Attorney General Tom Horne struck back this afternoon at a former employee who filed complaints with two state agencies saying she and others were working on his reelection campaign during business hours. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer reports.
In a formal response to both complaints, Horne said there is no basis to the charges by Sarah Beattie. He wants Secretary of State Ken Bennett and the Citizens Clean Elections Commission, which have concurrent authority over campaign finance laws, to dismiss her complaint as groundless. Horne, in his 11-page statement, said it is obvious on its face that Beattie’s claim the campaign was run out of his state office is false. He wrote, “If that were true, there would be no reason for the numerous off-site meetings confirmed by an independent witness.”
Horne would not comment beyond his written statement. But, attorney Tom Ryan who represents Beattie said Horne’s denials don’t hold up.
“Does he respond to all of the data and metadata that’s in there? No. He wants to engage in an attack-and-distract strategy. The idea is attack Sarah Beattie and distract from the real story. Tom Horne doesn’t have a headquarters. Tom Horne is campaigning from the Attorney General’s Office,” Ryan said.
It will now be up to the two state agencies to review the complaint and Horne’s response to decide if there is enough evidence to proceed with an investigation. If Horne is found to have broken the law he can be fined as well as ordered to refund the amount of state money improperly spent.