Tucson Republican state Sen. Justine Wadsack said last month that she “barely” meets with lobbyists after she faced criticism from gun control lobbyists who she refused to meet, but a copy of her legislative calendar shows the freshman lawmaker meets regularly with lobbyists and special interest groups.
“I don’t meet with activists. I barely meet with lobbyists. I am not required to meet with either. I don’t meet with haters either. I meet with the people from my district,” Wadsack said in response to criticism on Twitter.
A public records request by the Arizona Mirror revealed that the majority of Wadsacks’ meetings were with lobbyists, many of whom do not reside in her legislative district. Wadsack’s calendar listed four meetings with voters from her district, and more than 30 meetings with lobbyists and special interest groups.
GET THE MORNING HEADLINES DELIVERED TO YOUR INBOX
Since January, Wadsack has met a number of lobbyists and special interest groups to discuss her bills and other legislative priorities. Those lobbyists represent a wide range of special interests, from public utilities like Arizona Public Service to car dealerships.
In early March, the gun control group Moms Demand Action attempted to schedule a meeting with Wadsack on their day of advocacy, which the group said Wadsack “dodged.” On that day, Wadsack had a packed schedule that included a meeting with two lobbyists, one of which was canceled, and an interview with an AZFamily television reporter.
Members of the group took to Twitter to voice their frustrations that Wadsack would not meet with them, where the controversy gained further traction. Wadsack said she would refuse to meet with their group or pro-choice groups, adding that she would rather meet with groups “fighting DCS,” the state Department of Child Safety.
Wadsack’s calendar does reveal that she has had a meeting on Feb. 9 about “DCS Corruption,” but no names are listed on the meeting. Wadsack has spread conspiracy theories around the child protection agency before becoming a state senator, including baselessly asserting that the agency is complicit in human trafficking and a false claim about 300 missing children, which was started by Sen. David Farnsworth, R-Mesa.
Wadsack has also claimed that DCS is involved in “medical kidnapping,” a conspiracy theory that has ties to QAnon that has led to real world crimes of kidnapping. Wadsack herself has posted QAnon slogans in the past on her social media pages.
As well as meeting with lobbyists to discuss her bills, Wadsack also attended a number of meetings with special interest groups such as the Arizona Cattle Growers Association and the Arizona for Life Coalition.
Wadsack did not respond to multiple attempts at a request for comment for this story. Moms Demand Action also did not respond to a request for comment.
SUPPORT NEWS YOU TRUST.
Our stories may be republished online or in print under Creative Commons license CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. We ask that you edit only for style or to shorten, provide proper attribution and link to our web site. Please see our republishing guidelines for use of photos and graphics.