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Home / Opinion / Commentary / Mesa’s Watergate: Cortes’ campaign conspirators should come clean

Mesa’s Watergate: Cortes’ campaign conspirators should come clean

The Arizona Constitution, Article 7 section 12, charges the Legislature with the duty to “maintain the purity of elections.” Arizona case law has held that attempting to place a “diversionary candidate” on the ballot is illegal. A “diversionary candidate” is one who is in the race solely to divert votes from a particular candidate so as to give an advantage to another candidate. The recent lawsuit to have Olivia Cortes removed from the race was filed to honor the rule of law.

The trial court found that she had been placed on the ballot to divert Hispanic votes and was therefore a “sham” candidate. She was not a serious candidate, but a willing pawn in a sleazy scheme. She is gone, although her name remains on the ballot. But more important questions than simply whether Cortes was a sham candidate remain unresolved.

The lawsuit served as a tool to remove a sham candidate. But the ethical questions the lawsuit raises are larger than simply the question of whether Cortes should be a candidate in this historic recall election. How is it that a group of anonymous people, who are behind this sham candidacy, remain anonymous? With all the publicity about the matter, why must there be calls for investigations? All that needs to happen is for the people responsible for this stain on our state to come forward, confess their guilt and apologize to the voters. But that won’t happen.

The fact that there are secret conspiring actors who are unquestionably supporters of Russell Pearce, and that they chose to remain anonymous, tells us that they recognize that what they have done is illegal, or at least embarrassing. And that should bother us. It should bother us because if a candidate and/or his campaign advisers and leading supporters can engage in skullduggery like this, they can do the same once in office.

Persons who are willing to attempt to deceive voters can attempt to make backroom deals and pull special favors for their friends; they can line their pockets in exchange for promises to offer bills and vote a certain way. People with political connections who lack integrity like this can engage in piracy and favoritism and retaliations.

Concern about this is the main issue that this recent bit of political intrigue should focus on. Who paid to have petitions for Cortes to be circulated? Cortes says she doesn’t know. Greg Western, Cortes’ campaign “everything,” testified he didn’t know. Who paid for Cortes’ signs? Who else circulated petitions to gather signatures from among their friends? Who asked his family members to help with Cortes’ campaign? Who told the boss of the hired petition circulators to tell people that a signature for Cortes would help Pearce? Who set up and paid for Cortes’ website and wrote the press releases? Who coordinated all this? Someone did — someone who knows how to run a campaign and develop a tricky strategy of getting someone on the ballot, getting some name recognition out there, and all the while remaining anonymous — someone with money and a Machiavellian mind.

And what was Russell Pearce’s role in all of this?

With his campaign people, his family and his Tea Party friends in on the scheme, what has he done to answer these questions? He has not called for answers. What has been discussed in campaign meetings where Western attended, wearing two hats — Cortes’ campaign adviser and Pearce campaign committee member? What has been said at the Pearce dinner table? Here we have an illegal scheme, done to get Pearce elected, and he pretends to know nothing. If he were a man of truth and integrity, a candidate who meant it when he told the voters he would “run a clean campaign,” he would have demanded that every one of those implicated in his office come clean, for they have hurt his reputation. Until the anonymous benefactors of the Pearce campaign who were involved in this illegal scheme come forward, we are left to wonder what Pearce knew.

— H. Micheal Wright is a Mesa lawyer who filed suit challenging Olivia Cortes’ candidacy.

One comment

  1. What about reporting on this items?? All vetted and true about LEWIS:

    ) Lewis committed fraud against Arizona by falsifying the number of students at Sequoia Schools, which he used to manage until the State forced him to resign. Lewis asked Joy Christian, doesn’t take public funds, to have their students log on to Sequoia to inflate the number of students.

    A 2009 Audit by AZ showed that Lewis defrauded taxpayers $1.9 million by Lewis falsely reporting an additional 400 Joy Christian students. Lewis was forced to resign and Sequoia had to pay back the $1.9 million to AZ. For more information, go to Sonoran News.

    2) Lewis then became the manager of Pappas School, for underprivileged youths. Lewis was caught “light fingered” taking from the Homeless Donations. The lawsuit by the teacher(s) is open and pending in MC Superior Court. Click on the link at Sonoran Alliance to print the court documents.

    3) Lewis at the debate equated AZ TODAY with the worst of the lynchings, KKK, and other civil rights travesties. Lewis “AZ is seen as something akin to 1964 Alabama”. (AZ Rep video or Trib)

    4) The article in the AZ Capital Times by a University of Phoenix lawyer(s) that Lewis’ “slash and burn” tactic in the Cortes lawsuit were brutal and unconstitutional.

    Quotes” The BEGINNING OF THE END OF DEMOCRACY IN ARIZONA. So let’s hope no one ever brings a lawsuit like this again”.

    “After establishing just how far, exactly to the political Right these people can be found on the spectrum, (Lewis’) Ryan executed what was probably the MOST CONSTITUTIONALLY REPUGNANT PART OF HIS LITIGATION STRATEGY -he required each to list every single political ally be name..their political beliefs and goals of their friends.”

    “The government has no right to pass judgment on the associations of its citizens-political, religious, ideological, or otherwise. Yet (Lewis’) Ryan asked a Judge to INVENT A LAW whereby such associations can also give rise to legal and criminal liability.” (AZ Capital Times article)

    5) Lewis claims to be a Republican-no Democrat is running because Lewis is the “sham” Republican. The State GOP and Maricopa County GOP broker tradition of not endorsing a candidate when more than one is running because they KNOW that Lewis is a plant. Pearce has the support of the prominent Republican AZ state officers and legislators.

    6) Lewis refuses to criticize/denounce his puppet master, Randy Parraz. Parraz is a union organizer and promoter of class warfare paid $117K a year by the unions (unioncheck.com) to disrupt and attack conservatives. Add in Lewis’ La Raza (kill whites) and AZtlan (return AZ to Mexico) buddies-Snow, Parraz, Grijalva, Pastor, Reze- and you have a witches’ brew.

    As US Senator Trent Franks stated in his endorsement of State Senator President Pearce, please do not allow the “Looney Left” to take over Arizona, “flooding Million(s) into the state from outside unions , to pay for Open Border Activists to swarm Mesa’s neighborhoods.

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