by David Mendez
Steve Smith, a state representative serving District 11 in Maricopa, has reintroduced a bill that died last legislative session that would reimburse ousted Senate President Russell Pearce, the architect of many of Arizona's anti-immigration laws, including SB 1070.
From the Arizona Republic:
Rep. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, filed House Bill 2290, which proposes to pay the “reasonable special election campaign expenses” of any elected official who faces a recall out of the relevant state, county or local government’s general fund. It requires the individual to submit an itemized account of campaign expenses to the appropriate governing body. The Legislature or appropriate governing body then must approve the amount.
The bill is retroactive to expenses “incurred for a recall election held in November 2011.” Pearce’s was the only recall election that month.
Pearce did not spend any of his own money in the campaign, but raised and spent about $261,000 in donations from individuals and political committees. If the bill were to pass, he could charge the state for that amount.
Let's focus on that last part: the money Pearce spent in his failed bid to win the 2011 recall all came from donations by outside individuals. None of it was his money. Yet Steve Smith thinks it's just and proper for Pearce to be reimbursed with taxpayer funds to presumably repay his donors. What part of that makes any damn sense?
Pearce lost the recall, fair and square, because his constituents felt he was no longer representing their interests. There's no reason that Pearce should be reimbursed for failing to do the job he was put into office to do by the people who chose to hire (then fire) him.
As of this writing, it appears that HB 2290 hasn't secured enough favor among legislators to earn any co-signers, and hopefully it'll stay that way—there's no way that giving money to soothe the bruised ego of a failed legislator and his backers is a quality use of taxpayer money.
If you want to reach Rep. Smith about this bill (like Weekly commenter H., below,) then you'll want to direct your letters to his office at 1700 W. Washington, Room 311, Phoenix, AZ 85007; give him a call at (602) 926-5685; or send him a fax at (602) 417-3167.
Democracy is alive and well, folks.