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AZ Attorney General Under Investigation by FBI

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is currently under investigation by the FBI, according to The Arizona Republic. Horne allegedly illegally worked with an independent expenditure committee that raised over $500,000 in 2010 to run disparaging ads against Horne’s Democratic opponent.

A whistleblower who worked for Horne brought the accusations to light in February by filing a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. The office then forwarded the complaint to the FBI.

The complaint alleges that Horne was actively involved with Business Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure committee, raising thousands of dollars from Horne’s brother-in-law, Richard Newman. It also alleges that once Horne was elected, he appointed Kathleen Winn director of community as a reward for her extensive work on the independent expenditure committee.

It’s alleged that Horne violated the Arizona independent expenditure law, which proscribes a civil penalty for coordination between independent expenditure committees and campaign committees, according to the complaint.

In addition to the claimed violations of state law, the complaint also asserts that Horne violated federal law by allegedly promising to appoint Winn as compensation for her work on the committee. Under federal law, it is illegal for a person or group receiving federal funds to promise “any employment…to any person as consideration, favor, or reward for any political activity or for the support of or opposition to any candidate or any political party.”

It’s impossible to draw an informed conclusion from the brief complaint as to whether the allegations against Attorney General Tom Horne have any merit. Hopefully, the FBI’s investigation will shed more light on the accusations against Horne and the members of his staff.

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