Clean Elections Commission to Pursue Full Investigation of Horne
The Clean Elections Commission concluded this afternoon there’s enough evidence to merit a full-blown investigation into whether Attorney General Tom Horne used state personnel and resources in his reelection bid. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
The vote came despite objections of Dennis Wilenchik, Horne’s attorney. He said the only thing the commission had was the word of former employee Sarah Beattie who said she was told to work on the campaign. Wilenchik said even if that is true, that does not show Horne broke the law.
“The issue is, did Mr. Horne approve that? Did he encourage it? And did he sustain it? That’s where, commissioner, that I have to say that there’s just no evidence of that. It’s just not true,” Wilenchik said.
But, commissioner Thomas Koester said this is about more than Beattie’s activities. He told Wilenchik there are questions about Horne’s whole operation.
“He’s running a statewide campaign. Normally you’d think that you’d have full-time volunteers, or at least volunteers apart from the attorney general’s office itself. I remember one comment of someone who said, who are the volunteers? Like we’re all working on this campaign. Where is everybody else at? It’s like, yeah, that’s true,” Koester said.
That goes to the question of whether the campaign really was run out of Horne’s state office. Executive director Tom Collins said there is evidence more than $300,000 of state resources were used. The vote empowers Collins to subpoenas documents and force people to testify under oath so the panel can decide whether Horne broke the law.