Tom Forese and Doug Little admit they broke Arizona’s campaign finance laws

4
133

The “dark money” team of Tea-Publicans Tom Forese and Doug Little, secretly backed by APS and the “Kochtopus” Carbon Monopoly for the Arizona Corporation Commission, are in legal trouble as early ballots are being cast.

The director of Arizona’s Clean Elections Commission yesterday recommended that the commission investigate Tom Forese and Doug Little for violations of campaign finance laws. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, Clean Elections director calls for full investigation of Forese, Little:

dark_moneyThe executive director of the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission has recommended a full investigation into the campaigns of Republican Corporation Commission candidates Doug Little and Rep. Tom Forese over possible violations of campaign finance laws.

The five-person commission will discuss Executive Director Tom Collins’ recommendation at tomorrow’s meeting, and may vote to move forward with an investigation. The recommendation comes after two complaints were filed with the commission by the state Democratic Party.

Some portions of the complaints were found not to have merit, according to the analysis by the commission’s director and staff. But they found Little and Forese may have violated the law by spending more money than they had on hand when they made some expenditures and failed to report expenditures for campaign signs and paid nominating petition signatures.

Collins’ report also raises questions about the amount each candidate reported paying for materials, specifically signs and associated costs. As the Arizona Capitol Times previously reported, several local sign vendors say the prices Little and Forese say they paid is far below market value. Collins explained that a full investigation could include an analysis of the reported prices.

“In the context of enforcement authority, the commission has the authority to look at whether those (amounts) are correct,” Collins said. “Part of doing that, and the statute says it explicitly, is to look at the transactions and determine if they are the usual or normal value of the good or service. What someone writes in their campaign finance report is important for transparency, but it’s also part of the enforcement process. It get’s them on the record, saying what they paid… The only way campaign finance reporting and enforcement makes any sense is if we have the authority to look into whether there’s a real relationship between what’s reported and the real world.”

Today the “dark money” team of Tea-Publicans Tom Forese and Doug Little are trying to head off the investigation into their campaigns (and their secretive dark money supporters) by admitting that they broke the law, and offering a settlement. Forese, Little admit they broke campaign finance laws, propose settlement:

Republican Corporation Commission candidates Tom Forese and Doug Little now admit they broke Arizona’s campaign finance laws, and have proposed a settlement with the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission in order to avoid a deeper investigation into their campaign finance reports.

The commission will vote on how to proceed with the matter today.

In two written proposals from the candidates, Forese and Little say they “failed to make complete reports of expenditures related to campaign signs and installation as well as expenditures related to the gathering of petition signatures and violated rules related to cash on hand…”

The commission’s staff found, after investigating two complaints filed by the state Democratic Party, that the candidates did not have enough money to pay for signs purchased in July. But the commission’s staff only looked at the candidates’ cash flow starting at June 1, 2014. An Arizona Capitol Times analysis of the period before June 1, 2014 shows that Little also went into debt for more than a month, beginning in mid-March of 2014, according to his campaign finance reports.

The candidates have proposed a $1,000 fine for each, to be paid in $100 monthly installments.

Are you effin’ kidding me? These guys carry around that kind of money in pocket change. The provision of law that these guys are concerned about is A.R.S. § 16-942(C): Any campaign finance report filed indicating a violation of section 16-941, subsections A or B or section 16-941, subsection C, paragraph 1 involving an amount in excess of ten percent of the sum of the adjusted primary election spending limit and the adjusted general election spending limit for a particular candidate shall result in disqualification of a candidate or forfeiture of office.

Like all rich guys who get caught while breaking the law, they are trying to cut a deal to buy their way out of being held accountable under the law.

Arizona voters should take note that Tom Forese and Doug Little have admitted that they broke Arizona’s campaign finance laws. Why would you vote for a law breaker who can be disqualified from office? Arizona voters have the power to disqualify these guys from office by voting for their “Solar Power Team” opponents, Democrats Sandra Kennedy and Jim Holway.

It is time to end this GOP culture of corruption in Arizona with the likes of Tom Horne, John Huppenthal, Tom Forese and Doug Little all under investigation for campaign fiance law violations by the Clean Elections Commission.

UPDATE: The Clean Elections Commission met today and voted 4-1 to accept the settlement offer. Tom Forese and Doug Little admitted they broke Arizona’s campaign finance laws, and each has been assessed a $1,000 fine by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission. The two will avoid any further  investigation into their campaign finance reports. Forese, Little admit they broke campaign finance laws, slapped with $2K fine. This is how rich guys evade accountability and protect their secretive campaign contributors.

4 COMMENTS

  1. It was a minor offense and, despite the Democrat Party’s desire to win by having the candidates tossed off the ballot rather than losing at the ballot box, the Commission arrived at the correct decision. The fine was proportional to the offense committed. You all will have to settle for trying to win at the ballot box. I know it is tough to do so, but you are stuck with doing it the way the voters deserve.

  2. I would argue Tony West in 1998 alreadyset precedent that they must be disqualified. He was disqualified merely for having a securities license. They admitted breaking the law.

  3. If the CE Commission lets them get away with this it sets a bad precedent. They should be punished to the full extent of the law.

Comments are closed.