Feathered Bastard

Tom Horne Testifies, Channels Bill Clinton

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Horne said he didn't even know Winn was producing an ad.

Try as I might to suspend disbelief, I don't understand why Horne -- who knows election law, and by his own admission had advised Winn on "the rules" before she supposedly "left" his campaign to run BLA -- just had to speak to Winn about this deal, over and over again.

I mean, Horne is a rich guy who wrote an entire book on construction law. He has a bunch of wealthy pals who double as campaign donors, such as former governor Fife Symington and Scottsdale attorney Mark Goldman, among others.

Also, in 2010 he happened to be the Superintendent of Public Schools, and you're telling me that he doesn't know anyone else to call for additional real estate advice other than the woman running an IE in support of him, a woman he's supposed to maintain a modicum of distance from as she's operating the IE?

Like we say down South, that dog don't hunt.

Then there's the closest thing to a smoking gun in this case: Horne's October 27, 2010 e-mail to Winn, wherein he forwarded an e-mail string to her, one that included polling data and strategic advice on how to beat Rotellini.

Horne had already sent the information to Casey Phillips, an official at the Republican State Leadership Committee, which was funding Winn's ad to the tune of $350,000, about $100K less than expected.

"I forwarded this to casey," reads Horne's message to Winn. "Maybe with this we can. Try again for the hundred k [sic]."

Winn, in turn, forwarded it all to Murray, who was so alarmed by receiving it that he forwarded it to his firm's counsel, explaining that he had warned Winn "on several occasions" to cease contact with Horne and anyone else involved in Horne's campaign.

Murray's warnings were ignored.

Faced with this evidence at the hearing, Horne did pretty much the only thing he could do. He admitted he sent the e-mail to Winn with the intent of firing her up to ask the RSLC for more dough.

"In my mind there was nothing improper about talking to the independent campaign about fundraising," Horne stated. "I couldn't talk about the expenditure, but I could talk about fundraising. So I sent her the poll in the hope, as the opposing attorneys say...she could use the poll to get the $100,000 that I'd been told she'd been short."

Later, Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Jack Fields asked him how he happened to know Winn was shy $100K at the time.

"I had been told that," he replied. "I didn't know how reliable it was. I was getting a lot of calls, during a campaign you get a lot of calls from people saying...`I hear there's going to be an independent campaign in your favor, don't worry.' You know? So, you get calls like that."

He got a lot of calls all right. From October 15, 2010 to October 28, 2010, more than five hours of calls took place between Horne and Winn's cell phones.

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Stephen is a former staff writer and columnist at Phoenix New Times.
Contact: Stephen Lemons