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The abeyant donation that accustomed at an Arizona attack appointment Thursday had all the arrangement of a grass-roots, feel-good backroom adventure — at first.
Two adolescent men, who said their names were Jose Rosales and Ahmahd Sadia, had apparent up at the Flagstaff attack appointment of Rep. Tom O’Halleran, a Democrat who is active for reelection to represent arctic Arizona.
They claimed they were from adjacent Arctic Arizona University and were acquisitive to volunteer. They had additionally brought forth a jar of baby bills and bill — accretion $39.68 — money that they said capital to accord to O’Halleran’s campaign.
That’s aback things grew odd.
A inferior staffer who “didn’t apprehend what was happening” directed the brace to ample out a attack addition form. The men mentioned they were with the “Northern Arizona University Communist Party,” according to O’Halleran attack administrator Ryan Mulcahy.
“Once they abounding out the forms, they became abnormally assertive on accepting a cancellation for the contributions,” Mulcahy told The Washington Post. “They were told the alone way you can get a cancellation is [by] email. So they concluded up bridge out the email they had accounting bottomward and autograph in addition one.”
Meanwhile, as the men were leaving, addition staffer came over — and accustomed them from amusing media as actuality affiliated with the Arizona Republican Party, Mulcahy said. Shortly afterwards the brace left, O’Halleran’s accounts director, Lindsay Coleman, collection over to the bounded Arizona GOP appointment to acknowledgment the donation.
Her suspicions were about anon accepted aloft entering the GOP office, in an awkward barter that was captured on video.
“Do you have, um, are there two adolescent Republicans alleged Ahmad or Jose?” Coleman asked a receptionist.
“I don’t acquire so,” addition in the GOP appointment told her.
“Oh, okay. Well I’m here, because two adolescent gentlemen appropriate here” — at this point Coleman acicular to a man who stepped out from a allowance in the appointment — “made this addition to our campaign–…”
A barbate man at the GOP appointment acicular at the man and seemed to actual Coleman: “This is Oscar.”
Without missing a beat, Coleman continued: “And Oscar, who gave a donation beneath the name of Jose…”
The camera panned aback to Oscar/Jose, who had abruptly angry aback about and reentered the allowance from which he had emerged moments earlier. The aperture closed.
Still speaking loudly, Coleman acicular out that it was actionable to adulterate addition advice to the Federal Election Commission and said that she would apparently be filing a address with the police. Then she alleged out adjoin the bankrupt door: “Um, Oscar, I acquire your cash! And I’d like to acknowledgment it to you, please!”
Oscar/Jose emerged yet again.
“Yep,” he said.
Coleman handed him an envelope with the attempted attack donation.
“Here you go, Oscar. Us abiding your funds that you aloof fabricated to our addition to our attack beneath the name of Jose Rosales, claiming to be with ‘NAU Adolescent Communists’ aback you are in actuality with the NAU Adolescent Republicans and your name is Oscar,” Coleman told him. “I don’t apperceive if you heard me, but it is actionable to adulterate donation advice to the FEC, so acknowledge you for your abutment but we cannot acquire your funds.”
“Okay, yeah,” Oscar/Jose said, as Coleman absolved away, smiling.
O’Halleran’s attack acquaint video of the appointment to YouTube on Friday. Mulcahy said he suspects O’Halleran’s opponent, Wendy Rogers, was abaft the attempted attack donation, adage it “fits in decidedly well” with her attempts to acrylic O’Halleran as a far-left extremist.
Polls appearance the chase is aptitude hardly in favor of O’Halleran, who was aboriginal adopted to the appointment in 2016.
Rogers’s attack has denied captivation in the attempted donation, calling it “juvenile.”
“We are focused on acquisition Tom O’Halleran and the Democrats this November and don’t acquire time for adolescent pranks,” Wendy Rogers’s attack spokesman, Spence Rogers, told the Guardian. “We are added anxious about advertisement Tom O’Halleran’s accessible borders advanced record.”
Mulcahy acicular out that the aforementioned being who appeared in the video aggravating to abstain Coleman has additionally appeared in contempo photos from Rogers’s campaign. Though added outlets acquire articular “Oscar/Jose” as an NAU student, The Post was clumsy to ability that apprentice aboriginal Saturday morning.
“Obviously accidental to Tom assuming to be communists — it’s about like they’re aggravating to set article up,” Mulcahy said. “I aloof anticipate this was really, absolutely bearded attack … to try to abash Tom and to try to abash the campaign.”
The Arizona GOP did not anon acknowledge to a appeal for animadversion aboriginal Saturday morning.
The Arizona Republic appear Friday that the two adolescent men had been a agents affiliate and a advance for the Arizona Republican Party, and that neither was alive there anymore.
Mulcahy said O’Halleran’s attack has not filed a badge address but has not disqualified out demography acknowledged action.
“We’re demography aggregate into application on the best way to move forward,” Mulcahy said. “At the end of the day, the two gentlemen who conducted this were low-level attack volunteers. I’m abiding encouraged to do this by addition added senior. … We would like to see those bodies be captivated accountable.”
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