Arizona Senator Lori Klein Waves Her Gun In Reporter’s Face

I’m not making this up.

Senator Lori Klein holding her pink .380 Ruger
 in the Senate members lounge. (Arizona Republic)

Shades of Tom Mix: The senator actually pointed the loaded, no-safety pink handgun at a reporter from the Arizona Republic.

Lawmaker points loaded gun at reporter in the Senate

By Dennis Welch
The Arizona Guardian

A state lawmaker known for championing the rights of gun-owners pointed a loaded firearm at the chest of a reporter during a recent interview at the Capitol.

Republican Sen. Lori Klein was showing off her raspberry-pink handgun when she aimed it at a journalist who was interviewing her in the lounge just outside the Senate chambers.

According to the story that was published Sunday in the Arizona Republic, Klein’s .380 Ruger was loaded and did not have a safety to keep the gun from going off.

But Klein told the reporter, Richard Ruelas, that he didn’t need to worry because, “I just didn’t have my hand on the trigger.”


local gun activists contacted Sunday by the Arizona Guardian were shocked and appalled by the Senator’s actions.

“Whoever would do something like that needs to have a better grounding in gun safety before ever laying a hand on a firearm,” said Rob Mermelstein, the range master of the Phoenix Rod and Gun Club.


Klein made headlines in January after bringing her loaded gun into the House and Senate chambers just two days after the mass shooting in Tucson.

I’ve covered Lori Klein before. Her trip to the Arizona senate is an interesting story of itself. From “Because ‘Cudgel For Growth’ Wouldn’t Sound as Warm and Fuzzy” (14 DECEMBER 2010):

Idaho Prologue:

2006 was a busy year for Laird Maxwell, of Boise, Idaho.

702 West Hayes in Boise (commercial property)

From his small office on the outskirts of  Boise — at 702 W Hays Suite 16, Boise ID 83702 –  he was running the “This House Is My Home” one of a  number of Eminent Domain initiatives in the American West for Howie Rich, as its chief petitioner;  was signing checks for literally, millions of dollars that were going into related initiatives in Nebraska, California, Missouri* and others under the former small-time Virginia PAC, “America At Its Best” and way down there, somewhere, he started the year by awarding James Sali the Idaho “Conservative of the Year” title out of an organization whose mailing address was that same office.

[* From Boregasm [emphasis added]:

We already know that America At Its Best is funded entirely by Howard Rich and friends of the peripatetic “Americans for Limited Government.” And we know that AAIB is led by Laird Maxwell in Boise, Idaho, but that monies have been disbursed to Laird Maxwell’sIdaho “This House Is My House” initiative from AAIB in Kalispell [Montana], and to Nebraska from Duncan Scott’s law office in Kalispell.

In Idaho, the “House” initiative has been mysterious because the money came from AAIB in Montana, and no one knew where AAIB was getting its money. But Missouri documents reveal that America At Its Best in Boise, Idaho sent $640,000 to “Missourians in Charge.”

His fiancée, Lori Klein of Arizona, had met him at a National Taxpayers Union convention in 2005, and was running Arizona’s version of Eminent Domain, “Arizona HOPE” for Howie Rich, ALSO as chief petitioner.  Millions of dollars flying about under a variety of guises and putative sources, who was going to notice James Sali and his “award” from Maxwell’s astroturf organization? In the face of everything else, it was small potatoes.

Pun intended: Maxwell had, and still has multiple domains, and a blog, Liberty Spuds. (Come up with your own punchline.)

from the eponymous blog

He’s never written in it much, though.

But I did notice an interesting thing that I laid aside until Bob Mercer sparked a reason to notice the campaign of James Sali, who, with the help of Club for Growth members around the USA (and not mostly from Idaho) slushed money into Sali’s primary race for an open congressional seat and then the General Election, where in Idaho, except for 2008, running against incumbent James Sali, the Republican nominee is virtually assured of election. Take a gander:

FEC filing (click for original) Sali for Congress 2006

Yup. It’s Bob Mercer of Renaissance Technologies in East Setauket, (Long Island) New York. $2100. The maximum amount he could contribute to the welfare of the good citizens of Idaho. BTW that address IS for Renaissance Technologies, not Mercer’s home. There were a WHOLE lot of Club for Growth “bundled” contributions in that Sali campaign. There were a LOT of out of state “Club for Growth” contributions, three and four figures all. Take a look here, if you’d like.

[A long tale about campaign finance and then …]

Idaho Postscript.

Things worked out for Lori Maxwell née Klein in 2006. She married Laird Maxwell. Her Howard-Rich-Funded initiative was virtually the only electoral success of the long initiative fight that lit up the blogosphere and barely interested the Old Guard media. They claimed otherwise, but turns out they were taking credit for elections they had nothing to do with, and conveniently forgetting the ones they’d funded which lost.

In Idaho, Laird Maxwell’s virtually identical (drafted by the same lawyer) proposition went down 74%-26% or nearly three to one. Idahoans didn’t like the idea of some Manhattan plutocrat meddling in their affairs, evidently, and what ought to have been a slam dunk in Libertarian Idaho went down in flames. What Idahoans never knew, of course, was that Bill Sali WAS elected, selected by the selfsame clot of political conspirators who had authored, authorized and financed “This House Is MY House.”

Laird Maxwell moved to Anthem, Arizona with his new bride.

It didn’t seem to work out. Maxwell moved to Flagstaff and got into the vermiculite business.

As for Lori Klein, she entered the GOP primary for Arizona State Senator, District 6.  There was a little stop, first. Klein entered the sweepstakes to be appointed to take the place of the retiring incumbent in early 2010.

Lori Klein (via Ballotpedia)

Blogger and opponent in that “convention” was a fellow named Bob Haran, who gives us a unique fly-on-the-wall perspective on the Klein campaign:

Here’s from Bob Haran’s amazing post that ALSO outed a little scandal that played out in that election, later:


Bob Haran, Publisher, American Conservative Republican


Klein ran into some major problems in her quest for the senate appointment. The first problem was that not being a Republican Precinct Committeemen in LD 6 and having never run for office before, she was unknown by the District 6 Committee. In addition, having never attended a district meeting or making her intentions known, until the last moment, she came on the scene late and was considered an outsider by many of the rank and file.

And, at the bottom of the page, this first comment:

Anonymous said…

Klein has a DUI:

February 9, 2010 2:48 PM

American Conservative Republican said…

The above post has been verified, Lori Agnes Klein, DOB 6/23/1954, was arrested for for violating ARS 28-1381A2 DUI W/BAC of .08 or more on 10/02/2008 and entered a plea of guilty or responsible on 8/10/2009. She was sentenced to 3 years probation, 1 day jail, Alcohol Education, Ignition Interlock Device per MVD order and charges and fines total $1,460.00. Dreamy Draw Justice Court case TR2008162210 Criminal Traffic, complaint 11056017.February 18, 2010 8:46 AM

More on that later.

Lori Klein had entered the sweepstakes and been one of the three candidates for the County Supervisors to appoint to the vacant Senate District 6 seat and lost.

So she entered the primary race. (OK, according to the Arizona Secretary of State, she was already IN the race, having filed her paperwork on January 19th, 2010).

As Lori Klein notes in the online Voters Pamphlet (Page 33 in the .pdf):

I led the fight to protect our private property rights (Prop 207 in 2006) and to protect our health care freedom from programs like ObamaCare (Prop 101 in 2008).

By “led the fight” she means, of course, was well-recompensed to act as the Arizona agent for the Ballot Proposition business in Arizona that Laird Maxwell used to represent in his branch office in Idaho.

According to the Arizona Secretary of State’s records, three of the first four donors to Lori Klein’s campaign were from out of state:

Schedule C2 – Individual contributions Date Amount Cycle To Date

Lawless, Timothy

1702 E Highland Ave, Phoenix, AZ 85016

01/29/2010 $150.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: President, NAIOP*

[* According to their website, “NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association, is the leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. NAIOP provides unparalleled industry networking and education, and advocates for effective legislation on behalf of our members….” I still have no idea what the acronym means, except that you could hurt your jaw if you tried to fully enunciate it. Great name for your first contributor in Arizona, don’t you think?Lawless? And he’s only the president of the Arizona chapter, not the national NAOIP.] $410 seems to be the Arizona campaign contribution limit.

Robert McNair (via Forbes, see below)

McNair, Robert

Reliant Stadium Two Reliant Park, Houston, TX 77054

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Owner, Houston Texans

That would be the Owner of the Houston Texans (who lost in overtime tonight to the Baltimore Ravens) #326 Robert McNair – The Forbes 400 Richest Americans 2009. Raises an eyebrow or three, especially since McNair jumped up 236 spots from the #562 richest person in America in three years between 2006 and 2009. So maybe he’s got money to burn in Arizona. And speaking of Rich:

From her old Lassaiz Faire bookstore online catalog

Rich, Andrea

1420 Walnut St, Ste 1011, Philadelphia, PA 19102

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: retired

And our old pal,

Rich, Howie

1420 Walnut St, Ste 1011, Philadelphia, PA 19102

02/02/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Investor, Self

If you don’t know who Howard S. Rich is, you have obviously never read this blog or its predecessors. Educate yourself HERE.

click for larger

Sweet that couples both donate, to double the campaign contribution limit, kind of like Bob Mercer’s daughters donating the limit in the DeFazio campaign to help out their dad, or Howard Rich using a gazillion shell companies to flout South Carolina campaign limits.

Like Fitzgerald says, the rich are different than you and me. And, while there are several other names on Lori Klein’s donor list, here’s one more couple that ought to be familiar to you.

As he pictures himself on his website

Friess, Foster

PO Box 9790, Jackson, WY 83002

07/01/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Investor, Self

Memo: paypal

Friess, Lynn

PO Box 9790, Jackson, WY 83002

Name: 07/01/2010 $410.00

Address: Cash


Occupation: Housewife

Again, if you don’t know who Foster Friess is, etc. etc. Educate yourself HERE.

I won’t bother to mention Clint Bolick. You get the picture.

Clint Bolick via Media Transparency

With pals like that, Lori Klein easily swept aside the DUI, as a Republican running in a Republican year. One can’t help but wonder if her treatment would have been the same had she been a Navajo convicted of DUI in Phoenix.

click for larger

Here’s the case URL from above. (Warning, I don’t know how often they purge.)

According to Ballotpedia (run by Leslie Graves, wife of ex-Cato Board Member and Sam Adams Alliance founder Eric O’Keefe):

Klein defeated incumbent Republican David Braswell in the August 24 primary by a margin of 10,846-8,324. Klein then defeated Pat Flickner in the November 2 general election.

Arizona State Senate, District 6 General Election (2010)

Candidates  Votes

Lori Klein (R)  38,999

Pat Flickner (D)  19,190

And that’s about it, really.

After Bill Sali got elected with all that Club for Growth money, he rather angered his Idaho constituents. Walter Minnick, a Democrat, defeated Bill Sali for re-election in 2008 by 1.22 percentage points. In 2010, Republican Raul Labrador defeated Minnick for re-election. In a surprise move, Labrador used mostly in-state money for his campaign, which is unusual these days.

Walt Minnick,
Lame Duck Congressperson

Bob Mercer and his daughter have gone back to playing poker instead of politics. Howie and Andrea Rich are doing whatever they do in Philadelphia. The Club for Growth will undoubtedly celebrate their most successful year ever. Pat Toomey and Lori Klein will take office in January, and Chris Chocola is now the President of Club for Growth, appearing weekly on that radio show I told about. (“” 18 Nov 2007, and “” 20 Nov 2007.)

Foster Friess leaves meddling in other states’ politics and returns to having his picture taken with sick children and trumpeting his various philanthropic contributions. (Sometimes he’s a Jackson Hole, Wyoming resident; other times he’s a Scottsdale, Arizona resident. This is all so very confusing.)

Kochs are doing fine. Cato is doing fine. This has been their grand triumph, whether through FreedomWorks, the Sam Adams Alliance* or any of a hundred other masks. The Lori Klein scenario undoubtedly played out in legislatures throughout the land as the generational strategy is pursued and new candidates are groomed to move up as congressional seats become available and Club for Growth members ante up. [* SEE LINK!]

Laird Maxwell on LinkedIn (enhanced)

As for Laird Maxwell? His whereabouts are unknown, although he left this cryptic message during the campaign season, on 5 March:

I had a major project come my way and am working on it full-time.  Therefore, I’ve delayed the launch of the University of Conservatives until, likely, the middle of the year 2010.

He’s not back yet. But then, bad as the Recession might be, there’s always work for a political operative who’s handled millions of dollars going to several states, without ever once spilling the beans.*

[* His former employers are a tight-lipped bunch, as their walking away from their “Good Government” initiative in Alaska and flushing away $800,000 plus rather than reveal their donors proves.  See “” 25 August 2010. Montana courtrooms finally saw the revelationlast month as to WHO had actually funded “Montanans in Action” in 2006. Yup. Howie Rich and Co. The Helena Record reports:

Conservative group settles political practices complaint

By MIKE DENNISON IR State Bureau | Posted: Thursday, November 18, 2010 12:06 am

A Montana group that financed three conservative ballot measures in 2006 has settled a long-running dispute with the state’s chief campaign cop, agreeing to disclose the source of $1.2 million used to support the measures.


In documents filed with the settlement, Montanans in Action revealed that nearly all the money it used to support the ballot measures came from groups that [Plaintiff Jonathan] Unsworth said are associated with New York real estate developer Howard Rich — a prominent supporter of conservative, Libertarian causes. …

[Unsworth] said Wednesday the group [MIA] settled the case, including payment of a $75,000 penalty, because it knew it faced a difficult court battle over the disclosure issue.

But there is, at present, no trace of Mr. Maxwell’s whereabouts since around March. One can infer what that “big project” was, but it would be wrong.]

When he returns, he’ll once more take up the mantle of President of a virtual “University” that doesn’t yet exist – and won’t exactly exist even when it does.Here’s the tag:

Laird Maxwell is President of the soon-to-be launched University of Conservatives.

Which seems an apt metaphor.

Well, perhaps Lori Klein’s doing a bang up job for SOMEONE in Arizona.



A writer, published author, novelist, literary critic and political observer for a quarter of a quarter-century more than a quarter-century, Hart Williams has lived in the American West for his entire life. Having grown up in Wyoming, Kansas and New Mexico, a survivor of Texas and a veteran of Hollywood, Mr. Williams currently lives in Oregon, along with an astonishing amount of pollen. He has a lively blog His Vorpal Sword. This is cross-posted from his blog.

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About Hart Williams

Mr. Williams grew up in Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas and New Mexico. He lived in Hollywood, California for many years. He has been published in The Washington Post, The Kansas City Star, The Santa Fe Sun, The Los Angeles Free Press, Oui Magazine, New West, and many, many more. A published novelist and a filmed screenwriter, Mr. Williams eschews the decadence of Hollywood for the simple, wholesome goodness of the plain, honest people of the land. He enjoys Luis Buñuel documentaries immensely.

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