The Daily Agenda: It's audit document dump day
We're still on the Alice Cooper beat ... and we hope to quickly become the audit's new favorite hate read.
Reminder: We don’t publish the Daily Agenda on Fridays. Also, Monday is Labor Day. We’ll be spending it grilling and chilling. Ahh, the joys of self-employment.
Arizona’s political reporters are still digging through tens (hundreds?) of thousands of pages of public records that the courts forced the state Senate to turn over after American Oversight scored a partial victory in its lawsuit seeking records and communications within auditing circles.
We say partial victory because the Senate is still fighting to hide nearly 3,000 documents, including communications from lawmakers and Cyber Ninjas, though it’s safe to say this probably won’t be the last batch of documents pried from the “most transparent” audit’s clutches.
On top of yesterday’s discovery that expert karaoke campaigner Jeff DeWit was asking around on Trump’s behalf about donating to the audit, today we learned that the audit’s team is a deeply divided and shit-talking bunch. Shocking, we know!
Probably our favorite text came from former AZGOP Chair Randy Pullen trashing former audit spokesman Ken Bennett after Bennett’s on-again, off-again relationship with the audit showed he “cannot be trusted.”
Senate President Karen Fann trashed the governor and members of both flanks of her caucus, saying Sen. Kelly Townsend threw a “temper tantrum,” Sen. Paul Boyer “blackmail(ed)” his fellow senators on the budget, and Gov. Doug Ducey won’t get involved in the audit because he “doesn’t want to damage his future political ambitions.” Fann also complained that AZGOP chair Kelli Ward was fundraising off the audit without kicking in to pay for it, but at least she said that to Ward’s face via text.
The Yellow Sheet Report had the most comprehensive rundown of the documents, if you’ve got $300 per month. The publication was widely hate-read by bootlegging auditors, the records showed.
But the biggest, least surprising, takeaway from the massive document dump is that Trump’s closest allies have been involved from the beginning.
Pullen reached out to Trump’s maiden chief of staff Reince Priebus, in early December to ask which audit firm they should hire, though Priebus said after asking around, he didn’t have any good recommendations. Apparently, like everyone else, he had never heard of the Cyber Ninjas.
Of course, the end is still nowhere in sight. Senate attorney and former Trump campaign lawyer Kory Langhofer told a judge yesterday the audit report would, like Star Wars movies, be released as an epic trilogy.
“At least one of those volumes hasn’t been drafted at all, and the other two volumes are still in process,” Langhofer said, per Yellow Sheet.
It’s safe to swim in the creek again: A federal judge in Tucson threw out a last-minute Trump-era rule that severely weakened protection for rivers and streams and allowed companies to dump more pollutants, pesticides and poisons in small waterways. The ruling means “agencies will go back to applying water protection standards from the 1980s, which are more expansive than the Trump-era rule but not as sweeping as Obama’s,” the New York Times reported.
The fake coup worked better than the legal process: Efforts to recall school board members around the state keep failing, including one in Vail that sprung up after a group of poorly informed citizens staged its own board elections (not the legal kind). The Vail recall effort likely didn’t get enough signatures, but the person leading it wouldn’t talk to Daily Star columnist Tim Steller.
At least it’s not the Daily Show: It’s rarely a good thing when Arizona makes the big papers. And yesterday, we landed in the New York Times twice: First, in a story about how kids in Arizona schools are getting COVID-19 after the state banned mask mandates, and second in a story about how the right’s election “reviews” (like our audit) create security threats to our election process and infrastructure.
He won’t be bored: The Phoenix City Council plans to appoint Jeff Barton, the assistant city manager, as city manager, replacing longtime manager Ed Zuercher, who is retiring. The council will take a formal vote on Barton’s appointment next Wednesday.
‘Bout time: Federal agents in Phoenix’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives offices will now don body cameras at work, in the Justice Department’s first phase of rolling out cameras to federal agents.
The grass is always greener: Republican state Rep. Regina Cobb bowed out of the GOP primary for state treasurer, endorsing Rep. Jeff Weninger instead. Current State Treasurer Kim Yee is still running her long-shot bid for governor, so the seat is open.
Pivoting to MAGA ain’t easy: A pro-Blake Masters PAC is using Trump’s praise of the Peter Theil-backed candidate to slam Attorney General Mark Brnovich in the GOP primary for U.S. Senate for not doing enough to stop the steal.
Kari will be returning the endorsement: Rocker, local celebrity and frequent guest star in the Daily Agenda Alice Cooper got his vaccination booster shot yesterday ahead of his next tour, and he says you should get vaxxed too!
The Arizona journalism exodus continues: Two Capitol Times reporters, Dillon Rosenblatt and Julia Shumway, announced their departures this week. Perhaps paying reporters more than $40,000 per year would buy some loyalty, though this is a lesson newspapers never seem to learn. If you subscribe to our newsletter right now, we promise to pay ourselves more than that so we can stick around.
Meanwhile, at the Republic Guild: The paper’s union is beating on woke corporate citizen Gannett, highlighting its public promises to diversify its workforce versus its very poor performance in that arena.
Get in on the fun of sleuthing through this mountain of audit documents — work can wait! You can download the .ZIP file here, but be warned, the documents are full of repeats designed to make it nearly impossible to sort through this 4.4 gigabyte haystack.
If you find any interesting nuggets, let us know!
Do children really need to know how to spell words?
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Gen. Mick McGuire will meet with the Dobson Ranch Republican Club at 7 p.m. tonight at Native Grill and Wings at 1837 W Guadalupe Road in Mesa. Voter ID card required for entry.
The Regulators of Arizona will hear from David Gowan at their meeting at 5 p.m. tonight at the Kettle restaurant at 748 W Starr Pass Blvd in Tucson.