The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports one shoe is about to drop, Decision in Tom Horne campaign finance case due:
An administrative law judge concluded last month that there was not enough evidence to conclude Horne broke civil campaign finance laws during his 2010 election campaign.
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Prosecutors wanted the Republican attorney general to repay donors $400,000 and up to three times that amount in fines.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has until mid-week to accept, reject or modify the ruling and could reinstate the civil violation order.
. . . and the other shoe has already dropped. Attorney files complaint alleging campaign violations by Horne, staff:
An attorney for a former staffer at the Attorney General’s Office filed a formal complaint today alleging that Attorney General Tom Horne and top staffers repeatedly violated campaign finance laws.
The complaint was filed by attorney Tom Ryan on behalf of his client, Sarah Beattie. In an affidavit given to the Secretary of State’s Office, Beattie said she was told beginning last year while employed with the Attorney General’s Office to work on getting Horne reelected. Ryan acknowledged she did such work initially but subsequently quit.
Ryan and Beattie attached 146 pages of supporting materials, including campaign documents on which Beattie said she worked and emails from Horne and others. Beattie also said she witnessed others in Horne’s executive team — all state employees — who worked on campaign materials, often for hours at a time.
An identical complaint was filed with the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, which also enforces campaign finance laws.
Stephen Lemons at the Phoenix New Times provides the color commentary. Attorney Outlines Horne’s Alleged Crimes:
Chandler attorney Tom Ryan has dropped his daisy cutter on Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne’s office, and there ain’t much left standing.
Today, Ryan submitted to the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office a 15-page sworn affidavit from his client, ex-AG staffer Sarah Beattie, describing extensive political work and campaign fundraising being done on state time by AG employees and by the Attorney General himself.
In her affidavit, Beattie, 26, tells how she did campaign work on state time under the direction first of AG Outreach Director Kathleen Winn, then Horne himself, once Horne, afraid she would jump to another campaign, upped her salary from $32,000 to $45,000 per year.
She attests to watching Horne himself make “a substantial amount of solicitation calls” from inside his Executive Office, to using a campaign fundraising file marked “Border Patrol” from Horne’s office to make fundraising calls, to herself and others creating campaign documents on state time, and trading e-mails that were campaign related.
In addition, Beattie alleges a conspiracy by Horne and other AG staffers to keep all of this campaign work during office time a secret.
“Anyone reviewing these records will see that for the most part, they are from private email accounts, even though they are sent during regular working hours,” she states in her affidavit.
She also notes that her supervisors made it, “very clear from the onset that any campaign related communications were to be sent only on private email accounts and private laptops, and not on the Attorney General’s email account.”
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[W]hat gives [Beattie] credibility, more than the fact she is not suing and has nothing to gain from blowing the whistle, is the cache of e-mails and documents, allegedly sent and created on state time. These are the exhibits to her affidavit, and are accompanied by damning metadata.
I’ll have more to say on these later. But for now, I offer them for you to read as given to me by Ryan, redacted in some instances by Ryan so as not to give out personal e-mails. Though who sent those e-mails, and what time they were sent remains obvious.
Political reporters will be all over this like a dog on a bone during a campaign. It couldn’t happen to a more deserving corrupt politician.