'Jan PAC' collects $250,000 to back candidates with similar immigration, states' rights views - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

'Jan PAC' collects $250,000 to back candidates with similar immigration, states' rights views

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Posted: Monday, July 16, 2012 10:37 pm | Updated: 10:14 am, Thu Aug 29, 2013.

Arizona utilities, developers and other special interests are fueling a political action committee formed by Gov. Jan Brewer to help elect federal candidates who share her views on immigration and states' rights.

New figures Monday show Jan PAC collected $204,887 in the three months ending June 30, bringing her collections this year to more than $250,000. Even with more than $40,000 expenses -- including buying donors signed copies of her book -- that leaves the governor with more than $212,000 to shell out in this year's races.

The list is topped by Rural/Metro Corp. The Scottsdale-based firm which provides private ambulance and fire service in more than 30 Arizona communities, gave $25,000.

Other big donations came from those in development.

Chanen Construction kicked in $10,000. That firm does commercial construction as well as luxury homes and estates.

And Don Diamond put in an identical amount as a personal contribution. He is chairman of Tucson-based Diamond Ventures which is involved in real estate investments and development projects in the Southwest and Mexico.

The state's two major electric companies also ponied up some cash for the governor.

Arizona Public Service kicked in $5,000. That does not include another $2,679 Pinnacle West Capital Corp., APS's parent, paid for the expenses of a fundraiser Brewer had for the PAC last month.

Unisource Energy Services, the parent of Tucson Electric Power, kicked in another $3,000.

And those involved with sports also opened their wallets, with $5,000 from the Arizona Cardinals and the same amount from Jerry Colangelo, former owner of the Phoenix Suns.

The governor told Capitol Media Services when she set up the PAC late last she was getting queries from those who wanted to share in her highly publicized battles, particularly with the Obama administration on Arizona's efforts to enact and enforce its own laws aimed at illegal immigration. That has led to not just appearances on national TV shows but speaking engagements around the country.

Brewer said she will use the money to help elect those who support her views.

Her stated goals include securing the border and restoring "integrity to our immigration system,'' reducing the size of government and "fighting Obamacare.''

But Mark Dalton, spokesman for the Arizona Cardinals, said the decision by his boss to contribute had to do more with the fourth goal of job creation.

"I do think that jobs creation -- getting Arizona back to work -- is consistent with what the team believes,'' he said. And Dalton noted that Cardinals owner Michael Bidwill serves at Brewer's request on the Arizona Commerce Authority.

Diamond said the reason for his donation is even simpler.

"I did it because she asked and I love her,'' he said. Diamond said he has "watched her mature'' over all the years he has known her and "she's handled herself beautifully.''

More to the point, Diamond said his contribution is unrelated to her stance on any particular issue, including immigration.

Steven Chanen, president of the family-owned construction company, cited similar reasons.

"I have been friends with the governor for the last 25-30 years,'' he said. "This was not for one specific political issue.''

And Chanen said it really wasn't even political: While he is a Republican, his father, Herman, who serves as founder and chairman, is a Democrat.

Rural/Metro lobbyist David Kreitor, in a prepared statement, said his company's interests stem from its role as a pre-hospital provider of emergency medical services. He said the funding is to support Brewer "as she works with the federal government to implement the provisions of the Affordable Care Act.''

Company spokeswoman Liz Merritt acknowledged that Brewer has been working to kill the law, first as part of the unsuccessful lawsuit by several states challenging its constitutionality and, when that failed, seeking to have it repealed. But she said company officials "simply want to be heard and take part in the dialog around this issue.''

The governor declined to be interviewed Monday about the contributors. But PAC spokesman Paul Senseman said Brewer has not promised donors she would spend their money in any particular fashion.

"A lot of people believe that the governor will use the funds appropriately,'' he said. And Senseman said those expenditures will be reported as required by federal law.

He also brushed aside questions of whether those who give are hoping for something in return.

"You could say that everyone who voted for the governor was trying to curry favor,'' he said.

The donor list also includes smaller amounts from others who have interests in which the governor's views could be important.

The Gila River Indian Community, for example, made a $3,000 contribution. That tribe is involved in a legal and turf battle over attempts by the Tohono O'odham Nation to build a casino and resort on the edge of Glendale. The governor has aligned herself with the Gila River tribe.

Tribal governor Gregory Mendoza said in a prepared statement his tribe "has constantly strived to find common ground and work together with elected officials from both parties.'' He said the community "has a very good relationship'' with Brewer.

The law firm of Isaacson and Moore put in $1,000.

That firm represents nearly two dozen clients with interests at the Capitol, including Amazon.com which is battling legislative efforts to alter state laws to require firms with a warehouse in Arizona but no retail outlet to collect the state's 6.6 percent sales tax. Brewer has been opposed to such moves, saying she wants Congress to hash out the whole issue of Internet sales.

Isaacson noted his client list is far larger than Amazon.com.

"We were glad to support the governor,'' he said. "She has been a very pro-business governor that has allowed many businesses in Arizona to begin to recover from the recession.''

There was no response from APS, Unisource or Colangelo.

Not all of Brewer's donations had business links. She also got $5,000 from the Susan B. Anthony List, which lists as its goal to elect candidates "that will reduce and ultimately end abortion.''

Senseman said there were almost 1,700 donations from all 50 states and that, even with the big-ticket contributions, the average came to $116.

Brewer is not the first Arizona governor to form her own federal PAC -- or take money from those who might have interests in the state.

Janet Napolitano set up Competitive Edge PAC in 2007 as she was eyeing her own political future. That ended up taking care of itself when Barack Obama, newly elected as president in 2008, chose the Arizona governor to head the Department of Homeland Security.

But in its brief existence of less than two years, Napolitano's PAC managed to collect and distribute more than $400,000 to candidates for federal congressional offices. Donors included major corporations like Pfizer, which gave through its own PAC, and several tribes including the Tohono O'odham Nation.

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