Russell Pearce's Lobbyist Pal Greg Patterson and the Ties That Bind

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espressopundit.com
Lobbyist Patterson: Licking Pearce's boots clean is just the price of doin' business...

The first thing you need to know about Greg Patterson of the right-wing Espresso Pundit blog is that he is a lobbyist. According to the Arizona Secretary of State's website, he has been a registered lobbyist since 1997

To be fair, he doesn't hide this fact in his online bio. Still, it is of note because Patterson is often identified when he appears on television as a "blogger" and/or "former legislator." He is both of these things, but, these days, lobbying pays his bills. Or at least some of them. 

Patterson's number one cash cow as a lobbyist is the Arizona Competitive Power Alliance, of which he is the director. Though the AzCPA is organized as a nonprofit, that's somewhat misleading, as Patterson makes bank from AzCPA. 

Financial statements he's required to file with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service reveal that AzCPA boasted revenue in 2010 of $203,375, most of this from membership dues and fees. That same year, Patterson reported doing 20 hours of work per week, while pulling a salary of $130,417.

Though I could find no 2010 info on file for Patterson's other going concern, the Water Utilities Association of Arizona, its 2009 filing with the IRS showed Patterson received $60,000 for his work as the organization's executive director from a net balance for the association of $72,445. 

Once again, the paperwork shows Patterson did 20 hours per week to score this booty.

What exactly does Patterson do during his 20 hours per week for each organization? Well, both operations have a website, and AzCPA in particular spends oodles on banquets, luncheons and conferences given at the Camelback Inn, Tomaso's, the El Chorro Lodge, and other such joints.

This year, for the AzCPA's annual energy conference held at the Camelback Inn, Patterson shelled out $17,812. Attendees paid $75 per person, or $2,000 per table, to listen to the bloviations of Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce, among others. 

AzCPA's fall conference is scheduled for October 19 at the Camelback Inn, and will feature speechifying from GOP Congressman David Schweikert, as well as from Matt Salmon, the former Republican Congressman who is running for Representative Jeff Flake's soon-to-be vacant Congressional seat.

"After the conference," the AzCPA's event flier reads, "we will make our way over to the El Chorro Lodge for the 11th Annual Alliance Dinner. Cocktails will be served starting at 5:30 and dinner will be served at 6:00."

If visions of fat cats in spats sucking on cee-gars swirl in your head, you're not too far off the mark. AzCPA's website states that it was founded by "independent power producers intent on serving the Arizona electric market," and it has expanded "to include a wide array of energy companies representing various industries including: Transmission, Solar and Renewable Technologies, Liquefied Natural Gas and Retail Electric Competition."

Aside from feting politicians and captains of industry, Patterson lobbies the Arizona Corporation Commission and the state Legislature on behalf of pro-energy industry initiatives. 

And in the past, he's donated to Arizona politicians like CorpCom-wanna-be John Allen, former State Senator Tim Bee, erstwhile State Treasurer Dean Martin, among others. 

Patterson's shilling for energy companies should color your view of everything Patterson says in his role as a commentator. See, his livelihood depends, in part, on kissing the rings of powerful Legislators and public officials such as state Senate President Russell Pearce.

Almost all lobbyists, regardless of their political persuasions, must bow and scrape before Pearce as if he were a reincarnation of Sun King Louis XIV of France. They have no choice, considering Pearce's influence as the most powerful man in Arizona. 

For example, one lobbyist I know of in town, who is pro-choice, pro-gay marriage, and so forth, has also been a substantial contributor to Pearce's campaign. 

Why? Because Pearce can make sure any bill this lobbyist pushes never sees the floor of the state Senate. 

First in the House and later in the Senate, Pearce was the chair of these respective bodies' appropriation committees. That position earned him the fawning attentions of nearly every lobbyist in the state. 

But as Senate President, Pearce can make or break legislators and lobbyists like matchsticks. Save for in the rare instances when Senate members buck his rule, his word is law. 

The above observations should be preamble to Patterson's recent diatribe concerning a lawsuit brought against Sequoia Charter Schools, of which Pearce challenger Jerry Lewis is an assistant superintendent. 

I'll address the merits of the complaint in a blog post to follow. In Patterson's screed, he calls out by name various members of the local Fourth Estate for not investigating the lawsuit, which involves, as I will show, some kvetching over two boxes of old clothing and a ditched entertainment center.

Patterson himself does zero digging. He simply posts the lawsuit in a PDF link and summarizes its contents uncritically, apparently without speaking to any of the parties involved.

In his blog item, Patterson makes an interesting admission.

"All the major news outlets have the story," he tells readers. "Laurie Roberts, EJ Montini, Dennis Welch have all known about it for weeks but they are sitting on it. Why? Because the candidate is Jerry Lewis, and no one in the media is willing to print a story that might upset Lewis' chances of defeating Russell Pearce."

Now, how does he know that all the major news outlets in town have the story? Well, more than one fellow journo has told me that Pearce campaign advisers Chuck Coughlin and Chad Willems have been shopping the suit to the media, begging for a hit piece.

I'm guessing most reporters have stayed away from it because the charges, up until this point, have been extremely picayune. Also, the Pearce campaign's possibly illegal shenanigans involving sham candidate Olivia Cortes have sucked a lot of air out of the room.

Did Coughlin or Willems or someone working on their behalf whisper in Patterson's ear and send him a PDF of the complaint? I called and e-mailed Patterson asking to speak with me about it. He wrote back saying he was currently in Hawaii.

"I just summarized the suit, so I can't imagine that there's any part of it that you don't find accurate," he stated.

When I asked him if he pulled the court doc himself, he did not respond.

Patterson's known for his frequent Jeremiads against journalism, and I certainly have had my problems with the local press corps. Indeed, whenever someone tries to insult me by saying, "You're not a real journalist," I tend to take that as a sort of unintended compliment.

Of newspapers and news blogs, Patterson claims,

"That's why people don't trust them. That's why they don't subscribe. That's why they are collapsing financially. And that's why the world will be a better place when they are gone."

Really? Tell me, folks, do you think the world will be better informed when all of its news is supplied by Republican lobbyist-bloggers beholden to the very politicians they write about? Lobbyist-bloggers too lazy to do even a modicum of due diligence before throwing a lawsuit online and pretending it's the word of god?

I don't believe even Patterson buys that hooey. One, it would give him precious little to whine about. 

In addition, were Gannett, which owns the Arizona Republic and Channel 12, to go belly up tomorrow, he wouldn't be able to play pundit on 12's Sunday Squareoff anymore. 

And that free advertising is damn good for Patterson's business. Of this, you can be sure.

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19 comments
Submerged
Submerged

THANK YOU!!!! Patterson is a smug, self-righteous jerkface, and it is about time someone hit him back. I always am amazed at how Brahm Resnick at Channel 12 has Patterson on his Sunday show time and again, without giving his full background. Moreover, Patterson criticizes Republic-ites Montini, Roberts and Valdez constantly, and you would think Channel 12, since it is also owned by Gannett, would find someone more reputable to represent the neocon viewpoint.Patterson is part of 1 percent the protesters at Wall Street are complaining about, and the fact that he gets away with the tripe on his blog is mind-boggling. Not to mention that he uses every opportunity he can to go neener-neener about the supposed eminent demise of journalism and newspaper.BLEH! 

Maple01370
Maple01370

Greg Patterson and Espresso Pundit ROCK!

Dave
Dave

Nice article. I was directed from your comment on espresso pundit. That had to get under his skin a bit. Made me laugh...

AZDem9933
AZDem9933

These moderate pro-choice, pro-LGBT lobbyists may feel they have no choice but to donate to Pearce where their clients' short term interests are concerned but it's pretty pathetic and dishonest of them to then wring their hands in public about the "extremism" in the Lege and claim the problem is on both sides. 

Reggie VV
Reggie VV

Patterson has been writing the Espresso for a couple of years now that I know of.  I posted some responses on there a  couple of times, but then realized the uselessness of that effort.  He obviously became a shill for the right wing establishment in Phoenix, Mesa and Scottsdale.  He defends Brewer and Pearce and acts like any of the single party dictatorship in this State, hates unions, teachers, Hispanics, Tucson, and any taxes whatsoever, no matter what they support.  Greg might as well just publish the ALEC newsletter as his blog.

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

Attempting to be a serious newspaper, the Republic has endorsed Lewis -- in time for early voters to know where it stands.

Anon
Anon

Gullett, the lobbyist, raises questions about AZ Republic.

Susurro Perforado
Susurro Perforado

Greg Patterson seriously compromised his reputation as a commentator by walking onto Sunday Squareoff and trying to act like Olivia Cortes was a real candidate that threatened to pull Tea Party votes from Pearce. Everyone looked at him like he was crazy, but Patterson stuck with it. Complete lack of credibility, which is a shame because he has made some good observations over the years--apparently his integrity has a price

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Feel bad for the lobbyists? Yeah right...I'm playing the violin for them !

ExpertShot
ExpertShot

AzCPA ain't got nothing on Valley Forward.  That organization has been lobbying and schilling for corporate power brokers here in Arizona for 40 years!  It's a complete farce as a non-profit and exists only to enrich the principals at the expense of the taxpayers.  The Obama administration should look into the Astro-Turf groups ASAP!  I think it just stinks that these rich fat cats take advantage of laws which are supposed to be in place to assist the poor and powerless.  Non-profit corporations get tax breaks larger than a Mack Truck

Chad Snow
Chad Snow

Patterson didn't mention a WORD about the Pearce recall until the last 4 or 5 weeks.  He mentioned a supposed recall against Jon Kyl at least three times before he acknowledged the fact that the state's most powerful politician had been recalled.  Look in Espresso's archives.  There's nothing in April, May, June, or July about the Pearce recall.  Was he hedging his bets?  Or did Coughlin and Willems tell him he needed to start toeing the line?  I feel bad for a lot of these lobbyists - in their heart of hearts, they all know and privately acknowledge what a disaster Pearce is, but they are completely beholden to him because of his position. 

Check the host committee lists of the two lobbyist hosted fundraisers that Pearce has held this year to see if Patterson's name appears on them. 

Anon
Anon

Patterson/Pearce/Palin.... CCA/Coughlin/ALEC/Senseman/SB1070 = Arizona Prison state.

Jason
Jason

This guy's as sleazy as Constantin Querard and Jason Rose.

I mean, if you associate with a corrupt, sleazy old man like Pearce, then you are sleazy. Plain and simple.

Tommy Collins
Tommy Collins

["...then you are sleazy. Plain and simple."]

I misread that sentence. I thought it said, "then you are lazy, Palin, and simple" - the ultimate insult...

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Excellent article Stephen ! Hey...you're not a real journalist !- (Actually...you're one of the only real journalist this side of the Mississippi, that kicks ass instead of kissin it like some of the Rupert Murdoch loving Journalists do ! ) Well...anyway getting back to this excellent expose of another right wing loon (Patterson), it's mighty indicative of his corrupt belief system to say that the less we have of the Fourth Estate the better off we'll be, this guy is so full of it he burps when he farts ! You say gross? Well, that's what these corporate/fascist lobbyists are friggin gross ! A true corporate lobbyist has no soul or has promised upon their demise to hand it over to the demons that support them, just like the filthy racist Russell Pearce has.

  Hey...this lobbyist gig sounds pretty good...get paid $60,000 grand just to sit on your ass for 20 hours a week behind a desk or...bribing public officials at the best watering troughs Phoenix has to offer (personally, I like I like Humbertos but that's just me) or keeping the Call Girls employed (apoligies to the Call Girls that have to deal with these filthy Coporate Fascists).  Yes sirree...being a corporate lobbyist is mighty fine until you have a snoopy ass jounralist, who should just keep his nose into reporting cats getting stuck up trees or the latest bake sales in town.  But...hey...what the hell...how long will people continue to pay attention to a corporate lobbyist like Patterson who has sold his soul?  Maybe...just maybe Patterson the Reich Wing Lobbyist is wondering if that pesky investigative journalist known as Lemons (a.k.a. The Bird) will get transferred to Wyoming or something. Mr. Lemons, you're the only real investigative journalist working for a major media outlet that I have seen since I was a small child and that man's name was Don Bolles a brave man indeed who...like you did his job and brought the truth out to the citizens of Arizona by ignoring those in power and their corrupt influence but in your case, we've got your back ! Mr. Lemons this is really a complement: "You're not a real journalist" (and I've got land in the Salt River Bottom that you can buy real cheap!) Thanks.Patterson, can you send some of that payola over here for a free meal at Humbertos, I swear if you come and eat here they won't pi*s in your burrito.Leonard ClarkArizona Native The Damn Liberal10-12-11

Anon
Anon

..Leonard, Add the "grant" scam money game they all play in Arizona and this is what we are surrounded with. Thank God for Stephen Lemons and PNT!

Jewel in the Desert
Jewel in the Desert

I had never seen or heard of Greg Patterson before I saw him on channel 12's Sunday Squareoff a few weeks ago.  The entire segment I kept thinking, "Who's this Bozo?"  He kept interupting everyone and saying things that everyone else on the panel just rolled their eyes at.  And then at the very end he tried to sneak in his comment alluding to the lawsuit you have mentioned here.  It makes so much more sense now that I know the truth of who Greg Patterson is.  Russell Pearce has his hands in so many lobbyists pockets its embarrassing.  That is the story that everyone should be screaming about.  Not some used clothing and an old entertainment center that were crowding the hallways and sent to help a fellow teacher try to raise money to adopt needy children.  If you follow the story, you find out the donated materials were so junky they couldn't even be sold at the yard sale and were given to Desert Industries.  With all the scandals Pearce has been involved in of late this is truly laughable. Kudos as usual for exposing those behind Pearces continued attempts at deceit during this election.

Anon
Anon

Jewel in the Desert, I thought the same thing. It's time for people to write CH 12 and let them know, we do not want lobbyists in the Sunday Square-off promoting their agenda. Get journalists who hit the streets and investigate.

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