A Texas state senator being forced out of office by a Tea Party Republican is helping Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer raise money to elect like-minded candidates to Congress.
A new report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows that Jan Pac, the governor's federal political action committee, got $6,652 in donations from Associa Inc. That company works for the boards of homeowner associations.
Company Chairman John Carona put in another $5,000 of his own. And Associa's own PAC kicked in another $10,000.
That made the combination the largest source of funds in the three-month period ending June 30.
Only auto dealer Jim Click came close, providing what the report says is $20,752 in in-kind transportation for the governor.
Click said Brewer needed a way to get to Salt Lake City. With his own plane unavailable, Click said he gave her his NetJets card to effectively rent one for the trip; he paid the bill and listed the expense as a donation.
Overall, Jan Pac raised $66,285 in the three-month period. Even after expenses, those funds, coupled with money already raised, that leaves Brewer with $313,359 in the bank.
Carona, first elected to the Texas Legislature in 1990, clearly understands the importance of money in winning races. In a legislative race where the two sides spent about $6.3 million, the lawmaker with a moderate voting record by Texas standards lost his March 4 primary race to billionaire Don Huffines who spent close to that much.
The donations by Associa, its PAC and Carona himself all came after he found out he wasn't going back to Austin.
The funds also came despite the fact that Brewer last year signed legislation opposed by HOAs. It included provisions overturning limits on numbers of political signs and banned HOAs from conducting background checks on those who rent homes or condos within the association.
But Associa spokesman Andrew Fortin said that legislation was not as damaging as prior efforts which did not reach Brewer's desk. Anyway, he said, Carona was more interested in Brewer's overall record as a non-doctrinaire Republican than in any specific issue.
“f you look at her record in Arizona, she tends to defy stereotypes of a strong conservative leader,” Fortin said. “She has consistently put what's best for the folks of Arizona ahead of ideology.”
He acknowledged that Brewer has attained national attention largely because of her hard-line stance on illegal immigration, “one the feds aren't doing their job on.” That, he said, means “she gets painted as kind of an ideologue.”
“But then you see how she approaches issues about providing access to healthcare for Arizonans and how she deals with the budget situation,” Fortin said. “And that's the kind of strong governance from a corporate, and from Mr. Carona's personal standpoint, that we want to support.”
At the same time, Fortin said, Texas is “moving much farther right than other states.” He said that has meant Associa, which does business in Arizona, is looking for opportunities to elect people who want to create “thriving economies so that people want to move there, and housing grows, and we have more communities to manage.”
Brewer, who met Carona on a prior fundraising trip to Dallas, told Capitol Media Services on Wednesday the feelings are mutual.
“We struck up a conversation,” she said. “We kind of were of the same persuasion of being very pragmatic and getting things done.”
Fortin said Carona is aware that this is Brewer's last year in office and that she cannot seek another term as governor, but he said his boss instead looks at the donations to her federal PAC as supporting her effort “to develop leaders that will do what's right and defy political stereotypes and convention.”
The governor, who made her first PAC foray into federal races two years ago, said she has made no decisions where she will spend her money this time.
“There are people out there ... that supported the things I supported,” she said. “We're going to spend that money appropriately — and probably not all of it in the state of Arizona.”
Brewer made only one non-Arizona effort in 2012, , spending $5,200 on robocalls on behalf of an unsuccessful bid by Republican Denny Rehberg to win the U.S. Senate seat in Montana.
Closer to home, she fared only a little better.
For example, she spent $75,000 on mailers in the CD 1 race, one to support Republican Jonathan Paton and the other attacking Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick. She won.
Her financial backing of Martha McSally in CD 2 also failed to unseat Democrat Ron Barber from the seat he inherited from Gabrielle Giffords.
The approximately $45,000 she put into the race for the new CD 9 seat did not help Vernon Parker defeat Kyrsten Sinema.
She did spent $125,000 on behalf of Republican Jeff Flake in his successful bid to beat Richard Carmona for the vacant U.S. Senate seat.
FEC reports also Brewer spent nearly $30,000 on robocalls urging people to support Mitt Romney, who won Arizona but ultimately lost the presidential race.