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April 4, 2012

Host: Ted Simons

Allegations of Campaign Violations against AG

  |   Video
  • Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne responds to allegations that he violated campaign laws while running for office in 2010.
  • Tom Horne - Arizona Attorney General
Category: Elections   |   Keywords: Arizona Attorney, violation, campaing law,

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Ted Simons: Good evening and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Attorney General Tom Horne is disputing allegations that his 2010 campaign violated state and federal election laws. Horne said today at a press conference that the allegations are based on "No direct evidence." In February prosecutor Don Dybus filed a complaint with the Secretary of State's office accusing his boss of illegally collaborating with an independent expenditure committee that raised money to pay for attack ads against Tom Horne's opponent. Dybus claims after Horne was sworn into office the leader of the group was hired as payback for her fund raising efforts. It's been reported that the Federal authorities are investigating these allegations. Here now with his side of the story is Attorney General Tom Horne. Thank you for joining us tonight on "Horizon."

Tom Horne: Good to be here. I want to correct one thing. It's not I'm saying it wasn't any direct evidence. The big news today is he admitted his charges were not based on any direct evidence.

Ted Simons: Let's start, have you been contacted by the FBI on these allegations?

Tom Horne: No, I have not.

Ted Simons: County attorney's office?

Tom Horne: No.

Ted Simons: Are you aware the FBI is --

Tom Horne: Nobody has contacted me.

Ted Simons: The allegation you were involved in an independent expenditure committee that ran attack ads against your opponent, were you involved with this committee?

Tom Horne: I was not. There was no coordination the charge that Don Dybus made was made when he knew he was about to be fired and he knew if he made an accusation it makes it harder to fire him because he can claim it's retaliation and the big news today was, he was quoted in the yellow sheet published by the Capitol Times as saying that the charge that he made was not based on any direct evidence. It was pure speculation, he said, rather than on inferences he made, was what he said. And he had to admit that because he was -- people raise the questions, you were the first one to raise the question was, if he was doing this out of ethical considerations, why didn't he do it at the time? Why did he wait a year and a half until he was on the verge of being fired? And his response to that was he doesn't know until late last year, more than a year after the campaign that Kathleen Winn was running the independent campaign. If he didn't know until a year after the campaign she was running the campaign how the heck would he ever have any information to show we were coordinating when we didn't even know she was the person running the campaign? So his response to that was, it wasn't based on any direct evidence, it was just made on inferences he made a year and a half later. So the whole thing was completely baseless.

Ted Simons: It may be baseless the way you see it but the feds are investigating and the way they see it might be different. I want to get to some of the things they might be looking at. Again, you had absolutely no contact with a group that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to attack your Democratic opponent.

Tom Horne: There was no coordination between me and the independent campaign. I was very careful about that. And the lady who ran the independent campaign was also very careful about it. She retained counsel to advise her. Something ironic about this she very scrupulously made all her reports and all required disclosures at the Simon time there was an independent campaign against me on behalf of Felicia Rotellini, an administrative judge has found after a hearing that campaign deliberately violated Arizona campaign law, that they didn't file, they didn't even file, the basic requirement, didn't make the required disclosures. There's a finding by an administrative law judge and the newspapers don't want to bring about -- write about that. But here's a claim made by somebody who commits he had no direct evidence, and I'm being smeared on the front page of the newspaper.

Ted Simons: Obviously, the story regarding the Rotellini campaign is a story and will get to more of that in a second. But right now the story is on you. You were on the front cover of the "Arizona Republic." This group apparently report lead raised $115,000 from your brother-in-law.

Tom Horne: Yeah.

Ted Simons: True?

Tom Horne: Yes, yes. What happened there was, the lady who ran the independent campaign, her name is Kathleen Winn, was active in my campaign during the primary. The law treats the primary and the general as two separate elections. After the primary she said, Tom, I'm leaving your campaign because I am going to do an independent campaign. And all of my campaign workers will testify, if necessary, that she never showed up after that. She was gone after that. She met my sister at a victory party out of the primary campaign. My sister gave her her phone number, said, which actually said if there's anything I can do to help my little brother, let me know. She called her. I didn't know she was doing that at the time. I found out later but she did that on her own.

Ted Simons: $115,000 raised from your brother-in-law, donated to an independent committee that winds up running hundreds of thousands of dollars of ads against your Democratic opponent and again you are saying you had no contact, no collaboration, no nothing with this group.

Tom Horne: There was no collaboration, that's not -- we were very careful that there was no collaboration between the two campaigns and the person charging that there was admitting that he didn't know for a year after the campaign who even ran the campaign so how could he have any evidence?

Ted Simons: The FBI will be looking at, again, there are reports your campaign was low on cash when some of this loan moan from your brother-in-law was infused into the campaign.

Tom Horne: Ted, the irony is the campaign limits don't apply to family members so if I had known this was happening, I would have said, don't give it to the independent campaign, give to it my campaign. I would rather have money I can control in my own campaign. But I didn't know that she was raising money from my sister.

Ted Simons: Another allegation is that you rewarded the woman who campaigned independent expenditure campaign committee, I should say, rewarded the leader of that group with a job, $98,000 a year job there at the Attorney General's office.

Tom Horne: Same amount that the person under Terry Goddard was making.

Ted Simons: I don't think they are suggesting you gave her a raise. Suggesting you hired her in the first place as payback.

Tom Horne: It's very common for public officials to hire people who they got to know during campaigns as long as they are competent for the job, which she certainly is. The question was, was there a promise made of a job? Dybus alleged that I promised her a job which was untrue. And to prove that, I pointed out that she wasn't the first choice for the job. I had made the offer for the job to a woman named Kim Owens who thought about it for a week and decide not to. Kathleen wasn't in the first group of people hired in the transition. That was originally we were trying to get Kim Owens to do it and she was the second choice. In this yellow sheet interview, Don Dybus said he didn’t believe it was a red herring, continuum Owens didn't get the first job. Owens was quoted as saying, Owens today supported that claim telling our reporter that she turned down the job shortly after the election because she preferred to stay in the private sector, and learned several weeks later that Winn was wired. Owens said she steered clear of Dybus during the campaign. “His personality was uncomfortable to me, he has a very vulgar mouth, to be honest." She supported the fact, Kim Owens supported the fact she was the first one to get the offer. If I promised a job to somebody they would have been the first choice. I obviously did not make a promise of the job to her.

Ted Simons: But she did get the job and she was involved with your campaign. She raised money that's being questioned by some and looked at as far as we know by the FBI. There is that question of whether or not there is payback involved here.

Tom Horne: That's ridiculous, Ted. Every elected official, every statewide elected official has people employed by him that were active in his campaign. That's very common. I never made a promise. There's no evidence I made a problem. I disproved that I made the problem by showing that the first offer was made to somebody else. He went on an interview and said that's a red herring, that's not true. Kim Owens confirmed she had gotten the first offer.

Ted Simons: You mentioned Don Dybus as being a disgruntled employee and he was going to be fired. He said, quoted in the East Valley Tribune, saying he heard he was going to get fired for 12 months, he heard it once a month. Why didn't you just fire the guy?

Tom Horne: We first hired him as a criminal prosecutor. He was not working up to standard. My philosophy if someone is not working in one section give them a chance in another section. That's the more humane thing. It's happened to me where I moved someone to a different section and they do fine in a different section. So we moved him to consumer protection. He didn’t work up to standard in consumer protection. We moved him one last chance to civil rights. He wasn't performing to standard in civil rights so he was quoted in this article in the yellow sheet publish by the Capitol Times saying the following. “Though Collins did tell him I may be fired, Dybus said it was actually, my chief deputy, and James Keppel, the criminal division chief who resigned last week who were trying to get rid of him." He knew he was about to be fired.

Ted Simons: Why do you any does it make sense that an employee would take such drastic steps going public against the Attorney General of Arizona, with these claims and these allegations, just so he could be protected by whistle blower? I mean that seems awfully drastic. I think most folks would say, fire me, and I am going to come back at you with a lawsuit.

Tom Horne: Well, the way to be able to come back with a lawsuit is, if you acquire what they call whistle blower status. In fact, I know lawyers in this field who say when someone comes and says I am afraid to be fired, do a protective act which means accusing something of sometimes. Sometimes it's accusing someone of sexual harassment or whatever. You make an accusation and if you get fired it looks likes retaliation. It's a tactic and, in fact, Sharon Collins who is the manager of the Tucson office, asked him, why did you make this allegation? He said, she's prepared to testify he said to her, I was afraid -- I knew Rick was about to fire me. He is the chief deputy and I was afraid of lose my health insurance.

Ted Simons: So after he made he's allegations should he not have invoked whistle blower status?

Tom Horne: It was his tactic.

Ted Simons: I understand that. Again, I am trying to figure out why someone would go to those lengths --

Tom Horne: Ted, due to an insight, you were the first 2001 have the insight which is if you think something was done wrong why do you wait a year and a half to say it.

Ted Simons: Yeah. I'm trying to get your side of this.

Tom Horne: Right. As a result of that, he has admitted that he had no direct information that led him to make this accusation. He said a year and a half later, I made some speculations or he calls them inferences but he has no information to support the accusation he made. He made up the accusation.

Ted Simons: I got you.

Tom Horne: I've been smeared on these newspapers on an accusation that was made up because he wanted to protect his job.

Ted Simons: The last question is, this was a strong supporter. He worked on your campaign. This was a guy that was in your camp for quite a while.

Tom Horne: Right.

Ted Simons: What happened?

Tom Horne: His work wasn't up to standard, Ted. This is, everybody in my office knows, this is something very strict with me. Whether or not you are political supporter or not, you got to work up to standard as a lawyer in my office. I let go of another very strong supporter last November, which I hated to do, but his work wasn't up to standard. I tried to give Don every chance. We moved him to three different sections. His work was not up to standard in any of those sections and I am not going to let fact someone was a political supporter cover the fact that you must do good work to stay in this office.

Ted Simons: Last question. I lied about that being the last one. This is the last one.

Tom Horne: Don't forget to ask me about Felicia Rotellini.

Ted Simons: We are talking about you.

Tom Horne: But --

Ted Simons: Well --

Tom Horne: It's relevant.

Ted Simons: It's relevant but we don't have time to kind of go on to that tangent. I want to ask you about James Keppel and why he resigned abruptly and does have this something to do this?

Tom Horne: We issued a statement and that's all we can say as far as Keppel goes so that gives me time to just make this point, Ted. That is that the irony is, that the person who ran the independent campaign on my, that supported me, lived up to all the filing requirements, all the disclosure requirements and administrative law judge found in favor of Felicia Rotellini deliberately broke those laws. That should be the story rather than --

Ted Simons: Well, and that could be a story but right now the story is you and we appreciate you coming here.

Tom Horne: The important news is he himself at his own words admitted his accusation was not based on any direct evidence.

Ted Simons: Thanks for joining us.

Legislative Update

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  • Arizona Capitol Times reporter Luige del Puerto has the latest legislative news.
  • Luige del Puerto - Reporter,Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature   |   Keywords: Legislature, Arizona Capitol Times,

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Ted Simons: It's only Wednesday but it's already been a busy week at the State Capitol and here with the latest legislative news is Luige del Puerto of the "Arizona Capitol Times." My goodness, we are living in interesting times here, Luige and now we go to the Capitol where we have got Daniel Patterson, who is, his fellow Democrats are trying to expel him. Republicans don't want him expelled quite yet. He's changed to an independent. What's going on?

Luige del Puerto: Today House minority leader Chad Campbell asked the Speaker of the House Andy Tobin and told him to remove his assistant out of concerns for her safety. Now, the side story to this is that the assistant is actually, the assistant's sister is married to Chad Campbell. This is his sister-in-law. And Mr. Patterson's office was also moved out into the, now he's on the third floor and he is no long neither secured area. You don't need a pass to go to his office.

Ted Simons: So basically if he has to, I understand they did take away his house key? Does he need security to get around?

Luige del Puerto: What I know they restricted him so that he can only get into the second floor which is where the floor session is.

Ted Simons: This is a lawmaker accused of criminal charges regarding spousal abuse and his fellow Democrats want him out of there. Why did the Republicans say not so fast?

Luige del Puerto: They are basically saying let's, well, I think the idea is let's go through the process. There's a process. There's an ethics complaint that was filed against him. Let's go through that. They haven't had a hearing yet so they wanted to go through the motion. And I guess the only question is whether the session is going to be over before they get to the ethics committee hearing.

Ted Simons: And we are hearing some members are packing heat because they're literally afraid of Daniel Patterson.

Luige del Puerto: Representative Gallego told a reporter the other way he's been carrying his firearm and Ms. Hobbs, the representative, the Democrat who filed an ethics complaint against him is also taking precautions. I met her the other day as she was walking off the house and she was asking if anybody had seen Patterson in the area. And she was very concerned about bumping into him and what have you.

Ted Simons: We should mention Daniel Patterson is saying the whole thing is "ridiculous." We had so much other stuff going on. We will see you Friday probably and or next Wednesday with an update. Good to see you.

Luige del Puerto: Thank you.

Sheriff Arpaio & U.S. Justice Department

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  • Talks between the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office and the U.S. Department of Justice broke-down this week as they were trying to resolve a dispute over Justice Department allegations that the Sheriff’s Office engaged in a pattern of racial profiling. Arizona Republic reporter JJ Hensley provides details of the story.
  • JJ Hensley - Arizona Republic reporter
Category: Law   |   Keywords: racial profiling, sherrif's office,

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Ted Simons: Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery today said that he wants the U.S. Department of Justice to show him proof that supports the department's allegations that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office has engaged in racial profiling. Yesterday talks between the sheriff's office and the justice department broke down after Arpaio refused to consider a court-appointed monitor to help resolve the discrimination charges. Joining us now is JJ Hensley, he’s covering the story for the Arizona Republic. Good to have you here and these talks now just pretty much ended?

JJ Hensley: That's the way it appears. We know that their last face-to-face meeting came in early February. Yesterday some letters were released. These discussions, both parties agreed, were going to take place in silence without being shared with the media. Yesterday after the discussions seemed to have come to a halt some letters were released that showed they met the one-time in February, they attempted to have other face-to-face meetings, had a couple of phone conversations, and were scheduled to meet again today out here before everything unfolded yesterday that thwarted that.

Ted Simons: The feds are saying one day before these meetings are supposed to resume they find out from the sheriff's office that the court-appointed monitor to oversee the sheriff's department activity regarding racial profiling was a no-go on the sheriff's part and the feds saying, what's going on?

JJ Hensley: The sheriff's office says, well, we told them that we weren't going to agree to the monitor from the get-go. So for them to say this was coming one day before this is a little misleading. I think what happened was, Roy Austin phoned out here to the sheriff's attorneys, Roy Austin from the U.S. Department of Justice called and said if you don't agree to the court-appointed monitor there's no reason for us to come out and discuss any other aspect of this and the sheriff's office said, well, we have never agreed to a court-appointed monitor.

Ted Simons: The monitor was in the mix that one last phone call saying it's not so much in the mix and the sheriff's department saying that's it, we are not going to allow this?

JJ Hensley: The way I understand it is, back in February, the Justice Department presented 128-page document to the sheriff's office. That was going to be a draft of the agreement that they are supposed to hammer out in these negotiations. And they were going to come out here and start working through that. One of the elements of that agreement was the court appointed monitor. There were probably dozens of other elements. Sheriff's office wanted to resolve as many of those other issues as they could knowing that they were never going to agree to the court appointed monitor. I think they anticipated this would at least some of it would end up in courts. They were hoping to try to take care of as many of those other issues before it got there.

Ted Simons: How long have these talks been going on? And these things have been, it sounds as though from your reporting they have been rough from the get-go.

JJ Hensley: Yeah. It doesn't sound like it's been very pleasant. And it's hard to get a good sense because people who are actually in the meetings aren't allowed to talk about it outside the meetings. So it's all kind of second and third-hand information. But you can see the tension has been there from the very beginning. And I think it probably started honestly from the Justice Department's perspective, they will say this started from when we first notified them in March '09 that we were doing this investigation and they blocked our attempts to get records for the next 18 months. People in the sheriff's office say that was all David Hendershot and he is gone and that problem left with him. But I think that colored the way this has gone from the very beginning.

Ted Simons: It still doesn't sound like caution is waving a flag here. We are not seeing two sides getting along.

JJ Hensley: Not by a long shot. Everyone seems to think this is going to end up in court. I guess there's a small fraction of people that are holding out hope that the threat once again the threat of litigation could bring the sheriff's office to the negotiating table but they are adamant. They say we did nothing wrong and there's no way we will have a court-appointed monitor.

Ted Simons: Sheriff Arpaio's department is saying it would be a dereliction of duty to have someone run his operation. On the other side I have asked the question, is the unusual for the feds to go ahead and demand or suggest strongly for a court-appointed monitor in these kinds of situations?

JJ Hensley: No. It's pretty typical from what we have seen from cases around the country and even from talking with former employees of the civil rights division who is conducting this investigation. They say it's pretty standard. Usually, when the two sides negotiate, they can kind of curtail or define the powers of this court-appointed monitor. The sheriff's office is saying what was detailed in the draft agreement gave this person complete control of day-to-day operations of the sheriff's office. We haven't seen the agreement yet. We have asked for it. We don't know exactly what was in there but by stepping away from the negotiating table they have lost the ability to kind of influence that.

Ted Simons: The County Attorney Bill Montgomery demanding this information from the feds as we mentioned earlier, happened today, basically saying either put up or shut up. A, is that is a bit of a surprise, and B, any response yet from the Feds?

JJ Hensley: No response yet from the feds. The way things have gone, I would anticipate a letter from someone to another, you know, letters from attorneys. That's how this is all played out so far. But they haven't responded yet. I can't, it's not really surprising that he came out with that because back in December, January, when this first started to come up, he said I want to see the evidence that you have, particularly when it comes to the botched sex crimes investigations that the sheriff's office had because the county attorney's office is reviewing those now and he is saying, U.S. Department of Justice, it's a dereliction of your duty to not provide me with information that could aid in a criminal investigation.

Ted Simons: Couldn't the feds turn around and say, county attorney, we would like to have some of your information to help us as well?

JJ Hensley: I think that they could say that. And I mean, they are conducting a civil investigation. The feds are conducting a civil investigation. But that shouldn't preclude Montgomery from doing anything on the criminal side. But he's saying right now, actually, today in his press conference he threatened to take people to the bar for disciplinary action if they violated the cannon of ethics by withholding information. It just ratchets up again.

Ted Simons: You had bar threats, you have got basically Joe Arpaio saying this is a political attempt by the Obama administration to influence the vote. These are serious charges. This isn't just "I disagree with you." This is basically going around the intent of the law.

JJ Hensley: Yeah, I mean, when the sheriff's office makes those kind of statements, it really starts to call into question the credibility of everything the justice department has done because they say, they see it very plainly as a ploy by the Obama administration to score points with Hispanic voters by making Arpaio the poster boy as he calls himself of the immigration enforcement.

Ted Simons: Federal lawsuit near certainty?

JJ Hensley: It seems that way. Like I said, there's really no timetable for this. So the feds could agree to go back to the negotiating table. Bull this court appointed monitor is going to be a sticking point for the rest of this.

Ted Simons: JJ, good stuff. Thank you. We appreciate it.

JJ Hensley: Thank you.