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Judge Declines to Throw Out Horne Investigation


A judge has rebuffed efforts by Attorney General Tom Horne to quash an investigation into whether he has been using public resources in his reelection bid. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.

The issue is related to complaints by a former staffer at the Attorney General’s Office that key employees have worked on state time with state equipment to help Horne secure another four-year term.

Separate inquiries into election law violations were launched by the Secretary of State and the Citizens Clean Elections Commission. But this probe surrounds whether other laws governing misuse of public money were broken. Horne said the Maricopa County Attorney's Office cannot investigate because County Attorney Bill Montgomery supports Mark Brnovich, Horne’s Republican primary foe.

Judge Mark Brain called those arguments “entirely unconvincing.” Brain conceded the evidence shows that Montgomery “does not think much of plaintiff Horne.” But, the judge said if that was the standard, it could prevent pretty much any prosecutor from looking into questions of whether Horne is breaking the law.

And, Brain said if Horne is indicted during the election campaign he then can claim the charges are little more than a political stunt. Horne declined to comment on Brain refusing to issue a restraining order, noting there are further hearings scheduled on the issue.

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