Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The headlines today say that Senate president says he paid for football tickets and Fiesta Bowl investigation: Senator says he paid for tickets. "King" Russell Pearce says he "never took anything they didn't offer everybody," and the media dutifully reports this classic defendant's denial in its headlines.
Only trouble is, the Special Committee's exhaustive investigation (investigators reviewed e-mail and electronic-payroll and financial records and roughly 10,000 documents during the course of the inquiry, in addition to interviewing 52 individuals with ties to the bowl), and its 276-page investigative report into the Fiesta Bowl Scandal refutes Pearce's denial. Fiesta Bowl investigation: Senator says he paid for tickets:
Pearce's comments conflict with a portion of the report that states Fiesta Bowl employees paid for, and then were reimbursed by the bowl for, non-Fiesta Bowl tickets given to Pearce in 2007 and 2008.
- The report makes no mention of Pearce or other politicians paying for the tickets.
- And it says that bowl employees told investigators that the bowl was not reimbursed for some tickets given to Pearce.
- A chart in the report, detailing employees' expense-report submittals, says that Junker turned in the invoice for the USC tickets with a description that said "Gift-Russell Pearce."
"A spokesman for the Fiesta Bowl would say only: 'The report speaks for itself.'"
Ahem, maybe the headline should have read "Report contradicts Pearce's denial," because this accurately describes the substance of the reporting.
Pearce said Friday that he is considering looking for canceled checks to prove that he reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl.
"And I'll go to the bank and try to find out," Pearce said. "Because some (of the checks) were written like a month later. I had to wait for their invoices. I paid face value or whatever. Whatever they told me the cost was, that is what I paid."
Pearce also said Friday that he will go back and look at his financial-disclosure statements to see if they need to be [amended] to reflect any gifts he received from the Fiesta Bowl.
* * *
"We'll go back and look (at those)," Pearce said. "They get amended all the time."
As the Arizona Republic correctly points out, it's not quite that simple:
An opinion issued by then-Attorney General Janet Napolitano suggests that merely paying back the bowl – as at least half a dozen lawmakers have now done – may not ease their culpability under the law.
The opinion, issued in December 2000, concludes that state statutes prohibit "lobbyists from purchasing entertainment for a particular state officer or employee, even if the state officer or employee will subsequently reimburse the lobbyist for the purchase."
"Since Wednesday, a few senators have written checks to the Fiesta Bowl, repaying the costs of their tickets. They are: Republicans Adam Driggs and John McComish, both of Phoenix; Michele Reagan of Scottsdale; and Rich Crandall of Mesa; and Democrats Paula Aboud of Tucson and Robert Meza of Phoenix."
"Meza also has reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl $2,000 for travel and lodging to Boston and Pasadena."
So far, five lawmakers have amended their financial-disclosure statements, including Arredondo, who also is a former Tempe City Council member.
As for the House ethics complaint filed by Rep. Jack Harper (R-Surprise) against Rep. Ben Arrendando (D-Tempe), Rep. Ted Vogt (R-Tucson), chairman of the House Ethics Committee, declined to hold a hearing on the matter, noting that the "alleged violation . . . relates exclusively to alleged conduct occurring before Representative Arredondo became a member of this body."
Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City), chairman of the Senate Ethics Committee, continues to have staff review the financial-disclosure statements of Senators.
Yeah, this Tea-Publican toady of "King" Russell Pearce is really going to investigate the "King" who made him his lieutenant on the Senate Judiciary Committee. There needs to be an independent review of all financial records by a non-legislative body. I would say the Arizona Attorney General could do this, but it's Tom Horne after all. Like Tom Sawyer, he will get someone to "whitewash" this fence (investigation).
h/t graphic Arizona Guardian