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Church State Issues

Israel/Christian Lobbyists send Kyrsten Sinema on a junket to Israel

Aug 12, 2013

Arizona Republic

Political Insider: Irate Goldwater refuses to answer senator’s questions on its ties to ALEC

The Republic | azcentral.com Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:17 PM

Another assault on freedom ... Or so the Goldwater Institute believes, as it sent an indignant retort to a U.S. senator who asked the conservative think tank if it is associated with the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council.

Specifically, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., wanted to know if Goldwater served as an ALEC member, if it funded ALEC this year and if it backed ALEC’s support of model legislation promoting “stand your ground” gun laws.

The reason for the Illinois senator’s snoopiness? Durbin wrote that he needs the information as he readies a congressional hearing on the self-defense law. He’s also reaching out to other groups that have been identified as ALEC funders.

Goldwater officials fired off a letter that effectively told Durbin to stuff it.

“Simply put, especially in the wake of IRS intimidation and harassment of conservative organizations, your inquisition is an outrage,” wrote Goldwater president Darcy Olsen, litigation director Clint Bolick and policy director Nick Dranias.

They refused to answer, because, they wrote, “as free Americans, that is our right.”

For the record, media reports have identified Goldwater as an ALEC donor.

Sorry, can’t make it, I had other plans ... Wendy Rogers, the tough, bike-riding, Republican Air Force mom who’s hoping to unseat U.S. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema in the midterm elections, was outraged that her potential Democratic rival missed President Barack Obama’s Phoenix speech this week.

“Disrespectful. Self-serving. In it for herself,” Rogers, who ran unsuccessfully in the primary last year, blustered on her Facebook page. “Today the president of the United States came to our AZ-09 district, yet our congresswoman didn’t even show perfunctory respect by at least showing up.”

Atheist US U.S. Congresswoman Kyrsten Sinema [Kyrsten] Sinema and other Democratic lawmakers were in Israel on a previously scheduled trip paid for by an arm of a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group.

Arizona’s Republican members of Congress were in town. And none of them was at Obama’s speech, either.

He’s the president. ’Nuff said ... The state’s congressional delegation may have missed Obama’s speech, but the Legislature and Gov. Jan Brewer’s office were well represented.

The GOP gaggle waiting to get inside the Desert Vista High School auditorium wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Insider and offered different reasons for stepping into the swarm of swooning Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader John McComish said his district includes the Ahwatukee Foothills school, so he was representing his constituents. Senate Majority Whip Adam Driggs said the commander in chief, no matter their party, is a big deal: “It’s out of respect for the office.”

Brewer chief of staff Scott Smith, general counsel Joe Sciarrotta and spokesman Andrew Wilder also attended the speech. But given Brewer’s rather scathing prepared statement that followed — “Our recovery has been made possible in spite of the president’s policies — not because of them” — they apparently weren’t impressed.

State schools Superintendent John Huppenthal arrived early and grabbed a VIP seat with a passel of Democratic lawmakers. He’s the state’s top education official, and the speech was at a school, so that’s a handy excuse if he needs one.

But, really, does anyone need an excuse to see the president?

No resign if I run ... House Speaker Andy Tobin, R-Paulden, is eying a run for the Congressional District 1 seat. And while he won’t say if he’s in, plenty of others in the political-gossip echo chamber are saying it for him.

Tobin said if he decides to take the plunge, he won’t jump out of the pool that is the Arizona Legislature. Tobin said he intends to remain speaker through the 2014 session, which would coincide with the eight-year limit on his term.

It’s bad form to abandon one office to seek another, he said.

Early prediction: If Tobin does jump into the CD1 race, look for a short session. It’s hard to campaign across a vast chunk of rural Arizona when you’re tied up in Phoenix.

Compiled by Republic reporters Mary Jo Pitzl, Mary K. Reinhart and Rebekah L. Sanders. Get the latest at politics.azcentral.com.