Last month, ThinkProgress noted that a local Arizona TV news station discovered that Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who is running for re-election, may have a conflict of interest in her support of Arizona’s immigration law. CBS5’s KPHO TV found that “two of Brewer’s top advisers have connections” to private prison giant Corrections Corporation of America (CCA): Paul Senseman, Brewer’s deputy chief of staff and Chuck Coughlin, who manages her campaign, chaired her transition into the governorship, and is one of the governor’s policy advisors. KPHO reported that Senseman is a former lobbyist for CCA and his wife continues to lobby for the company. Coughlin is president of HighGround Public Affairs Consultants, which lobbies for CCA.
Last night, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow provided a troubling update to the story. Apparently, Brewer’s campaign pulled all of its advertisements from CBS 5. In response to Maddow’s inquiries, Coughlin himself confirmed that the campaign’s decision to cease advertising on one of Phoenix’s most widely-viewed channels is a direct result of the aggressive reporting on Brewer’s burgeoning scandal. Highground Public Affairs Consultants, which also runs Brewer’s campaign, directed Maddow to a blog post on KPHO’s reporting featured on its website entitled “Telling It Like It Isn’t“:
We think it’s time that CBS 5 retire its goofy, focus-group driven moniker of “Telling It Like It Is.” No matter how many times the very capable anchor team of Sean McLaughlin and Catherine Anaya say it, it’s just not believable anymore. [...] Chief exhibit is the maniacal Morgan Loew, 5i Team Reporter. It seems Morgan is itching to get out of his native Arizona and head to the network big-time. Why hang around dusty ‘ole Phoenix when the glamour and fame the glitzy 24-hour news grind awaits?
Maddow interviewed Loew last night who explained “we’ve been pretty consistent throughout in asking him and letting him know exactly what we want to know.” That is, “did he [Coughlin] tell the governor about what his client, CCA, may gain from the signing of SB-1070?” “We’re just asking questions and the questions we’ve been asking haven’t been answered,” said Loew. Watch Maddow’s segment on Brewer and KPHO: