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Keeping voters in the dark: GOP schools chief candidate in Arizona hasn’t filed her latest campaign finance report
It’s been 35 days since candidates for elected office were required to file their campaign finance reports to disclose campaign activity for the first three months of 2022, but state Rep. Michelle Udall still has not submitted her report.
Udall, who is seeking the Republican nomination for state schools superintendent, is the only candidate for statewide office this year that has failed to file a campaign report for the first quarter.
Each day the report is late, a $10 penalty is accrued for the candidate. After 15 days, the penalty increases to $25 per day. The fines cannot be paid by the campaign, either — payment must come out of the candidate’s own pocket.
Udall currently owes $650 for failing to file this report.
And she has a pattern of filing her reports late and accruing late fees. The Secretary of State’s Office told the Arizona Mirror that Udall owes a total of $810 in penalties; that includes a fine for her 2021 report, which was filed 15 days late, and being one day late on a report due in January 2020.
Udall’s current report being 35 days past the deadline is not the longest she has gone without filing a report: She went 123 days without filing her 2018 pre-general election report and then was 45 days late for her fourth quarter report in the same election cycle. Those delayed reports accumulated fines of $2,850 and $900, respectively.
A spokeswoman for Secretary of State Katie Hobbs said it’s unclear if those fines were paid in full or waived.
Arizona has lax campaign finance laws and almost no accountability measures in place for candidates or committees, as the Arizona Republic noted in a report about Democratic Rep. Cesar Chavez accruing more than $60,000 in fees. He only ended up having to pay $1,000 of that, the paper reported.
Campaign finance reports are one of the cornerstones for transparency in politics, both in Arizona and across the country. They let voters see who is lining up to financially support candidates for elected office and how those candidates are spending their money. When candidates don’t file reports, or are chronically late in doing so, it’s impossible for the public to know basic details.
In Udall’s case, voters know that she previously raised a paltry $12,500 for all of 2021, along with $28,000 carried over from a previous legislative campaign. But because she has so far failed to file her first quarter report, it’s unknown how much she’s raised so far in 2022, and from who — important information both for her campaign for higher office and her position as a state legislator voting on new laws.
Udall is running in a three-way primary against former schools superintendent and attorney general Tom Horne, whose campaign is mostly funded by $625,000 in loans from him and his wife, and Shiry Sapir, a Scottsdale realtor who is running with Clean Elections funding. The winner will take on the incumbent Kathy Hoffman, a Democrat who is also running with Clean Elections funding.
Udall did not respond to text messages with questions for this story.
Though she hasn’t filed her campaign finance report, Udall participated in a Clean Elections debate last month hosted by Arizona PBS. She is also showing up to work every day as a state lawmaker.
According to state campaign finance laws, after 30 days late the Secretary of State’s Office can refer a complaint to the “proper enforcement officer,” which in this case would be the attorney general.
A Secretary of State’s Office spokesperson said that has not been done yet.
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Controversial Republican congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia explained Friday on Twitter what she would do if she were the President of the United States. But her apparent presidential aspirations ignited a flood of mockery on the social media site.
“If I were President right now, I’d rip the noose off American businesses & reward people who work,” she tweeted. “I would radically deregulate, incentivize, and build 100% confidence in our country’s businesses - large and small to unleash and rebuild the power of the American economy.”
“In a very short time, America would dominate the world’s economy and cripple our enemies ability to wage war against other countries,” Greene continued. “Russia would be broke. China’s fake fragile economy would fail. And hard working Americans would be wealthy, successful, & happy.”
Greene has gained notoriety for spreading conspiracy theories and has been sanctioned by both Congress and Twitter for her controversial comments. Her latest remarks sparked thousands of interactions on Twitter, with most of the responses being negative.
"No one read past the first six words because they were laughing too hard," remarked on Twitter user.
"If Marjorie Taylor Greene were president? You’re not going to serve more than one term, let alone become president," replied Allen B. Glines of the Center for Public Advocacy.
"First executive action: Find and dispose of those Jewish space lasers starting all the fires," said retired mixed martial arts fighter Nate Quarry in response to Greene’s tweets, referencing a 2018 Facebook post in which she suggested the Rothschild family might be using satellites to ignite wildfires in California.
"It’s a good thing you’ll never be president," added Jimmy Stafford, a founding member of the Grammy Award winning band Train.
"BREAKING: Coffee immediately shoots out of noses all across America as Marge starts tweet with “If I were president right now," added another Twitter user.
According to a report from CNN, a controversial Ohio Republican candidate who is challenging Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D) for her House seat live-streamed a video to his followers after Donald Trump lost his re-election bid, and suggested every red state should secede in retaliation.
As CNN's Andrew Kaczynski and Em Steck report, Trump-supporter J.R. Majewski took to Periscope and live-streamed his dismay with the election loss and said he saw no problem with conservative states just up and leaving.
Majewski is just one of a handful of Republican candidates who have secured a spot on the November ballot despite attending the Jan 6th "Stop the Steal" rally that preceded the insurrection at the Capitol building that sent lawmakers from both sides of the aisle fleeing for their lives.
The Ohio Republican who has appeared on Fox News wearing a QAnon shirt, and first came to notice after turning his yard into an enormous campaign sign for the former president, told his followers, "I was actually going to say. I didn't want to be a hype beast, but I've had it in my back pocket to say that every state that went red should secede from the United States."
He continued, "I don't think it sounds out there. Why should we go to this -- the left, they're f*cking psychotic. I mean, it's not, it is not out there brother. I mean, in my opinion, they're beyond they're, they're -- it's irrational. Their way of life is just crazy. To me, secession is not out there. It's all about how you frame the dialogue though. You can't just, you know, obviously you're talking to me, different story, but the general population, you know, we have to break 'em in easy."
According to the report, in the live stream, the Air Force veteran appeared to be responding to a question about "literally splitting up and making our own country."
Ash ked for comment, CNN reports that Majewski did not respond.