Russell Pearce's Sham Candidate Olivia Cortes' Clean Elections Mailers

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Citizens Clean Election Commission
Like a bad case of psoriasis, Olivia Cortes will just not go away...

Notwithstanding the delusional devotion of my lefty friends for Arizona's Clean Elections system, I will be happy when the final nail is driven into its coin-filled coffin.

Why? Constantin Querard, for starters. Far right political hacks such as Querard have cleverly gamed Clean Elections for the advancement of newbie wingnut politicos, at whom substantial contributors normally look askance. 

Ironically, these same far-right loons are stridently anti-government, but they pocket the cash all the same in a bid to become or remain part of what they supposedly despise.

"This is a pretty lousy system," Querard once told a group of fellow GOPers, "and it works really well for us."

As a result, we have an extremist Legislature consisting of members who owe their political careers to CE, which persists despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling striking down the matching funds portion of the scheme

Arguably, our redder-than-thou state might still be the color of a Commie flag without CE, but at least these moonhowlers wouldn't be getting free money, money that comes from a  voluntary $5 check-off box on your state tax forms, a surcharge on criminal and civil penalties and fines, and the $5 donations each CE candidate must gather.

Currently, there's a court challenge to a repeal measure that's supposed to be on the 2012 ballot. I hope that fails so I can cast my vote to end this travesty.

Here's another reason to hate CE: The above mailer, sent out to the household of every registered voter in Legislative District 18. 

See that part in red, the "Voluntarily Withdrawn from Election" beside sham candidate Olivia Cortes' name? That wording was not on the mailers sent to LD 18 voters.

That's because, according to CE's executive director Todd Lang, the mailers went out on October 3, three days before Cortes officially withdrew from the race.

"I wish she'd withdrawn a couple of days before," Lang told me, sheepishly. 

According to state statute, CE has to post these do-dads before any early ballots are mailed. Early voting begins tomorrow, you see.

Such mailers are meant to inform the voters, though these are doing exactly the opposite.

Sadly, Cortes' name remains on the ballot, and though there will be signs in the polling places advising that Cortes is out, there is nothing advising early voters of same. Save for the press.

So if you don't follow politics -- and you'd be amazed at the number of people who do not -- you might think Cortes is a legit candidate. Particularly if you buy what's printed on Clean Elections literature.

Cortes signed up to run clean, but she did not submit her required $5 contributions. Neither Pearce nor Lewis is running clean, though Pearce has taken CE money in past election cycles.

All the same, the law instructs CE to send out these mailers, regardless of whether or not there are CE candidates in a race.

I don't fault Lang or CE for doing what they're supposed to do. I fault the law that mandates such stupidity. 

Well-intentioned the inception of CE may have been, but our path to a right-wing supermajority was paved with CE dollars. To borrow a phrase from our marble-mouthed state Senate president, enough is enough.

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39 comments
Tina
Tina

Stephen, glad you pointed out this Clean Elections mailing.  Hope you read the "first person" Olivia Cortes statement.    

 We saw semi-illiterate Olivia Cortes -- who didn't know the meaning of the word "incumbent" much less "intellectual property" -- testify at the court's evidentiary hearing on Sept. 29,  the woman who filed papers to run for the office of state senator;  the same secretive woman who refused to answer or return calls or emails from reporters for about three months after she filed those papers;  the woman who appointed herself campaign treasurer and campaign manager;  the woman who didn't know who paid for her large "Si, se puede"  signs or how they got put up along various arterial streets; who didn't know who paid for her petition circulators who obtained over a thousand voter signatures in three days on her nominating petitions;  who didn't know who put up or paid for a CYA website for her after she was sued; or who paid for her lawyer, the lawyer who she first met on the day of the hearing. 

Does the Olivia Cortes we saw and heard at that hearing even remotely resemble the political intellectual Olivia Cortes whose statement we LD 18 voters were sent by Clean Elections?The Olivia Cortes who speaks of "demagoguery,"  "Arizona's multifaceted immigration problem," and of course, "I am passionately committed to giving our Latino citizens a voice..."?  Also, "fiscal responsibility," "tax loopholes that pander to special interests" "economic growth," ad nauseam?

Some time ago, the old master sign painter Constantin Querard sent out an email calling for "true patriots" and "team players" to run against Russell Pearce. Since Querad's forte is voter deception, is he also Olivia's ghost writer for Clean Elections "information" that was sent to all voters so we can make an informed decision when choosing whom to vote for?  

   

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

Anyone else notice how all three candidates' surnames end in a hissing sound?  And that Olivia's head is larger than Jerry's, which is larger than Russell's?

In the book and movie "The Mouse That Roared," the small nation was divided into the Dilutionists and the Anti-Dilutionists.  What we need here is a sequel, "The Mesa That Belched."  Will the winners be the forces that tried to dilute the anti-Pearce vote?  Or will they be those who opposed such dilution?

Chimene Hawes
Chimene Hawes

Thanks for this informative look at Clean Elections and what that really means when the rubber hits the road.  There is a real knack in politics today of putting a "purty name" on a bad idea and making it sell...

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Fed Up In LD18 your cynical outlook on the Occupy Phoenix march is understood but you buy into the fact that this movement won't incorporate human rights for our brother and sister immigrants.  You should stop being so sorry about the democrat party demise in Arizona because they have lost credibility when it comes to immigrants under Pres. Obama who has not kept his promises to latinos when he spoke of Immigration Reform, instead...he gave us a lie called "Health Care Reform" which killed off Universal Health Care for all and most especially singled out our immigrant brothers and sisters by making it illegal for them to even purchase medical insurance under his give away to the blood sucking Medical Health Care CEO's who make millions off of our sick and dying fellow human beings ! Yes, that's right...he made it ILLEGAL for immigrants to pay for medical health care insurance which will now force them to go get only superficial care in Emergency rooms and which will cause our emergency rooms to become evem more crowded ! Oh...and is also a fundamental violation of human rights ! ...Maybe you wouldn't be having such a tough time recruiting latinos and we progressives to help democrats in Arizona if this president (Obama) wasn't doing things like deporting more latino immigrants then King Bush ever did !  So...please... stop crying and criticizing we Progressives and Americans from both political parties because we're fed up with the fact that not only Pearce but elites like Senator Baucus, LIEberman and OBAMA are sold out corporate whores (my apoligies to sex workers) ! Maybe...just maybe we'll start helping you knock on doors to help sold out democrats when the democratic party becomes the real democratic party it once was and stops installing corporate schills like Obama instead of supporting GOOD democrats like ELIZABETH WARREN !  

P.S. Move On should not be getting two hours of time to CO-OPT the Occupy Phoenix March because Move On has sold out to Obama and supported his betrayal of making HMO' CEO's rich and now Move On supports Obama's re-election gimmick known as the Jobs bill which Obama has appointed a corporate fascist/ lackey who is the CEO of G.E. (MSNBC) to be in charge of ! (This CEO lackey that Obama appointed to be in charge of the Jobs Bill last week told the journalist Lesly Stahl that : all this talk about Corporations getting to powerful justn't wasn't true). It's fine for Move On as well as other organizations to be involved but giving them 2 hours and openly promoting Move On instead of the March is not right. Progressives want Pearce out but that doesn't mean we support a sold democratic party whose elite leaders betray their grassroots ! I, myself, strongly support my brothers and sisters in the grass roots of the democratic party in re-taking their party but that doesn't mean that you and other democrats have a right to attack my brothers and sisters in the Socialist/Progressive movement and the Green Party that doesn't take a dime from business ! When we have our march ! That's the whold problem you think like the crook Rahm Emmanuel (Obama's buddy) that we" "have nowhere to go" well...you're now finding out that we do, this AMERICAN SPRING is larger than the two party dictatorship of the sold out fascist republicans and Vichy Corporate Democrats ! This is the birth of a new political movement outside of this un-American two party monopoly/dictatorship known as the Republican/Democrats ! Mike Malloy was right last night on his radio show: the Democratic party is dead and the Republican party are fascists ! 

PEARCE is a Fascist I hope that he is kicked out of office even by another Republican !

WORKERS OF THE WORLD UNITE ! I'll see you at the March this Saturday at 12:00PM !Leonard Clark, October 12th, 2011

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

The Clean Elections Commission is now being cleverly used by the right/wing fascist to the point that it aided them and continues to aid them as this latest publicity phamphlet shows.  It clearly, will now mis-lead voters, just as Russell Pearce and his supporters clearly calculated it would when they decided to have Olivia Cortez drop out of the race.Leonard Clark

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

The Citizens' Clean Elections system is NOT responsible for Querard. He just happens to be an opportunist that exploits it. Ending Clean Elections will NOT remove Querard from Arizona's political environment.

Leonardclark
Leonardclark

Thanks Mr. Lemons for a good examination of how Russell Pearce and his nativists Reich Wing allies cleverly used the Clean Election good intentions to now send out free publicity booklets to all the house holds in Mesa making people (latino families in particular) that the sham candidate Olivia Cortez is still a valid candidate.  This is a huge travesty and as much as I too, liked the intentions of Clean Elections they have now been unwittingly used to continue to furthers the fascist/corporate occupation of our beloved state of Arizona !  Russell Pearce and his corporate followers will do anything to win, remember that: ANYTHING !OCCUPY PHOENIX this Saturday, See you there and lets re-take our state and country !Leonard ClarkArizona Native,October 12, 2011

Calitomesa
Calitomesa

I live in LD 18 and have watched this very closely. Our bulletins did not include the part about the "cham" candidate withdrawing. It is very sad that there will be votes for Cortes on election day all because of the Hispanic surname and Chavez-esque signage. If this doesn't prove that Pearce should be kicked out of politics permanently and deported to some God-forsaken country then what will?

teknik1200
teknik1200

Well said,  and I agree. I knew Obama was a moderate, these days he's almost a republican.  What would they have said had we actually gotten a liberal in office?

all the McCarthyism I see is ridiculous.  

Bnbk
Bnbk

Agreed,except that I feel deporting the undocumented imigrant is a better alternative than the previous policy of keeping them detained like hardened criminals,all the while creating more & more revenue for the private prison industry,as is done here in AZ.---- My family will be there in support of Occupy Phoenix.Hell,not just my family,we have many people from our neighborhood , both young & old that are planning to attend. The diversity of this movement is it's strength !

PDALewis
PDALewis

blah blah blah dance for Soros, your puppet master! LOL

teknik1200
teknik1200

Yup, she served her purpose before dropping.  perhaps she expected to drop the whole time, and they were just waiting for ballots to print and free publicity to go out.

Oblivious Cortex
Oblivious Cortex

It's not just in Arizona where politicians have learned to game the taxpayer-funded election system.  In New York City, John Liu is trying to run for mayor by collecting cash from sham donors. 

What law prevents Clean Elections from sending out a second mailer, informing voters that there are now only two candidates in the race?

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

It's been damn good for his business, Steve. And CE's demise will make his job harder.

Tina
Tina

"..."they (Clean Elections)  have now been unwittingly used...."

Not "unwittingly" at all.  In this case (with Constantin Querard secretly running the show), CE has been DELIBERATELY  and DEVIOUSLY used for self gain and to deceive voters.He's done it before, he'll do it again.  

Fed Up In LD18
Fed Up In LD18

If you want a suggestion Leonard, a better way to stop this stuff would be for the whole lot of Occupy Phoenix people to go to Mesa and go door-to-door and educate voters of the fraud instead of marching in downtown Phoenix barking at the moon and bitching about the war. Yeah, I get that's what drives you guys, but there are bigger fish to fry and right now that fish is Russell Pearce.

If you want to help, then don't give Pearce and his lackeys the satisfaction of using YOU to undermine the Lewis campaign. Be smart for a change. Be strategic. Don't help the enemy. 

Tina
Tina

Yes, isn't that the pits?  According to this article, the reason those Clean Elections mailings containing statements & photos of the THREE candidates, is that they were mailed on Mon.  October 2, and Cortes didn't withdraw as a candidate until three days later, Thurs. morning Oct. 6.  As Stephen says, "Such mailers are supposed to inform the voters, though these (the Cortes statement) are doing exactly the opposite."And we already know what the purpose of the dippy "sham" candidate was from the time the scheme was hatched: to siphon anti-Pearce votes from Jerry Lewis to raise Pearce's chances of winning...by hook by crook or fraud. Shows you how much Pearce & company care about deceived or confused voters in his own district, which THEY caused. Cheat to win.  The mentality is despicable.  

Adding to the misinformation problem is that Cortes' name remains on the ballot. The judge's Mon.,Oct. 3 ruling includes this from elections director K.Osborne's testimony: "On October 13, 2011 (today) 28,800 early voting ballots are scheduled to be mailed." So those early voters -- I'm not one of them -- officially don't know that Cortes withdrew.  They are going to post signs at the polling places that Cortes is not a candidate, but that doesn't help those early voters who haven't kept up with all the crap.

A small group of volunteers drove to the County Recorder's Office on Fri. and Tues. with suggestions for informing early voters, but only got, "We can't, we can't, we can't" from Osborne and Purcell who finally said to go to the Secy of State's office since he's in charge of recall elections.  So the group did meet with Ken Bennett on Wednesday, a much more cordial reception, but he too said something like there's nothing in the law that allows for an additional notification for early voters who mail in their ballots...i.e. notifying them that Cortes is not a candidate.  

If by chance election results are close between Lewis and Pearce, I anticipate Arizona will be getting another black eye, thanks to the Pearce/Cortes collusion. Tell voters you know who may be uninformed that Cortes is OUT.  This election has made national news. 

                                     

teknik1200
teknik1200

how thoughtful.  Did you think that up all by yourself?

Guest23
Guest23

Who is pulling your strings?

Tina
Tina

I think you have a good point.  While the law states that the Clean Elections statements by candidates must be mailed to all voters before early ballots are mailed to early voters, nothing in the law prohibits a second Clean Elections mailer, informing voters that there are now only two candidates in the race.  

Steve Muratore
Steve Muratore

The demise of Clean Elections will have far more ramifications than simply to cause Querard to find another funding source. Make his job harder?  That's easily debatable and debated. Getting Clean Elections funding takes work.  He is a true believer in his cause and he WILL find funding otherwise.  However, genuine candidates who eschew corporate favor trading will have a harder time and WE will suffer for it.

You need to take a broader view of what dominoes will actually fall IF Clean Elections funding goes away.

Follower_of_the_ONE
Follower_of_the_ONE

I agree Stephen, the CE has BECOME a rightwing tool and it's damned sad they [the GOP] were allowed to bastardize it by a GOP led legislature.  I KNOW it started out as a wonderful tool, I was there and saw the wheels start turning.  I played a minor bit role yet the anger I've felt over the past 10 years watching these dirty bastards teardown another intitution voted in by the people is overwhelming.  . 

BAFP
BAFP

Right, he runs "clean" candidates and then funnels the funds into his signage/button/swag business and double dips on both the consultancy and the materials sales ...  guy is making a killing off our taxpayer funds.  Ridiculous.

BAFP
BAFP

but please make sure they shower before they knock any doors.

StephenLemons
StephenLemons

My broader view is this: 9 Dems and 21 GOPers in the state Senate. And GOP domination of the state House.

Arizona has tipped further to the right under CE. And if you want to run traditional, you can. So what's the point exactly, now that the Supremes have knocked down the matching funding? Does Carl Seel need a new computer for his next run or something? 

CE is hardly the only reason Arizona's a wingnut state. But CE has helped it get there. 

Look, I know liberals are committed to this idea that we should be like England or something when it comes to our elections. Good luck with that. I just don't see CE as effective. We'll have to agree to disagree on this one, Steve.

As far as dominoes falling, things are bad and they can get worse, but CE will do nothing to halt that slide.

Guest23
Guest23

You are an idiot. With everything going on in this country this is what you think about? No wonder con artists like pearce get elected over and over again in this state.

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