Arizona Supreme Court Clears Three GOP Legislators for Election

Arizona Supreme Court Clears Three GOP Legislators for Election

By Corinne Murdock |

On Monday, the Arizona Supreme Court dismissed claims of insurrection against State Representative Mark Finchem (R-Oro Valley) and Congressmen Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), ruling them valid candidates for the upcoming election. 

A progressive nonprofit, Free Speech for People, alleged that the three legislators weren’t qualified because they committed insurrection through their actions and speech on January 6, a purported violation of the U.S. Constitution’s “Disqualification Clause”: Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. 

In response to the ruling, Gosar asserted that free speech prevailed against the Democrats. 

Finchem declared that the GOP continued its winning streak with this latest ruling. 

The court agreed with the Maricopa County Superior Court’s ruling from last month. Judge Christopher Coury didn’t entertain whether or not the three lawmakers engaged in insurrection. Rather, the courts agreed that the plaintiffs lacked the ability to enforce it. The Arizona Supreme Court agreed with the superior court’s assessment that the U.S. House of Representatives has the sole authority to determine a candidate’s fitness to serve in Congress. 

“1) Congress has not created a civil practice right of action to enforce the Disqualification Clause, and the criminal statute prohibiting rebellion or insurrection, 18 U.S.C. § 2382, does not authorize the challenge by a private citizen; 2) A.R.S. § 16-351 does not provide a private right of action to argue a candidate is proscribed by law from holding office; 3) it is unnecessary to decide if the Amnesty Act of 1872 is applicable because no private right of action exists under the United States Constitution or Arizona law; 4) the Constitution reserves the determination of the qualifications of members of Congress exclusively to the U.S. House of Representatives; 5) the doctrine of laches is not applicable at this time; 6) Plaintiffs do not satisfy the legal standards for injunctive relief; and 7) there is no need for an advisory trial. Plaintiffs timely appealed.”

The nonprofit that challenged the qualifications of Biggs, Gosar, and Finchem failed in two similar lawsuits against Congressman Madison Cawthorne (R-NC-11) and Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14). 

In addition to disqualification of the three legislators’ candidacy, Democrats have called for an investigation into their January 6 involvement. 

The leader of the activist movement challenging the results of the 2020 election, Ali Alexander of “Stop the Steal,” named Gosar, Biggs, and Finchem as three individuals who helped him organize the January 6 protest. 

One of the latest actions taken on these claims came last week when the U.S. House’s January 6 Committee requested that Biggs speak with them. 

Biggs refused to cooperate. He compared the committee’s intentions and tactics to those behind the Salem Witch Trials, with former President Donald Trump supporters being the target. 

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

ASU President Silent On Controversies Plaguing Campus

ASU President Silent On Controversies Plaguing Campus

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow faced questioning from State Representative Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) concerning the root of some of the university’s controversies that made national headlines. However, it wasn’t Crow’s fate to face Hoffman’s inquisition alone — he found an intercessor in Chairwoman Regina Cobb (R-Kingman).

Hoffman posed questions during Wednesday’s House Appropriations Committee meeting relevant to ASU’s funding. The legislator’s first question pertained to the cancellation of a fundraiser for a conservative program at ASU: the Political History and Leadership (PHL) program. 

As AZ Free News reported last week, ASU’s initial response to the event cancellation was murky. Out of the three reasons given to various individuals involved in the situation, Crow asserted that an unnamed staff member’s failure to follow planning policy was the reason for the event cancellation, which he insisted was really a postponement. At the time, ASU spokesman Jerry Gonzalez concurred with that statement. 

“The event at the Desert Botanical Garden was canceled due to a breach of scheduling protocol by a faculty member in the School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies,” stated Gonzalez. “The university welcomes the opportunity for this event to be rescheduled following the required protocols.”

However, several of the scheduled speakers for the event were informed by ASU officials prior to publication of our report that the event was canceled due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases. Those speakers were informed that Crow wasn’t aware of the event or its cancellation at the time. Others reported that the choice of speakers was deemed too controversial: Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and former Utah congressman and Fox News contributor Jason Chaffetz.

Hoffman addressed this most recent controversy first in his line of questioning for Crow. The representative’s question flowed seamlessly with Crow’s closing request: that the legislature afford more funding for ASU’s “Freedom School”: the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership (SCETL). Hoffman applauded SCETL, but asked about the treatment of the PHL program.

“I’m wondering how you feel about the political history and leadership program that you canceled the event on?” asked Hoffman. “How come that doesn’t get the same level of praise considering its disproportionate impact on the department?”

Crow responded that the event was delayed, not canceled, and blamed an unnamed faculty member for not following proper schedule procedures, which he didn’t elaborate. He promised that the event was rescheduled.

“This is an event I’m very familiar with. We’re very happy to host that event, we’re very happy to host all of the individuals that are coming to the event,” said Crow.

When Hoffman attempted to follow up with another question, Cobb said Hoffman’s line of questioning wasn’t appropriate for the subject.

“That’s a question that shouldn’t have been asked, so don’t do a follow-up on that one,” said Cobb.

Hoffman responded that they could discuss the subject later and insisted he wasn’t done. 

“Well, you’re only addressed to when I addressed you,” said Cobb.

“Which you have already authorized,” responded Hoffman.

“I said ‘Don’t follow up,’ and you said, ‘Okay, then.’ Do you want a different question, Mr. Hoffman?” asked Cobb.

“I want less hostility from my chairman. That’s what I’d like,” responded Hoffman.

Cobb repeated whether Hoffman would like to ask a different question, and Hoffman confirmed. Hoffman then asked what Crow was doing about the multiple incidences of high-profile racism on his campus.

“Unfortunately the racism that we’re seeing is permeating from a cultural and institutional level[,]” asserted Hoffman.

Before Crow could respond, Cobb intervened with an assertion that Hoffman’s question wasn’t  relevant to their budget material being reviewed that day. Cobb would only interrupt Hoffman as he attempted to ask her if or when the committee would bring Crow back for questioning on the subject of additional funding.

“Are you going to have him back to testify in front of us so we can ask him that question? Because if you expect us to sign off on more funding for ASU…” said Hoffman.

Cobb ignored Hoffman and called on State Representative Lorenzo Sierra (D-Avondale), who lavished praise on Crow for his work. When Sierra said to Crow that he only had one question for him, Cobb chimed in to say, “Thank God,” and chuckled to herself. At that point, a soft, inaudible exchange occurred between Cobb and an unknown male as Sierra continued to address Crow. It is unclear whether that exchange was related to Cobb’s next response; after Sierra finished asking Crow about what work ASU was doing with the state’s economic agencies, Cobb chimed in again to accuse legislators of grandstanding.

“Again, that’s off the subject. I really want to stick to the appropriations. We got a lot of people here to speak today, we can grandstand all we want to —” said Cobb.

Hoffman interrupted Cobb to call a point of order.

“This is not grandstanding from Sierra or myself. These are things that will impact how we vote on funding for this man’s school,” insisted Hoffman.

Cobb seemed to agree.

“And what we’re talking about is the funding right here, okay…” said Cobb.

“Correct. And he’s standing in front of us and we have material questions for Arizona State,” responded Hoffman.

Cobb disagreed. She insisted that she determined neither Sierra or Hoffman’s questions were relevant to the task at hand, but refused to elaborate why. Hoffman insinuated that there was no point to the committee’s presence, if what Cobb said was true. 

“So this is just a dog and pony show?” asked Hoffman.

“No, this is to let us know what their initiatives are this year. That’s what they’re here to do, is to let us know what their education initiatives are coming forward to this year,” said Cobb.

When Hoffman attempted to insist that Crow should answer to “substantive questions, like issues of racism on campus,” Cobb threatened him with removal from the committee if he didn’t stand down.

It appeared that Cobb’s refusal to allow any substantive questions caused the remainder of the committee to dare not pose any questions of their own. Several questions from State Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills) were permitted prior to Cobb shutting down the subject: Kavanagh asked about foreign enrollment and online learning trends.

In a statement to AZ Free News, Hoffman expressed disappointment that Crow didn’t step up and answer for the controversies plaguing ASU.

“Michael Crow’s refusal to answer for the extremely concerning allegations of institutionalized racism, viewpoint discrimination by professors, and rampant wokeism at Arizona State University during yesterday’s House Appropriations Committee is yet another glaring example of his utter disdain for any level of transparency, oversight and accountability,” stated Hoffman. “Under his watch, racism and wokeism by professors and staff has led to an increase in high profile incidents of discrimination on campus, yet when questioned during his testimony in front of the state’s top appropriators he chose to hide behind Ms. Cobb, the committee chairwoman.  Mr. Crow’s appalling behavior has given legislators merely one more in a long line of reasons to oppose any new funding for his university.”

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

Congressman Biggs: Democrats Hypocritical About Election Audit

Congressman Biggs: Democrats Hypocritical About Election Audit

By Corinne Murdock |

During the House Oversight Committee’s Thursday hearing on the Arizona Senate’s audit, Congressman Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) criticized Democrats’ rhetoric and conduct. Biggs accused Democrats of hypocrisy for both praising and condemning the audit. He further claimed that Democrats cherry-picked data from the audit report to fit a narrative.

“You know the Democrats can’t really have it both ways, can they?” asked Biggs. “You cannot say that the audit showed the integrity of the election, while at the same time claiming that the mere fact of an audit, in and of itself, is a threat existentially. You can’t do that. It’s a fallacious, logical inconsistency.”

https://twitter.com/RepAndyBiggsAZ/status/1446121832994672646

The committee announced the hearing Wednesday to discuss “how this and similar audits undermine public confidence in elections and threaten our democracy.” Two of Maricopa County’s election officials, Supervisor Bill Gates and Chairman Jack Sellers, testified.

As part of his opening statement, Biggs revealed that Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney (D-NY-12) told him that Democrats were critical of the audit and had an agenda before it even began. Maloney also reportedly shared that her fellow Democrats were opposed to any legislative changes to improve election integrity.

Biggs reminded the committee that one of the major audit focuses, Maricopa County, hasn’t always had a spotless elections reputation.

“In 2018, in Maricopa County, most of you may not know this, there were such problems with the Maricopa County election that the Democrat county recorder – who was the elections official for the county, Adrian Fontes – got to go under scrutiny by this board of supervisors, who took everything back from him that they possibly could legally and statutorily. That’s the history of problems in Maricopa County in our voting.”

Additionally, Biggs reminded the committee that every losing political party since 2001 has cast doubts on the fairness and impartiality of the results.

“You cannot argue that questions regarding election integrity from the right is an attack on our democracy, our constitutional republic – especially after four years of the Democrats claiming that the 2016 presidential election was stolen because of Russian interference,” said Biggs. “I advocated for a full forensic audit because I felt election integrity should be restored.”

According to the congressman, Maricopa County’s own audit efforts were dwarfed in comparison to their efforts to stop the Senate audit.

“[They] spent $18,000 for those two audits, but spent literally hundreds of thousands of dollars [and engaged in] multiple lawsuits to prevent the audit that we’re discussing today,” observed Biggs.

Watch the full audit here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xN9iEz6T4nw

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

Representatives Biggs, Schweikert, Lesko Join Legislation Honoring 13 Fallen Service Members

Representatives Biggs, Schweikert, Lesko Join Legislation Honoring 13 Fallen Service Members

By Corinne Murdock |

Representatives Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05), David Schweikert (R-AZ-06), and Debbie Lesko (R-AZ-08) are original cosponsors on legislation to award Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 service members killed in Kabul last week. The Congressional Gold Medal is widely considered the highest congressional expression of appreciation on behalf of the nation.

The 13 service members were Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Nicole Gee, Darin Hoover, Hunter Lopez, Daegan Page, Humberto Sanchez, David Espinoza, Jared M. Schmitz, Rylee Mccollum, Dylan Merola, Kareem Nikoui, Maxton Soviak, and Ryan Knauss.

Representative Lisa McClain (R-MI-10) introduced the legislation on Tuesday. As McClain noted in her legislation, the 13 service members’ deaths marked the single deadliest day in the Afghanistan war in over 10 years.

“The American service members went above and beyond the call of duty to protect citizens of the United States and our allies to ensure they are brought to safety in an extremely dangerous situation as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan,” read the legislation. “The American service members exemplified extreme bravery and valor against armed enemy combatants. The American service members dedicated their lives and their heroism deserves great honor.”

If awarded, the medals would be given to the Smithsonian Institution to memorialize the service members and the day of the Kabul attack: August 26.

A total of 150 other representatives have signed onto the legislation: 129 Republicans, and 21 Democrats.

The representatives to sign on were Don Young (R-AK), Mo Brooks (R-AL), Jerry Carl (R-AL), Gary Palmer (R-AL), Barry Moore (R-AL), Rick Crawford (R-AR), Bruce Westermann (R-AR), Ken Calvert (R-CA), Sara Jacobs (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Young Kim (R-CA), Doug LaMalfa (R-CA), Mike Garcia (R-CA), David Valadao (R-CA), Mike Levin (D-CA), Pete Aguilar (D-CA), Jay Obernolte (R-CA), Jim Costa (D-CA), Doug Lamborn (R-CO), Carlos Gimenez (R-FL), Stephanie Murphy (D-FL), Greg Steube (R-FL), Matt Gaetz (R-FL), Al Lawson (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Kat Cammack (R-FL),  Scott Franklin (R-FL), Brian Mast (R-FL), Darren Soto (D-FL), Maria Salazar (R-FL), Byron Donalds (R-FL), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Jody Hice (R-GA), Rick Allen (R-GA), Drew Ferguson (R-GA),  Buddy Carter (R-GA), Barry Loudermilk (R-GA), Lucy McBath (D-GA), Ashley Hinson (R-IA), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Randy Feenstra (R-IA), Mike Simpson (R-ID), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Rodney Davis (R-IL), Mike Bost (R-IL), Jim Banks (R-IN-), Larry Buschon (R-IN-), Andre Carson (D-IN), Russ Fulcher (R-IN), Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Victoria Spartz (R-IN), Trey Hollingsworth (R-IN), Greg Pence (R-IN), Tracey Mann (R-KS), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Brett Guthrie (R-KY), Garret Graves (R-LA), Julia Letlow (R-LA), Seth Moulton (D-MA), Bill Keating (D-MA), Andy Harris (R-MD), Jared Golden (D-ME), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), Peter Meijer (R-MI), Tim Walberg (R-MI), John Moolenaar (R-MI), Elise Slotkin (D-MI), Tom Emmer (R-MN), Ann Wagner (R-MO), Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), Vicky Hartzler (R-MO), Jason Smith (R-MO), Bennie Thompson (D-MS), Trent Kelly (R-MS), Steven Palazzo (R-MS), Michael Guest (R-MS), Don Bacon (R-NE-), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), Adrian Smith (R-NE), Madison Cawthorn (R-NC), Richard Hudson (R-NC), Greg Murphy (R-NC), David Rouzer (R-NC), Ted Budd (R-NC), Dan Bishop (R-NC), Chris Pappas (D-NH),  Chris Smith (R-NJ), Yvette Herrell (R-NM), Mark Amodei (R-NV), Ruben Gallego (D-NV), Steven Horsford (D-NV), Andrew Garbarino (R-NY), Nicole Malliotakis (R-NY), Elise Stefanik (R-NY), Claudia Tenney (R-NY), Chris Jacobs (R-NY), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), Joseph Morelle (D-NY), Steve Chabot (R-OH), Warren Davidson (R-OH), Bob Gibbs (R-OH), Bob Latta (R-OH), Dave Joyce (R-OH), Mike Turner (R-OH), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), Stephanie Bice (R-OK-), Tom Cole (R-OK), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), G.T. Thompson (R-PA), Jennifer Gonzalez-Colon (R-PR), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Ralph Norman (R-SC), Dusty Johnson (R- SD), Diana Harshbarger (R-TN), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN), Chuck Fleischmann (R-TN), David Kustoff (R-TN), Tim Burchett (R-TN), Lance Gooden (R-TX), August Pfluger (R-TX), Randy Weber (R-TX), Roger Williams (R-TX), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), Filemon Vela (D-TX), Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), Pat Fallon (R-TX), Blake Moore (R-UT), Burgess Owens (R-UT), John Curtis (R-UT), Bob Good (R-VA), Morgan Griffith (R-VA), Rob Wittman (R-VA), Ben Cline (R-VA), Elaine Luria (D-VA), Jaime Herrera-Beutler (R-WA), Dan Newhouse (R-WA), Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-WA), Bryan Steil (R-WI), Scott Fitzgerald (R-WI), Mike Gallagher (R-WI), Glenn Grothman (R-WI), David McKinley (R-WV), Carol Miller (R-WV), Alex Mooney (R-WV), and Liz Cheney (R-WY).

Read the legislation in its entirety here.

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

Representatives Gosar, Biggs Voted Against Hastening Visas for Afghans Fleeing Taliban

Representatives Gosar, Biggs Voted Against Hastening Visas for Afghans Fleeing Taliban

By Corinne Murdock |

Last month, Representatives Paul Gosar (R-AZ-04) and Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) voted against expediting visas for Afghans fleeing the Taliban. The Averting Loss of Life and Injury by Expediting SIVs Act (ALLIES) Act applies to Afghans that assisted the U.S. in the war: this includes interpreters, contractors, and security.

The ALLIES Act ensured that Afghans could receive special immigrant visas more quickly by removing certain application requirements, namely the proof that the applicant was currently experiencing or had experienced an ongoing serious threat due to their employment with the U.S. government. Instead, Afghans could apply if they believed there existed the possibility of a serious threat. The act also increased the number of available visas by 11,000.

Gosar explained that he is more focused on bringing Americans home safely. He argued that this should be the first and only priority, before assisting Afghans.

“How many US citizens are trapped in Afghanistan? I don’t see reliable info on this. It’s critical we get our people out safely,” said Gosar. “It’s not critical to use planes to bring Afghans here.  To see our transports full of illegal aliens and not US citizens is immoral.”

Although the ALLIES Act was introduced in a bipartisan manner, 16 House Republicans voted against the measure.

In addition to Gosar and Biggs, “no” votes on the ALLIES Act included Representatives Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03), Mo Brooks (R-AL-05), Scott DesJarlais (R-TN-04), Jeff Duncan (R-SC-03), Bob Good (R-VA-05), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA-14), Kevin Hern (R-OK-01), Jody Hice (R-GA-10), Thomas Massie (R-KY-04), Barry Moore (R-AL-02), Scott Perry (R-PA-10), Bill Posey (R-FL-08), Matthew Rosendale (R-MT), and Chip Roy (R-TX-21).

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