Friday, July 31, 2020

Another Arizona Congressional Seat Ready For A Red To Blue Seat-- The Last Of Crooked Wing-Nut David Schweikert?


Of Congress' 3 most corrupt Republicans, only Schweikert (right) is still in office and not yet headed for prison

In 2016, Trump won David Schweikert's Phoenix area congressional district (AZ-06)-- but he did far worse than either McCain or Romney had. This is one of those rare districts where Hillary outpolled Obama. Entirely within Maricopa County, it includes the northern suburbs of Phoenix, from Paradise Valley and Scottsdale all the way to Fountain Hills in the east and Carefree in the north. The PVI is R+9, but Schweikert isn't as safe as someone in a district that red-- on paper at least-- should be. And his congressional race is the hottest in the state this cycle.

The top two Democrats vying to challenge him are Anita Malik, who ran against Schweikert in 2018 and did poorly, and Hiral Tipirneni, who ran in the much redder (R+13) 8th district in Phoenix's conservative West Valley. As of July 15, Tipirneni is the top fundraiser for the seat, $2,466,261 as opposed to Schweikert's $1,321,631 and Malik's $242,848. Tipirneni, a garden variety establishment Dem backed by the DCCC and EMILY's List, will probably win Tuesday's primary. She doesn't have much to offer woke voters except that she's not Trump or Schweikert and in a heavily college-educated district... being a garden variety Democrat might be enough this cycle. Besides, Schweikert's a mess, a member of the far right House Freedom Caucus, hated by some Republicans who remember the vicious whispering campaign he orchestrated against Dan Quayle's son, Ben in 2012, and many of his constituents have had enough of him.

Yesterday, Ron Hansen summed up one part of Schweikert's woes in a piece for the Arizona Republic, In deal, Rep. David Schweikert admits 11 ethics violations, to pay $50,000 fine. Basically, Schweikert's crooked and there has been a constant drip, drip, drip about his behavior for several cycles. By admitting his crimes, he's also admitting he's been lying to his constituents about it since 2017, although he's still trying to slither out from under the charges, insinuating for example that though he's ultimately responsible, it was people who worked for him who were the criminals not him (a lie).
The committee found "substantial evidence" of violations by the five-term Arizona Republican stretching from 2010 into 2018 and faulted him for evasive, stalling tactics that helped him skirt more serious violations.

As it was, the violations the committee did find include undisclosed loans and campaign contributions; misuse of campaign funds for personal purposes; improper spending by his office; and an environment where office staffers were pressured to do political work.

...[T]he committee found that Schweikert was less than forthcoming and cooperative. His stonewalling tactics could be sanctioned by themselves, but the delays may have helped avert more serious problems for Schweikert, the committee wrote.

"Throughout the course of this investigation, Representative Schweikert made vague or misleading statements to the (investigative subcommittee) and (the Office of Congressional Ethics) that allowed him to evade the statute of limitations for the most egregious violations of campaign finance laws, his document productions were slow or non-responsive to several of the ISC’s requests for information regarding (Federal Election Commission) errors, and he gave self-serving testimony that lacked candor," the report said.

"Efforts like the ones Representative Schweikert undertook to delay and impede the ISC’s investigation were not only highly detrimental to the Committee’s work and reputation of the House, they were themselves sanctionable misconduct."

The committee’s report said Schweikert’s violations were a troubling example to avoid for other members of the House of Representatives.

"While all of the violations detailed above were concerning, the Committee was disturbed by the events described in counts three and four... in particular. Those counts detailed how Representative Schweikert’s campaign committee falsely reported that he had loaned the campaign $100,000, when no such loan had been made, and then falsely reported making $100,000 in disbursements, which served to adjust the campaign’s reported cash on hand that was propped up by the fictitious loan," the report said.

"These errors were not only flagrant and egregious violations of campaign finance law, the falsely reported loan improperly inflated his campaign’s finances, thus making Representative Schweikert’s campaign appear to meet its financial goals while depriving the public of accurate and transparent accounting of the true state of his campaign."

For nearly two years, Schweikert publicly maintained the matter under investigation was little more than a bookkeeping dispute.

After the separate Office of Congressional Ethics, which helps screen potential cases for the Ethics Committee, revealed its investigative findings against Schweikert's longtime former chief of staff, Oliver Schwab, in June 2019, Schweikert political adviser Chris Baker shifted tone. He acknowledged serious problems had existed and said Schweikert’s trust in Schwab "was grossly misplaced."

...The report deals another blow to Schweikert, whose Scottsdale-based congressional district is historically safe ground for the GOP. But the Republican-leaning district is the kind of suburban, relatively well-educated location that has drifted toward Democrats, especially in the Trump era.

Schweikert has struggled to raise money throughout the current campaign cycle and his best-funded Democrat, Hiral Tipirneni, had a $1 million cash advantage over him through mid-July.

For Schweikert, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, the allegations of misspending hit directly at the heart of his political persona as a budget and finance expert.

Arizona, where there is no mask mandate, is having one of the worst pandemics of any state in the country. Today, another 3,212 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total to 174,010, which comes to a horrifying-- and increasing-- 23,907 cases per million Arizonans. The only state with a worse number is Louisiana. Many independent voters rightly blame the disaster on Trump and his enablers. Gov. Doug Ducey isn't on the ballot but Trump is and extremely unpopular Republican Senator Martha McSally is and both are are expected to be albatrosses around the necks of vulnerable Republican officeholders necks, none more so than David Schweikert.

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At 6:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tipernini is a doctor running on obamneycare instead of MFA. I'm sure pelo$i would gladly accept her endorsement for speaker and her promise to never make waves that the corporate donors would not abide.

However, that is a red district. even if the anti-red this time prevents a crooked Nazi... next time an even more crooked Nazi is likely to ride the inevitable anti-blue into office.

this is 2008, perhaps, all over again. But remember that 2010 followed. just a warning.

your party is far worse today than they were in 2010.


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