When Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer won his election in 2020 against Democrat incumbent Adrian Fontes, he told the Arizona Mirror that he wanted to make the Maricopa County Recorder’s Office, “boring again.”
Epic fail on that one.
Richer, an attorney with the law firm Lewis Roca Rothgerber Christie, looks to bring a much different approach than Fontes did to the office. He said he wanted to “make the Recorder’s Office boring again” and ran on a platform of ending Fontes’s brash and adventurous style, which he described at times as “partisan activism” and “rogue policymaking.”
Among Richer’s plans for the office are to look at creating an oversight board for the Recorder’s Office composed of each political party in Arizona that would give them an inside look at how the office functions. He said he will provide more transparency and give more advance notice and explanation regarding future changes at the office.
Richer told Arizona Mirror he wants to “rebuild confidence in this process across party lines, and have a customer service mentality that hopefully serves all of Maricopa County’s 4.5 million customers very well.”
The comment about ending “partisan activism” is also interesting in light of this tidbit from The Post Millennial:
It has been revealed that embattled Arizona’s Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer and Supervisor Chairman Bill Gates in 2021 started a political action committee to stop MAGA candidates.
On November 17, 2021, Meg Cunningham from the Kansas City Beacon tweeted that Richer, “the Maricopa County recorder, is launching a PAC to support Rs running for non-federal AZ offices who ‘acknowledge the validity of the 2020 election and condemn the events of Jan. 6, 2021, as a terrible result of the lies told about the November election.'”
This PAC was created soon after Richer took office, and smells a bit of partisan activism.
Maybe it’s just me.
News: @stephen_richer, the Maricopa County recorder, is launching a PAC to support Rs running for non-federal AZ offices who "acknowledge the validity of the 2020 election and condemn the events of Jan. 6, 2021 as a terrible result of the lies told about the November election."
— Meg Cunningham (@Meg_Cunn) November 17, 2021
In a highly-charged governor’s race between Republican Kari Lake and Democrat Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, votes are still being counted almost one week after the midterm election. While Decision Desk HQ and others have called the Senate race between Republican Blake Masters and Democrat incumbent Mark Kelly in Kelly’s favor, there are still votes being tabulated, and Masters has rightly not conceded.
Then you have the Chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Bill Gates lecturing candidate for governor Kari Lake and Arizona voters that what is going on in the state’s election results is perfectly normal.
Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Gates says it "is absolutely normal" for it to take so long counting ballots. pic.twitter.com/ZdsRVQuF1K
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) November 13, 2022
And that continuing to shift the goalposts on when a count will be completed is just business as usual.
— NEWSMAX (@NEWSMAX) November 10, 2022
So, when two of the principals in charge of counting and certifying the vote in Arizona have created a PAC specifically geared to defeat candidates (whether federal or no) like Kari Lake and Blake Masters, is it any surprise that any trust in election integrity continues to be thrown out the window?
According to Transparency USA, the Pro-Democracy Republicans Arizona PAC brought in $88,443 in total contributions between 2021 and 2022, with $69,761 in total expenditures. A $45,000 of those expenditures went to another PAC called, “Defending Arizona Values.” The primary expenditure made by this Defending Arizona Values PAC was to a firm called Consilium Consulting, which appears to be based in a foreign country.
Total contributions to that PAC were $52,675. Consilium Consulting received $52,642 of that as expenditures. Do “Arizona values” involve election malfeasance and possibly money laundering?
Asking for a friend.
One of the big ticket donors to the Pro-Democracy Republicans Arizona PAC is Francis Najafi, who, if her contributions are any indication, likes Democrats more than Republicans. Najafi contributed $20,000 to Pro-Democracy Republicans, but her other contribution records include $60,000 to the Arizona Democrat Party and ActBlue Arizona, and… wait for it… $5,300 to Elect Katie Hobbs.
RedState requested comment from Richer through the Arizona Recorder’s official email, Richer’s personal Twitter account, and Richer’s campaign website. The Director of Communications and Constituent Services responded from the Recorders’ office and referred RedState to the Pro-Democracy Republicans PAC and Richter’s campaign email.