State Capitol News
8:28 am
Mon February 10, 2014

Tom Horne Campaign Finance Trial Begins

Attorney General Tom Horne goes before an administrative law judge Monday to defend himself against charges he violated state campaign finance laws in his 2010 election. Arizona Public Radio’s Howard Fischer report.

Attorney General Tom Horne goes before an administrative law judge Monday to answer charges he violated campaign finance laws.
Attorney General Tom Horne goes before an administrative law judge Monday to answer charges he violated campaign finance laws.
Credit Capitol Media Services file photo by Howard Fischer

The case stems from a half-million-dollar TV commercial paid for by Business Leaders for Arizona. That committee was being run by Kathleen Winn who had been working for Horne while he was state school superintendent. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, working with interviews, phone records and e-mails gathered by the FBI, said there is evidence of coordination between Horne and Winn about that commercial. She said that made the commercial effectively an “in-kind” contribution to Horne’s campaign. But Michael Kimerer, Horne’s attorney, called the evidence “circumstantial and coincidental.”

“I think it stretches the imagination, regardless of the sequence of the calls or the timing, that you just automatically have to assume they’re talking about this particular ad. And, I think we have evidence we can put on that will show that there’s more of a reason to believe they were talking about something else,” Kimerer said.

That “something else” is a real estate deal that Kimerer said Winn was helping Horne to close. Kimerer said he is probably going to call Horne to the stand to explain what happened. But, he may not get the first crack at his client. Because this is a civil matter, Horne can be called by Deputy County Attorney Jack Fields as part of his effort to prove collusion. And unlike a criminal trial, Horne cannot invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.