Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last Word on Opportunity for All PAC?

Posted By on Wed, Aug 29, 2012 at 10:30 AM

Now that primary Election Day has passed, it may no longer matter who Carlos Sierra is, or the Opportunity for All PAC that funded a recent campaign mailer in support of U.S Congressman Raul Grijalva's opponent Amanda Aguirre.

Why not toast the super-PAC and take one last look at Opportunity for All? Perhaps we'll see them again for the general election, but since we haven't heard back from Sierra, we can't be sure.

On Saturday, Aug. 25, Grijalva held a press conference from his campaign headquarters about the mailing, that a former McCain staff was involved (Sierra), the PAC address was an empty El Paso lot, and the mailing could be in violation of Federal Election Commission rules and regs.

The next day, Grijalva's campaign sent out another press release saying further investigation linked Sierra to Aguirre through Tequila Party "foundress" DeeDee Blase - remember Somos Republicans? Blase had volunteered for the McCain campaign, and when she started the Tequila Party she cast away her Republican Party affiliation and became an independent.

The press release included three photos — two with Blase and Sierra, and the third with Blase and Aguirre. That's it, which honestly, just really isn't enough.

From the Grijalva press release:

Tucson, Ariz. — A shadowy third-party flier sent to the homes of voters in Arizona's Third Congressional District attacking Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva originates with a group tied to the campaign of Grijalva opponent Amanda Aguirre, according to information recently discovered by the Grijalva campaign.

Carlos Sierra, the man who leads the group responsible for the mailer — a PAC called the “Opportunity for All Committee” — is a former staffer for GOP Senator John McCain. Aguirre's online media is being handled by DeeDee Garcia Blase, the founder of the Hispanic Republican group Somos Republicans. Although Sierra has denied knowing Aguirre or any of her staff, two of the attached photos — freely available at the Somos Republicans Web site — show Sierra and Blase working together, in one case at a McCain office. (In the group photo, Sierra is third from left and Blase is fourth.) Another attached photo shows Aguirre and Blase together at a Latina Trailblazers event in March of this year.

The headquarters address Sierra filed with the Federal Election Commission is an empty dirt lot in El Paso, Texas. When asked directly by KVOA, the NBC affiliate in Tucson, where the money came from for the attack mailer, he refused to answer. You can watch the KVOA segment here. A video of Rep. Grijalva's Aug. 25 press conference denouncing the mailer and asking Aguirre to explain her involvement is viewable at http://bit.ly/RdNGEA.

Aguirre hasn’t denounced the attack piece. In fact, she told KVOA that Sierra is “welcome to support me because I need all the help I can get.” Her press release responding to questions about the mailer called Grijalva's press conference "a direct example of his underhanded bullying tactics." Her campaign consultant, George Braun, is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association.

We finally caught up with Blase, who took her Tequila Party deal to the protest outside of the GOP convention in Florida. Blase said she's not part of Opportunity for All, but that she knows Sierra and volunteered with the McCain campaign.

"What I do think is that Raul is afraid of female and independent voters, and that this is a form for male chauvinism," Blase said.

Blase said she also knows Aguirre and wanted her to win, because she'd be the first Latina Democrat from Arizona elected to Congress. "I know she's helped numerous women ... and has a proven track record of helping women in Arizona ... I appreciate that."

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