This morning, responding to complaints from lawmakers, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne issued a press release saying he has begun an investigation into the AIRC.
Of course, initial media reports on the investigation gloss over what Horne made a point to emphasize.
"I need to emphasize very clearly that this is an initial investigation that will attempt to determine if any violations actually occurred,” Horne said. “I am concerned about reports that have raised questions about some of the procedural actions taken by the commission, and I am committed to finding out whether those concerns warrant any further investigation. If this initial investigation finds that laws have been violated, we will proceed accordingly."Bottom line is that GOP lawmakers were displeased with Horne's letter last week to Arizona citizens who had complained about the AIRC. In that letter, Horne punted. Responding to citizen calls to have AIRC chair Colleen Mathis removed, Horne said the "developments" trouble him but it was not his job. On that point, he was correct.
News stories today may be addressing the fact that members of Horne's staff did work for the AIRC as it was getting up and running. Thus far, however, no one seems to be picking up on the fact that Horne's chief spokesperson, Amy Rezzonico served as AIRC PIO ten years ago. That institutional knowledge may have something to do with Horne realizing current Tea Party complaints are likely without merit.
In other news, one of the chief Tea Party complainers, Proud Terri (R-LD26), who is clearly a frontrunner for a Tempest in a TeaPot award (as soon as someone starts issuing that award), has given us a wonderful example of likely "clerical errors" in key disclosures required by public officers.
Proud has been suggesting, including in television and radio broadcast interviews, that Colleen Mathis' failure to disclose that her husband made a living is part of a left-wing conspiracy to hijack the redistricting process in Arizona this year.
But what about likely material misstatements on Proud's required annual financial disclosure for 2010 (filed in January 2011).
ALEC trip 2010. I recognize several Arizona lawmakers in the photo, including John McComish, Eddie Farnsworth, Jack Harper, Steve Yarbrough and Arizona Corporation Commission chair Gary Pierce.
According to their financial disclosures, several other Arizona GOP lawmakers attended the conference as guests (on "scholarship") of the right-wing group that gives lawmakers ideas for right-wing legislation. ALEC is the American Legislative Exchange Council.
It is entirely possible that some of the Arizona lawmakers paid their own way to the ALEC conference. But several of them included the ALEC scholarship as a gift on their financial disclosure. A partial list of those disclosing the gift is McComish, Harper, Cecil Ash, Kirk Adams (former Speaker of the AZ House), Brenda Barton, Kate Brophy McGee, Stephen Court, Jeff Dial, Adam Driggs, Karen Fann and Doris Goodale.
Conspicuously absent from that list is Proud Terri. I suppose it is possible she paid her own way, or was subsidized by taxpayer funds, but both of those scenarios seem unlikely. This has already been a very busy day and will get even busier with the Public Outreach Hearing due to start in only a few hours. So, I apologize for not trying to pin this down today.
Proud's financial disclosure reveals no substantial assets/investments. The only source of income disclosed is a job with a law firm. So, is Proud trying to deceive the public by not disclosing gift(s) given to her by a group trying to curry favor and get her to sponsor its proposed legislation in the Arizona Legislature? Could it be just a minor oversight or clerical error?
Failure to disclose is a Class One (most serious) misdemeanor. Will Tom Horne investigate? Likely, no, because there is so much grey to this area of law.
But who holds and pulls the strings attached to Proud Terri?