Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
After the tag team of Arizona Secretary of State Ken "Birther" Bennett and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery totally mucked up the initial investigation into Arizona Attorney General Tom "banned for life by the SEC" Horne and had their case dismissed for not following the law, a second investigation by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has again concluded that Tommy Boy violated campaign finance laws. Arizona AG again found to have violated campaign law:
For the second time in a year, a county prosecutor has determined Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne and his political-ally-turned-staffer Kathleen Winn violated campaign-finance laws during Horne’s 2010 run for office.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk on Thursday gave Horne 20 days to return nearly $400,000 in donations to an independent-expenditure committee, Business Leaders for Arizona, that Polk said illegally coordinated its efforts with Horne’s campaign.
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Polk, in her order, said several e-mails and the timing of phone calls “provide convincing proof that Horne and Winn coordinated” on the development of the anti-Rotellini ad and on raising money to pay for the ad.
Therefore, Polk said, the cost of the ad must be counted as in-kind contributions to Horne’s campaign and not to the independent-expenditure committee.
Campaign laws forbid coordination between candidates and certain activities with independent-expenditure committees.
The case landed in Polk’s office in June after Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett sent a letter to Solicitor General Rob Ellman asking Ellman to notify the Secretary of State’s Office of the law-enforcement agency selected to investigate Horne. Ellman sent the case to Polk.
Polk’s Thursday order is nearly identical to one issued last October by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who, like Polk and Horne, is a Republican.
A Maricopa County Superior Court judge threw out that order because of legal technicalities and procedural failings by the Secretary of State’s Office, which had also found reasonable cause to believe a campaign-finance violation had occurred.
Montgomery said he wasn’t surprised by Polk’s decision, adding that he hoped it would have political consequences for Horne, who has filed to run for re-election.
“Same investigation, same evidence, same conclusion,” he said. “I hope Republican primary voters are paying attention.”
"The case will likely become fodder in the 2014 attorney general’s race." Ya think?
The Arizona Republic editorializes Horne's big campaign-finance mistake:
There is overwhelming evidence of coordination. Refund $400,000 within 20 days, she ordered a campaign that had $70,000 in the bank at the end of 2012.
Horne and Winn’s attorneys, as they did last year, say this is all a mistake. The phone calls and email the two exchanged just before the ads hit TV were about some real estate deal. It was all innocent.
A year later, we’ll see how that defense plays out in court. But by delaying, Horne and Winn helped the attorney general’s opponents, who can now point to two Republican county attorneys coming to the same conclusion. Horne will now be in court as voters are starting to pay attention. The arguments against Horne will resonate all the louder.
Stretching out bad news rarely makes it better. Campaign-finance law does not remove an officeholder who gets there by breaking the law. But it has other ways of punishing offenders. Horne’s failed delaying tactics have only made them more painful.
Republic opinion writer Laurie Roberts writes Tom Horne's penalty is to repay the money? Really?
Attorney General Tom Horne has – once again – been found to have cheated his way into the state’s top law enforcement job.
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Montgomery said he had the goods on Horne: phone records that show Winn engaged in e-mailing directions about the “independent” campaign while on the phone with Horne. But Montgomery’s “civil enforcement action” against Horne was tossed out on a technicality.
So now comes Polk, saying the same thing and ordering Horne to repay $400,000 in donations made to that supposedly independent campaign.
That’s going to leave a mark.
Just not the appropriate one.
Seems to me the penalty for cheating your way into office ought to be a forfeit of the office.
Especially if the office happens to be attorney general, the person in charge of enforcing the law.
I'm reasonably confident that Tommy Boy doesn't much care what anyone thinks.