National political committee forms to help Pearce in recall election - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

National political committee forms to help Pearce in recall election

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Posted: Monday, July 25, 2011 4:50 pm | Updated: 4:40 pm, Fri Aug 12, 2011.

The state Senate president is going to get some financial help from a national political action committee in his bid to keep his seat.

Team America, set up by former Congressman Tom Tancredo and Bay Buchanan, who was Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, filed legal papers last week officially forming the Committee to Oppose Recall of Russell Pearce. The filing formally allows the committee to start taking donations and spending money to aid the Mesa Republican.

Matt Roberts, spokesman for the Secretary of State's office, said this committee is precluded from actually coordinating its efforts with whatever Pearce is doing on his own.

The committee, however, is not subject to the same limits as Pearce, who can accept only $424 from any individual. Donors to Team America are free to give any amount they want to be used to help Pearce.

But Roberts said it cannot accept any corporate or union money.

The move by Team America is not entirely a surprise.

Tancredo made a national name for himself as a foe of illegal immigration. And Buchanan had sent out an e-mail more than a month ago urging people to aid Pearce.

Roberts said, though, that any money Team America got before last Thursday - the day it formally filed its organizing papers - cannot legally be used to convince residents of Pearce's west Mesa district to keep him in office. He said state law precludes political committees from raising money before they have been formally set up under Arizona law.

He said, though, the committee would be free to return the funds to the original donors and ask them to resend them.

That, however, is not the case with any corporate funds it got.

In that fundraising e-mail, Buchanan claimed that because this is a recall election, "corporate funds are welcomed." Roberts said any corporate dollars Team America got to help Pearce cannot be spent in Arizona.

Calls to Team America seeking comment were not immediately returned.

All this presumes the recall election will take place. A group of Pearce supporters are asking a Maricopa County Superior Court judge to toss out all of the petitions calling for the election because of what attorney Lisa Hauser claims is the failure to comply with legal requirements.

A hearing is set for Aug. 8.

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