FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Friday, October 27, 2017

UPDATE: Arizona GOP Redirects Insys-Related Contributions To Southwest Behavioral Health Services

Last night, Arizona's Politics reported that newly-arrested Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor had donated monies to the Arizona Republican Party (in addition to President Trump and other Republican groups). The Arizona GOP informs Arizona's Politics that it disgorged the $1,500 the same day and gave the money to Southwest Behavioral Health Services.

Our report yesterday noted that AZGOP Communications Director Torunn Sinclair had tweeted that the monies had been donated. However, it was later in the evening that she gave the details.

"They gave us $1,500, once we learned of the indictment today, we immediately donated the money. The funds were donated to Southwest Behavioral Health Services," Sinclair told Arizona's Politics. (SBHS runs opioid four addiction treatment centers in central and northern Arizona.)

She went on to compare and contrast the AZGOP's swift action to the Arizona Democrats and Democratic candidates who had received money from the founders of Backpage. While there are similarities and it can be argued that candidates/parties should not be required to disgorge contributions even from people under indictment, the $500,000 Insys/Kapoor contribution to fight the marijuana legalization initiative in Arizona cannot be disgorged, had some impact on the defeat of that initiative, AND was designed to further the business interests of a company allegedly mis-selling an opioid product.

The $2,700 to President Trump's campaign, the $1,500 to the NRCC and the $3,000 to the Republican National Committee are still at large.

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Thursday, October 26, 2017

UPDATE: Arrested/Indicted Insys Founder John Kapoor Recently Contributed To Arizona GOP, Trump, National Republicans; AZGOP Says Money Was Donated

On the day that President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction a public health emergency, the federal government arrested Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor for fraud and racketeering in marketing its Fentanyl spray.

According to FEC records, Kapoor contributed $2,700 to Trump's Presidential campaign last year, and has contributed $1,500 to the Arizona Republican Party this year. Additional contributions in 2017 include $3,000 to the Republican National Committee and $1,500 to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

However, the political contribution that Kapoor and Insys are best known for was the $500,000 given to the Arizona committee fighting last year's initiative to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Torunn Sinclair, the Communications Director for the Arizona GOP, indicated on Twitter tonight that the Kapoor monies were "already donated".  She has not yet replied to Arizona's Politics' requests for further details.

(READ the unsealed indictment here)

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BREAKING: Insys Founder John Kapoor, Others Arrested For Selling Subsys; Indictment Unsealed (READ)

Insys founder and majority owner John Kapoor was arrested in Phoenix today and charged with racketeering and paying kickbacks related to the company's fentanyl spray.

(UPDATE: Arrested/Indicted Insys Founder John Kapoor Recently Contributed To Arizona GOP, Trump, National Republicans; AZGOP Says Money Was Donated)

Kapoor was scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Phoenix today. The 74-year old is accused of setting up a national conspiracy using bribes and fraud to maximize sales of Subsys.

Kapoor's Initial Appearance and Arraignment has been set for November 16 in Boston.

Here is the newly-unsealed indictment:

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Friday, October 20, 2017

UPDATE: Arpaio At Trump Golf Club, Hanging At California Republican Convention After Being Found Still Guilty

Former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was stumping at President Donald Trump's Rancho Palos Verdes golf club last night while his attorneys were beginning to appeal yesterday's still-guilty of criminal contempt of court decision.

U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued her four-page order (read here) after business hours last night, and Arpaio's attorneys filed a Notice of Appeal within an hour of two.

At the same time, the former Sheriff was headlining a $250/person fundraiser for a 28-year old candidate challenging longtime Congresswoman Maxine Waters. "I don't know her, but I don't like her," Arpaio told the group.

The candidate, Omar Navarro, added that Arpaio would be hanging out with him in his hospitality suite at the California Republican Convention in Anaheim this weekend.

Unless the golf club donated its room and services, the President will make money from Arpaio's appearance, less than two months after Trump issued the pardon that halted the sentencing portion of Arpaio's contempt case.

(h/t to LA Daily News' Kevin Modesti)

UPDATE: Here's video of last night's event. H/t to Curious George.)

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Thursday, October 19, 2017

BREAKING, READ: Arpaio Immediately Appeals Decision That Lets Court's Guilty Finding Stand

Moments after U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton notified his attorneys of her decision that her finding that former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was guilty of criminal contempt of court would stand, Arpaio filed a Notice of Appeal.

Judge Bolton recognized that President Donald Trump's controversial pardon of Arpaio "undoubtedly spared Defendant from any punishment that might otherwise have been imposed. It did not, however, 'revise the historical facts' of this case."

The court had found Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt in July, for willfully violating orders of a different judge in the still-active civil rights case of Melendres v. Arpaio. After Trump's August 25 pardon, the Court suspended the pending sentencing hearing, and later accepted the pardon as ending the case.

Arpaio's attorneys asked that the Court go further and undo her July 31 order.  The decision today refused that, and the Notice of Appeal has been filed. You can read both below.


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Monday, October 16, 2017

BREAKING: "Abandoned the Prosecution"; Judge Must Appoint Private Attorney To Appeal Trump's Pardon Of Arpaio, Former Clinton and Obama Attorneys Tell Court (READ)

Because Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the DOJ has "abandoned the prosecution", an independent, private counsel must be appointed by the U.S. District Court so that the effect of President Trump's pardon of former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio may be appealed. A group led and represented by former attorneys for both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton filed the brief earlier today.

The Amici Curiae brief was filed (read below) by The Protect Democracy Project, along with other attorneys from Perkins Coie, and Messing & Spector.  The Protect Democracy Project was formed by attorneys who served former President Barack Obama, the attorneys of Messing & Spector were senior counsel for Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and Perkins Coie represents the Democratic National Committee.

The brief (3 pages, below) brief is asking "that the Court take a modest action to provide for appellate consideration of this issue, by appointing a private attorney - as the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure command - who can then prosecute an appeal."  Claiming the "core power of the judiciary is at stake", they claim that Rule 42(a)  mandates ("must") that a private attorney be appointed in a prosecution for criminal contempt if the government declines the request.

Citing the Department of Justice's post-pardon statements that "this prosecution is over," that "[t]here will be no sentencing," and "[t]here will be no judgment", The Protect Democracy Project declares that "although  the Government obtained a conviction, it then abandoned any efforts to prosecute the contempt."

After finding Joe Arpaio guilty of criminal contempt of court in July, U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton recognized the validity of President Trump's August pardon of Arpaio, and on September 4, declared the case closed and vacated the sentencing date. However, she took under consideration whether her findings of criminal contempt should be wiped away - as Arpaio attorneys requested and the DOJ agreed.


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Thursday, September 28, 2017

NEW: Arizona's Kidscare Program Won't Run Out of Money In 2017 Despite Congressional Inaction, Per AHCCCS


Congress is allowing federal funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program ("CHIP") to expire - at least temporarily - this weekend, and Arizona has been identified as one of three states most at-risk. However, the Arizona Kidscare program is "expect(ed) to be funded through the end of the calendar year."


National articles discussing the federal lapse in funding on September 30 have cited an analysis of June data showing Arizona as one of the three states (and the District of Columbia) likely to run out of funding sometime in October, November or December.

However, AHCCCS Public Information Officer Heidi Capriotti tells Arizona's Politics that they have been working with the Governor's Office and the federal CMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) to make sure that the 22,000 Arizona children receiving healthcare coverage through the program remain covered.

"Through carry-forward allotments and re-distributions, we expect Kidscare to be funded through the end of the year,"  Capriotti said. She also noted that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona is not in as dire straits as several others.

The national report using June data expected that Arizona would have $60.1M in redistribution funding from prior allotments and that that would not last more than three months; only Minnesota, North Carolina and the District of Columbia had that small of a cushion.

In fact, while it only shows total revenues and expenses from the Kidscare fund, Arizona's OpenBooksAZ website shows that the state has received approximately $8M from the federal government in the months of July and August, and that the income had exceeded the outgo by about $1.5M. For Arizona's 2017FY (ended June 30, 2017), the revenue exceeded the expenses by approximately $0.5M.

Capriotti also notes that it appears that Congress is starting to move forward on approving the CHIP budget. If Congress and the President approve it in 2017, there would be no actual interruption of services.  She also points out that recent reports from other states indicate that Arizona may not have one of the smallest cushions, after all.

Arizona is required to provide the 22,000 Kidscare members a 30-day notice if the benefits are expiring. No such notice is expected this year.

The national CHIP and its Arizona version have both had rocky periods where the hot winds of politics have threatened to run them aground. The current storm does not appear to be a Cat 5...yet.

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WATCH: Rep. Sinema Launches Senate Bid Vs. Flake (BREAKING)

Arizona Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD9) launched her long-expected bid to challenge Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) this afternoon.

Here is her announcement video:



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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

BREAKING, READ: Arizona Rep. Joins GOP Call For Special Counsel To Investigate Clinton's Emails, Obama Administration

Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs (R-CD5) today joined with fellow Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee to renew their call on U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to appoint a 2nd Special Counsel to investigate the Hillary Clinton private email server and other issues relating to the Obama Administration.

The letter (below) renews the GOP's call from July to set up another Special Counsel alongside Robert Mueller, in order to follow up on Congress' previous investigations into alleged Obama Administration wrongdoings. The Committee expresses concern that then-FBI Director James Comey and others may have pre-determined not to charge former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton for having classified documents on her private email server.

Mueller is investigating the 2016 election and alleged ties between the Trump campaign/Administration and claimed Russian interference.

First-term Rep. Biggs joined in signing the letter, and tweeted its public announcement earlier today. The renewed call comes a few days after news reports indicating that high-level Trump Administration officials have used private email accounts for some official business.



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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

BREAKING/READ: Arizona Supreme Court Unanimously Holds Parent In Same-Sex Marriage Has Similar Status

In a case that received national attention, the Arizona Supreme Court unanimously decided this morning that both women in a same sex marriage are legal parents to a child born during the marriage.

The ruling vacates the Court of Appeals opinion finding that the non-birth mother in the lesbian marriage did not have the same parental rights after the marriage was dissolved.

Justice Clint Bolick agreed with the other six justices as to the determination that Suzan was a legal parent - due to the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decisions - but wrote a dissenting opinion as to the effects on Arizona's paternity statutes.


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