Nothing seemed amiss when two men walked into the campaign office of Democratic Rep. Tom O’Halleran (AZ) — at least not at first. The two identified themselves as Jose Rosales and Ahmahd Sadia. They had a jar of money containing $39.68 that they said they wanted to donate to O’Halleran’s campaign, The Guardian’s Ben Jacobs reported. Business as usual.
When they filled out paperwork required by the FEC to go along with the donation, the men identified themselves as part of the “Northern Arizona University Communist party” and demanded a receipt. Campaign staff told them they only sent receipts via email, so one of the men crossed out the email address he originally gave and wrote in another one and left. But as they were leaving, another campaign staffer recognized the men from social media and said they were with the Arizona Republican Party, O’Halleran campaign manager Ryan Mulcahy told the Washington Post.
“Obviously contributing to Tom pretending to be communists — it’s almost like they’re trying to set something up,” Mulcahy told the Post. “I just think this was really, really misguided attempt … to try to embarrass Tom and to try to embarrass the campaign.”
That’s why campaign finance director Lindsay Coleman personally returned the cash to the local Republican field office. And lo and behold, when Coleman arrived, the man who said his name was “Jose” when making the donation, introduced himself as Oscar when he came out to greet her. Coleman had someone from the O’Halleran campaign accompany her to the field office to film her returning the funds. The campaign then posted the video on its YouTube channel.
“Here you go, Oscar,” Coleman said as she handed him the cash. “Us returning your [donation] that you just made … to our campaign under the name of Jose Rosales, claiming to be with ‘NAU Young Communists’ when you are in fact with the NAU Young Republicans and your name is Oscar. I don’t know if you heard me, but it is illegal to falsify donation information to the FEC, so thank you for your support, but we cannot accept your funds. Have a good day!”
O’Halleran’s Republican opponent Wendy Rogers denied any knowledge of the donation. “This is news to us. No one from our campaign was involved in this juvenile stunt,” Rogers tweeted.
This is news to us. No one from our campaign was involved in this juvenile stunt. We are focused on defeating Tom O’Halleran & the Democrats this November & don’t have time for silly pranks. We are more concerned about exposing Tom O’Halleran’s open borders liberal record. #AZ01
— Wendy Rogers (@WendyRogersAZ) October 12, 2018
O’Halleran’s campaign manager said that the attempted donation “fits in particularly well” with Rogers’ campaign, which has accused O’Halleran of being a left-wing extremist, and added that while O’Halleran’s campaign has not filed a police report, they have not ruled out taking legal action.
But clearly Rogers has to up her game if she is involved: These would-be pranksters are so ridiculously incompetent, they make James O’Keefe, a conservative activist who goes “undercover” to try and catch progressives saying and doing compromising things, look like an evil genius.