Arizona State Senator J.D. Mesnard (R-Chandler) shared in his weekly update to constituents that his bill, aimed at ensuring school districts comply with the state transparency laws, is moving along through the Legislature.
“Given the importance of having transparency with such a critical topic as teacher pay, I sponsored a bill (SB 1599) that would add some teeth to the law and instruct the Arizona Department of Education to engage if a school district is not in compliance. The bill has passed the Senate and is poised for a House Floor vote,” Mesnard said.
The Arizona-based Goldwater Institute (GI) announced Wednesday that it had filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix for refusing a public records request relating to union records.
“The public’s business should be done in public, not behind closed doors,” says GI Staff Attorney Parker Jackson, lead attorney on the case. “The city of Phoenix has a duty to comply with state law—and the city’s own code—so that residents can find out what their government is up to.”
Arizona State Rep. David Livingston (R-Peoria) sent another letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) Wednesday demanding more answers regarding where she is placing funds for 2023 inauguration events. While Livingston did receive answers to his first letter, he said those have only led to more questions.
“Those records have not alleviated my concerns regarding your administration’s solicitation of inaugural funds. Instead, they have prompted new concerns and this supplemental request for more information,” Livingston wrote.
Arizona State Representative David Livingston (R-Peoria) sent letters Monday to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and her campaign manager Nicole DeMont seeking further transparency regarding the funds Hobbs received for her inauguration events.
“To that end, I have serious concerns relating to the procurement of funds that appear to have been solicited and donated for the purpose of sponsoring Inauguration events hosted at the Capitol in early January,” Livingston wrote. “It is my understanding that you or your campaign manager publically disclosed some of the donors and the amounts of their donations several weeks ago, but this disclosure is incomplete.”
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.”
Audit USA (AU), a nonpartisan organization based in Arizona focusing on election integrity, will have an opportunity to present arguments in the Arizona Court of Appeals Wednesday in a case involving Maricopa County and ballot images.
“I’m hopeful we will win this case because the facts are with us and transparency in our elections is vital for democracy,” said John Brakey, co-founder and director of AU. “Transparency is the currency of trust and without it, our democracy will die in darkness.”
The Arizona Senate President, Karen Fann (R-Prescott), applauded a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court (ASC) protecting the Senate’s legislative privilege concerning discharging documents from the 2020 Maricopa County Election Audit.
“The Senate’s position on legislative privilege was supported by decades of precedent from federal and state courts. The lower courts’ attempt to disregard those precedents in the interest of short-term political concerns was wrong from the beginning. This is a huge victory for the protection of the legislative process,” Fann said.
The Voter Reference Foundation (VRF) filed a federal lawsuit against Democrat Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver and Democrat Attorney General Hector Balderas in an attempt to secure more transparent voter rolls.
According to a press release from the group, they “filed a First Amendment lawsuit in federal court against top Democrat officials in New Mexico to ensure the public’s right to view public voter rolls is not blocked.”
Pfizer and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Friday they are delaying their plan for Pfizer’s Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for its coronavirus vaccine for children under five years old due to insufficient data on the efficacy of a third dose.
Pfizer announced February 1 FDA had asked the drug company, and its partner BioNTech, to submit data on a COVID vaccine series for babies as young as six months old and young children up until age five.
Politics is getting in the way of government transparency, preventing the sort of accountability on which our governing institutions depend for maintaining public trust and legitimacy.
In Wisconsin and elsewhere around the country, public officials are steadfastly refusing to answer basic questions about their official conduct from the people’s elected representatives. These are not salacious questions about their personal conduct, or fishing expeditions designed to stir up political scandal. Legislators are merely seeking to better understand how appointed bureaucrats and elected officials administered the 2020 elections amidst a pandemic and an unprecedented, and in many cases unlawful, infusion of private monies into public election offices.
Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, for instance, has sued to block a legislative subpoena seeking voter information as part of an investigation of the state’s voter registration system, known as SURE. Even though there is ample precedent for disclosing this type of information, the AG’s lawsuit argues that it would violate citizens’ right to privacy, as though allowing lawmakers to access government records would automatically compromise the security of that information.
A Republican State Senator wants partisan school board elections in Arizona, which she says will encourage accountability.
“It’s more to make a statement about the process,” State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (R-Scottsdale) told The Arizona Sun Times. “Right now the process for electing school boards lacks in the accountability and transparency department. Candidates don’t have to be accountable to a party. Voters don’t have a clear understanding of the political lens these candidates are going to be basing decisions on.”
While there is agreement between large factions of both Republicans and Democrats that social media companies should be liable for certain third-party content hosted on their platforms, the parties differ on what that content should be, and why platforms should be liable in the first place.
Congress appeared no closer to finding common ground following a House Energy and Commerce hearing Wednesday, in which lawmakers considered several bills seeking to reform Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.
“Wednesday’s hearing made clear that Republicans and Democrats have drastically different solutions to hold Big Tech accountable,” Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, who serves as Ranking Member on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Republicans are fighting for free speech, while Democrats continue to push for more censorship and control. Bipartisanship will not be possible until Democrats agree that we need less censorship, not more.”
A lawsuit alleging multiple violations of federal and state election laws as well as Pennsylvania’s “Right to Know” statute was filed in Pennsylvania Wednesday night, according to sources familiar with the litigation.
In early 2021, a whistleblower working for the Delaware County Bureau of Elections began inquiring why it was apparent to her that multiple documents pertaining to the Nov. 3, 2020 elections were being destroyed in the southeastern Pennsylvania county, the sources said. The name of the whistleblower has not yet been made public.
This week’s Golden Horseshoe goes to a broad sweep of federal agencies for a systemic lack of transparency that is hampering efforts to monitor many billions of dollars in COVID-19 relief spending, according to a report by the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee.
The PRAC was established in 2020 by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to “promote transparency and conduct and support oversight” of more than $5 trillion in pandemic relief funds.
In a report released Wednesday, the watchdog details its difficulty in determining how funds are being spent due to federal agencies’ poor reporting on the government spending website, USAspending.gov.