Fiesta Bowl Fiasco: Arizona Dems Make it Political -- Despite Some of Their Own Having Benefitted From John Junker's (Ahem) Generosity

By now you probably know about the Fiesta Bowl's decision to ax CEO John Junker following an internal investigation into how he was spending the organization's money, but it's the alleged illegal contributions to the campaigns of Valley politicos that has Arizona Democrats fuming.

Junker, the report shows, racked up a nearly $5 million bill on the company's credit card over a 10-year period by doing things like picking up the $1,200 tab at a strip club for a Maricopa County Sheriff's Office lieutenant, holding a $33,000 Pebble Beach birthday party for himself, and spending $110,000 at a charity auction for a golf trip -- all on the company's dime.

Read the full report on Junker here.

The money Junker spent on himself aside, he's also alleged to have made about $46,000 in illegal campaign contributions to various Arizona politicos, which prompted Arizona Democratic Party Chairman Andrei Cherny to point the finger at Republicans, despite members of his own party being on the list of politicians who benefited from Junker's contributions.

The list of Arizona politicos who benefited from the contributions are listed as follows:

Republican state Senator Carolyn Allen, the Arizona Republican Party, AZ Wins, Secretary of State Ken Bennett, Governor Jan Brewer, state Senator Scott Bundgaard, one-time candidate for treasurer Ted Carpenter, former state Senator Christopher Cummiskey, Congressman Jeff Flake, former state Representative Mike Gardner, former TV pitchman JD Hayworth, former state Representative Laura Knaperek, Maricopa County Supervisor Andrew Kunasek, Senator Jon Kyl, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, former Scottsdale Mayor Mary Manross, Phil Martin, Senator John McCain, former Congressman Harry Mitchell, Navarro for City Council, Senator Russell Pearce, Pete Rios, former Congressman John Shadegg, state Representative James Weiers, and Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox.

Several of those mentioned -- including Wilcox, Mitchell, Navarro, and Cummiskey -- are Democrats. However, Cherny isn't paying much attention to them -- he's only after the GOP.

"The news that Republican lobbyists turned the Fiesta Bowl into a front for funneling illegal campaign contributions to Republican politicians should outrage and disgust every Arizonan," Cherny says. "This is not about a football game. What the reports reveal is that there is a deep, pervasive culture of corruption in our state government."

We won't argue that there a "culture of corruption" in Arizona's state and local governments, we'd just say it's not exclusive to one particular political party.

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The free trips and other gifts that Arizona politicians accepted for themselves and their families are even more disturbing than the campaign funds. Also alarming are the donations to numerous Catholic charities and anti-right-to-choose ohose organizatiojs. Check out some of the sweetheart consultancy deals, etc., etc. The entire report, linked in the article is well-worth the time. It's disgusting, and it will get the blood boiling of both Dems and Republicans.

Lessons on how not to be lawyer, lobbyist, consultant, auditor, or non-profit board member. Ought to be required reading in law schools, business schools, and public service orientations. More shocking than I -- a true cynic -- would have believed possibie.


Maybe you should quote Cherny's whole release--he calls on politicians from both parties to return any money they received. Out of the 25 names you listed, only four are dems so it is fair to say this is more a Republican issue. Even the Republican party benefitted from this corruption!


You act like the fact that Arizona government is corrupt is something new or noteworthy. I have lived here since 1955 and it has always been this way. It is the culture that voters allow by not holding elected officials accountable. Even our judicial system is corrupt.


You're right. Back in the 1970s, my mother paid a judge $2000.00 to rule favorably in her divorce case. The judge was the presiding judge of the court at the time too! It's just amazing that these people can claim to be so pious - If you hear one saying "Let us pray", you say "Let Us RUN!" in the opposite direction.

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