Arpaio

Randy Pullen, Candidate for Treasurer, Was Investigated in SCA Campaign-Finance Scandal

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Edwards, in an 800-plus-page report, concluded that when Pullen told state elections officials that the SCA funds were not earmarked for the anti-Saban ad, he'd lied. Not just a little lie, either, but possibly a criminal one.

Edwards wrote that Pullen and Hendershott's patsy, former MCSO Captain Joel Fox, had made "material misrepresentation(s) in a written document in a matter related to the business conducted by a political sub-division of the state, knowing such statement is false."

A subsequent, independent investigation of the SCA scandal by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu's office also concluded that members of the Arizona Republican Party and Arpaio's office had schemed to earmark the SCA funds for the anti-Saban ad.

Two Republican Party wonks backed up the "earmarking" accusation -- though one, Bruce Ash, did it indirectly. On the blog of Republican consultant Nathan Sproul, Ash wrote that the money for the ad "would not have been donated had the ad campaign not been run."

Former state GOP chairman Mike Hellon, told Edwards that when he asked Pullen why the ad was made, Pullen replied, "Because there were some supporters of Joe Arpaio who gave us some money and that is what they wanted us to do with it."

Hellon later told New Times he was "dumbfounded" by Pullen's statement and could scarcely believe that Pullen would be "dumb enough to say it and dumb enough to admit it to people."

During the second of two interviews with Pullen, the state investigator confronted Pullen with his predecessor's comments. Pullen responded that it was "not very likely" that he made such a statement to Hellon.

Terry Goddard, the Democratic Attorney General until the end of 2010, left office without charging Pullen or anyone else in the case with a crime. Pullen announced in November of 2010 that he wouldn't seek reelection as state GOP chairman. The incoming state AG, Republican Tom Horne, referred the case and other allegations against Arpaio's office to the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office, which decided ultimately to do nothing.

New Times had been unable to reach Pullen for the comprehensive 2011 article. But the treasurer candidate put his cell phone on his web site, and we surprised him on Tuesday with a phone call and trip down memory lane.

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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.