobbs has so it’s not a surprise that she would start out her very first fraudulent day of office with this move protecting her friends. She hid herself from the Arizona Voters during her campaign and now she’s showing you, yet again, how she operates. At least you can give her credit for one thing, she’s been consistent.”
On Hobbs’ campaign website, she vowed to “bring more transparency” to the governor’s office, “because the people deserve to know what their leaders are doing with their money.” Hobbs promised to make her administration “the most ethical and accountable” in history.
However, Hobbs refused to let reporters attend the inauguration, except for an AP photographer.
Progressive Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts criticized Hobbs’ first day for its lack of transparency. “[I]n her first official act, she decided to take the public’s business private. Not a great start,” she tweeted.
Arizona's 24th governor, Katie Hobbs, assumed power at 10 a.m. on Monday and in her first official act, she decided to take the public’s business private. Not a great start. https://t.co/DBHYraYBNF via @azcentral
— Laurie Roberts (@LaurieRoberts) January 2, 2023
Roberts wrote an entire article attacking the secrecy, stating Hobbs was “hiding from reporters.”
Hobbs’ inaugural committee includes at least six current and former lobbyists and 21 campaign donors who contributed over $100,000 to her campaign, according to the blog Stop Katie Hobbs. The sponsors included many progressive groups, including Human Rights Campaign, Environmental Defense Fund Action, Arizona Palestine Network, AEA Fund for Public Education, Stand for Children, progressive law firms, consulting firms, and several unions. Hensley Beverage, the liquor company controlled by Cindy McCain, was a sponsor.
Hobbs’ secrecy is in contrast to the previous three governors, according to Capitol Media’s Howard Fischer. He said they disclosed the amounts from donors to inaugural and related events.
Hobbs’ transition team includes at least 15 current and former lobbyists, former Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek, a Republican, former Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, current Maricopa County Supervisor Steve Gallardo, as well as campaign donors like Mesa’s Republican Mayor John Giles.
While being sworn in, Hobbs “was unable to take the oath of office this morning without stammering and laughing through it,” political consultant Brian Anderson observed on Twitter. She repeatedly burst out laughing when asked to repeat her support and defense of the Constitution.
— Brian Anderson (@AZBrianAnderson) January 2, 2023
Hobbs hinted during two interviews that she anticipates a poor relationship with the Republican-dominated state legislature. She said during an interview with Fox 10 Phoenix’s Steve Nielsen that any legislation she views as “political stunts” will not be tolerated. She declared that “the veto pen is a powerful negotiating tool.” During an interview with KTAR’s Barry Markson, she reiterated that “the veto pen is a powerful negotiating tool and I won’t hesitate to use it.”
Hobbs told Axios she intends to push ahead with her agenda through executive orders to bypass the legislature.
Kari Lake is still disputing the results of the gubernatorial election declaring Hobbs the winner instead of her. She asked the Arizona Supreme Court to hear her appeal of a trial court judge’s decision dismissing her election contest. In 1916, a similar dispute over the gubernatorial election broke out, involving allegations of voter fraud, and months after the incumbent Democrat governor was inaugurated, the Arizona Supreme Court ordered him out of office and replaced him with the Republican candidate.
The inauguration was streamed from Hobbs’ Facebook page. The second inauguration, a ceremonial event, takes place on Thursday at 10 a.m. and will be livestreamed. The ball will take place at Talking Stick Resort.
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