State Representative Doug Quelland, accused of infusing his campaign with extra funds despite agreeing to Clean Elections limits, has been ordered to leave office.
The Citizens Clean Elections Commission made the decision to remove Quelland at its meeting this morning, two weeks after tabling the issue.
You can read more Quelland's skullduggery here and here. The gist of the case against him is that Quelland supposedly paid a political consultant under the table, thereby infusing his campaign with extra cash despite Quelland's agreement to abide by Clean Elections' spending limits. In essence, "the Q" was trying to have it both ways, Clean Elections Director Todd Lang alleges: He accepted public funds for his campaign, then refused to play by the rules that comes with such a subsidy.
Quelland would be just the second lawmaker removed from office since Arizona voters approved the landmark Clean Elections system ten years ago. The other, David Burnell Smith, was also a Republican.
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If the removal survives Quelland's challenge, GOP officials will be responsible for choosing Quelland's replacement. The chatter among party faithful so far has centered on Kimberly Yee, who lives in Quelland's north Phoenix district and currently works for treasurer Dean Martin.
Quelland bitterly contested the charges against him, but bank records showed that he had, in fact, paid consultant Larry Davis and then lied about it. Quelland ultimately claimed that he both fired Davis, then allowed him to continue working as a campaign volunteer -- a dubious suggestion that found little support among observers.
The allegations are especially damning since Quelland beat his rival, Democrat Jackie Thrasher, by just 553 votes.