GOP senator takes thousands of dollars from company she called 'slumlords'


Arizona Sen. Martha McSally accused the Hunt Company of mistreating military families, but still accepted $12,000 in campaign donations from its employees.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-AZ) has raked in thousands of dollars in campaign donations from a company she recently described as "slumlords."

Hunt Companies employees have donated more than $12,000 to McSally's campaign since 2017. The donations from Hunt, a development company which runs privatized military housing, were first reported Wednesday by the Phoenix New Times.

The CEO of Hunt Companies, Woody Hunt, personally donated $2,800 to McSally's reelection campaign in May. He also donated $2,700 to McSally's failed 2018 bid for Senate, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has written several reports about the condition of military housing provided by private companies. In a Dec. 3 preliminary report, the GAO revealed "the presence of lead-based paint and other hazards, such as mold and pest infestations" at privatized military housing over the past several years.

Hunt Companies is noted in a March 2018 GAO report as being one of the "five leading developers of privatized housing projects."

At a Dec. 3 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, McSally stated that there were "basically 14 companies that have been involved in privatized housing." Turning to Elizabeth Field, a GAO employee, McSally asked, "Are any of them not acting like slumlords at this point? Are any of them doing a good job?"

McSally also referenced her own time in the military. "As someone who has served myself, this pisses me off," she said.

McSally then suggested making employees of those companies wear shirts with "SLUMLORD" written across the front. "I'm not trying to be facetious here," she added.

The Arizona senator also called substandard housing problems "a leadership issue by these companies." She added that "climate and culture in these companies starts at the top, too." She suggested some of the CEOs "move into some military housing over the holidays."

After the hearing, McSally met with military family members and advocates for better military housing, posting photos to social media the next day along with the caption, "Yesterday, I called out the slumlords who operate some of our military housing."

The Hunt Company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The McSally campaign also did not respond to a request for comment.

The Arizona Democratic Party wasted no time calling out McSally's actions.

"From voting to boost her corporate health care donors' profits, to taking thousands from a contractor she's called a 'slumlord,' Martha McSally keeps proving that she can't be trusted to put Arizonans first in Washington," Brad Bainum, a spokesperson for the party, said in an email.

McSally has run into a number of campaign finance scandals over the course of 2019. In July, the McSally campaign was hit with a $23,000 fine for accepting excessive campaign contributions from more than 110 people. In August, her campaign was hit with an additional $5,000 fine for failing to properly report more than $50,000 in campaign donations.

In November, a group filed a complaint with the Federal Elections Commission alleging the McSally campaign had not properly disclosed information about donors.

McSally is currently trailing in both the polls and fundraising to her likely Democratic opponent, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.