A Near Miss for Serious Financial Improprieties with the Maricopa County Republican Party, and a Story of Two Local Parties

Shelby Busch

Local parties have long been a little bit more on the political fringes than their statewide counterparts. Their ability to fly under the radar more than their larger counterparts often leads to some more questionable decision-making, and with fewer eyes on them grifters will often see opportunities for exploitation.

It wasn’t very long ago that we were talking about just this within the Maricopa County Democratic Party (MCDP), with battle rapper turned disgraced former Missouri legislator turned campaign manager Bruce Franks Jr. apparently masterminding an attempted fraud in the form of a bungled political mailer (get up to date here). But it would seem as though the Maricopa County Republican Party (MCRP) was not to be outdone, with some party insiders attempting to get their hands on enough funds to make the political mailer look like pocket change.

The charges of voter fraud in Arizona are proving to be the grift that keeps on giving for unscrupulous parties, as demonstrated by the most recent scandal in the MCRP. The Maricopa County Republican Committee voted to give a stunning $250,000 towards a project that would allow volunteers to “clean up the voter rolls”. And of course, the group that would be the recipient was co-founded by MCRP Vice Chair Shelby Busch.

While the quarter-of-a-million-dollar price tag stands on its own as a gigantic expenditure, it is even more egregious when put into context. Fundraising for county parties almost always pales in comparison to their statewide siblings, as the MCRP only raised a total of $208K for the entire 2022 election season (for comparison’s sake, that was dwarfed by MCDP and its $979K haul over the same time period). So the Vice Chair was recommending diverting an amount that was more than their entire amount raised over the previous two years to her own organization.

Thankfully for the MCRP, saner heads prevailed and the planned expenditure was revoked, but that only seemed to be the case after a legislative district chairman called it out as a conflict of interest. The fact that it was approved in the first place was an egregious abdication of duty from that committee however; it is insane that it even got to that point.

It took similar whistleblowers for MCDP to take corrective measures to ensure that the alleged fraud wouldn’t happen again; in that case, it took a complete overhaul of the organization, with a new Chairperson and Executive Director. MCRP should truly consider a similar overhaul as well, because someone who is so willing to brazenly use the organization to her own benefit has absolutely no business being a Vice Chair of that organization.