The Goldwater Institute continues to win in its legal battle with the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA). Yesterday an appeals court upheld a lower ruling that paid release time for union officials was unconstitutional. The basis for the ruling is the following section of the Arizona Constitution.
Section 7. Neither the state, nor any county, city, town, municipality, or other subdivision of the state shall ever give or loan its credit in the aid of, or make any donation or grant, by subsidy or otherwise, to any individual, association, or corporation, or become a subscriber to, or a shareholder in, any company or corporation, or become a joint owner with any person, company, or corporation, except as to such ownerships as may accrue to the state by operation or provision of law or as authorized by law solely for investment of the monies in the various funds of the state.
Why would the Goldwater Institute be so stirred up about paid release? It is certainly not their love of the Arizona Constitution, because to obtain the original ruling required the complete rape of the Arizona Constitution. Paid release is not identified in the constitution or anything else for that matter.
Okay, if you receive some economic value from a government, without contemporaneously giving back something of equal value in the form of an exchange transaction, you are in violation of the constitution. If this is what the constitution is telling us, then I concur, but why are we not going after all "unconstitutional gifts": paid time off, health insurance, retiree health insurance, pensions, free parking, uniforms, signing bonuses, severance pay, etc.? We could really knock that PLEA on its butt. CHARGE! Take no prisoners!
"Excuse me Mister Lawyerman. I don't mean to disturb you, but I have a question. Oh I'm sorry, I didn't mean to interrupt. Yes Sir, yes Sir, I know you are a busy man. I will only take a minute of your time. Okay, are you ready for me to ask my question? Are you sure? I can come back later. No Sir, I am not trying to irritate you. Here goes. Are you comfortable? Do you need something to drink? Water? You don't mind if I have a glass of water? I am kinda nervous talking with such a famous person. I saw you on the 10:00 news. Question? Oh, my question? Okay.
Why is the Goldwater Institute not going after every employee (including judges) of every Arizona government for every "unconstitutional gift"? Why is the Goldwater Institute not going after all non-profits organizations (including The Goldwater Institute) that are embezzling funds by making illegal gifts to directors, officers, and employees? Why is the Goldwater Institute not going after all corporations that are defrauding shareholders by making illegal gifts to directors, officers and employees?
What do you mean, it is not part of Arizona law? Sure it is. It's right there beside the provision covering paid release time for union thugs. Right there. Right there in that white space that has no ink imprinted on it. You see it, don't you?"
What the hell? Are the people pursuing this attack against PLEA stupid or are they hypocritical liars? Considering that most of them have business or law degrees, I do not think they are stupid.
Before you dismiss this as just another crazy political drama in Maricopa County, home of Sheriff Joe, you need to know that virtually every state has a similar constitutional or statutory provision. As for Sheriff Joe, he is actually a good guy. He once gave me a pair of pink boxer shorts (a new, unworn pair, of course) that he autographed in my presence. Oops, that's probably a gift of public funds. Maybe I should mail them back to him, or maybe I could donate them to the Goldwater Institute.