The Arizona Woman Charged with Voter Fraud Shows Why We Need Election Integrity

The Arizona Woman Charged with Voter Fraud Shows Why We Need Election Integrity

They said that it didn’t happen, it couldn’t happen, and that anyone who even dared to mention fraud in reference to the past election was a “conspiracy theorist” propagating “The Big Lie.” They began asserting and endlessly repeating that this was the “safest and most secure” election in U.S. history, ironically implying that past elections were actually not safe and secure? And they produced no objective measure as to why the claim is valid and not simply rhetoric regurgitated to stifle free discussion and common-sense reforms.

What’s the saying? The difference between conspiracy theory and truth is about 6-12 months? Just as the “conspiracy theory” about the origins of COVID, which was censored by Big Tech and suppressed by the corporate media, has now become accepted as likely true, a Grand Jury just indicted an Arizona voter of voter fraud.

It happened like this—a Scottsdale woman cast not just her own ballot by mail but also forged her mother’s signature on an early ballot affidavit just days after she had passed away. Her mother had passed on October 5th, but ballots in Maricopa County weren’t even mailed to voters until October 7th.

And how was this caught? Were there any inherent safeguards in the system to prevent this or to find it once it occurred? No. It took a group of private citizens who looked through voter rolls and submitted to the Attorney General’s office a list of approximately 450 names the group alleged were likely deceased but cast a ballot.

After review, the Attorney General’s office said the list contained names of some individuals who were still alive, some who were deceased but passed away after voting, some who were deceased and did not vote (but still received a ballot by mail), and, of course, this individual. A ballot cast, and a ballot counted, from someone who died before their ballot was even sent.

An illegal vote cast and counted deprives all legal voters of their full voting rights. It gives one voter twice the voice of another. One person, one vote—that’s the foundation of a democracy. And, unfortunately, once a ballot by mail is accepted into the system it cannot be uncast or uncounted. It remains, and forever will remain, in the official tally.

With voting by mail, once an election official subjectively determines (within seconds) that a signature on a ballot affidavit matches what is on the voter file, the ballot is removed and separated from the envelope. Forever. There is nothing to connect the ballot to the envelope, and that ballot is baked into the system.

This is why upfront security measures are necessary. It’s why, despite misinformation from Democrats, the media, and woke corporations labeling them as “Jim Crow 2.0,” conservatives pushed so hard this session for a host of election integrity bills. It’s why conservatives passed HB 2054 to ensure deceased individuals are regularly removed from voter rolls. It’s why conservatives passed SB 1485 to ensure the Active Early Voter List is regularly maintained to be clean and current. It’s why they tried to pass SB 1713 to require real voter identification on mail-in ballots, among many other reforms.

While this is just one case that has been proven, it came from a list of only 450 voters, and it came from the work of private individuals—not government or any integrated safeguard. And with this indictment comes also an admission from the Attorney General’s office that some of these individuals are deceased and still received a ballot by mail. How many other undiscovered cases exist?

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. We have evidence from a sitting Congressman whose mother passed away 10 years ago but her ballot was still mailed in 2020. And nearly every voter has anecdotal evidence of either themselves or someone they know who moved into a new house and received ballots from the previous owners or tenants. It happens, and everyone knows it. At best, most individuals are law-abiding citizens and simply discard the ballot. But it still presents opportunity for fraud.

That’s why these common-sense reforms are crucial. And it’s why future reforms, especially a continued push for universal voter ID requirements, are necessary.

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Democrats Complain About Welfare for the Wealthy, Then Vote for Welfare for the Wealthy

Democrats Complain About Welfare for the Wealthy, Then Vote for Welfare for the Wealthy

It turns out that Arizona Democrats like welfare for the wealthy after all. After spending weeks railing against a historic $1.8 billion, across the board tax cut that will benefit all Arizona taxpayers and small businesses, Democrats in the House and Senate overwhelmingly voted in favor of SB1124, legislation that (as Senator Javan Mesnard described during his vote explanation) is the definition of welfare for the wealthy.

SB 1124 was the ultimate special interest tax package, so loathsome that it was snuck through the last week of session to avoid the stench of lobbyist backscratching. In reality it was the only way they could put taxpayers on the hook for over $200 million to fund an absurd Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Angel Investor Tax Credit program that will do nothing but line the pockets of wealthy Developers and Venture Capitalists.

But this didn’t seem to bother most Democrats, who on one hand refer to broad based tax cuts as “racist,” but are perfectly fine doling out tax carveouts and subsidies to their wealthy allies.

So now we are stuck with a Venture Capital Program that is government picking winners and losers at its worst. The Angel Investor tax credit shields “qualified investors” (i.e. rich people with political friends) from risk by giving them tax credits for their investments. And the icing on the cake—any profits from these taxpayer backed investments are exempt from capital gains taxes. This is welfare for the wealthy—and Democrats happily passed it with the help of a few Republicans.

The Low-Income Housing Tax Credit scam may be even worse. This is a program that has been riddled with fraud and abuse, with banks being forced to issue multi-billion dollar settlements after being caught colluding with developers to manipulate the price they pay for credits to drive down their overall tax liability.

Basically, a developer will qualify for these credits and then sell them to banks and investors who provide the upfront funding. But state level tax credits are less valuable to investors, and they end up buying them for around fifty cents on the dollar. Meaning that of the $160 million program created in SB1124, $80 million goes only to line the pockets of banks and investors, leaving the remaining half for actual development.

The billions that have been spent on these programs across the country have not shown to increase the number of affordable housing units, and they cost above market rate to build. With this vote, lawmakers and Governor Ducey have only given a handout to banks and investors so that a select few developers can build high rises in places like Phoenix and Tucson. It’s atrocious tax policy and a poor solution to help the poor.

So, while Republicans passed an incredible tax package just weeks ago, unfortunately they immediately followed it with the worst of tax policy—Democrat beloved welfare for the wealthy. As Senator Petersen put it, these are not programs dreamed up by lawmakers. They are sweetheart deals brought in by special interest lobbyists, working for a handful of wealthy individuals trying to get their tax liability as close to zero as possible.

This bill should have gone down in flames. Democrats, there’s no hiding it—you support welfare for the wealthy. Republicans, this is a vote that conservatives will not forget.

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Surprise, Surprise! The Higley School District Scandal Has Been Largely Ignored by the Media

Surprise, Surprise! The Higley School District Scandal Has Been Largely Ignored by the Media

Sometimes, it’s not just what the media says. It’s what they don’t say.

Last week, the Arizona Auditor General concluded its financial investigation into Higley Unified School District (HUSD). And the findings of the report are mind blowing.

The Auditor General found that HUSD’s former superintendent Dr. Denise Birdwell, may have conspired with employees of Education Facilities Development Services (EFDS), along with Hunt & Caraway’s former president, to circumvent school district procurement rules to improperly award Higley’s $2,557,125 Project development services contract to EFDS.

But if you thought that was bad, there’s more. The report also alleges that Dr. Birdwell misused public monies when she authorized or caused the unlawful use of $6 million in restricted public funds toward construction of two new schools. And to top it all off, Dr. Birdwell, along with Gary Aller and Steven Nielsen from EFDS, appear to have concealed their wrongdoing by certifying false information on Higley records.

A State Grand Jury indicted Dr. Birdwell on 18 felony counts. In addition, Gary Aller, Steven Nielsen, and Kay Hartwell Hunnicutt (who shared a home and checking account with Dr. Birdwell) were indicted on three felony counts each.

This is a huge story! And there’s certainly more to it. (You can read a good write up with more details on AZ Free News.)

And yet, for the most part, corporate media has largely ignored the scandal!

Sure, there’s been some write ups here and there, but just look at how this story has been treated by the media when compared to Arizona’s Empowerment Scholarship Account (ESA) program. Gallons of ink have been spilled by The Arizona Republic covering supposed ESA abuse. And that’s just a small fraction of what has occurred in Higley.

Now, run a quick search on Google or Twitter. You’ll find that AZ Central has been equally, if not more, vocal online. But when you run a search about the scandal involving Dr. Birdwell, there’s only a handful of stories from the local media, and just one on AZ Central.

The same can be said of the media’s coverage of any alleged charter school fraud. The Arizona Republic and its digital version AZ Central can’t wait to sink its teeth into stories like that.

But they conveniently ignore the Dr. Birdwell scandal in Higley even though it dwarfs pretty much every other K-12 fraud case in the last five years.

This is outrageous! The rampant fraud in Higley has cost taxpayers like you millions of dollars. But the media refuses to cover it because it would undermine their assault on school choice. They want to protect their narrative that district schools are bastions of accountability while charter and private schools are cesspits of fraud.

But school choice is the civil rights issue of our generation. And ESAs allow parents to use their tax dollars for alternative learning solutions. This gives families access to the funds they need to tailor an education that best fits their children.

That’s a win-win for everyone, unless of course you’re a teachers’ union—or a corporate media outlet that wants to protect said unions.

It’s no wonder why fewer people trust the mainstream media. Their only reason to exist appears to be to protect their own interests. And their journalists have become slanted not just in what they say, but in what they don’t say. Just look at how they’ve handled the Dr. Birdwell scandal—if you can find it.

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Biden Administration Wants to Silence People They Don’t Agree With

Biden Administration Wants to Silence People They Don’t Agree With

“We’re flagging problematic posts for Facebook that spread disinformation.”

Those were the words of White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki last week, and they should send chills up and down your spine. It’s bad enough that we already have Big Tech playing speech police on a daily basis. Now, the federal government is flagging “problematic posts” FOR Facebook?!?

But this level of government censorship and collusion doesn’t stop with Facebook. Psaki turned around the next day to say that if you’re banned from one social media platform, you should be banned from them all. And she admits that the White House hasn’t taken any options off the table when it comes to exercising more control over social media platforms. For the record, that also appears to include censorship of your text messages. (That’s right. They’re even trying to get your phone carrier involved).

So, just to recap. The federal government, which is supposed to uphold the U.S. Constitution, is actively aiding social media companies in censoring and banning Americans. Has anyone in the Biden administration read the First Amendment?

Surely President Biden must have at some point. After all, he’s been in public office since the 1970s. But Biden took it a to a whole other level, accusing Facebook of “killing people” for allowing “COVID misinformation.” That’s certainly an interesting attack considering Facebook has been a willing partner in censoring people. But apparently, the social media giant hasn’t gone far enough for President Biden’s tastes.

So, what exactly do the Democrats mean by “misinformation”? And what posts have the Biden administration flagged as such? Predictably, Psaki would not commit an answer, maneuvering around the question like a skilled tap dancer.

But Jen Psaki doesn’t have to say it for us. The reality is that this has nothing to do with COVID. Democrats and Big Tech have one goal in mind. They want to silence conservatives like you. Just look at what’s taken place this past year:

    • Google-owned YouTube de-platformed the pro-life group LifeSiteNews without explanation.
    • YouTube demonetized The Epoch Times, an independent news media that doesn’t claim a party affiliation.
    • Facebook deleted conservative actor Kevin Sorbo’s page without telling him why.
    • Twitter shut down MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell
    • Google, Apple, and Amazon teamed up to remove the Parler app from the internet for a period of time.
    • And Twitter banned President Trump while he was still the President of the United States with Facebook extending its ban of Trump to at least two more years this past June.

The list could go even further. But one thing is clear. The Biden administration isn’t even pretending anymore. They want an internet crack down on people they don’t agree with, and they’re using COVID as their excuse.

This is outrageous, and it’s incredibly dangerous.

If the government is allowed to decide who is banned from the public square today, what does that look like tomorrow? Or four years from now? Or a decade from now?

And what does it look like if your preferred party isn’t in power?

This should not only concern Republicans, but Democrats, Independents, and anyone who values free speech. Because if the Biden administration get its way, criminalizing speech could be next.

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Arizona Corporation Commission Won’t Give Up on Its Green New Deal Dream

Arizona Corporation Commission Won’t Give Up on Its Green New Deal Dream

Some ideas need to be put to sleep. Maybe someone should tell that to the Arizona Corporation Commission.

About a year ago, the commission quietly released its plan to impose California-style energy mandates in our state. While following in California’s footsteps for just about anything seems like a bad idea, that certainly rings true when it comes to energy.

After all, last August, not too long after the Arizona Corporation Commission released its plan, California instituted its first intentional rolling blackouts since 2001. And the state’s residents were also asked to conserve electricity during a significant heatwave last summer.

But this year, it may be even worse. While electricity prices explode across the state, more blackouts are almost guaranteed to happen again this summer. But California won’t be the only state affected.

California is exporting blackouts

To protect themselves, California is buying up power around the West, essentially exporting blackouts to other states. Apparently, they’re afraid to rely on all their “green” energy and solar power. What does that tell you?

But unfortunately, Arizona is a part of the Western Interconnection, making it one of the most likely states to be impacted by California’s failures. Now, despite seeking energy mandates just like California’s, the Arizona Corporation Commission and other utilities are worried. Earlier this month, they even issued a warning that California’s decisions could lead to outages here in Arizona this summer.

Can you imagine having intentional blackouts during a 110-degree day in Phoenix?

That doesn’t sound like fun, and our commissioners are right to be concerned. But then, why are they pushing the same California-style mandates right here in our state?

Arizona Corporation Commission continues to embrace the Green New Deal

You would think having a front row seat to California’s grid meltdown would be enough for our own commission to learn a lesson. But they just can’t help themselves. In November of last year, the commission voted 4-1 to initially approve a plan to ban fossil fuels and require most electricity companies to provide “clean” energy by 2050. The lone vote against this ridiculous plan belonged to conservative Republican Justin Olson.

Then, in early May, something changed. The Arizona Corporation Commission made an amendment to the original plan and rejected the 100% “clean” energy rules. Our state appeared to dodge a bullet. But at the end of May, the commission revived the so-called “clean energy” plan and is now looking to ban all fossil fuels by 2070.

Not only does this ignore the will of the voters, who largely rejected the statewide energy mandate sought by Proposition 127, but it will lead to less reliable energy, higher rates, and millions of corporate welfare dollars going to special interest groups. A final vote on the revised energy mandates is expected to take place sometime this December.

Our commissioners have seen the warning signs. They have watched California go all-in on the Green New Deal. They claim they are upset and worried about it. Now, they have to decide if they plan to take Arizona down the same exact path.

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Free Enterprise Club 2021 Legislative Scorecard Highlights Key Activist Priorities

Free Enterprise Club 2021 Legislative Scorecard Highlights Key Activist Priorities

The Club’s 2021 legislative scorecard (View House of Representatives and Senate Scorecards) included a thorough review of over 25 key bills, legislative actions and votes taken by lawmakers this session with an emphasis on the Club’s supported or opposed bills. The methodology included other issues important to our grassroots activists such as addressing regulatory relief and ongoing government overreach from the covid-19 pandemic, banning critical race theory in our taxpayer-funded institutions and school choice.

Issues weighed heavily in the scorecard included bills relating to income tax policy and election integrity, both of which were the two main planks of the Club’s agenda for 2021.

In January, the Club began advocating for a major tax cut proposal. Our guidelines were simple, the tax cut must amass to at least $1Billion, it must deal with and offset completely the disastrous impacts of Prop 208, and it must not include any special interest tax carveouts.

Not all legislation was weighted equally but ranked by Club priority. Highly prioritized issues included votes on special interest tax carveout programs, as these are often “truth-test” issues that separate the stalwart conservatives and the lawmakers highly influenced by special interest lobbyists. Club President Scot Mussi expounded, “Our organization was founded to fight for the taxpayer of Arizona. The ability for ‘woke’ corporations to secure major tax carveouts, in some instances zeroing out all tax liability, is a serious threat to a broad-based, low-tax environment for every Arizona family and small business. Our lawmakers shouldn’t be picking winners and losers but representing all Arizona taxpayers.”

Ultimately, several bills became the focus of these efforts and were included in the methodology of the 2021 legislative scorecard. The tax policy bills weighed most significantly in the scorecard included:

    • SB1783: (alternative small business tax) establishes an optional alternative small business tax in Arizona that allows business owners to separate wage income from business income when filing and paying their taxes. This bill helped clarify those successful small businesses in the state would not be subject to the Prop 208 surcharge and fulfilled the Club’s goal of offsetting the otherwise irreversible damage of Prop 208.”
    • SB1828/HB2900 (tax omnibus) & SB1827/HB2899 (Revenue; Budget Reconciliation) included a $1.7B tax cut for all taxpayers by ultimately streamlining Arizona’s income tax rates to 2.5% and an effective marginal rate of 4.5% at the top. These bills fulfilled the Club’s goal of cutting taxes by at least $1B and helped to offset the damage of Prop 208 by setting a cap on how much any Arizonan could pay in income taxes in the state at 4.5%.
    • SB1124 (Contributions in aid of construction) This bill was amended to include two programs the Club has opposed for years – the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, and Angel Investors Tax Credit. The combined $185 Million in tax carveouts for wealthy investors, developers and banks included in the two programs are obstacles to good tax reforms that benefit all and only get traction at the legislature because of special interest lobbyists.

Also included in the Club’s legislative priorities were several bills dealing with election integrity. Despite dozens of bills being introduced, five election integrity bills were included in the scorecard. Three of these bills were top Club issues the entire session:

    • SB1485 (early voting list; eligibility) Ensures Arizona’s early voters list remains clean and current by implementing a process for removing names of individuals who perpetually do not vote by early mail-in ballot.
    • SB1713 (mailing; early ballots; identification) Requires a voter who chooses to vote early by mail to provide their birthday as well as another form of identification such as driver’s license number or social security number.
    • HB2569 (elections; private funding; prohibition) Prohibits outside interests from financing the administration of elections by providing grants to government agencies for the implementation of an election including voter registration.

Aside from weighing over 25 key legislative votes, the Club also included discretionary points for certain members which either added or subtracted to their overall score. This inclusion is important as it is often difficult to assess a member’s performance solely based upon their votes. Other criteria used for qualitative points were whether they sponsored particularly bad legislation even if it did not receive a full vote of the body, if they were an obstacle to key caucus or Club issues even if they ultimately voted the “right” way, or if they were responsible for killing key reforms and stalled their advancement to a floor vote.

Given the rigorous criteria in the Club’s 2021 scorecard, the top performing legislators distinguish themselves as faithful conservatives in the caucus. These members consistently fight for limited government, free market principles, low, smart and fair taxes, and individual liberties. The Club Top performers in the Legislature who have earned an A+ in 2021 included:

    • Senator Warren Petersen (LD 12)
    • Senator J.D. Mesnard (LD 17)
    • Rep. Jacqueline Parker (LD 16)
    • Rep. Jake Hoffman (LD 12)
    • Rep. John Fillmore (LD 16)
    • Rep. Joseph Chaplik (LD 23)
    • Rep. Shawnna Bolick (LD 20)
    • Rep. Travis Grantham (LD 12)
    • Rep. Beverly Pingerelli (LD 21)
    • Rep. Bret Roberts (LD 11)
    • Rep. Gail Griffin (LD 14)
    • Rep. Judy Burges (LD 1)

Methodology for Senate Scorecard

Methodology for House Scorecard

Help Protect Freedom in Arizona by Joining Our Grassroots Network

Arizona needs to have a unified voice promoting economic freedom and prosperity, and the Free Enterprise Club is committed to making that happen. But we can’t do it alone. We need YOU!

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