SCA Scandal: Elections Department and Recorder's Office Find "Reasonable Cause" That Campaign Laws Were Broken

The Maricopa County Elections Department and Recorder's Office announced this morning it had found "reasonable cause to believe that a number of individuals and entities" have violated the state's campaign finance laws.

According to the announcement:

The finding was hand delivered to the Office of County Attorney Andrew Thomas this morning.

"The Elections Department received a complaint and we have followed through with our statutory duties in the process. That review has now been transferred to a higher investigative body for appropriate action," said [County Recorder Helen Purcell].

Click here for the letter by County Elections Director Karen Osborne to County Attorney Andrew Thomas. In it, Osborne says a review of the facts shows that "Mr. Fox and the other contributors to the SCA violated" the law. Specifically, Osborne refers to the following two laws:

16-907. Prohibited contributions; classification

A. Any person who makes a contribution in the name of another person or who knowingly permits his name to be used to effect such a contribution and any person who knowingly accepts a contribution made by one person in the name of another person is guilty of a class 6 felony.

B. Except for a contribution to a candidate's campaign committee, an individual or political committee shall not give and a political party or other political committee shall not accept an earmarked contribution.


16-919. Prohibition of contributions by corporations, limited liability companies or labor organizations; exemption; classification; definitions

A. It is unlawful for a corporation or a limited liability company to make any contribution of money or anything of value for the purpose of influencing an election, and it is unlawful for the designating individual who formed an exploratory committee, an exploratory committee, a candidate or a candidate's campaign committee to accept any contribution of money or anything of value from a corporation or a limited liability company for the purpose of influencing an election. This subsection does not apply to political committees that are incorporated pursuant to title 10, chapters 24 through 40 and political committees that are organized as limited liability companies.

If Andrew Thomas wants to go after potential corruption, here's his big chance. The rumor is that Thomas will run for the position of the state's top cop, the Attorney General. But voters will want to know what the candidate did when presented with a finding like this by the county's top election officials.

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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.