GOP Urges Attorney General to Investigate Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs’ Role in Censorship

GOP Urges Attorney General to Investigate Gov-Elect Katie Hobbs’ Role in Censorship

By Corinne Murdock |

The Arizona Republican Party (AZGOP) urged Attorney General Mark Brnovich to investigate Governor-elect Katie Hobbs’ role in censorship of online speech. 

The AZGOP asked Brnovich to determine whether Hobbs violated federal or state laws by using state resources in coordination with the Biden administration to remove posts on her office’s behalf. They further requested that Brnovich obtain the entire trove of communications between the secretary of state’s office and Twitter.

As the Arizona Daily Independent reported, court filings in the case Missouri v. Biden revealed that the secretary of state’s office used a middle man of sorts to censor online speech: the Center for Internet Security (CIS).  

CIS is led by a former Obama administration official, and has received hundreds of millions in federal grants and contracts over the past two decades. 

Several days after discovery of Hobbs’ arrangement to moderate online speech, Hobbs called on Arizonans during the statewide canvass certifying the election to suppress election misinformation and disinformation.

As of press time, Brnovich hasn’t issued a public statement on social media or by press release to address the AZGOP’s request. AZ Free News requested comment; the attorney general’s office didn’t respond by press time.

While Hobbs hasn’t addressed the controversy over her office’s moderation of online speech, her incoming chief of staff and former assistant secretary of state, Allie Bones, issued a statement to multiple mainstream media outlets defending the arrangement. 

Bones told reporters that it was the job of governments, including the secretary of state’s office, to purge the public square of perceived misinformation and disinformation. Bones added that the CIS arrangement was a normal one between governments and social media companies. The chief of staff insisted that their actions weren’t silencing dissent.

“One of the ways we [make sure that voters are informed] is by working to counter disinformation online that can confuse voters,” stated Bones. “This is yet another example of conspiracy theorists trying to create chaos and confusion by casting doubt on our election system. It’s unfair to Arizona voters and it’s harmful to our democracy.”

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

Arizona GOP Accuses ADE Superintendent Kathy Hoffman of Being a ‘Groomer’

Arizona GOP Accuses ADE Superintendent Kathy Hoffman of Being a ‘Groomer’

By Corinne Murdock |

On Wednesday, the Republican Party of Arizona accused Arizona Department of Education (ADE) Superintendent Kathy Hoffman of being a “groomer.”

A groomer is a slang term for a predatory adult who forms a special relationship with a child in order to manipulate, exploit, and abuse them. The term has increased in use with the popularity of promoting LGBTQ+ ideologies in children.

According to Google search trend data, the word “groomer” has grown steadily in popularity since 2004. Interest spiked throughout 2020, maintaining similarly-high levels in usage since then. Though, the term can also mean an individual who takes care of a dog’s fur grooming needs, and Google doesn’t distinguish those uses in search history. 

Hoffman responded to the Arizona GOP by remarking that both her GOP opponent, former superintendent and then former attorney general Tom Horne, and one of his supporters and close friends, former state representative David Stringer, have police records. Stringer resigned from the state legislature after eight sex-crime charges from 1983 came to light, in which several boys had accused Stringer of rape. Stringer was never convicted but entered five years’ supervised probation. 

“What does Tom Horne have in common with his buddy David Stringer? A police record,” wrote Hoffman.

The Arizona GOP responded, “Ok groomer.”

Under Hoffman, the ADE has a working relationship with the Phoenix chapter of the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN), a controversial organization advocating for LGBTQ+ ideologies in children. Hoffman’s also supported the Arizona Trans Youth & Parent Organization (AZTYPO).

Earlier this year, Hoffman opposed bills banning transgender treatments and surgeries for minors, and banning biological males from female sports. She called lawmakers in support of the legislation “bigoted,” and “hateful.”

The most recent controversy over child sexual abuse perpetrated by legislators occurred just last year, when former Democratic state representative Tony Navarrette was arrested for molesting two teenaged boys, ages 16 and 13. He resigned shortly after his arrest.

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

Bowers Ignores ‘Character Attacks’ After Censure By AZGOP Executive Committee

Bowers Ignores ‘Character Attacks’ After Censure By AZGOP Executive Committee

By Terri Jo Neff |

Arizona Speaker of the House of Representatives Rusty Bowers has been censured by the executive committee of the Republican Party of Arizona, it was announced late Tuesday evening. 

Bowers will no longer have any formal state GOP support as a member of the Republican Party in part due to his purported “general disregard for Republican Party Leadership at the precinct, legislative, county, state, and federal levels,” according to a statement released by the AZGOP on Wednesday.  

“Rusty has failed in his specific actions, including co-sponsoring Democrat-led bills and refusing to work with the most conservative legislative body in 10 years during arguably one of the most critical sessions in Arizona history,” the statement reads. “This goes much further than any policy disagreement and acknowledges his failures in his capacity as Speaker to implement stout conservative legislation.”

The censure vote came less than two weeks before the Aug. 2 Republican Primary Election in which Bowers is being challenged in the newly redistricted Legislative District 10 encompassing much of Mesa. It also came less than one month after Bowers testified in Washington DC about his communications with former President Donald Trump after the 2020 General Election. 

The executive committee is comprised of more than 80 registered Republicans, including the AZGOP’s elected officers, three members from each of the 15 county committees, 27 at-large members based on Arizona’s nine Congressional districts, and others.  The number of votes cast has not been released, but the state party’s bylaws allow for a quorum based on only one-third attendance provided eight different counties are represented.

According to the AZGOP statement, it is the state party’s duty to hold elected officials within its party “responsible and accountable.” The executive committee further calls on  Republicans in the new LD10 “to contemplate a similar censure,” while encouraging “all registered Republicans to expel him permanently from office in the impending primary election.”

Bowers, who is being primaried by David Farnsworth, spent Wednesday ignoring what he called “baseless character attacks, choosing instead to focus on highlights of his tenure as House Speaker. Such as the most expansive school choice options in the country signed into law earlier this month.  

The censure action prompted mixed reactions, although the majority of Arizona’s lawmakers remained on the sidelines.  

Arizona’s No-Excuse Voting By Mail System Is Subject Of AZGOP Challenge

Arizona’s No-Excuse Voting By Mail System Is Subject Of AZGOP Challenge

By Terri Jo Neff |

A judge in Mohave County is expected to rule by noon on Monday whether Arizonans could lose their ability to vote by mail without providing an excuse.

Judge Lee Jantzen is being asked by the Arizona Republican Party and its chair, Kelli Ward, to declare the state’s no-excuse voting by mail “system” unconstitutional despite the fact the system has been in effect for three decades. The judge heard arguments last Friday to issue a preliminary injunction to ban no-excuse voting by mail effective with the upcoming Nov. 8 General Election.

About 85 percent of all ballots cast in the 2020 General Election—including Ward’s ballot—were mailed out to voters in advance of the election. But the AZGOP contends the law passed by the Legislature in 1991 violates the constitutional requirement that Arizona’s elections be held in such a way to ensure “secrecy in voting.”

The lawsuit argues the only ballots which should be accepted through the mail are those from voters who provide a satisfactory excuse—such as military service, a disability that makes it a burden to vote in person, or being out of town on Election Day.

(The AZGOP acknowledged in their May 17 lawsuit that there is not enough time to outlaw no-excuse voting for the Aug. 2 Primary Election as ballots are in the process of being printed so they can be in voters’ mailboxes in early July.).

Attorneys for Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and several county election officials argued to Jantzen that there is nothing unconstitutional with Arizona’s no-excuse voting by mail system. They also advised the judge of the practical problems with trying to ban a practice after 30 years without much advance notice to voters and those responsible for running each county’s elections. 

One such problem involves the Active Early Voter List, from which ballots are sent to voters who have signed up to receive them by mail. Those voters recently received a reminder notice from their respective county recorder with the 2022 election schedule and confirming the voters will receive ballots by mail for the primary and general elections.

The AZGOP argued to Jantzen that counties can be forced to accommodate changes in time for the General Election, even if it requires hiring thousands more poll workers and election staff across the state, scrounging to find enough voting machines and other election-related equipment, and locating facilities which can accommodate millions more in-person voters than have turned out in years. 

That argument was pushed back on during Friday’s hearing by an attorney for seven of Arizona’s 15 county recorders responsible for the voting by mail process and county election directors who are responsible for election day voting and ballot tabulation.

“They cannot conjure polling places or poll workers out of nothing,” Karen Hartman-Tellez of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office told Jantzen.

Whatever order Jantzen issues in response to the AZGOP’s preliminary injunction request is likely to be appealed. But even if no-excuse voting by mail is allowed to take place this year, the AZGOP’s constitutional challenge does not die.

Instead, the litigation will move forward to a trial under civil court rules, same as any other lawsuit.

Arizona Won’t Hinder GOP Lawsuit to End No-Excuse Mail-In Voting

Arizona Won’t Hinder GOP Lawsuit to End No-Excuse Mail-In Voting

By Corinne Murdock |

Attorney General Mark Brnovich won’t challenge or appeal the pending ruling in the Arizona Republican Party’s (AZGOP) lawsuit to declare no-excuse, mail-in voting as unconstitutional. 

Solicitor General Brunn (Beau) Roysden pledged in a court filing to honor the ruling, whatever that may be. The AZGOP filed with the Mohave County Superior Court last Tuesday after the Arizona Supreme Court denied jurisdiction to the AZGOP. The AZGOP then refiled their case with the Superior Court earlier this month. 

“[The State of Arizona] agrees to be bound by the outcome of this litigation, including any appeals, with respect to the declaratory and injunctive relief requested,” stated Roysden. 

17 defendants were named in the lawsuit: all 15 county recorders, the State of Arizona, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.

In their initial complaint totaling nearly 60 pages, the AZGOP claimed that Hobbs prevented enforcement mechanisms for valid signature verification by not adding those procedures to the Election Procedures Manual (EPM). Additionally, the party claimed that Hobbs lacked legal authority to implement drop box voting.

The AZGOP insisted that Hobbs’ actions were only possible due to a “longstanding deviation” from election procedures outlined in the Arizona Constitution. According to the party, Arizona’s no-excuse, mail-in voting system violates the constitution because several provisions direct voting to take place at the polls.

“Stated simply, Arizona’s ‘early voting’ statutes — which provide for the ‘absentee’ or ‘no-excuse mail-in’ voting — violate the Arizona Constitution, in whole or in part,” claimed the lawsuit. “[I]n-person voting at the polls on a fixed date is the only constitutionally permissible manner of voting.”

The AZGOP requested that the judge compel Hobbs to include the signature verification guide in the EPM, remove mentions of the drop box in the EPM, and cease enforcement of absentee voting laws.

However, should the courts decide that no-excuse, mail-in voting doesn’t violate the state constitution, the AZGOP requested a definitive explanation as to how the constitution permits absentee voting. 

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