by Patrick O’Malley and Anita Christy
The Arizona Grassroots Action PAC has been running a negative ad about Kelli Ward for weeks on radio stations and FaceBook. The ad claims she failed to support our military with the funding needed to pay the troops. It also claims she sponsored a bill to prevent law enforcement in Arizona from cooperating with the feds to prevent terrorism.
Both claims are false.
Every year, Congress passes a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to fund the military. A serious criticism of the 2013 NDAA was that it continued to include a provision that allows the military to detain individuals, including US citizens, indefinitely and without trial, as part of the war on terror.
Kelli Ward was a State Senator and couldn’t vote on the NDAA, but she was asked about the bill and specifically about the indefinite detention of individuals issue on a talk radio show. The show is Love, Guns, and Freedom with Luca Zanna, and the discussion about the NDAA with Kelli Ward is part of the December 1, 2013 show. That’s where the quote “I don’t support the bill” comes from. It was in response to a direct question about the indefinite detention provision.
In 2014, many brave conservatives joined Ted Cruz in opposing this tyranny for the same reason given by Kelli Ward. See Ted Cruz: Indefinite Detention Retained in NDAA 2014.
The second issue concerns Arizona SB1156 in 2014. Dr. Ward was the prime sponsor, along with 13 co-sponsors. The Grassroots Action PAC claims the bill would restrict Arizona law enforcement from cooperating with the feds to fight terrorism. Do you remember back when we found out the NSA was monitoring our phone calls? That it wasn’t just suspected terrorists’ international calls like we’d been told? It was everybody’s calls all the time? And people were wondering what had happened to their Fourth Amendment protections from search and seizure? SB1156 stated that the NSA and other federal agencies that wanted cooperation from local law enforcement in their investigations and wanted to collect information in Arizona had to get a warrant. No cooperation without a warrant.
The AZ Grassroots Action PAC was organized in 2014 supposedly to support or oppose multiple federal candidates and is classified as an independent expenditure committee.
Not quite. According to an article in Politico titled McCain’s big purge,
In the days after the state party’s rebuke, a group of top McCain political hands, including Jon Seaton and Christian Ferry — who worked for McCain in his 2008 campaign and have remained with him since — hatched a plan to form a super PAC that would spend money to elect a more friendly slate of precinct committeemen.
The super PAC, which was based out of offices in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Phoenix and given the generic name “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” raised nearly $300,000. The largest checks, according to contribution reports, came from Gregory Maffei, a Colorado businessman, and Gregory Wendt, a San Francisco-based financial adviser, both longtime McCain donors.
OpenSecrets.org notes the Grassroots Action PAC has spent about $825,000 during the 2016 election cycle. They’ve spent $45,049 to support John McCain and $781,828 opposing Kelli Ward. They haven’t spent any money supporting other candidates or opposing Ann Kirkpatrick or any of the other Republicans running against John McCain. It’s all against Kelli Ward, and these misleading claims are the most the McCain team could find with an $800K budget?
The Friends of John McCain campaign committee and the AZ Grassroots Action PAC independent expenditure committee operate out of the same suite of offices: 228 S Washington Street, Suite 115, Alexandria, VA 22314.
Under Arizona election law, a candidate committee and an independent expenditure committee can’t coordinate with each other. How do you avoid coordination when you’re in the same office? Federal election law must be really special to allow the McCain people to do this without having to put McCain’s name on the ads.
According to an article in Reality Check titled John McCain – Arizona’s Sellout Senator Is The Godfather Of Dark Money:
There’s nothing Grassroots about Arizona Grassroots Action, a Washington DC PAC with over 85% of it’s money coming from out of state contributors.
Arizona Grassroots Action was created in 2014 to fund McCain’s purge of Arizona State Republican officers after his embarrassing censure by the Arizona Republican Party.
Now that McCain’s re-election bid is in full swing, Arizona Grassroots Action is currently running online ads trying to discredit McCain’s Senate Primary Challenger Kelli Ward.