State Attorney General Contenders Blast Each Other in Debate
Phoenix, AZ – Democrat Felecia Rotellini said the best way voters have to
compare her and Republican Tom Horne is by their track records.
(I've prosecuted securities fraud. He's committed it. I've
cracked down on border crimes. He just talks about it. I'm a
career prosecutor whose dedicated my life to protecting Arizona.
He's a career politician and he's looking for a stepping stone to
the governor's office.)
The attack in the first two minutes of the half-hour debate
appeared to catch Horne off guard.
(I'm really disappointed at seeing Felecia getting into the mud.
I thought we were going to have a friendly exchange of the issues
the way we did in our last debate. And for her to accuse me of
securities fraud, I never committed securities fraud. She's
distorting something that happened 40 years ago.)
Horne conceded that the Securities and Exchange Commission did
bar him from the business for life. He said it was based on what
he called bookkeeping errors, the result he said of computerizing
records before understanding the technology. But he sidestepped
questions of whether anyone ever lost money because of his
activities. Horne then turned the tables on Rotellini, the former
state superintendent of financial institutions, saying he has
been rated both accomplished and very ethical by a professional
(Felecia has no rating at all, which means she's exaggerated her
experience as a prosecutor and pretended she's an experienced
courtroom prosecutor when she isn't because she has no rating.
And she did a terrible job managing banking. We had the worst
case in Arizona of bad mortgages in Arizona while she was
supposed to be regulating them.)
Horne said a major law firm informed both Rotellini's agency and
the Attorney General's Office in 2006 that Mortgages Limited was
engaged in improper financial practices. He said a lot of
investors lost their life savings when the company went belly up.
But Rotellini said the failure of that company was not her fault.
(The Mortgages Limited securities fraud is what caused them to go
down. They were a mortgage broker. And they were engaged in
mortgage banking. The violations that put Mortgages Limited into
bankruptcy and caused them to be in trouble was the securities
side of their business.)
Horne said he has a record as state school superintendent of
standing up for the state. He cited the ongoing lawsuit over
whether Arizona is meeting its obligation to ensure all children
have an opportunity to learn English. A judge found the state was
falling short and levied fines of up to $1 million a day.
(The Democratic attorney general refused to appeal it. I appealed
it as one of the defendants, brought it all the way to the United
States Supreme Court, where it's called Horne v. Flores, saved
Arizona taxpayers $300 million. That's the kind of standing up to
the federal government we need, not a point person for the Obama
Horne also promised to make defending the state's new immigration
law in court his top priority if elected. He said Rotellini
cannot do that because she was opposed to the legislation. She
denied that's the case.
(My priority is border security. SB 1070 doesn't go far enough.
It doesn't stop illegal immigration. It doesn't secure our border.
I will defend SB 1070. I will enforce it when I'm attorney
Both candidates said, though, they will do more than focus on the
border. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.