As Tom Horne's zombie-like re-election campaign staggers forth, a question remains: Who will chop off its head?
Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's bizarre relationship with women is best described by ex-AG staffer Sarah Beattie, the 26-year-old who has deluged both state and federal authorities with physical evidence demonstrating that Horne and his executive staff have campaigned on state time.
Sitting in the office of her attorney, Tom Ryan, she confides a conversation she had with Horne while still working at the AG's Office.
"Tom Horne once said to me, 'I would love to be [a member of the Fundamentalist Church of Latter-day Saints],'" she explains to New Times, referring to the infamous polygamous sect once headed by imprisoned child rapist Warren Jeffs.
In reply to the AG's creepy remark, Beattie repeated to Horne a comment she'd heard her dad make about a "sister wives" reality TV show depicting a polygamous family's home life.
"I told Tom Horne that my dad said, 'Can you imagine anything more awful than five wives yelling at you constantly?'" recalls Beattie.
"And Tom goes, 'I can imagine nothing better.'"
The story rings true for a man who surrounds himself with female surrogates whom he expects to do his bidding, like compliant fembots following Dr. Evil's orders in an Austin Powers film.
Some seem content to play that role, like former Assistant Attorney General Carmen Chenal.
Horne first hired Chenal for a position she was unqualified for at the Arizona Department of Education, while Horne was the state's Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Later, as AG-elect, Horne helped Chenal, who'd been suspended by the State Bar of Arizona, get her law license reinstated.
Horne then hired her to another position many felt she was unqualified for, this time at the AG's Office.
Chenal never has denied being Horne's mistress. Nor has Horne, who is married, denied an affair with the Cuban-American divorcee.
Chenal now works at the law office of Dennis Wilenchik, a political supporter of Horne's, whose firm has taken cases assigned to it by the AG's Office.
Some of the material that Beattie has made public shows that Chenal remains deeply involved in Horne's political work, scouting Molina Fine Jewelers as a possible location for a campaign event (and trying on an $8 million ring in the process) or discussing via e-mail such details as the biscotti to be included in gift bags handed out at fundraisers.
Not that you have to be romantically involved with Horne to drink the proverbial Kool-Aid, play compliant female, and join an ersatz political harem stocked with Stepford wives.
Beattie certainly bucked any such expectations that she would do the fembot bit.
Hired by Horne's outreach director, Kathleen Winn, in August 2013, Beattie explains how she did campaign work on state time as Winn's underling.
Beattie was promoted to Horne's executive staff after about a month and a half on the job and tasked with raising money for his re-election campaign, something she'd done for other Arizona Republicans.
Horne gave her the veritable keys to his kingdom: access to a white, three-ring binder intentionally mislabeled "Border Patrol." It contains a list of Horne donors — in categories such as Fortune 500 executives and attorneys — past and prospective.
Horne kept the binder in the AG's Office. Beattie would fetch it whenever she needed it. She claims she watched Horne solicit donations from it himself while he was in his AG office.
In a sworn affidavit supported by more than 146 pages of exhibits and the "Border Patrol" binder, Beattie makes the devastating accusation that "the majority of people employed in the Executive Office of the Arizona Attorney General's Office were campaigning for Tom Horne during regular business hours."
Beattie's allegations now are in the hands of investigators with the FBI, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, and the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission.
Campaigning on the state's dime is illegal, and yet Horne, amazingly, maintains that the contrary is true, in spite of the AG's own policies, in spite of Arizona law, in spite of a gathering consensus that Horne, is, politically speaking, the walking dead.
Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk now has revived a campaign-finance case against Horne, reinstating her previous order that he and Kathleen Winn, his office's outreach director, repay $400,000 in campaign contributions deemed improper because of illegal coordination between an independent-expenditure committee Winn once ran and Horne's 2010 campaign for AG.
The AG is appealing Polk's decision. If he loses, Horne's GOP primary rival, former state gaming director Mark Brnovich, stands to benefit directly. A recent poll by an organization friendly to his campaign shows him neck-and-neck with Horne among likely Republican primary voters, with more than a third undecided.
Should Brnovich prove incapable of successfully taking a metaphorical sword to Horne's undead head, there's Democratic rival Felecia Rotellini waiting for vengeance after losing to Horne in 2010 by 60,000 votes.
Rested and ready, she bides her time, raking in cash with which to obliterate what's left of Horne should he survive the primary. She is on track, some say, to have raised $1.5 million by the beginning of the general election.
All that's left in Horne's tragicomedy is a denouement, and the answer to the one remaining question: Who will finish him off?
Chuck Coughlin, the closest thing Arizona has to Karl Rove (or Lee Atwater, take your pick), is whistling past the zombie-yard.
"I don't think [Horne's] as damaged as what people assume he is," Coughlin says during an interview. "And given the electoral cycle, I still think he's got a shot at winning. I'd put it at even odds right now of him winning the primary, then beating [Rotellini]."
"Even odds" for an incumbent does not sound promising. True, Coughlin won't argue too much with the proposition that Horne is damaged goods.
"I'm just not in this camp of 'Oh, he should resign,'" he tuts. "I'm not there, having seen what I've seen in my life."
Coughlin can boast a certain expertise in Republican scandals, as he was once a top adviser to former Arizona Governor Fife Symington, who resigned in 1997 after a fraud conviction, which was overturned on appeal.
Symington later was pardoned by his pal President Bill Clinton, a Democrat whom the Republican Symington had saved from drowning in Hyannis, Massachusetts when they were young men ("Criminal With an Asterisk," May 15, 2003).
Symington, it should surprise no one, is a stalwart Horne supporter.
So what would it take for Coughlin to acknowledge Horne as a goner? How bad does it have to get?
An FBI raid on the AG's Office? A criminal indictment? A photo of Horne with a goat?
Not that much, actually.
Coughlin admits that if Horne's appeal of Polk's decision to the Superior Court fails, the AG probably is finished.
In this scenario, Horne and Winn still would be on the hook for $400,000.
"If that's what happens, my instincts will be that those prospects [for re-election] will go down substantially," Coughlin says. "At that point, you will have had, at least in the eyes of the public, a conclusive resolution to the matter."
Coughlin tries his best to make the case that state law and the process are unfair for Horne, that he's a victim of a vicious, lefty U.S. Department of Justice run by that bête noire of GOPers, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who sicced the FBI on Horne.
But this spin plays with only two groups these days: Horne's ever-dwindling cult of personality and the same wingnuts who once vilified Horne as a RiNO (Republican in Name Only) when he was running in the 2010 GOP primary for AG against now-disbarred ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andy Thomas.
Somehow, local moon-howlers have convinced themselves that Horne — a former Democrat still regarded as a soft-boiled egg on such hard-right issues as abortion — is a right-wing martyr.
Their revisionist thinking has to ignore a hell of a lot of history, including how Horne and Winn became the object of the FBI's curiosity and the subject of a campaign-finance complaint to begin with.
Horne brought it all on himself. Literally.
In 2011, Horne ordered veteran AG investigator Meg Hinchey to find out who was leaking information to New Times about Chenal, then Horne's presumed mistress, whom he had hired to be an assistant attorney general at a salary of $108,000 per year.
In reality, all the info on Chenal that appeared in this publication in 2011 was public record.
But Horne was so perturbed by New Times' reporting that he sent Hinchey on a mole hunt, during which she interviewed AG employees in Phoenix and Tucson and ran a check of state phone records looking for a reporter's cell-phone number.
When the mole hunt drew close to Winn, Horne moved to block it, telling others, according to Hinchey's account, "I can't fire [Winn]; she can really hurt me."
Winn never was questioned by Hinchey, and the point was moot anyway because Winn was not the source of New Times' information.
However, during the course of Hinchey's probe, the AG investigator uncovered evidence of illegal campaign coordination between Winn and Horne in 2010.
With the approval of her direct supervisor, as well as former Judge Jim Keppel, then head of the AG's criminal division, Hinchey turned over what she had discovered to the FBI, along with other allegations of wrongdoing in the AG's Office.
According to FBI documents released in 2012, Keppel told FBI agents how both Horne and Horne's chief deputy, Rick Bistrow, suggested different ways to make Hinchey's investigative file go bye-bye.
That could have been viewed as the illegal destruction of public records, a felony in Arizona.
Worse still, it might have been seen as the destruction of evidence of wrongdoing, otherwise known as the obstruction of justice.
But such alleged suggestions never bore fruit. Hinchey downloaded a copy of her investigative file before anyone else got to it and gave it to FBI agents.
Keppel, a Republican, abruptly resigned his post in 2012. Hinchey remained behind and allegedly became the subject of retaliation by Horne and other members of his staff.
In January 2013, months after the FBI's case file against Horne was released to the press, Hinchey formally filed suit in federal court against Horne and his office.
In her complaint, Hinchey said her law enforcement career was sabotaged by Horne and his lieutenants.
Hinchey claimed Horne badmouthed her as a "political hack" and went so far as to tell others that Hinchey, in the words of her lawsuit, "may have been having some personal, intimate relationship with former Attorney General Candidate Felecia Rotellini."
Isolated in the office, called a "rogue investigator," and "difficult to work with," Hinchey ultimately left the AG's employ and received a $100,000 settlement as part of an agreement to dismiss the case.
Some in the Horne camp malign Hinchey in private conversations with reporters to this day.
Hers was not an act of rectitude, of doing the right thing when faced with evidence of lawbreaking by the highest law enforcement official in Arizona, according to the Horne-ites.
In their minds, it was an act of treason against patriarch Tom, leader of his own FLDS-wannabe tribe of worshipers; she should have covered up and shut up like all good Horne ladies do.
Along comes 2014, and it's déjà vu all over again, as Sarah Beattie rejects the role of Horne handmaiden in favor of telling the truth, doing the right thing.
Beattie, too, has been ostracized by former friends and become the subject of a vicious smear campaign.
Pause that thought, and rewind to the first FBI investigation, which began about September 30, 2011, and lasted for about a year. Agents shadowed Horne, looking to pin him on such criminal counts as wire fraud, tampering with witnesses, and obstruction of justice.
The U.S. Attorney's Office wound up not pursuing a criminal federal prosecution.
FBI agents did witness Horne, during a daytime rendezvous with Chenal, engage in a vehicular hit-and-run, meaning Horne did not leave a note.
"I think I probably did tap a car," Horne told Fox 10 News recently when the subject was brought up. "Which many people tell me they do, and if they don't see any damage, they don't leave notes."
Lame excuses aside, Horne pleaded no contest to a criminal misdemeanor and paid a $300 fine in May 2013.
He had stretched out the case as long as possible, with continuance after continuance.
Horne pleaded nolo contendere the same day that the guilty verdict in the Jodi Arias case was announced. Which may have spared Horne from answering questions about it then, but only then.
The vagaries of election law may be lost on Joe and Jane Sixpack, but almost everyone understands the sort of scalawag that does not leave a note after rear-ending a car in a parking lot. Particularly when the parking lot is attached to the apartment complex of said scalawag's mistress.
Early ballots in the 2014 primary do not go out until the end of July, but the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, a conservative group headed by Mesa Republican Tyler Montague, just dropped close to $400,000 on a TV commercial bashing Horne for putting his mistress on the public payroll and for the hit-and-run.
The ad calls on the public to phone Horne and demand his resignation from office.
"The hardest part about making our 30-second commercial was deciding which of the long list of Horne's scandals to discuss," Montague said in a statement released with the ad.
"It wasn't easy. We settled on telling people about allegations that Horne hired his mistress for a $108K state salary and that he was sneaking off with her when the FBI observed him commit a hit-and-run.
"I feel those incidents concisely symbolize Horne's sense of entitlement and the lack of concern for the law displayed in more complex issues."
When New Times noted the dollar amount of the ad buy, Montague's grin was almost perceptible over the phone.
"Interesting irony, eh?" Montague says.
The campaign-finance case that won't go away was a consolation prize for the FBI and for Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.
After all, between a civil violation involving Winn and Horne illegally collaborating on the campaign against Rotellini and obstruction of justice and other juicy criminal allegations, what law enforcement agency wouldn't want to nail a state AG on the latter?
Other than the state AG's Office, that is.
Montgomery disclosed the FBI's investigation in late 2012. Both he and the feds chose not to hit Horne and Winn with criminal charges.
Instead, Montgomery pursued state elections-law violations against Horne and Winn, ordering that they repay $400,000 in contributions to Winn's independent-expenditure committee, Business Leaders for Arizona, or else face treble fines.
The MCAO and the FBI had amassed phone records and e-mails, showing "there were over 150 calls between Winn and Horne from August 25, 2010 and November 2010," according Montgomery's complaint against the pair.
Also, there was "a spike in the number of calls " during the time period that Winn and a campaign consultant from Lincoln Strategy Group were "working to create [a television advertisement] opposing Felecia Rotellini for attorney general."
State law decrees that independent-expenditure committees and candidates keep their efforts separate. When they do not, campaign contribution limits can be violated, which allegedly is what happened in the Horne/Winn affair.
Since Winn's IE and the campaign were acting as one, donors to Winn's Business Leaders for Arizona poured in more cash than allowed under state law — $400,000 too much.
Speaking of the civil case during a recent press conference, Montgomery remarked on the volume and quality of the evidence against Horne and Winn.
"The evidence that we had, yeah it was circumstantial," he admitted. "We didn't have recordings of any people directly involved admitting to coordinating. But under Arizona law, circumstantial evidence is entitled to the same weight as direct evidence."
He continued: "In this case, when we looked at the e-mails overlaid with phone calls overlaid with actions overlaid with the results, you don't get a much stronger circumstantial case involving this kind of conduct than what we saw in this instance."
True, Montgomery opposes Horne's re-election, calls Horne "unfit to serve," and supports Horne's primary challenger, Mark Brnovich.
But a procedural problem removed the campaign-finance case from Montgomery's purview. Perhaps this was for the best, since Montgomery was perceived as conflicted.
Eventually, the campaign-finance case landed in the lap of Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, a Republican who has endorsed neither Horne nor Brnovich.
Polk came to the same conclusion as Montgomery: Winn and Horne violated state campaign-finance law and therefore must pay.
A civil hearing took place in February before Administrative Law Judge Tammy Eigenheer. It lasted three days and featured testimony from Horne and Winn.
Eigenheer rendered her decision in April. Despite overwhelming circumstantial evidence, she concluded that Polk's prosecutors had not prevailed, failing to prove their case by a preponderance of evidence.
The administrative law judge argued that it was plausible Horne and Winn had been discussing a real estate transaction instead of the TV attack ad, on which Winn was laboring at the time.
There was just Winn and Horne's testimony to back up the claim that Winn and Horne had discussed a pending real estate deal. Not one document, not one e-mail demonstrated involvement by Winn.
In such proceedings, Polk makes a determination, there is a hearing before an ALJ, then the matter goes back to Polk, who has the final decision.
Polk was not buying what Eigenheer was selling: That, because there were no tape recordings of phone calls between Winn and Horne, it was believable that Horne and Winn had been chatting about a real estate proposition.
On May 14, Polk formally rejected Eigenheer's finding. Polk concluded that the preponderance of the evidence — the standard of proof in this case — pointed to Horne and Winn's guilt.
"The [ALJ's] decision . . . concludes that it was plausible that Mr. Home and Ms. Winn were instead discussing a pending real estate deal," Polk writes. "[The Yavapai County Attorney] notes that these explanations are not mutually exclusive. Communications during telephone conversations can cover more than one topic."
As for Winn, Polk all but called her a liar.
"Ms. Winn repeatedly changed her story throughout the progress of this case," Polk observes. "Her pattern of contradicting sworn affidavits to conform to newly revealed facts calls into question her credibility. Some portions of Ms. Winn's testimony . . . do not stand up to scrutiny."
In response, Horne's office railed against Polk, whose reputation in political and law enforcement circles is impeccable, squeaky clean, and notably honest.
"[A] county politician has foolishly ignored the ruling of an independent judge," Horne spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham inveighed. "She will undoubtedly lose on appeal. In the meantime, Attorney General Horne will continue the job he was elected to do."
This quote was wrongly attributed to Horne himself elsewhere, but he might as well have said it. In subsequent interviews with TV reporters, he called Polk a sore loser.
"That'd be like a base runner getting called out and saying, 'I'm going to [overrule] the umpire and I'm gonna rule I'm really safe,'" he told Fox 10 News.
Horne knows better. The law governing administrative decisions, Arizona Revised Statute 41-1092.08, reads that "the head of the agency," — in this case, Polk — "may review the [ALJ's] decision and accept, reject, or modify it."
As for the appeal Horne is making to the Superior Court, the law leans toward Polk.
The statute describing the scope of the Superior Court's review (A.R.S. 12-910) states:
"The court shall affirm the agency action unless after reviewing the administrative record and supplementing evidence presented at the evidentiary hearing, the court concludes that the action is not supported by substantial evidence, is contrary to law, is arbitrary and capricious, or is an abuse of discretion."
Given the reams of evidence suggesting to all but Horne's lawyers, employees, and sycophants that Horne and Winn coordinated with each other in 2010, it's difficult to see any judge finding Polk's decision "not supported by substantial evidence" or "contrary to law" or "arbitrary and capricious" or "an abuse of discretion."
Was Polk influenced by outside events? Beattie's attorney, Tom Ryan, believes so.
"I have a firm belief that Sarah Beattie's affidavit helped push Sheila Polk in this direction," Ryan tells New Times. "It certainly confirms what all rational people in the state of Arizona believe and that is Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn coordinated the campaign."
Even before Ryan dropped off Beattie's affidavit and 146-plus pages of exhibits to the Arizona Secretary of State's Office, questions were raised about Horne's use of his office for campaign purposes.
Horne's legislative liaison, Brett Mecum, was criticized for making politically charged tweets during what seemed to be office hours.
Similarly, Grisham was accused of playing campaign spokeswoman while holding down her job as public-information officer for the AG's Office.
These allegations were all about boundaries, and the AG's Office claimed campaign activity occurred on breaks and during lunch times.
Meanwhile, rumors swirled of AG's staff doing opposition research on Brnovich and Rotellini.
On April 27, the Arizona Capitol Times broke the news that Beattie, an employee in the attorney general's constituent-services division, had stepped down, claiming in her resignation note that Horne's office was "not following campaign laws or finance laws" and that her "legal well-being" was at stake.
A day later, a video surfaced showing Mecum dropping off a campaign-related complaint on February 11 with the Secretary of State's Office, as Beattie accompanied him.
Grisham said Mecum had been on his lunch hour. Indeed, the time stamp on the document was close to noon.
Before the video was made public, New Times asked Mecum if he had filed the document with the SOS.
Mecum insisted via Facebook: "I don't do anything political on state time."
He further maintained: "I filed no complaint."
That was before he knew that there was a video showing him in flagrante delicto.
The farce rolled on.
The same week, it was revealed that Horne mistakenly had responded to a fundraising e-mail from the Brnovich campaign.
Butterfingers Horne hit "reply" instead of "forward." The e-mail was time-stamped at 2:32 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29. In it, Horne kvetched about a Republican women's group in Prescott.
Grisham claimed Horne had sent the e-mail by mistake at 7 a.m., when he was not yet in the AG's Office. But the time stamp sure seemed to reveal that Horne was doing campaign stuff on state time.
The Brnovich camp also disclosed to New Times that several AG staffers were, like Horne, subscribed to Brnovich's campaign e-mails.
The software the Brnovich campaign uses to send out these e-mails shows precisely when and how often Horne; his chief of staff, Margaret Dugan; Winn; Mecum; and other Horne-ites opened them.
Dugan and Winn admitted to New Times that they did so at the office. Dugan claimed she did so only on breaks or when in the toilet.
Winn said she always opens all e-mails, then immediately deletes them. Though in her case, the Brnovich camp's software shows her opening e-mails more than once on what could be state time.
This activity skirts the edges of impropriety. Most of the records from the Brnovich camp showed the use of personal rather than official e-mail accounts by Horne-ites, though much of the activity was during the work day.
But it was Hurricane Sarah who really demolished the Horne camp.
Horne loyalists already had pulled out the long knives for Beattie, as soon as news that she had left the AG's Office hit, after turning in a scintillating resignation letter.
She was an ex-stripper, had used cocaine, and had been convicted of DUI, Horne surrogates whispered to some in local media.
Horne himself suggested vaguely, though publicly, that Beattie had problems he could not discuss because of federal privacy statutes regarding disclosure of personal medical information.
Like a lot of people telling the truth, Beattie did not try to hide anything. Sure, she had been a stripper when younger, she confirmed to reporters.
Yes, she had done coke in the past. The DUI? Well, she told Winn she had one when Winn hired her. This is backed by an e-mail Beattie sent Winn (released with other documents), reminding Winn to tell the AG's human resources folks about the DUI.
And if Beattie is such a bad person, as the Horne camp suggests, why was she promoted while on the job, given a 40 percent pay raise, from $32,000 to $45,000, and moved to the executive staff on the second floor.
Even Horne had to admit in an interview with ABC 15 that Beattie was "good" at her job. Both at her AG responsibilities and her campaign duties, raising money for his re-election.
A memo sent out to all state Attorney General employees in 2013 by the Solicitor General's Office (part of the AG's Office) advised recipients on the law regarding public employees doing political work.
Federal restrictions generally apply to positions funded in whole or in part by the federal government.
Called the Hatch Act, there's nothing new about it. It's been the books since 1939. The idea is to protect against the scourge of patronage and to keep the civil service free of political influence. Or as free as possible.
Many states, including Arizona, have a "little Hatch Act," offering similar restrictions on state employees. These restrictions vary depending on whether an employee is considered exempt or non-exempt.
But for exempt and non-exempt alike, one rule abides, according to the above-mentioned memo:
"No public employee may participate in any political or campaign work while on the public's time, use public facilities, materials, and equipment for political or campaign activity, or travel at public expense for non-public purposes."
Yet Horne, like a Republican version of "Slick Willie," as GOPers liked to call Bill Clinton, has argued the opposite: That it is okay for state employees to take breaks to check e-mails and do other things campaign-related.
Apparently, Horne is saying that as long as exempt employees do their eight hours, they can work for his campaign all they want on their "breaks" and "lunchtimes," even while in state offices.
This is not what the law says. This is not what the AG's handbook says. This is not what the Solicitor General's Office says.
Similarly, Horne, in his official response to Beattie's allegations, attempted to justify his ordering her to delete a campaign-related e-mail he inadvertently sent to her AG account.
Beattie said she and other staffers had been warned by Winn, Horne, Dugan, and other Horne-ites to always use personal laptops and e-mails, presumably to avoid the creation of records subject to public requests — records that would reveal that campaigning was getting done on state time in violation of the law.
"It is written in the policy & procedures that if any employee receives an inappropriate political email, they are to delete it and instruct the sender not to send any more e-mails," Horne said in a recent statement to the press.
"So if Ms. Beattie was told to delete an e-mail, it is because that is what our office instructs employees to do."
Was Horne admitting that he ordered Beattie to delete the e-mail?
Asked this question, Grisham replied, "As per our written policy, yes."
However, what Beattie described both to reporters and in her sworn affidavit, was an orchestrated effort to cover the Horne camp's tracks as AG employees violated state law.
For Horne to suggest that, shucks, he was just abiding by the policy of his office, is a load of hooey of Nixonian proportions.
The documents that accompany Beattie's affidavit are hard to refute, containing as they do, computer meta-data showing when and where they were produced — and by whom.
For instance, Beattie provided the agenda of a regular Wednesday "calendar meeting" at the AG's Office, where the political items discussed are marked in "deep blue."
Almost all of the agenda is colored blue.
Additionally, there are e-mails allegedly sent on state time from Winn haranguing Beattie to finish a campaign document, e-mails from Horne's executive assistant Debra Scordato reminding Horne-ites of campaign events, and e-mails to AG staffers from Chenal, in her perch at Wilenchik's law firm, commenting on fundraisers and robo-calls.
Beattie relates that Winn recently used a state car to attend a campaign event. 'Cause of this, Beattie says, she knew she had to leave Horne's office and his out-of-control campaign.
Following queries about this accusation, Grisham had to admit the part about Winn and the state car was true.
For this, Winn was admonished by Dugan, Grisham claimed.
Even local TV news has begun to get it. Horne's interviewers seem incredulous, wondering why he does not resign.
Another AG employee amscrayed recently: Garrett Archer, mentioned by Beattie in her affidavit as a "data guru" for the Horne campaign. Archer declined New Times' request for an interview.
Grisham claims Archer resigned because his wife is expecting, that his departure already was in the works.
Initially, Chenal's boss, Dennis Wilenchik, was going to represent Horne in the complaint brought by Tom Ryan on behalf of Beattie.
Just as this article went to press, Wilenchik alerted the Secretary of State's Office in an e-mail that he will not represent the AG "in either the Secretary of State matter or the Clean Elections matter from this date forward."
Rather, Wilenchik says, Horne "will be representing himself." And do not bother e-mailing Wilenchik, he adds, he is on vacation.
"Since I am headed to Peru and the Galapagos Islands through mid-June starting this Wednesday I think I will be having the better time than working on this anyway," Wilenchik writes. "In any event, thanks again to all . . . Have a wonderful summer (if there is such a thing here) and take care. There is no need to copy me on anything further with respect to this matter."
Which begs the question: How bad is it when even Dennis Wilenchik does not want to represent you?
Indeed, Horne's dreams of becoming governor were dashed long ago. Now mere re-election seems a Sisyphean feat.
How long must we wait for the inevitable? The primary at the end of August? The general election on November 4?
Will Brnovich strike the magic blow? Or will Rotellini – like Arizona's own version of Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen – zap Horne with dragon fire?
If only he could go down tomorrow, thus sparing us the spectacle of Arizona's chief law enforcement officer making a fool of himself — and us — for months to come.