Clean Elections Commission Moves Ahead With Horne Investigation
The Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission said it looks like evidence supports allegations that Attorney General Tom Horne used his staff to do campaign work on state time. The commission is moving ahead with its investigation to find out if Horne violated campaign law.
Executive director Tom Collins said the five-member panel decided there’s reason to believe that Horne used his paid staff at the AG’s office to work on his re-election bid, but not as volunteers.
“The point is that at this juncture based on all of the facts that we have there’s reason to believe that those salaries were contributions to the Horne campaign” Collins said.
He said the commission will continue its inquiry. But before it is determined if any penalties can be assessed, the panel will hold another hearing involving Horne’s attorneys.
“The commission approved proceeding now with the issuance of subpoenas and interviewing witnesses under oath,” Collins said.
At issue is whether Horne used $300,000 worth of state employee time to do work on his 2014 campaign. That was alleged by one of Horne’s former top aides, Sarah Beattie. Horne’s spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham said he never used his executive office as a campaign workplace.
“But, at the end of the day, our office is going to continue to cooperate with them as we have been doing and we look forward to showing that all of the claims made by this individual are not only false, but really quite malicious,” Grisham said.
Horne has faced a variety of recent investigations and he pleaded no contest to allegations he was involved in a misdemeanor hit-and-run traffic accident. He lost his re-election bid last month to fellow republican Mark Brnovich, a former state gaming director.