Gov. Ducey Defends His Role in AZ Commerce Authority Pulling Nike Incentive
MARK BRODIE: Gov. Doug Ducey is defending his role in the Arizona Commerce Authority's decision to pull an incentive from Nike. Earlier this month, the governor sent out a series of tweets blasting the company for holding off on releasing a new sneaker featuring a design known as the "Betsy Ross Flag." The company cited concerns over the symbol representing a time when slavery was legal. In one of those tweets the governor wrote, "I've ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the state was providing for the company to locate here." And yesterday, when questioned about his role, he told reporters to "re-read the tweet." With us to sort all this out is Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services. Hey, Howie.
HOWIE FISCHER: Hey, and I re-read the tweet.
BRODIE: Yeah. Well and the one that I just read, so the question really is, does the governor have the legal authority to tell the Commerce Authority what to do?
Nike has made its decision, and now we’re making ours. I’ve ordered the Arizona Commerce Authority to withdraw all financial incentive dollars under their discretion that the State was providing for the company to locate here. 7/— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) July 2, 2019
FISCHER: Well, this has been the question we've been asking ever since. The fact is that, we can't get a straight answer about who authorized the million dollars for Nike in the first place, to locate into Goodyear, how that all happened, whether it's discretionary funding. And more to the point, even assuming it's discretionary, do you get to withdraw funding based on a company's political position? And the governor just sidestep that and basically said look the decision's been made it's done, you know, I didn't order it, It was done by the authority. Yet, what's interesting is, not only did we have his tweet saying, I ordered it, I actually got an email later that same morning on July 2 from the Commerce Authority saying, "we are following the governor's orders and withdrawing the money." So, trying to get answers out of this public-private partnership that is the Commerce Authority is like the proverbial pulling teeth.
BRODIE: Howie let me ask you about another sort of contentious question the governor had to deal with yesterday, that concerning State Sen. Sylvia Allen, and some of the comments she had made about the, "browning of America" and the "U.S. starting to look like South American countries." He was not ready to make a comparison between Senator Allen and now former Rep. David Stringer, was he?
FISCHER: That's true. Now to be fair, that Senator Allen's comments may not have been as, if you want to call them, egregious. She didn't talk about an existential problem for the country but what she clearly did talk about is as you say, the browning of America that we might start looking like South American countries, although she insisted later that had to do with socialism. But she also made comments about the fact that, white women just aren't reproducing fast enough, as the average age of a white woman is 43, the average age of Hispanic women is 27 and that we're in danger, of kind of, losing the country. Now obviously, that plugs into the whole question of people who say we like America the way it is, which generally means you know white, Christian etc. The governor has said, well I'm not comparing her to David Stringer and his comments because "She has love in her heart," that's his quote. I'm not sure whether he did a cardiological exam on her to determine that or whatever, but he determined that... she is not, perhaps, as evil in her intent as David Stringer was. So he finds himself in this position, you know much like folks are defending Trump's comments, where well you know it probably was ill conceived but we're certainly not going to condemn them.
BRODIE: Howie, let me ask you, a last topic anyway, about a decision that has come out dealing with privacy in Arizona. This is basically saying, that Arizonans maybe have more of a right to, in this case at least, digital privacy, than people living in other states.
FISCHER: And that's... crucial because see right now, if you are sending out tweets, if you are sending out emails, if you're perhaps even... on porn sites, and the government wants to know, under federal law and under the U.S. Constitution, the fact that you gave your information to your internet service provider meant you have no expectation of privacy. So, they can go to follow your IP address, your unique address, to your internet service provider and find out where you live. What the Court of Appeals ruled, in a very precedent setting cases, that Arizona has a very specific right of privacy in our own constitution. And based on that they're saying, simply the fact that you decided to tell Verizon or whomever that I want internet service, did not mean you gave up your expectation of privacy. You know, the idea that the government can find out, not only what you're sending, who you're associating with, what groups you're involved with, what you're reading, and the court said, given the nature of the internet and given the nature that the internet is basically today's desk drawer of everything you ever wanted stored. We're not going to let the government simply come in and say,... we're entitled to this simply because you told an internet company you wanted service.
BRODIE: Howie, quickly where does this seem like it might have the biggest implications?
FISCHER: Oh, I think some of the implications, certainly in criminal cases, which is what was involved here, in terms of a man who is accused of sending out child pornography but it has other implications in terms, of the ability for anonymous speech. And what's interesting is, you know, Arizona lawmakers, particularly Republicans, who are protecting things like dark money say, anonymous speech is very important. Well, if you believe it's very important to be able to contribute money anonymously to help elect or defeat candidates. This seems to extend that to say, you want to get on the internet and blast people and do it anonymously. The government can't come in and decide who you are and expose that.
BRODIE: All right, that is Howie Fischer of Capitol Media Services. As always, Howie, thank you.
FISCHER: A very busy day here at the Capitol.