McSally mouthpiece Franzi takes on conservatives

The Republican establishment in Southern Arizona can always count on Emil Franzi to make lame attempts at marginalization through accusation. This week, CD2 candidate Martha McSally was the beneficiary of the prolific propagandist.

In an article on his blog; Southern Arizona News Examiner, Franzi attacks the Northwest Conservatives, Sherese Steffens; a tireless conservative who had dedicated her life to promoting republicans, and James T. Harris, a popular conservative radio host on 104.1 FM KQTH.

Franzi also uses the airwaves provided by KVOI, an obscure radio station that averages, according to recent ratings, approximately 8,000 listeners a day, to attack the establishment’s enemies.

Few of the handful of listeners of Franzi’s Inside Track on KVOI, or readers of the Green Valley News; another vehicle of Franzi’s vitriol, know how Franzi “works” for his friends including McSally and other establishment operatives.

Franzi’s unique relationship with McSally first came to light in 2012, when it was discovered by Frank Antenori after he lost to McSally in the 2012 Republican Primary in CD8.

According to FEC records, McSally paid Franzi’s company; Inside Track, a total of $7401.37 for “advertising” in that race. Since then, Franzi has offered his consulting expertise to McSally, who he affectionately calls, “Babe,” when she appears on his Saturday afternoon Inside Track radio show.

When he is not spewing his bile for McSally, he is targeting Pima County Supervisor Ally Miller, for another friend; Pima County Supervisor Ray Carroll.

The establishment in southern Arizona exists in a very small world and the political gene pool is smaller, and Carroll and McSally have much in common.

Carroll also hired McSally’s notorious campaign manager Sam Stone, who was forced to resign from her 2012 campaign after it became known that he was attempting to help democrats defeat the winner of the 2012 Republican Primary; Jesse Kelly. Carroll paid Stone for consulting services in February 2012. Stone went to work for McSally a short time later.

McSally announced her run for CD8 in March of that year only a day after she arrived in Tucson from years of living abroad. She walked into a ready-made establishment campaign, staffed with the likes of Stone and other establishment operatives. Franzi and his buddies provided cover through the various Franzi-friendly media outlets.

shearerNot all of the new outlets cooperate wittingly. When asked to explain why he did not a post a disclaimer/notice of some kind, for the readers of the Green Valley News, under one of Franzi’s most recent attacks on Ally Miller, Shearer was perplexed by the question. When he was told that Franzi had just recently accepted payment from Carroll for consulting services, Shearer responded that if Franzi is on “anybody’s payroll for future elections, he won’t be writing about them or the entity they work for.”

The appearance of electioneering would destroy an entity like the Green Valley News. However, Shearer did not add a disclaimer and left Franzi’s garbage up without any notice to readers.

It would have destroyed an entity like KVOI, had Franzi not sought a “press exemption” from the FEC in 2005.

According to FEC records, Franzi sought to be classified as a member of the press so that he could push his candidates legally on the publically owned airwaves licensed by KVOI.

In 2005, the FEC issued an “Advisory Opinion 2005-19 Radio Program Qualifies for Press Exemption.” The Opinion reads:

An incorporated production company may broadcast a radio program that references clearly identified federal candidates, even if it airs within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a general election in the jurisdiction in which those candidates are running, because its proposed activities fall within the press exemption. The bans on corporate contributions, expenditures and electioneering communications would not apply.


Commission regulations define an “electioneering communication” (EC) as any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication that:

• Refers to a clearly identified candidate for federal office;
• Is publicly distributed within 60 days before a general, special or runoff election for the office sought by the candidate, or within 30 days before a primary or preference election; and
• Is targeted to the relevant electorate, in the case of a candidate for Senate or the House of Representatives.
2 U.S.C. 434(f)(3) and 11 CFR 100.29(a).

A communication is targeted to the relevant electorate if it can be received by 50,000 or more persons in a House candidate’s district or Senate candidate’s state.

Corporations are generally prohibited from making or financing ECs. However, the EC definition exempts communications that appear in “a news story, commentary, or editorial distributed through the facilities of any broadcast, cable, or satellite television or radio station.”

If these facilities are owned or controlled by a political party, political committee or candidate, additional restrictions apply. 11 CFR 100.29(c)(2).

Emil Franzi operates Paradigm Shift Productions, a for-profit corporation that produces and purchases airtime for The Inside Track, a political talk show Mr. Franzi hosts on an Arizona radio station. Paradigm Shift sells advertising time on the program to recoup its costs. On the show, Mr. Franzi plans to interview Arizona House and Senate candidates, accept comments and questions from callers and discuss candidates. The program will reach a potential audience of 400,000 people, including at least 50,000 people in both Arizona’s Seventh and Eighth Congressional Districts. The broadcasts would air within 30 days of the Arizona primary election and/or 60 days of the general election. (Paradigm Shift is now out of business, and Franzi appears to run everything through Inside Track.)

While broadcasts that mention Arizona Senate candidates or Seventh and Eighth District House candidates would appear to otherwise satisfy the definition of EC, the Commission determined that The Inside Track qualifies for the press exemption.

In other words, Franzi accepts money from candidates for advertising, and later interviews them on the air. Because he claims that he does not formally work for a political party, and he passes himself off as a member of the press, he can sell his candidates, bash their opponents all the while, the unsuspecting listeners have no idea that they are being played.

McSally has moved on since the early days of her first failed congressional run. After her second failed congressional run she changed things up, and just recently things changed dramatically for McSally when the NRCC took over her third congressional run. If the NRCC wants to appeal to a handful of establishment members, Franzi will be her man.

Franzi recently told a group of Democrats attending a party in honor of a well-known Democrat lawyer, “You know what’s funny, is that there are more people in this room that are friends of mine, than I saw the last time I went to the Pima County Republican Club.” Franzi received a rousing round of applause for that line, which he followed up with a bashing of Republicans in Oro Valley, and concluded with an attempt to recruit the lawyer to run for office.