With the deadline fast approaching to reveal the names of the SCA members or face a $315,000 fine, Maricopa County Sheriff's Office Captain Joel Fox begged election officials this month to let him disclose the names in private.
Fox, who obviously missed his calling as a lawyer, continues to argue in correspondence with county officials even as his ship sinks. As we explained yesterday, he already paid his $450 fine for failing to file a pre-election report.
But it's the six-digit number that's causing him to squirm. He's got until July 1 to say who was behind a $105,000 donation to the Republican Party or face the triple threat.
*Below, read Fox's first plea to be allowed to reveal the names and other required political committee information in private. (See more below the Scribd box).
*The county's hired gun, Jeffrey Messing, essentially replies that Fox is being silly. He won't "entertain" the idea of Fox revealing the names privately to election officials: "The whole point" of this exercise is public disclosure, Messing lets him know.
Fox then fires back in an e-mail with the same, non-functioning debate points:
Mr. Messing, I believe there is a misunderstanding. I am in no way attempting to debate the merits of the Department's Order. I am attempting to arrive at an equitable and mutually agreeable solution that complies with the Department's order.
My proposal is not for a "secret" filing. I don't want to avoid the public disclosure of campaign contributions. My point is that donations to SCA were not contributions, and if I could have the opportunity to provide that information to Ms. Osborne without an automatic public release, she could see for herself that the donations are not campaign contributions and do not require publication. For example, a $25,000 donation made in April of 2007, more than a year and a half before an election and more than a year before I ever decided to give money to the Republican Party could not possibly be considered a contribution made for the purpose of influencing an election, especially considering that I know this particular donation was not made for that purpose. If necessary, and if given enough time, I believe I could get statements from the donors attesting to their intent, as well.
How can I submit a donation such as the example cited above as a contribution, if I know it was not made for the purpose of influencing an election? I'm sure you and the Department are not asking me to file a false report, and so I am at a loss as to how to provide you with what you are requesting.
I believe I have complied with the order, and I also understand that you don't. I am willing to compromise and provide the names, addresses, dates and amounts of donations to SCA to avoid further litigation, but when you find that I am telling the truth, and these donors did not know about the donation to the Republican Party, and made their donations well before the election (almost a year and more), then what?
Or is it your position that the intent and time frame of donations to SCA is immaterial, and any money ever given to SCA now fits the Title 16 definition of a contribution?
My problem in providing you with what you are asking for is that I cannot fit an April 07 donation into the definition of contribution, especially since I know the donor did not intend for it to influence an election, and so cannot list their name as a contributor. Are you asking me to list this donation as a political contribution when I know that it is not?
I believe this order puts us both in difficult positions, and I believe a private conversation and review of my records by Ms. Osborne will clear up any questions she has, and show that there are no political contributions that require public disclosure. If you will not accept my offer, then the only choices you leave me are to file a false report or appeal, and I will not file a false report.
I would very much appreciate your thoughtful consideration of the current circumstance.
By now, Messing is having none of it. He tells Fox it's time to put up or shut up.
It sounds like Fox is starting to get desperate. We may see those names after all.