Arizona Marijuana Prohibitionist Group Denies Connection to GOP Drug-Bust Suspect

The top Republican fundraising company that employed drug-bust suspect Emily Pitha also raised money for Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, an anti-marijuana-legalization group.

Pitha and her boyfriend, Christopher Hustrulid, were arrested this week after a raid on their Phoenix home turned up a large quantity of contraband and evidence of drug dealing. After the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office announced the bust, Pitha was soon pegged as a key fundraiser for John McCain in her position with the political-fundraising firm Lovas Co.

The company is run by Corinne Lovas, wife of Arizona Representative Phil Lovas (R-Peoria).

Whether Pitha was also the company's rep for ARDP, raising money for marijuana opponents while allegedly immersed in her den of marijuana, meth, ecstasy and LSD, hasn't been determined.

Led by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and AM-radio talk-show host Seth Leibsohn, ARDP has raised tens of thousands of dollars to fight for continued felonies for pot users in Arizona.

Leibsohn didn't return a message from New Times. But he told the Arizona Capitol Times' Yellow Sheet on Wednesday that he may have met Emily Pitha of Lovas Co., but he wasn't sure.

The Cap Times' political-gossip report hilariously called its piece on Pitha "Breaking Bad, Politico Edition." It noted that Lovas Co.'s client list is long with notable Republican names besides McCain's, including former U.S. Senator Jon Kyl, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery (another top marijuana prohibitionist), Kirk Adams, Doug Ducey, Prop 123 — and Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy.

Leibsohn told the Yellow Sheet reporter that "the campaign uses Lovas Co. as one of its fundraisers but said he's never worked with Pitha directly."

"I've never heard of her, never worked with her in my life," Leibsohn told the Yellow Sheet. But then he reportedly added that, as the Yellow Sheet paraphrased, "he may have met her somewhere, but if so, he doesn't remember."

As the Yellow Sheet noted, the McCain campaign declared it would stop working with Pitha but would continue using Lovas Co., as would ARDP, according to Leibsohn.

"We have a safe and drug-free workplace at ARDP," he told the paper. 
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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.