Republicans pose as ‘Communists’ to try to smear AZ Democratic Congressman with phony donation

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Tom O'Halleran for Congress / YouTube Tom O 39 Halleran for Congress 1539382333.jpg...
Tom O'Halleran for Congress / YouTube

Republican field staffers in Arizona, evidently panicked at the prospect of a Democratic takeover of the House, hatched a plan to smear first-term Democrat Tom O’Halleran—currently leading his GOP opponent in the race for Arizona’s 1st Congressional District—by showing up at his campaign office and pretending to offer a donation on behalf of the “Northern Arizona University Communist Party.”

On Friday afternoon, two men who called themselves Jose Rosales and Ahmahd Sadia walked into the campaign office of first-term Democrat Tom O’Halleran with $39.68 and an urgent desire for the Northern Arizona University Communist party to be given a receipt for the donation.

The fact that these two clowns absolutely insisted on a receipt (which they doubtlessly intended to photograph and post on the Web)—for an “organization” that no one had ever heard of—likely clued in O’Halleran’s finance officer that something was seriously wrong here.

The pair had originally claimed they wanted to work for O’Halleran’s campaign and were told that they had to fill out some paperwork, specifically providing their email addresses. But when they were advised that they could only receive a receipt for their “donation” by email, they blew their cover.

When told they get only an emailed receipt, Rosales immediately scratched out one email and wrote another. The entire process raised eyebrows among O’Halleran’s staff.

See what they did there? They initially provided phony emails, but when they realized their plan to get that receipt was tied to their email, they quickly provided a real one.

At that point, the O’Halleran campaign had seen enough.

Lindsay Coleman, the finance director for the campaign, then drove to the local Republican field office to return the money. Almost immediately, the man who identified himself as Rosales appeared from a room inside the office and was identified as “Oscar.” He accepted the money from Coleman.

Speaking to the Guardian, Coleman identified the second man as a field organizer for the Arizona Republican party and said Ahmahd Sadia was not his real name. Neither the Arizona Republican party nor Wendy Rogers, O’Halleran’s Republican opponent for Congress, responded to requests for comment.

So not only were these guys working for O’Halleran’s opponent, Republican Wendy Rogers, but they provided phony names for both themselves and the “organization” they pretended to represent.

You can watch Coleman return the money to “Oscar” here.

The 1st District in Arizona was narrowly won by Donald Trump in 2016, but polls show O’Halloran leading there. Evidently, Republicans are desperate enough to try anything—no matter how stupid or underhanded—to try to win it back. As The Guardian article notes, making federal campaign contributions under a phony name is a crime.

But since when have Republicans cared about the law?

(H/T to Talking Points Memo for the link to The Guardian article)

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