Katie Hobbs laughs-off legislature’s investigation into her dark-money inauguration: “I don’t know what they’re trying to chase”

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs is laughing-off Republican lawmakers who want to investigate the dark-money apparatus behind her inaugural events.

3TV anchor Dennis Welch said during a Sunday sit-down with the governor that a Republican senator “told me last week” the events surrounding her inauguration are “something we might have to look into.” The anchor noted that “it’s not just T.J. Shope” and that other members of the state legislature also “have said that maybe that’s something they want to do.”

Welch was referring to a comment the senator made in early January that Arizonans “have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”

“I don’t know what they’re trying to chase,” Hobbs responded combatively. “We’ve been above and beyond what’s required by law in terms of disclosure, and so, you know, it’s fine. We don’t have anything to hide.”

Welch pushed back by reiterating that Hobbs and her team “haven’t disclosed the amounts” donated to her inaugural events and arguing that many people want to know: “Why are you choosing not to disclose all that?”

“We have done above and beyond what’s required,” the Democrat responded. “So I — you know, they can chase an investigation, but there’s nothing to investigate.”

You can read more about StopKatieHobbs.com’s investigation into her inauguration here.

Here’s the full list of secret donors to Katie Hobbs’s inauguration — or, is it?

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s team recently released a report to two local journalists allegedly itemizing all of the contributions to one of the Democrat’s inaugural funds, but questions remain about whether it is, indeed, the full list.

Hobbs has been under scrutiny for weeks after refusing to disclose the funding behind the dark-money apparatus that secretly paid for her inaugural events, despite acknowledging that she personally “signed off” on the apparatus.

After mounting criticism — several local journalists expressed concern earlier this month that special-interest groups were “buying influence with the governor,” and Republican Senator T.J. Shope confirmed that state lawmakers may “look into” what occurred — Hobbs’s team released a report that alleges to disclose the details.

A table containing the itemized expenses and contributions can be found by clicking the “Continue reading →” line.

But where did the report come from? And are the records comprehensive?

Capitol Media Services reporter Howie Fischer first reported the topline fundraising numbers (and several examples of contributors and affiliated dollar amounts) last week, with Arizona Republic reporter Stacey Barchenger first publishing the full list soon after.

Fischer’s article states that the records were “obtained by Capitol Media Services” but does not specify the origin of the list; it does, however, quote a prepared statement from Hobbs campaign manager Nicole DeMont. On the other hand, Barchenger’s article specifies that the list was “released by the campaign,” as opposed to the Governor’s Office, and quoted two Hobbs campaign representatives.

It’s also worth noting that the two-column table itemizing the contributions and expenses in the Arizona Republic article cites the “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund.”

As StopKatieHobbs.com revealed in early January, the “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund” is only one of two 501(c)(4)s incorporated by the Democrat’s team around the inauguration. It appears that contributions to (and expenses by) the second entity, “An Arizona for Everyone,” were not included in the Hobbs report.

Continue reading Here’s the full list of secret donors to Katie Hobbs’s inauguration — or, is it?

Katie Hobbs admits she ‘signed off’ on dark-money inauguration

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs admitted on television this week that she did, in fact, “sign off” on the dark-money apparatus that secretly funded her inaugural events.

During an interview on “Sunday Square Off,” 12 News anchor Brahm Resnik wondered whether it was “a mistake to pay for the ceremonies using a dark money fund that does not disclose how much each donor paid” and asked for clarity about her role: “Did you sign off on this?”

“Yes,” Hobbs answered, prompting a surprised response from the anchor: “You did?”

Realizing her admission, Hobbs insisted that “this is — this is totally a different — it’s a different issue. You’re talking about apples and oranges” before asking Resnik to change the subject: “I’d really love to talk with you about the priorities of administration” instead of this.

StopKatieHobbs.com revealed the existence of two 501(c) entities connected to the Democrat’s campaign and inauguration a few days before her 12 News interview. Later that week, a panel of local journalists slammed Hobbs for her lack of transparency around who is “buying influence with the governor.”

Republican Senator T.J. Shope then announced on Friday that the Arizona state legislature may “look into” the inauguration scandal: “We should have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”

Arizona Horizon panel slams Katie Hobbs over dark-money inauguration

PHOENIX — A panel of local journalists slammed Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs on television Thursday for dismissing serious concerns over the dark-money apparatus that funded her inaugural events.

Earlier this week, StopKatieHobbs.com exclusively revealed the existence of two 501(c) entities connected to Hobbs’s campaign and inauguration, but the Democrat is refusing to disclose the donors behind them.

Arizona PBS host Ted Simons asked his panelists about the brewing “controversy” and noted that “this doesn’t sound like” it syncs up with her “campaign pledges for transparency.” Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl responded that the Democrat was caught having “opened … a dark-money organization” but is now “defending” it.

“That piqued a lot of interest, like, ‘Well, whose money is coming into this?” Pitzl said. “Who’s buying influence with the governor? … Was it $2? Was it $2 million?”

Arizona Agenda reporter Rachel Leingang agreed.

“It just very simply is not transparent,” Leingang said. “I’ve just been really curious, too: How much money did come in? How much are we talking? … These companies are not — out of the goodness of their hearts — helping someone. They’re trying to get their name on something with the governor and get time with her.”

KJZZ host Mark Brodie added that many special-interest groups are seeking to get “off on a good foot” with the new administration.

On Friday, Republican Senator T.J. Shope announced that Arizona lawmakers may “look into” the Hobbs inauguration scandal: “We should have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”

T.J. Shope: Legislature should “look into” Katie Hobbs dark-money inauguration

PHOENIX — A Republican state senator said Friday that Arizona lawmakers should “look into” the dark-money apparatus that secretly funded Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s inaugural events.

Hobbs and her campaign were caught “asking donors for as much as $250,000-a-pop” to fund the events surrounding her inauguration, according to 3TV political editor Dennis Welch, which has led to growing calls for an investigation into “how much dark money she raised from special interest groups to pay for her inaugural events.”

The Democrat so far has refused to disclose the donors secretly funding those events.

Senator T.J. Shope, who serves as president pro tempore, explained to Welch that all other elected officials across Arizona, including himself, are required to publicly report political contributions “and that’s the way it should be.”

“I would think that it would be something we might look into,” Shope said of Hobbs’s opaque operation. “We should have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”

One day earlier, StopKatieHobbs.com exclusively revealed the existence of incorporation filings that might hold the answer, noting that the revelations might “serve as helpful guidance for oversight activities by legislators.”

Hobbs repeatedly threatened to veto Republican bills and implement her agenda “without legislative approval” in recent weeks, increasing tensions with lawmakers and leaving her even further marginalized ahead of the upcoming legislative session.

You can see part of the 3TV segment below:

Katie Hobbs marginalizes herself after failed power play against Arizona Chamber

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs became the subject of ridicule this week after a failed power play against the state’s largest business association left her alone and marginalized ahead of the upcoming legislative session.

The Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry is scheduled to host its annual Legislative Forecast Luncheon this morning at Chase Field. Speakers at the high-profile event include statewide elected officials from both political parties, including Democratic Secretary of State Adrian Fontes and Republican Treasurer Kimberly Yee.

But Hobbs, whose skittish public persona has left some uncomfortable, won’t be showing up.

Rumors had been circulating for weeks that the Democrat was threatening to skip the event as leverage against an organization that she views as too close to Republicans, with anonymous sources — who could that be? — suggesting in December that “the Chamber needs to do something to show” Hobbs more respect before she’d accept the invitation.

The governor’s team has now formally declined the invitation, citing scheduling conflicts, two days before the event — and it’s not going how she planned. On Thursday, a railbird told the Yellow Sheet Report that the failed power play has left Hobbs looking “incredibly weak” at the Arizona Capitol and that she has “basically given up a huge leadership opportunity and handed it over to Adrian [Fontes] to be the guy.”

In fact, the Arizona Chamber announced after Hobbs’s decision that Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes will be speaking at the luncheon, too.

Hobbs’s most recent public event was a private inauguration ceremony, where she banned reporters and was “unable to take the oath of office without stammering and laughing.” Prior to that, the Democrat attended the Western Governors’ Association’s annual winter meeting, where she accidentally fell asleep on stage.

James T. Harris on Katie Hobbs’s dark-money inauguration: “Man, we’re about to have a crazy four years here”

PHOENIX — Popular radio host James T. Harris spoke Thursday morning about the secret donors funding Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s inauguration.

Harris, host of “The Conservative Circus,” highlighted the revelation of new public records that suggest two 501(c)(4) entities could be the key to unlocking the secret funding behind Hobbs’s inauguration.

“Man, we’re about to have a crazy four years here,” he said on the air. “Why can’t we know these lobbyists? Why can’t we know these campaign donors?”

Harris was kind enough to add in the following hour that listeners “can go to StopKatieHobbs.com and read about all that’s going on with this new administration” — and, on that note, readers of this blog can listen to “The Conservative Circus” on News Talk 550 KFYI!

EXPOSED: The secret dark money groups funding Katie Hobbs’s inauguration

PHOENIX — Are these the dark money groups secretly funding Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs’s inauguration? Public records filed last month suggest that they could be.

Hobbs took office on Monday but will attend a public inaugural ceremony later today. Although her inaugural committee, comprised of lobbyists and campaign donors, have been planning the event since November, the Democrat quietly acknowledged over the weekend that she will not disclose who is funding the events surrounding it.

Records at the Arizona Corporation Commission might hold the answer.

On December 10, five days before Hobbs declared victory in the gubernatorial race, Nicole DeMont — the Democrat’s campaign manager — quietly filed articles of incorporation for a 501(c)(4) nonprofit entity called “An Arizona for Everyone.” (This phrase will be the theme of the inauguration, according to obtained documents.) On December 13, still two days before Hobbs declared victory, DeMont then filed articles of incorporation for another 501(c)(4) nonprofit entity called “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund,” which presumably speaks for itself.

The “known place of business” listed on both entities’ corporate records is the address of Coppersmith Brockelman PLC, a politically-tied law firm that has represented Hobbs on election cases in her capacity as secretary of state. Roopali Desai, a former partner at the firm, was the judge who administered the Democrat’s oath of office on Monday.

The financial connection between these two dark-money groups and Hobbs’s inaugural events, such as her ceremonial ball, remains to be seen. But their identities may serve as helpful guidance for oversight activities by legislators — whom she already has antagonized — who want to determine whether any public funds have been transferred between the two groups and state government.

In addition, some of the known ‘sponsors’ of Hobbs’s inauguration, like the Arizona Education Association (teachers union), are similarly structured as 501(c) nonprofit entities. Such sponsors may be forced to disclose any grants that they make (including specific dollar amounts) to “An Arizona for Everyone” and “Katie Hobbs Inaugural Fund” on future tax filings with the Internal Revenue Service, a version of which will be available to the public.

Katie Hobbs refuses to disclose donors secretly funding her inauguration events

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs quietly acknowledged over the weekend that she will not disclose who is funding the events surrounding her inauguration.

The Democrat’s inaugural committee (“a roster that includes lobbyists and campaign donors”) has been planning the event, scheduled for January 5, since November. Hobbs requested a “celebratory ball” in addition to the ceremonial swearing-in but has “refused to disclose which people or corporations are paying for the party.” She also “has been unwilling to share how much each is paying” to sponsor the ceremony itself, according to Capitol Media Services.

The Arizona Republic’s editorial board wrote this morning that the Democrat has “failed” to “set the tone for Arizona government” by continuing to hide the information from the public, with popular radio host James T. Harris adding that the opacity could be “an indication of what’s to come.”

Hobbs was formally sworn-in Monday during a closed-door ceremony, which she banned reporters from attending. Although the event was private, a video obtained by StopKatieHobbs.com revealed that Hobbs was “unable to take the oath of office without stammering and laughing.”

Thursday’s ceremony will mark only the second public event that the she has attended since the general election. Hobbs most recently attended the Western Governors’ Association’s annual winter meeting, where she accidentally fell asleep on stage.

Katie Hobbs caught “sleeping” on stage at Western Governors’ Association annual conference

PHOENIX — Democratic Governor-elect Katie Hobbs appeared to fall asleep during one of her first formal appearances following the November election.

Hobbs attended the Western Governors’ Association’s annual winter meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, last Wednesday. She posted a photograph from the conference online and claimed to have had a “great discussion” while “counting down the days til I head to the ninth floor.”

But, according to the Phoenix New Times, Hobbs “didn’t utter a single peep during her time on stage,” “was the only one to stay silent” among the attendees, and, in fact, “spent most of the time with her head bowed … appearing to be sleeping.” When asked by the outlet why she refused to participate, Hobbs responded, “Can you have my office schedule something? I’d rather do it that way.”

The communications director for the Western Governors’ Association added, “I don’t know why she didn’t participate.”