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Horne Asks for Dismissal of Clean Elections Investigation

Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times

The lawyer for Attorney General Tom Horne asked a judge this afternoon to kill one of the three current investigations against him. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

At issue is whether Horne has been using staffers on state time and public resources to campaign for reelection. The Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted in June to investigate. But, attorney Timothy LaSota told Judge Dawn Bergin the panel’s authority is limited to those who use public dollars to campaign. He noted Horne is running with private donations.

“What we have is a commission intruding into an area that it’s not only not legal for them to do so. They don’t have authority. And that was confirmed by the Legislature. But it’s also completely unnecessary. We already have two other investigations going on,” LaSota said.

But, commission lawyer Joe Kanefield noted Horne has filed suit to kill one of those — the inquiry by Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery — and the other actually is being handled by a former judge who was chosen by one of Horne’s own employees. He said that’s why voters gave concurrent authority to the commission.

“The voters wanted to make sure an independent body, a bipartisan independent body, could enforce these laws if necessary. It makes sense that the voters would have done this as a policy matter. But this argument that the world’s going to cave in if there’s concurrent jurisdiction is just nonsensical,” Kanefield said.

Bergin did not say when she will rule.

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