Special interests take note: There’s still time to curry legislative favor




The clash over how the state will regulate the vaping industry is coming. Vape and tobacco companies are hoping lawmakers will bar cities and counties from imposing any regulations – even those that could limit youth vaping – while a competing measure backed by public health advocates, educators and cities would treat vape products the same as tobacco and allow for tighter local regulation.

I’m curious to see if the money that the vaping industry pumped into electing legislative Republicans last year will earn its proposal the support of enough Republicans to become law.

You see, vaping and tobacco companies gave more than $41,000 to a pair of political committees backed by House and Senate Republican leaders, enough to make them the fourth-largest industry supporting the committees.

The House Victory PAC and Senate Victory PAC are the political arms of the Republican legislative caucuses, and exist to spend heavily in support of GOP legislative candidates in elections. Last year, the two committees spent about $900,000 to help Republicans maintain their slim majorities in the legislature.

Tobacco company Altria, which had its own line of vaping products until it bought a major stake late last year in Juul, the vaping industry’s dominant brand, gave the House and Senate PACs a total of $36,250 for the 2018 campaign. Tobacco giant Reynolds American, which also sells vape products, chipped in another $5,000.

Reynolds American also used its own PAC to give $200 contributions to 14 incumbent legislators in 2018, only one of whom – District 27’s Rebecca Rios – was a Democrat. Of the 13 Republicans, 11 won their campaigns and are in the legislature today. The PAC gave another $2,000 to Gov. Doug Ducey’s PAC, the Arizona Leadership Fund, which gave thousands of dollars to Republican legislative candidates.

But more concerning than the money that was given for the 2018 election is the money that may well be given for the 2020 election as this legislative row over vaping is escalating. While state law doesn’t allow candidates to receive contributions directly from companies and lawmakers can’t accept money for their campaigns from lobbyists during a legislative session, neither of those prohibitions apply to PACs.

And it just so happens that the House and Senate PACs are hosting a fundraiser on May 14. The deep-pocketed Republicans, the lobbyists and the corporate interests on the invitation list are being asked to pony up anywhere between $1,000 for a single seat to $50,000 for 15 tickets and “top recognition.”

Make no mistake: that recognition is not just important, but it’s a selling point for why special interests should break out their checkbooks. “We want to make sure that we feature all the event’s sponsors so members (of the legislature) know who supports maintaining and growing their majority,” Tysen Schlink, a fundraising consultant and the executive director of the House and Senate PACs, wrote in an email to potential donors last week that was passed to me by a tipster.

If history is any indication, the bulk of the money to back 2020 GOP legislative candidates will be from corporate interests.

 

House/Senate GOP PAC contributors

All of the contributors to the House Victory PAC and Senate Victory PAC, the political arms of the House and Senate Republican caucuses, for the 2018 election. Source: Arizona Secretary of State
DateDonor NameGave ToAmountIndustry
10/9/2018Glenn WayHouse Victory PAC$50,000.00Charter school
10/18/2018Republican State Leadership Committee - Arizona PACSenate Victory PAC$50,000.00
10/30/2018Republican State Leadership Comm.House Victory PAC$30,000.00
4/9/2018Pinnacle West Capital CorporationHouse Victory PAC$25,000.00Utility
4/11/2018Pinnacle West Capital CorporationSenate Victory PAC$25,000.00Utility
9/12/2018Tp Racing LLLPSenate Victory PAC$25,000.00Horse racing
9/12/2018Tp Racing LLLPHouse Victory PAC$25,000.00Horse racing
10/5/2018Basis.EdSenate Victory PAC$25,000.00Charter school
10/5/2018Basis.EdHouse Victory PAC$25,000.00Charter school
10/9/2018Arizona Free Enterprise Club Inc.House Victory PAC$25,000.00Free market advocacy
10/24/2018Jack BiltisHouse Victory PAC$25,000.00Payroll processing
10/5/2018Strongmind, IncHouse Victory PAC$20,000.00Charter school
10/6/2018Strongmind, IncSenate Victory PAC$20,000.00Charter school
10/11/2018Bryan TuckerSenate Victory PAC$10,000.00Auto parts
10/11/2018Bryan TuckerHouse Victory PAC$10,000.00Auto parts
10/29/2018Aaron HaleSenate Victory PAC$10,000.00Charter school
10/31/2018Michael J BidwillSenate Victory PAC$10,000.00Football
10/31/2018Michael J BidwillHouse Victory PAC$10,000.00Football
3/28/2017Jim ClickSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00
7/28/2017Anheuser Busch CompaniesHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Alcohol
8/5/2017Anheuser Busch CompaniesSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Alcohol
9/1/2017The Geo Group, Inc. Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Private prison
12/31/2017The Geo Group, Inc. Political Action CommitteeSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Private prison
8/10/2018Altria Client Services LLCSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
8/10/2018Altria Client Services LLCHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
9/18/2018Philip L FrancisSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00
9/18/2018Philip L FrancisHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00
9/29/2018TitlemaxSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Payday lending
9/29/2018TitlemaxHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Payday lending
10/4/2018American Traffic Solutions Inc.Senate Victory PAC$5,000.00Photo radar
10/5/2018The Geo Group, Inc. PACHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Private prison
10/5/2018Select Management Resources LLCHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Payday lending
10/6/2018Arizona Food Marketing AllianceSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Grocers
10/6/2018Altria Client Services LLCSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
10/6/2018The Geo Group, Inc. PACSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Private prison
10/6/2018Altria Client Services LLCHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
10/9/2018Select Management Resources LLCSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Payday lending
10/10/2018Gregory MaldonadoSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Accounting
10/10/2018Gregory MaldonadoHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Accounting
10/16/2018Pascua Yaqui TribeSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Tribal
10/17/2018Safelite Fulfillment IncSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Auto parts
10/17/20181030- Ascpa PACSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Accounting
10/17/2018Arizona Chamber- Moving Arizona Forward PACSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Business
10/17/2018Arizona Chamber- Moving Arizona Forward PACHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Business
10/17/2018Safelite Fulfillment IncHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Auto parts
10/23/2018Arizonans For Healthy LivingSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00
10/23/2018Arizonans For Healthy LivingHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00
10/26/2018Altria Client Services LLCSenate Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
10/31/2018Altria Client Services LLCHouse Victory PAC$5,000.00Tobacco
4/3/2017Safelite Fulfillment IncHouse Victory PAC$3,000.00Auto parts
4/7/2017Safelite Fulfillment IncSenate Victory PAC$3,000.00Auto parts
10/5/2018I Michael KasserSenate Victory PAC$3,000.00Developer
10/6/2018I Michael KasserHouse Victory PAC$3,000.00Developer
10/27/2018Core Civic Of Tennessee, LLCSenate Victory PAC$3,000.00Private prison
10/27/2018Core Civic Of Tennessee, LLCHouse Victory PAC$3,000.00Private prison
2/26/2017Salmon PACHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00
3/2/2017Safeguarding American Liberties Morals & Opportunities Now SALMON PACSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00
3/16/2017Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Car rental
3/16/2017Ascpa/PACHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Accounting
3/23/2017Raytheon Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Defense
3/27/2017Raytheon Company Political Action CommitteeSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Defense
3/27/2017Tp Racing LLLPHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Horse racing
3/28/2017El Dorado Holdings Inc WcHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Jeffrey Ingram
4/7/2017Tp Racing LLLPSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Horse racing
4/7/2017Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action CommitteeSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Car rental
4/12/2017Ascpa/PACSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Accounting
4/23/2017Communiry Choice FinancialSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Payday lending
5/19/2017Altria Client Services LLCSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Tobacco
5/19/2017Altria Client Services LLCHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Tobacco
5/23/2017Community Choice FinancialHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Payday lending
5/30/2017Southwest Gas CorporationHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Utility
6/1/2017Southwest Gas CorporationSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Utility
6/14/2017American Express Company Political Action Committee-ArizonaSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Finance
6/19/2017Wal-Mart Stores, IncSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Business
6/19/2017Wal-Mart Stores, IncHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Business
6/24/2017American Express Company Political Action Committee-ArizonaHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Finance
7/17/2017El Dorado Holdings Inc WcSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00
12/4/2017GenenpacHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Pharma
4/17/2018Comprehensive Health Management IncHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Health services
5/2/2018Comprehensive Health Management IncSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Health services
5/4/2018GenenpacSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Pharma
5/11/2018GenenpacHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Pharma
8/10/2018Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action CommitteeSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Car rental
8/10/2018Enterprise Holdings, Inc. PACSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Car rental
8/10/2018Enterprise Holdings, Inc. Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Car rental
9/4/2018Republic Services, Inc. Employees For Better Government PACSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Garbage
9/29/2018Southwest Gas CorporationSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Utility
10/6/2018Southwest Gas CorporationHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Utility
10/31/2018Rai Services Co.Senate Victory PAC$2,500.00Tobacco
10/31/2018Rai Services CompanyHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Tobacco
11/5/2018Verizon Corp Resources Group LLCSenate Victory PAC$2,500.00Telecom
11/5/2018Verizon Corp Resources Group LLCHouse Victory PAC$2,500.00Telecom
11/8/2017Unitedhealth Group IncorporatedHouse Victory PAC$2,000.00Healthcare
11/27/2017Public Policy Partners LLCHouse Victory PAC$2,000.00Lobbying
12/21/2017Unitedhealth Group IncSenate Victory PAC$2,000.00Healthcare
10/6/2018David J WaltemathSenate Victory PAC$2,000.00Construction
10/6/2018Crescent Crown Distributing LLCSenate Victory PAC$2,000.00Alcohol
10/6/2018David WaltemathHouse Victory PAC$2,000.00Construction
10/20/2018Howard GraceSenate Victory PAC$2,000.00Developer
3/31/2017Unisource Energy CorporationHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Utility
4/7/2017Crna'S Of Arizona PACSenate Victory PAC$1,500.00Healthcare
4/11/2017Unisource Energy CorporationSenate Victory PAC$1,500.00Utility
11/8/2017VerizonHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Telecom
12/2/2017VerizonSenate Victory PAC$1,500.00Telecom
10/2/2018Unisource Energy CorporationSenate Victory PAC$1,500.00Utility
10/2/2018Unisource Energy CorporationHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Utility
10/4/2018University Of PhoenixSenate Victory PAC$1,500.00Higher ed
10/4/2018University Of PhoenixHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Higher ed
10/6/2018Public Policy Partners LLCHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Lobbying
10/31/2018Anthony CanecchiaHouse Victory PAC$1,500.00Alcohol
4/28/2017Arizonans For Tgribal Government GamingHouse Victory PAC$1,250.00Gambling
5/12/2017Cigna Corporation Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$1,250.00Healthcare
6/1/2017Arizona Association Of Community Managers (AACM)House Victory PAC$1,250.00HOAs
6/24/2017Arizona Association Of Community Managers PAC (AACM-PAC)Senate Victory PAC$1,250.00HOAs
6/24/2017Cigna Corporation Political Action CommitteeSenate Victory PAC$1,250.00Healthcare
9/30/2017Novartis Finance CorporationSenate Victory PAC$1,250.00Finance
10/11/2017Novartis Finance CorporationHouse Victory PAC$1,250.00Finance
12/20/2017Altria Client Services LLCHouse Victory PAC$1,250.00Tobacco
12/29/2017Arizonans For Tribal Government GamingSenate Victory PAC$1,250.00Gambling
3/22/2017Magellan HealthHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Health services
3/27/2017Magellan HealthSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Health services
3/27/2017Isaacson Walsh P. C.House Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
3/28/2017Beer & Wine Distributors Of ArizonaHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Alcohol
3/28/2017CRNAs Of Arizona PACHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
4/7/2017Beer & Wine Distributors Of ArizonaSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Alcohol
4/7/2017Isaacson & Walsh, P.C.Senate Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
11/30/2017CRNAs Of Arizona PACSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
11/30/2017Associated Highway Patrolmen Of Az PAC (AHPA PAC)Senate Victory PAC$1,000.00Law enforcement
11/30/2017Pivotal Tax Solutions, LLCSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Accounting
12/27/2017Honeywell International PACHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Aerospace
12/31/2017Honeywell International Political Action Committee Arizona-(HIPAC Az)Senate Victory PAC$1,000.00Aerospace
3/2/2018Crnas Of Arizona PACHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
3/2/2018Associated Highway Patrolmen Of Az PAC (AHPA PAC)House Victory PAC$1,000.00Law enforcement
6/25/2018Jim ClickSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00
9/15/2018Amigos PACSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00
9/15/2018Amigos PACHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00
9/18/2018Acadia Healthcare Company Inc., FedpacSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
9/18/2018Acadia Healthcare Company Inc., FedpacHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
10/6/2018Barclay LegalSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
10/6/2018Barclay Legal PlcHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
10/11/2018Alkermes Inc.Senate Victory PAC$1,000.00Pharma
10/11/2018Alkermes Inc.House Victory PAC$1,000.00Pharma
10/17/2018Building Healthy Communities IncSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00
10/17/2018Building Healthy Communities IncHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Healthcare
10/20/2018Lkq Corporation Employee Good Government Fund PACSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Auto parts
10/24/2018Isaacson & Walsh, P.C.Senate Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
10/24/2018Isaacson & Walsh, P.C.House Victory PAC$1,000.00Lobbying
10/26/2018John F RasorSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Developer
10/26/2018Robert L WardSenate Victory PAC$1,000.00Developer
11/7/2018Lkq Corporation Employee Good Government Fund PACHouse Victory PAC$1,000.00Auto parts
12/8/2017Pfizer PACHouse Victory PAC$900.00Pharma
12/31/2017Pfizer Inc PACSenate Victory PAC$900.00Pharma
3/23/2017Arizona Rock Products AssociationHouse Victory PAC$750.00Mining
4/7/2017Arizona Rock Products Association RockpacSenate Victory PAC$750.00Mining
3/7/2017Az Dental Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$500.00Healthcare
3/15/2017Az Multihousing Assn PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Landlords
3/22/2017Optometric PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Healthcare
3/27/2017Optometric Political Action Committee Of ArizonaSenate Victory PAC$500.00Healthcare
3/27/2017Stevens & Stevens PCHouse Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
4/6/2017Alliance Beverage Distributing CoHouse Victory PAC$500.00Alcohol
4/7/2017Az Multihousing Assn PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Landlords
4/7/2017Arizona Dental Association PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Healthcare
4/7/2017Stevens & Stevens PCSenate Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
5/23/2017Optometric PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Healthcare
7/17/2017Alliance Beverage Distributing CoSenate Victory PAC$500.00Alcohol
8/31/2017Arizona Dairymen -PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Agriculture
11/27/2017Az Dairymen PAC (ADPAC)House Victory PAC$500.00Agriculture
11/28/2017Az Multihousing Assn PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Landlords
11/29/2017Pivotal Tax Solutions, LLCHouse Victory PAC$500.00Accounting
11/30/2017Sherpa Public Affairs, L.L.C.Senate Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
11/30/2017Az Multihousing Assn PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Landlords
11/30/2017Young'S Market Company Employee PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Alcohol
12/30/2017Dorn Policy Group IncSenate Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
3/2/2018Dorn Policy Group IncHouse Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
3/2/2018Sherpa Public Affairs, L.L.C.House Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
3/2/2018Young'S Market Company Of Arizona Political Action CommitteeHouse Victory PAC$500.00Alcohol
3/2/2018Az Multihousing Assn PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Landlords
6/25/2018Ascpa PACSenate Victory PAC$500.00Accounting
6/30/20181030- Ascpa PACHouse Victory PAC$500.00Accounting
10/2/2018Russel L JonesSenate Victory PAC$500.00
10/2/2018Russel L JonesHouse Victory PAC$500.00
10/6/2018Arizonans For Healthy Living 2Senate Victory PAC$500.00
10/6/2018Arizonans For Healthy Living 2House Victory PAC$500.00
10/31/2018Policy Az, LLCSenate Victory PAC$500.00Lobbying
3/13/2017Arizona Podiatry, PACHouse Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
3/28/2017Michael RacyHouse Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
4/7/2017Michael RacySenate Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
4/7/2017Arizona Podiatry, PACSenate Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
4/13/2018U.S. Term Limits Inc.House Victory PAC$250.00
4/15/2018Optometric PACHouse Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
4/15/2018Optometric PACHouse Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
4/16/2018U.S. Term Limits Inc.Senate Victory PAC$250.00
5/4/2018Optometric Political Action Committee Of ArizonaSenate Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
5/4/2018Optometric Political Action Committee Of ArizonaSenate Victory PAC$250.00Healthcare
9/15/2018Jane M ThomasSenate Victory PAC$250.00
9/15/2018N Lyn ThomasSenate Victory PAC$250.00Construction
9/15/2018Sydney HaySenate Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
9/15/2018N Lyn ThomasHouse Victory PAC$250.00Construction
9/15/2018Sydney HayHouse Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
9/15/2018Jane M ThomasHouse Victory PAC$250.00
10/6/2018Sherpa Public Affairs, LLCSenate Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
10/6/2018Sherpa Public Affairs LLCHouse Victory PAC$250.00Lobbying
3/29/2017Devcon Consulting Group LLCHouse Victory PAC$125.00
4/3/2017Harvard Investments IncHouse Victory PAC$125.00Developer
7/17/2017Harvard Investments IncSenate Victory PAC$125.00Developer
7/17/2017Devcon Consulting Group LLCSenate Victory PAC$125.00
10/6/2018Michael E AuerbachHouse Victory PAC$100.00

 

There were seven donors that gave a total of at least $30,000 to the Republican PACs in 2017 and 2018. Six of those were from companies: $80,000 from Republican State Leadership Committee (which is also heavily funded by tobacco companies); $50,000 each from Pinnacle West, Turf Paradise and Basis charter schools; $40,000 from an educational services company owned by Damian Creamer, the owner of Primavera online charter school; and the $36,350 from Altria.

The only large donation from an individual was $50,000 from Glenn Way, who owns the American Leadership Academy charter schools.

As a whole, the charter school industry gave $150,000 to the effort to bankroll Republican legislative candidates – vastly more than any other special interest.

Given the demise in March of mild charter school reforms that were portrayed by legislative Republicans as being too restrictive, it’s safe to say they are aware that the charter school industry gave so selflessly last year to “support maintaining and growing” the GOP majority.

After all, biting the hand that feeds you isn’t smart politics.

Jim Small
Jim Small is a native Arizonan and has covered state government, policy and politics since 2004, with a focus on investigative and in-depth policy reporting, first as a reporter for the Arizona Capitol Times, then as editor of the paper and its prestigious sister publications, the Yellow Sheet Report and Arizona Legislative Report. Under his guidance, the Capitol Times won numerous state, regional and national awards for its accountability journalism and probing investigations into state government operations.

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