Two apparent political action committees, or PACs, voiced opinions in the Glendale Nov. 5 election.
Did one of them ignore campaign laws?
Proposition 424 asked to raise the salary of councilmembers by 55%, from $34,000 to $52,685. The mayor’s salary would have increased by 43%, from $48,000 to $68,490. The proposition was rejected, with 74% voting against it.
Before the election, two groups sent high-quality mailings.
The Best of the West urged voters to approve raises to the mayor and city council.
Arizonans 4 Fair Government lobbied Glendale residents to “Send a message to Glendale council: Vote No on their pay raises.”
The Best of the West registered with the city of Glendale, providing a “Statement of Organization” and financial report.
Arizonans 4 Fair Government did not register with the city of Glendale. Nor did the group provide financing documentation.
In searchable databases online, there is no record of Arizonans 4 Fair Government (or Arizonans for Fair Government) registered as a PAC with the Maricopa County recorder or secretary of state.
There is a record of Arizonans for Fair Government registering as an Arizona Domestic nonprofit corporation on March 16, 2018. The registered agent on file for the company is Joshua Zaragoza of Phoenix.
The Glendale Star submitted an email to Electric Digital and left a voicemail at Javelina Digital Strategy, two companies that are on Zaragoza’s LinkedIn resume. At press time, he had not responded.
According to state law (Arizona Revised Statute 16-905), “An entity shall register as a political action committee if both of the following apply:
“1.The entity is organized for the primary purpose of influencing the result of an election.
“2.The entity knowingly receives contributions or makes expenditures, in any combination, of at least $1,000 in connection with any election during a calendar year.”
According to the “Campaign Finance” guide by the secretary of state’s office, “At the city and town level, statements of organization must be filed with the city or town clerk.”
The Glendale Star emailed Glendale City Attorney Michael Bailey, asking him if Arizonans 4 Fair Government not registering with the city as a PAC is a potential campaign violation.
“The city has received a complaint,” Bailey answered. He did not respond to a follow-up question asking if he is investigating the complaint.
The leader of Best of the West feels strongly about there being no record for the Arizonans 4 Fair Government mailer.
“This should be investigated,” said Diane McCarthy.
“We have a PAC. They don’t.”
McCarthy and Vern Crow — both were on the Council Compensation Commission, which recommended raises to council — formed the Best of the West PAC in October. Both documented donations, with McCarthy giving $100 and Crow donating $1,000.
The only other donor was Louis Sands. The Sands Chevrolet owner donated $10,000 to Best of the West.
Best of the West financial forms, filed with Glendale Oct. 28, show consultant Constantin Querard gave an “in-kind contribution” of $550.
Best of the West spent a total of $8,672.36.Grassroots Partners was paid $1,768.73 and ModLuxe Print $6,903.63.
How much Arizonans 4 Fair Government spent, and who funded the group, is not clear.
According to McCarthy, “all kinds of very negative information” in the anti-raise mailing “caused us to lose.”
“I think we did the best we could,” McCarthy added.
She said the committee which recommended the raises “did it in a very masterful way. A very fair way.”
The main reason she lobbied for the pay increase: “They haven’t had a raise in 13 years.
“They deserved a raise. We have a really good mayor and council.”
She said that the biggest donor, Sands, agreed with her. “He was more than happy” to contribute, McCarthy said. “I made the ask. He said he would for the same reasons I did: They deserve to have a raise.”
The Glendale Star left a message for Sands asking for comment, but had not heard back by press time.
On her joyceclarkunfiltered.com blog, councilwoman Joyce Clark suggested state Sen. Paul Boyer (R-20) is associated with Arizonans 4 Fair Government group, as its Tweets are “all about Paul Boyer and only Paul Boyer.”
“There are many in Glendale disappointed with Mr. Boyer’s insertion into what is a local, Glendale issue, not a state issue,” Clark wrote, in an Oct. 22 blog.
“He’s very angry with Glendale and seems to be running a vendetta. He gained media attention when he protested the issue of a Glendale firefighter with cancer having been denied coverage by the appropriate state agency.”
Boyer’s response, regarding Arizonans 4 Fair Government:
“I have nothing to do with that organization nor had I even heard of it until I received a phone call from a reporter asking about it. I stayed out of 424 and city elections entirely.
“Councilwoman Clark is misinformed.”