(Update) Ain’t nobody takin’ a dive! Rotellini deserves her rematch

The Arizona Republic reports today that nine GOP state legislators who are afraid that the poster boy for political corruption in Arizona, Tom “banned for life by the SEC” Horne, is a drag on the GOP ticket have asked him to withdraw from the AG race.  Ariz. GOP lawmakers call on Horne to withdraw from race (paragraphs have been reordered for clarity):

TomHorneNine Republican state lawmakers delivered a letter to Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Thursday afternoon, urging him to end his re-election bid.

The one-page letter expresses “grave concerns” over recent allegations by a former Horne staffer, who asserts that the attorney general and his executive staff, among other things, ran a quasi campaign office out of the Attorney General’s Office.

“We acknowledge the investigations into wrongdoing are not complete, but that in no way lessens the dark cloud of impropriety that hangs over you and your administration,” the letter states. “We trust that the authorities conducing these investigations will enforce the law to the best of their abilities. We also acknowledge this process will take time and that you have a right to your day in court. Your ability to lead and serve the public, however, has already been severely compromised.”

Thursday’s letter was signed by state Reps. Paul Boyer, Rick Gray, Warren Petersen, Karen Fann, J.D. Mesnard, T.J. Shope, and state Sens. Kelli Ward — who had endorsed Horne — Nancy Barto and Steve Yarbrough.

The lawmakers say they are acting in the best interest of the state and the Republican party.

The letter follows last week’s calls by Rep. Matt Salmon and Sen. Jeff Flake to pull out of the race.

* * *

Stephanie Grisham, Horne’s press secretary, said Horne is “doing a great job” and is focused on doing his job and is “not worried about petty politics.”

“Nine whole legislators dropping a note off at our office is a moot point when the AG has already filed his signatures and has no intention of dropping out of the race,” Grisham wrote in a statement. “Going against establishment Republicans is nothing new to Tom.”

That’s a hearty “F-you!” from Tommy Boy.

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports today that Horne will continue his legal battles until he loses his reelection bid. Horne, Winn appeal campaign complaint decision:

Attorney General Tom Horne and aide Kathleen Winn are asking a Superior Court judge to reverse a county attorney’s decision to push forward with a campaign finance complaint against them.

Michael Kimerer and Timothy La Sota, the attorneys for Horne and Winn, filed an appeal with Maricopa County Superior Court on Thursday asking a judge to overturn Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk’s decision to reject an administrative law judge’s recommendation that a campaign finance complaint against them be dismissed.

Administrative Law Judge Tammy Eigenheer recommended that the complaint, which accuses Horne and Winn of illegal coordination between a campaign and an independent expenditure committee in 2010, be dismissed for lack of evidence.

Under state statute, the scope of review for an administrative order such as Polk’s is very limited. The court can only overturn an agency decision if it concludes that “the action is not supported by substantial evidence, is contrary to law, is arbitrary and capricious or is an abuse of discretion.”

Kimerer and La Sota challenged Polk’s decision on those grounds.

Horne and Winn’s attorneys [also] questioned whether the process by which the complaint against them is enforced is actually constitutional.

The attorneys questioned whether the statute giving the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office the ability to overrule a neutral ALJ can be constitutionally applied in a case in which the agency has no relevant substantive experience in campaign finance law, “thereby rendering the due process hearing a sham.” The attorneys argued that Horne and Winn were given due process in the Office of Administrative Hearings but had it taken away by the prosecuting attorneys in the case.

They questioned whether it’s constitutional for the county attorney’s decision to call as its main witness, FBI Agent Brian Grehoski, someone who has limited authority to answer questions on the witness stand. Defense attorneys made numerous complaints about Grehoski’s unwillingness to answer their questions during a three-day hearing February.

The attorneys also resurrected an argument from a previous lawsuit filed by Winn, which challenged the campaign contribution limits that Horne and Winn are accused of exceeding in 2010. Polk determined that because of the alleged coordination between Horne and Winn, all contributions to Winn’s independent expenditure committee, Business Leaders for Arizona, were subject to the same contribution limits as Horne, and that $400,000 of the roughly $500,000 the committee raised was in excess of those limits.

Kimerer and La Sota also questioned whether campaign finance laws could even be applied to Business Leaders for Arizona’s 2010 advertisement against Democratic attorney general candidate Felecia Rotellini, but it did not use any language urging people to vote for or against a candidate.

La Sota acknowledged that the scope of review is limited. But he said there is precedent for a Superior Court judge examining other issues as well, namely a campaign finance case against the Committee for Justice and Fairness, a committee that aired television ads against Horne in support of Rotellini during the 2010 election.

In 2012, Superior Court Judge Crane McClennen rejected a complaint against the Committee for Justice and Fairness on the grounds that the campaign laws it was accused of violating were unconstitutional. A decision in the case is pending in the Arizona Court of Appeals.

So the Attorney General of Arizona wants to clog up the court system with his political corruption cases instead of doing the job of Attorney General. What a swell guy.

I hope that Felecia Rotellini cleans his clock.

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