Daily Kos 2012: “Sinema lied to the National Association of Latino Elected Officials and said that she was Latina. In 2010 and 2011, Sinema went to NALEO conferences on scholarships that only Latinos received.”
Arizona Democrat Senate candidate Kyrsten Sinema has been in the news a lot lately as comments she made at left-wing forums have resurfaced.
Among the comments was that Arizona was the “crazy” state, and the “meth lab of democracy.” She also said she didn’t care if a constituent went and fought for the Taliban, and that it was inappropriate to criticize anarchist property destruction. It seems that new controversies regarding Sinema’s radical past arise daily.
Sinema was considered a strong contender to grab retiring Jeff Flake’s Senate seat, and the race remains tight in the polling.
There is another Sinema controversy from 2012 which has not yet received a lot of attention in this campaign cycle.
A Democratic congressional candidate in Arizona is facing questions about why she is mysteriously and falsely being listed as a Hispanic in a prominent Latino group’s directory of officeholders.
This could be problematic for the candidate, Kyrsten Sinema, because the National Association of Latino Elected (NALEO) and Appointed Officials claims it verifies the information with the officeholders before going to print.
The revelation that NALEO’s 2011 “National Directory of Latino Elected Officials” lists Sinema, a former Democratic state senator, as a Hispanic first surfaced Monday on the website of the Phoenix New Times.
Sinema spokesman Rodd McCleod denied that the candidate self-identified as a Latina. “It’s not our mistake,” McCleod told the Phoenix New Times. “It’s NALEO’s mistake.”
But a NALEO official told the outlet that the information came from Sinema or her office. “We rely heavily on self-identification,” NALEO’s Rosalind Gold said.
The Phoenix New Times reported extensively on the controversy, Kyrsten Sinema Identified (Wrongly) as Latino by NALEO (w/Update):
Former state Senator Kyrsten Sinema is many things: a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Arizona’s Ninth Congressional District, a strident advocate for lefty causes, a one-time supporter of erstwhile Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader.
And, according to the nonprofit National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, she is also a Latina.
In case you’re befuddled by Sinema’s last name, Selena Gomez she is not. In fact, the Dem could apply to be a spokeswoman for WonderBread, if this politics thing doesn’t work out for her.
Nevertheless, in a PowerPoint demonstration [added note – archived here] created for NALEO’s annual conference this year in Orlando, Florida, Sinema is identified under the header, “Latinos in non-majority Latino districts,” on the same page as Nevada Legislator John Oceguera.
And in NALEO’s “2011 Directory of Latino Elected Officials,” Sinema’s listed along with elected Arizona Latinos, such as Congressman Ed Pastor and state Senator Steve Gallardo.
How did Sinema’s name end up in the directory? According to Rosalind Gold, Senior Director of Policy, Research and Advocacy at NALEO, details on Sinema’s ethnic status likely would have come from either Sinema or someone in her legislative office.
“We rely heavily on self-identification,” Gold told me, explaining that the organization would have called Sinema’s office to ask if Sinema was Latino.
“If the answer is, `yes,'” said Gold, “we do not generally go farther than that.” …
Sinema for Congress spokesman Rodd McLeod insisted that Sinema has never identified herself as a Latina. When I asked what she identified herself as, he responded, “as an Anglo.”
UPDATE July 10, 2012: NALEO today issued the statement below.
NALEO Statement on Former Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema
Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) issued the following statement regarding the inclusion of Former Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema in the 2011 Directory of Latino Elected Officials:
“NALEO is proud to serve as the leadership organization of the nation’s more than 6,000 Latino elected and appointed officials. While the vast majority of our members identify themselves as Latino or Hispanic, this is not a criterion for membership in the NALEO organization.
“Many elected or appointed officials have joined NALEO because they represent Latino constituents and want to serve as more effective policy makers and public servants in their communities.
“As NALEO members, these officials have access to considerable resources and support that enable them to better serve their constituents and communities. These resources include access to numerous publications and professional development seminars, including the National Institute for Newly Elected Officials and the annual Directory of Latino Elected Officials.
“We have recently become aware that Former Arizona State Senator Kyrsten Sinema was mistakenly included in our 2011 Directory of Latino Elected Officials. Senator Sinema has informed us that she is not Latina and we will work to ensure this is reflected in future editions of the directory and other informational materials.
“Senator Sinema is a past member of NALEO in good standing with the organization. While the Senator is not a current member of NALEO, we would welcome her back should she serve in an elected or appointed official capacity in the future.
“The directory is designed only as a database for elected officials who designate themselves as Latino or Hispanic. NALEO relies on the elected officials and staff to indicate whether they are Latino for inclusion in this database.
“NALEO Executive Director Arturo Vargas has initiated an internal review of the directory process to ensure the organization continues to provide the most accurate and timely information possible.”
Contrary to the reporting, Sinema’s congressional campaign released a statement at the time blaming NALEO. The statement read in part:
“The truth is, Sinema has never misrepresented herself. She has been a strong Anglo ally of the Latino community and has never represented herself as anything other than that. She has identified herself as Anglo and has done so each time that she applied for membership at NALEO, an organization that she has been a long-standing member of.
“It is unfortunate that Sinema’s political opponents chose to initiate a cynical narrative based on an administrative error, an honest mistake made by the organization. Similarly, versions of NALEO’s Profile of Latino Elected Officials showcased both Latino elected officials and strong elected Anglo allies like former Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Senator Linda Lopez.
“Attacks like this are unfair to the organization’s aims and distracts from our goal of broadening civic leadership in our Latino communities; a goal that can only be accomplished by cultivating new Latino leaders and encouraging determined non-Latino allies.”
The Sinema campaign denial notwithstanding, The Phoenix New Times followed up with even more reporting on Sinema’s history of being identified as Latina [note, some of the embedded links no longer work]
NALEO referred to Sinema as being a Latina in a power-point presentation given by NALEO’s executive director Arturo Vargas on June 21 before NALEO’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida this year, and in its 2011 Directory of Latino Officials.
But the Latina/Latino designation has been Sinema’s, courtesy of NALEO, for several years now.
As Channel 12’s Brahm Resnik reported, Sinema was listed in NALEO’s directories going back five years. But NALEO also referred to Sinema as Latina in several other of the organization’s publications, including surveys of state races in 2006, 2008, and 2010.
Sinema campaign spokesman Todd McLeod defended his candidate, saying she’d never seen the NALEO publications in question.
“She hadn’t read those publications,” McLeod stated, adding “She’s never misrepresented [her ethnicity] when asked.”
The progressive community was not buying Sinema’s explanation. At that time, a community member at the left-wing Daily Kos wrote a brutal takedown, Kyrsten Sinema Took NALEO Scholarships Meant for Latinos [note, some of the embedded links no longer work];
Last month, at the NALEO conference- where President Obama and Mitt Romney spoke- she was presented to thousands of national latinos as a Latino candidate and “one to watch.”
Sinema, who is white, has changed her story in order to cover up her lies. At first she said that this was NALEO’s mistake but they made it clear that they “rely heavily on self-identification.”
NALEO’s records are clear that Sinema was the liar- “records indicated NALEO contacted Sinema’s legislative staff in advance of the 2011 entry and a staff member said Sinema was Hispanic.”
Then Sinema tried to defend herself with the classic ‘some of my best friends are Latino’ response. Without any friends in the Latino community in Arizona, Sinema pushed a friend in Texas to say that Sinema had a “latina heart.”
Kyrsten Sinema’s heart is not Latina- it’s rotten.
I reached out to Sinema’s Senate campaign for comment, but have not received a response as of this writing.
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