Maricopa County Sheriff's Captain Joel Fox owes $450.
That's a whole lot less zeroes than some expected. Fox was on the hook for $315,000 in penalties.
But don't turn up the house lights just yet -- this show's not over.
Thomas Shedden, a judge with the Arizona Office of Administrative Hearings, ruled against Fox on all but one point. That point: The county should have given Fox an extra 20 days to comply with the law and turn over records related to the SCA, such as the names of donors. Because the county did not do that, Shedden decided the $315,000 fine cannot be levied against Fox -- not now, anyway.
Shedden's order does, however, require that Fox comply with the law within 20 days of the county election department's final order on the matter. (Shedden's order is, in fact, a recommendation to the county, which will either issue its final order within 40 days or do nothing, in which case Shedden's order becomes final in 40 days). If he doesn't comply, Fox will eventually face the six-digit fine again.
Fox lost all of his main arguments: Shedden ruled that the SCA is a political committee and Fox is its treasurer. He ruled that the donation to the Republican Party was, in fact, a "contribution" and that the outside counsel hired by the county has authority in the case.
The ruling (finally) introduces an official voice of reason to juxtapose with Fox's amateur-attorney arguments. To give a couple of examples:
Mr. Fox argues that the money could have been used by the Republican Party for a purpose other than influencing an election and should not be considered a contribution. Mr. Fox also argues that the timing of the donation should not matter.
Although the timing of the donation is not dispositive, it weighs against Mr. Fox's position, particularly when coupled with the fact that Mr. Fox never told the Republican Party that the money was not intended to be spend on races in the on-going election.
Moreover, Mr. Fox never raised these issues with the Republican Party, even though Mr. Pullen (Randy Pullen, chairman of the state Republican Party) called to get more information about the donation.
Mr. Fox presents no substantial evidence in support of his arguments.
Mr. Fox asserts that the people that gave money to SCA did not know that the money would be donated to the Republican Party and that there was no cooperation among them for that purpose. But Mr. Fox presented no evidence to corroborate his assertions, so these can be accorded no appreciable weight.
Here are some of our previous articles on Fox and the SCA:
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
Scribd.com version of ruling in PDF: