Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) suggested that the government should coordinate censorship with social media companies during a conference call with federal agencies on Sunday.
Kelly asked the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and the Federal Deposit and Information Corporation (FDIC) about the feasibility of their agencies working with social media companies to censor information in order to prevent a run on the banks. The senator posed the question within the context of the Silicon Valley Bank bailout over the weekend.
The bank failed due to a massive run following a troubling announcement from its parent company, SVB Financial Group, last week. Depositors panicked en masse after learning that the company was attempting to sell $1.75 billion worth of shares to make up for the $1.8 billion hit on $21 billion of assets sold. The mass withdrawals caused the bank to become insolvent.
Kelly sits on the Joint Economic Committee, chaired by Sen. Don Beyer (D-VA). Other members on the committee are Sens. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), vice chairman; Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Margaret Wood Hassan (D-NH); Peter Welch (D-VT); John Fetterman (D-PA); Mike Lee (R-UT), ranking member; Tom Cotton (R-AR); Eric Schmitt (R-MO); and J.D. Vance (R-OH).
Their next committee hearing is on Thursday.
Kelly also sits on the Armed Services Committee, chairing the Airland Subcommittee, while also serving on the subcommittees for Emerging Threats and Capabilities, Readiness and Management Support, and Subcommittee on Strategic Forces; Energy and Natural Resources Committee; Environment and Public Works Committee; and the Special Committee on Aging.
About 200 people were on the conference call, including a bipartisan mix of Congressmen and their staffers. Senate President Chuck Schumer (D-NY) led the conference call, according to Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY-04).
Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO-03) also referenced Kelly in a tweet. Boebert claimed that Kelly, whom she referred to only as “a member,” asked if the Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and FDIC were reaching out to Facebook and Twitter to monitor misinformation and bad actors.
“And this administration AGAIN just committed the federal government to interfere with free speech. Unacceptable!” tweeted Boebert.
Prior to confirming that Kelly was the unnamed member of Congress who apparently encouraged the federal agencies to coordinate censorship efforts with social media companies, Massie identified him only as “a Democrat Senator.” Massie noted that Kelly had asked whether there was a censorship program in place that could prevent a run on the banks.
Neither Massie or Boebert included the three federal agencies’ answers.
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC-08) confirmed Massie’s identification of Kelly with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA-20), as reported in Public.
Benjamin Franklin once famously said, “[I]n this world, nothing is certain except death and taxes” — true, unless you’re a leftist political nonprofit. For many of them, taxation isn’t certain, even if they run afoul of tax-exempt status requirements.
Funding sources, expenditure recipients, and even those operating these nonprofits may remain secretive under the current state of lax federal enforcement. These tax-free and opacity perks are possible through two interrelated federal tax classifications: 501(c)(3), or “C3,” and 501(c)(4), or “C4.” There are over 27,000 C3s and just over 1,200C4s registered in Arizona. The big difference between the two classifications is that donations to IRS-recognized C3 organizations are deductible under our income tax code. And the Left has learned how to exploit this tax status for their political benefit.
In Arizona, many liberal C3 and C4 nonprofits work in tandem, each executing symbiotic duties while coordinating their activities and sharing data and resources. Sometimes, these C3 and C4 duos are “sister” organizations — meaning, they’re affiliated rather than independent entities allied over common goals.
These arrangements are legal so long as clear distinctions are made between charitable and non-charitable activities. Over the last several months, AZ Free News has conducted an extensive review of over a dozen different liberal nonprofits in the state, examining their websites, tax documents, and social media accounts. Our research has found that many of these organizations have blurred the lines on their political activities via various C3 and C4 groups. In some cases, there appeared to be no distinction at all, with some C3 organizations providing completely different accounts of their tax-deductible program activities to the IRS compared to what they shared publicly.
How the IRS Intended for C3 and C4 Organizations to Operate
C3s have two major qualifiers: they’re supposed to be nonpartisan and apolitical—meaning, they can’t expend funds or use resources to coordinate with political activity being conducted by C4s.
C3s must organize and operate exclusively for purposes that are one or more of the following: charitable, religious, educational, scientific, literary, testing for public safety, fostering national or international amateur sports competition, and preventing cruelty to children or animals.
The IRS defines “charitable” as relief of the poor, the distressed, or the underprivileged; advancement of religion; advancement of education or science; erecting or maintaining public buildings, monuments, or works; lessening the burdens of government; lessening neighborhood tensions; eliminating prejudice and discrimination; defending human and civil rights; and combating community deterioration and juvenile delinquency.
The IRS expressly prohibits C3s from being an “action organization”: those engaging in political or legislative activities. Political activities include the direct or indirect participation or intervention in any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any political candidate. The IRS also prohibits political campaign fund contributions or public statements of positions, either verbal or written, on behalf of the organization in favor of or opposing any candidate.
The IRS does condone voter education activities, such as get-out-the-vote (GOTV) efforts like voter registration. However, any evidence of political bias is forbidden: favoritism of a candidate, opposing a candidate in any way, or “hav[ing] the effect of favoring a candidate or group of candidates.” Lobbying is also largely forbidden.
Comparatively, the IRS classifies C4 organizations into one of two categories: social welfare organizations or local association of employees. The former concerns civic leagues or organizations organized exclusively for social welfare promotion, not profit. The IRS clarifies that social welfare promotion doesn’t include direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate. Those that do must not render that activity as their primary activity, and risk being subjected to taxation. The latter concerns membership-based organizations with net earnings devoted exclusively to charitable, educational, or recreational purposes.
How Leftist C3 and C4s Operate in Arizona
Our review of leftist C3s in Arizona appears to indicate that their activities are overtly partisan and political. They coordinate with politically active C4s to achieve shared, partisan goals, and receive political action committee (PAC) funding while doing so. Often, these leftist C4s have either direct or indirect participation or intervention in political campaigns on behalf of or in opposition to one or more candidates.
Progressive activists leading these C3s have effectively mastered the art of exploiting the IRS code for partisan advantage, helping to maximize liberal donor partisan impact with their dollars while still hiding their identity. The C3s will claim that their allowable vote (GOTV) efforts, such as voter registration, are nonpartisan. They will claim they’re reaching out to certain, “marginalized” demographic groups; however, these groups turn out to be known Democratic voter bases.
One example of this is Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, the C3 sister organization of Mi Familia Vota, the C4. The former admitted on their 2020 tax filing to coordinating political activity with the latter. The executive director of Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, Hector Sanchez Barba, has publicly advocated for the losses of Republican candidates.
“We will keep working to keep extremism, Trump and MAGA out of our democracy,” wrote Sanchez Barba. “@MiFamiliaVota.”
Sanchez Barba also celebrated the nonprofits’ efforts in assisting Gov. Katie Hobbs’ victory over Republican challenger Kari Lake.
“More voters saying no to MAGA candidates, congratulations @katiehobbs #LatinoVote @MiFamiliaVota #Arizona,” tweeted Sanchez Barba.
In response to a Politico article documenting the GOP’s underperformance in last year’s midterm elections, Sanchez Barba thanked Latino voters for having Democrats win.
“Gracia #LatinoVote,” wrote Sanchez Barba.
Meanwhile, their partner C4s pay for media and partisan activities like ad campaigns for candidates. It’s uncertain whether the funding for these activities comes from their C3 partners since those grant or cost-sharing agreements aren’t public. The IRS requires that C3 funds given to C4s be restricted to charitable uses — not electioneering activity.
The C3-C4 duo targets certain voter demographics to achieve a partisan outcome. They contact Democrat-leaning voters to get their vote cast, convince newly registered voters to vote Democratic through mailers and ads supportive of Democratic candidates and causes, and publicly support certain partisan ballot initiatives.
The C3-C4 sister organizations thinly veil their efforts that a division exists between them. For example, Mi Familia Vota spent tens of thousands on TV advertising that advocated for the election of Reginald Bolding ahead of last year’s primary. However, they listed a staffer for their C3 sister organization, Mi Familia Vota Education, as the point-of-contact on that campaign filing.
As AZ Free News reported in Part One of this series, Mi Familia Vota receives funding from One Arizona, a C3, which in turn receives its funding from the Tides Foundation, George Soros’ Open Societies Foundation, and several different organizations under Arabella Advisors.
Living United for Change in Arizona (LUCHA), a C4, also spent thousands for Democratic candidates in the final weeks of last year’s midterm election.
LUCHA also receives funding from One Arizona.
Ahead of the midterm election last June, One Arizona advertised a job opening for an independent expenditure (IE) campaign manager. The position appears to be one for a political staffer, which would constitute prohibited electioneering.
Leftist C3s also hire for both the C3 and C4, resulting in shared jobs and salaries. One Arizona (C3) and Arizona Wins (C4) co-hired staff including a field director, field program coordinator, and finance and compliance director. That shared salary should not be used for political work. One recent example of this was a job listing by Arizona Coalition for Change (C3) and Our Voice Our Vote (C4) for a data manager that would work within the duo’s political and grassroots lobbying arms.
These blurred lines surrounding co-hires don’t just apply to staff. Arizona Center for Empowerment (ACE, a C3) and LUCHA (C4) share an executive director, Alejandra (Alex) Gomez, as well as staffers. This relationship is further complicated by the fact that ACE listed LUCHA as its “Employer of Record” on their latest tax return. Under Gomez, both organizations have expressed their partisanship.
Last year, LUCHA launched an initiative to get Democratic candidates elected: “LUCHA Blue.” The nonprofit pledged to prioritize certain races and voter bases in its GOTV efforts. On its hiring page for the initiative, LUCHA disclosed that it would staff between 70 and 105 people.
“We believe that not all candidates align with the mission of LUCHA, and this is why we created a campaign not only to flip Arizona Blue — but LUCHA Blue!” stated LUCHA. “Overall, the goal of the campaign is to win these targeted races, increase Latin/Hispanic voter turnout, and educate voters on the voting process.” (emphasis added)
In one post following Sen. Mark Kelly (D-AZ) winning re-election last November, LUCHA appeared to affirm that both it and ACE assisted in organizational efforts to assure Kelly’s victory.
Wealthy dark money donors have a greater financial incentive to back C3s. 75 percent of their donations can go to politics and qualify as tax deductible — effectively maximizing their gift-giving while affording them a tax break. C4 donations aren’t tax deductible.
The IRS has long been aware of the disparity between the lawful intent for C3 and C4 entities, and the current reality of C3-C4 relationships. As ProPublica revealed in 2019, the IRS essentially gave up on holding nonprofits accountable.
The following are some of Arizona’s liberal C3-C4 nonprofit duos: One Arizona and Arizona Wins, Arizona Center for Empowerment and Living United for Change in Arizona, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund and Mi Familia Vota Victory, Chispa AZ/League of Conservation Voters Education Fund and League of Conservation Voters, Arizona Coalition for Change and Our Voice Our Vote, Instituto Lab and Instituto Power, Rural Arizona Engagement and Rural Arizona Action, and Voto Latino Foundation and Voto Latino.
The relationships between these nonprofits and the awareness of their straining tax law will be further explained in the next installment of this series.
This is Part Two in a series on the Left’s secret infrastructure to turn Arizona blue. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to be notified of Part Three in the series.
Maricopa County’s long-awaited drop of 71,000 ballots on Monday night locked in three key races for Democrats: governor, secretary of state, and senator. The vote results remain unofficial, with two statewide races remaining close.
Republicans easily won the state treasurer’s race with incumbent Kimberly Yee at the helm, leading Democratic challenger Martín Quezada nearly 56 to 44 points.
Quezada retweeted political commentary indicating that the Democratic Party didn’t offer him enough support, financial or otherwise.
Incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Kelly will likely win handily over Republican challenger Blake Masters, 51 to 46 percent.
It appears that Masters issued a preliminary concession on Friday, preparing for what Monday’s returns made more apparent.
Democrat Katie Hobbs will be Arizona’s 24th governor, becoming the fifth woman to do so. Hobbs pulled in 50 percent of the vote to Republican opponent Kari Lake’s 49 percent. Hobbs announced that she won on Monday, but Lake didn’t concede.
Rather, Lake questioned why Maricopa County’s top election officials, Recorder Stephen Richer and Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates, launched a political action committee (PAC) to defeat certain Republicans.
Democrat Adrian Fontes prevailed over Republican Mark Finchem in the Secretary of State race, bringing in 52 percent over Finchem’s 47 percent. Fontes declared victory on Monday morning, long before the ballot drop that night.
Finchem refused to believe the results of Monday’s ballot counts. He reminded voters that the polls didn’t reflect the results at all, challenging the ballots’ validity.
Several races remained too close to call. In the race for superintendent of public instruction, Republican Tom Horne leads Democrat incumbent Kathy Hoffman by .02 percent — just over 6,400 votes. In the attorney general’s race, Democrat Kris Mayes also leads Republican Abraham Hamadeh by .02 percent: nearly 3,200 votes.
Greenlee and La Paz counties had 100 percent of their votes completed. Yavapai and Gila counties had over 99 percent of their votes completed as of Monday night. Maricopa County had nearly 99 percent of votes completed. Yuma and Pima counties had 98 percent of votes completed. Coconino County had 97 percent of votes completed. Pinal and Navajo counties had 94 percent of votes completed. Cochise County had nearly 91 percent of votes completed. At the rear, Apache County had 74 percent of votes completed.
In 2016, Pima County used more than $15 million in county assets as collateral to lure an aspiring space tourism company connected to now-Sen. Mark Kelly to Tucson despite myriad questions about whether the deal was constitutional.
The Arizona Court of Appeals answered one of those questions on Oct. 26, ruling that a major provision of the county’s deal with World View Enterprises violated the Gift Clause of the Arizona Constitution. That deal allows World View to purchase its Pima County-financed office and manufacturing complex on prime commercial land for only $10 in 2036.
Pima County has 30 days to file a petition for review with the Arizona Supreme Court. If no petition is filed, the case goes back to the Pima County Superior Court for further proceedings in compliance with the appellate decision.
Jan Lesher, the current Pima County Administrator, notified the county supervisors that the Pima County Attorney’s Office will discuss the appellate decision during an executive session on Nov. 1.
Former Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, with support from Kelly, attracted World View’s corporate and manufacturing operations by promising to construct a Space Port (launch pad) on county-owned land near the Tucson International Airport. In addition, the county designed and constructed a 142,000 square-foot complex on 12 acres of adjacent county-owned land.
The $19 million cost of the project, which includes interest Pima County pays for financing the construction, was justified, supporters like Kelly and Huckelberry claimed, because of the 400 high-paying jobs and $3.5 billion of economic impact World View would bring to the area.
For its part, World View is to reimburse the county’s outlay via rent payments as part of a 20-year Lease-Purchase Agreement. Then when the lease is up, World View can purchase the office / manufacturing complex (sans the Space Port property) for $10.
The problem with that provision, according to the Court of Appeals, is that the building will still have a 30-year lifespan in 2036 and a fair market value of $14 million.
“The ‘give’ then, by Pima County, is $14 million and its ‘get’ is $10,” wrote Chief Judge Karl Eppich in the Oct. 26 appellate decision. He added that the provision was “lopsided” from the perspective of the county because the purchase price represents only .0000007 percent of the property’s value.
Eppich wrote that the expenditure of public funds to benefit a private company is legal under the Arizona Constitution only when a public purpose is served and only if the benefit or consideration between the public and the private entity is not “grossly disproportionate.”
“We agree with Taxpayers that the $10 purchase option amounts to an unconstitutional subsidy because the consideration received by Pima County is grossly disproportionate to the value of the World View facility,” he wrote.
Kelly became an advisor for World View in 2013 after getting to know the company’s founders. He has continued his relationship with the company even though those founders are no longer affiliated with World View and have started a competing new space tourism company in Florida.
World View, which still claims people will travel to the edge of the stratosphere someday via its proprietary balloons, has significantly missed most of its annual staffing and payroll targets. County officials have also had to revise the agreement at least once to address several months of late rental payments.
Timothy Sandefur is vice president for Legal Affairs at the Goldwater Institute and is one of the attorneys who represent three Pima County taxpayers who sued the county shortly after the World View agreement was announced in 2016.
“County governments exist to protect the rights of citizens and allow them to pursue their own business in their own way—not to pick winners and losers in the marketplace, or gamble with taxpayer money,” Sandefur said after the appellate decision was announced. “When they do, the consequence is often that taxpayer money simply floats away.”
Sandefur also addressed the possibility that Pima County will ask the state’s highest court to consider the case.
“Although they could appeal the decision to the Arizona Supreme Court, it seems well past time for Pima County officials to admit that this entire deal was both illegal and foolhardy,” he said.
In a bid to win over independent voters, Arizona’s dominant voting group, Senator Mark Kelly’s campaign staffers are telling voters he’s pro-life.
Paid campaign staffer Evynn Bronson told an undercover Project Veritas reporter that Kelly is pro-choice, but advised the reporter to tell voters that Kelly is pro-life and avoid the phrase “pro-choice.”
“I would [tell a pro-life voter that] Mark Kelly is pro-life but also pro-keeping the government out of our health care. I don’t know, something stupid like that,” said Bronson. “Absolutely he is not pro-life.”
Bronson, an Idaho native and LGBTQ+ activist, is a political science major at Brigham Young University (BYU) and plans to graduate this fall. Bronson was involved with the Raynbow Collective, an activist group pushing for LGBTQ+ acceptance at BYU, a private Mormon university. Bronson has since wiped her social footprint: her LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Facebook and Instagram profiles are gone. Earlier this spring, Bronson interned with Congressman Adam Schiff (D-CA-28) — a gig set up by the Victory Institute.
Bronson claimed to Project Veritas that she didn’t know Kelly’s stance on abortion. However, her job as a paid campaign staffer contradicts that claim: she gave a presentation on Kelly’s abortion stance and other topics like inflation and gun control.
“As far as I remember, I said that I don’t know his stance but that he supports the decision between a woman and her health care specialist,” stated Bronson.
Bronson worked the Kelly campaign through Mission for Arizona (AZ) throughout the summer, the advocacy nonprofit funded by the Arizona Democratic Party. In July, Bronson advised the Democrats of Greater Tucson (DGT) on “How to Talk to Voters.” One of the contentions that DGT members had during the presentation was that Bronson and fellow Mission for AZ staffer Anna Smith focused on advocating for Kelly rather than other Democratic candidates ahead of the primary elections.
In her advice, Bronson claimed that she and other campaign staffers weren’t there to change minds. Advice on addressing Kelly’s stance on abortion didn’t include any mention of his being “pro-life.”
“It’s important to remember we are not changing minds. We cannot have a productive conversation with a super far-right-leaning, conservative person because they’re just so rooted in their beliefs,” said Bronson. “We’re focusing in on those independents, those 40 percent of independents that we showed you, that really don’t know who they’re going to vote for.”
Part of the Mission for AZ plan presented by Bronson included registering voters to the Active Early Voting List (AEVL). According to the nonprofit’s research, those who receive an early ballot are 30 percent more likely to vote. Mission for AZ also collected “vote commitments” that included voters’ contact information.