Congressmen Call On Mayes To Drop Trump-Ally Lawsuit, Resign

Congressmen Call On Mayes To Drop Trump-Ally Lawsuit, Resign

By Elizabeth Troutman |

Rep. Josh Brecheen, R-Okla., sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Kristin Mayes asking the Democrat to drop her “frivolous lawsuit” against allies of former President Donald Trump by June 1. 

“I just sent a letter to Arizona Attorney General Kristin Mayes demanding that she resigns and drops the frivolous lawsuit against former Trump officials for questioning the results of the 2020 election,” Breechen said in a post on X. 

Brecheen’s letter to Mayes, joined by representatives Troy Nehls, R-Texas, and Andy Biggs, R-Ariz, called for her to drop the lawsuit against former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows and other conservative activists indicted for questioning the results of the 2020 election.

“Not only is this a violation to the 1st Amendment, it is blatant interference in the 2024 election,” the Republicans wrote in a letter first obtained by Breitbart News. 

An Arizona grand jury indicted Meadows, former Trump attorney and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former Arizona Republican Chair Kelli Ward, and others on May 24 for their roles in disputing the results of the 2020 presidential election.

“Every American has the right to free speech, including the right to question the results of elections,” the letter reads. “Your choice to indict American citizens for expressing constitutional rights represents the worst of machine politics, and we intend to take every action available to Congress to rectify your decision.”

This comes as Trump leads President Joe Biden in the polls in several key swing states, including Arizona. Trump led by seven points in the Grand Canyon state, receiving almost 50% support from voters who said they would vote for him, while Biden received only 42%.

The indictments “rely on a shaky legal framework and are malicious in nature,” the representatives wrote in the letter, which breaks down the charges against the Trump allies. 

“Clearly, your intention is not to follow the law but to initiate a political witch hunt,” Brecheen, Nehls, and Biggs wrote. 

The congressmen promised to continue fighting lawsuits against Trump from Congress.

“If you do not, we the undersigned look forward to using the full extent of our authorized powers to rectify your abuse of office,” they said. 

Elizabeth Troutman is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send her news tips using this link.

AG Mayes Joins Republicans In Fighting IRS In Family Tax Rebate Battle

AG Mayes Joins Republicans In Fighting IRS In Family Tax Rebate Battle

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s Attorney General is standing with the state’s Senate President to protect the financial interests of families.

Last week, Attorney General Kris Mayes sent a letter to the IRS Commissioner, requesting the agency “reconsider its decision to tax the 2023 Arizona Families Tax Rebate.”

In a statement that accompanied her announcement, Mayes said, “The IRS should act promptly to reverse this decision and provide clear guidance to Arizona taxpayers as tax season nears. If they do not, my office is prepared to examine all legal avenues to ensure these dollars stay in the pockets of Arizona taxpayers.”

The news from the state Attorney General’s Office follows communication from Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen over this matter. Earlier this month, Petersen issued a press release to share that he was “working diligently to come to a resolution that will protect the more than 700,000 recipients from having to give the federal government a portion of [the rebate] this tax season.”

Petersen also thanked Mayes’ office for “reaching out to us on this matter,” though he cautioned that “litigation likely isn’t the best approach.”

In her letter to the IRS Commissioner, Mayes argued that “the full Tax Rebate should be excludable from federal tax under the general welfare exclusion,” and that “at a minimum, the Tax Rebate should be excluded from federal tax to the extent it does not exceed state taxes that were actually paid and that were not deducted from federal income.”

The state’s top cop pointed to past IRS guidance and states where the agency “determined to be excludable from federal tax in February 2023,” such as Alaska, California, Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, and Indiana. She added that different guidance from the IRS established other exclusions that benefited four states – Georgia, Massachusetts, South Carolina, and Virginia. In closing, Mayes wrote that “it would…be fundamentally arbitrary and inequitable to preclude Arizona and its taxpayers from relying on that guidance, particularly given the materially similar (and less restrictive) state programs that the IRS found to be nontaxable in whole or in part last year.”

Mayes asked for the IRS to reply to her letter “by return letter or through amended published guidance no later than February 6.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

AG Mayes: Commerce Authority Violated State Constitution’s Gift Clause

AG Mayes: Commerce Authority Violated State Constitution’s Gift Clause

By Corinne Murdock |

On Tuesday, Attorney General Kris Mayes announced that the Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA) violated the Arizona Constitution’s Gift Clause.

Mayes determined that the ACA’s high-dollar “CEO Forums” — in which ACA would court CEOs with accommodations, experiences, and refreshments — were unconstitutional, namely noting the massive expenditures without returns last year under Hobbs. In a letter to ACA general counsel, Mayes explained that the gifts corporate executives were impermissible because they didn’t create concomitant public value.

“The current structure of the CEO Forums confers significant value on invited private executives and their guests without obtaining any identifiable value for the state,” said Mayes.

ACA is a state agency dedicated to growing and diversifying the state economy by attracting, expanding, and retaining businesses. ACA is managed as a public-private partnership. 

Mayes’ findings confirmed a report from the auditor general last September which determined that the ACA may have misspent about $2.4 million to court private CEOs between 2018 and 2023. A majority of that — over $2 million — occurred last year alone under Hobbs’ first year as governor. 

From 2018 to 2022, ACA spent about $356,000 in total on forums for corporate executives: an average of $89,000 per year, about 4.5 percent of what ACA spent on last year’s forum.

Last year marked the most expensive CEO Forum under investigation. The forum was planned around the Super Bowl and Waste Management Phoenix Open; ACA spent over $2 million on corporate executives, and Gov. Katie Hobbs was one of the recurring featured experiences. 

In Mayes’ decision on Tuesday, she pointed out last year’s forum specifically.

“While the ACA may hold forums that confer a nominal value on attendees, its past forums, including last year’s $2 million Super Bowl forum and its planned 2024 Forums, do not come close to meeting that requirement,” said Mayes. 

As part of last year’s forum, ACA gifted corporate executives and their guests rooms; in-state transportation; event tickets to the Waste Management Phoenix Open VIP Skybox, an NFL Owners Party, a Super Bowl VIP Tailgate Party, the Super Bowl Experience, private viewing suite for the Super Bowl, and concerts associated with the Phoenix Open and Super Bowl; theater tickets; regular season football game tickets and parking passes; lunch invitations with NFL leadership; and Super Bowl Host Committee VIP Golf Tournament tickets.

ACA admitted in a December response to the attorney general that they couldn’t attribute direct causation between CEO Forum attendance and a decision to locate a project in Arizona. Mayes declared that the inability to show cognizable economic value received for their expenditures constituted a violation of the Gift Clause. 

“ACA’s responses to our office’s inquiries demonstrate that it expends considerable funds on simply achieving attendance at the CEO Forums even though there is no public benefit from an executive’s private ‘changing perception and increasing sentiment’ about Arizona,” wrote Mayes. “ACA counts non-binding commitments to locate a project in Arizona as ‘project wins.’”

Up until the Tuesday determination by Mayes, ACA was planning on spending another million on corporate executives this year.

ACA planned to spend over $1 million on two forums this year for the NCAA Final Four Basketball tournament and the Waste Management Phoenix Open. If the costs were split evenly, each forum would cost around $400,000 more than the individual 2018-2022 forums held under former Gov. Doug Ducey. 

Mayes pledged to prevent the ACA from issuing future gifts to private entities.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

AG Mayes Accused Of Overreach For Indictment Of Cochise County Supervisors

AG Mayes Accused Of Overreach For Indictment Of Cochise County Supervisors

By Daniel Stefanski |

Arizona’s chief law enforcement officer announced a legal action over the 2022 election, angering some of the state’s legislative Republicans.

On Wednesday, Attorney General Kris Mayes revealed that “the State Grand Jury has returned an indictment charging Peggy Suzanne Judd and Terry Thomas ‘Tom’ Crosby with the felony offenses of Interference with an Election Officer and Conspiracy.”

In a statement issued in conjunction with the announcement, Mayes said, “The repeated attempts to undermine our democracy are unacceptable. I took an oath to uphold the rule of law, and my office will continue to enforce Arizona’s elections laws and support our election officials as they carry the duties and responsibilities of their offices.”

According to the indictment, Judd and Crosby are alleged to have “conspired to delay the canvass of votes cast in Cochise County in the November 2022 General Election,” and to have “knowingly interfered with the Arizona Secretary of State’s ability to complete the statewide canvass for the 2022 General Election.”

Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs cheered on the indictments, posting, “To give Arizonans the free & fair elections they deserve, we must hold those who seek to undermine our democracy accountable. Thank you, AG Mayes, for protecting our democracy & enforcing the law without fear or favor.”

Republican lawmakers were not as complimentary toward Mayes. Arizona State Senator Jake Hoffman issued a lengthy statement, attacking the decision and the process for these indictments, calling it “a disgusting weaponization of the AZ Attorney General’s office.” Hoffman said that “this is ELECTION INTERFERERNCE by an extremist AG who wants to chill any future efforts by local election officials to challenge potentially inaccurate elections.” He predicted that these indictments would set a precedent that would be used against other local officials and encouraged Arizona County Supervisors to “leverage every tool you have at your disposal to make it clear to the entire AG’s office that weaponizing Arizona’s government has harsh consequences.”

Both Senator Anthony Kern and Representative Jacqueline Parker threatened Mayes with impeachment for these indictments.

Parker also broached the idea of indicting other County Supervisors around the state to ensure “equal treatment under the law in AZ.”

On the other side of the aisle, Democrat Representative Oscar De Los Santos praised the action, writing, “A grand jury of everyday Arizonans has indicted two MAGA politicians for conspiring to prevent the certification of a free and fair election. Criminals who conspire to undermine our democratic republic and the rule of law must be prosecuted to the fullest extent.”

These Cochise County indictments from the State Grand Jury may be the start of Mayes’ actions against Republicans on the election front. The Democrat Attorney General is believed to be progressing in her investigation over the presidential alternate electors from the Arizona Republican Party in 2020. Not much is known about this investigation or the timeline for any possible indictments, but legal action over this matter would undoubtedly create an exponentially greater firestorm with Republicans than the expressed outrage over the Cochise County indictments.

The growing dispute between the Republican-led legislature and Attorney General’s Office could have major implications for the state’s budget negotiations in 2024. Earlier this year, Attorney General Mayes expressed disappointment over the lack of resources appropriated to her office in the compromise between legislative Republicans and Governor Hobbs. At the time, Mayes said, “Today, we see a budget proposal moving forward that appears to be politically expedient for a few, but wholly inadequate for the majority of people in our state.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

Hamadeh Files His Long-Awaited Election Appeal

Hamadeh Files His Long-Awaited Election Appeal

By Daniel Stefanski |

A long-awaited elections challenge from the 2022 political cycle has finally been filed.

On Tuesday, 2022 Republican nominee for Arizona Attorney General, Abraham Hamadeh, filed an Appeal and Motion to Expedite in the Arizona Court of Appeals.

In a statement Tuesday night, Hamadeh said, “My legal team has just filed our Appeal on our election challenge and Motion to Expedite. Arizonans deserve to have their lawfully elected Attorney General to hold that office, and our state constitution demands it. With the numerous irregularities in the election, the initial trial, and numerous delays at the trial court, it’s long overdue that the judiciary expedite and take our claims seriously that thousands of lawful votes remain uncounted in the closest election in Arizona with the biggest recount discrepancy in history.”

The Arizona Attorney General’s race was decided late in 2022 – and long after the November General Election – with Democrat Kris Mayes over Hamadeh by 280 votes, triggering the Republican’s election challenges.

Hamadeh’s efforts to bring transparency to his razor-thin election result have continued long after his Democrat opponent, Kris Mayes, took office in January. Mayes has continued to show little public interest in the case, allowing her attorneys to handle matters in the courtroom while she continues to revamp the Arizona Attorney General’s Office from the policies of her predecessor, Republican Mark Brnovich.

The comments from Hamadeh also touched on his thoughts regarding the state of election integrity across Arizona and the country – especially how this issue pertained to his specific case. He shared, “Our democracy demands honesty, transparency, and accountability in order to rebuild the trust that so many Arizonans have lost in our elections. Our case seeks to enfranchise over 9,000 voters who voted on Election Day and did their part to have a say in their government. Their constitutional right to vote matters and their votes deserve to be counted.”

The Republican challenger promised a continued fight in court “to ensure that the will of the people is honored, and that our laws are upheld.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.