Keeping Horne on the hook
Horne has been accused of infidelity, a hit-and-run, and had been the subject of an FBI investigation for fraud. So far, he has only been brought to account for campaign finance law violations. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, both acting for the Arizona Attorney General’s office, determined that Horne and Kathleen Winn, chair of the Business Leaders of Arizona (BLA) independent expenditures committee, broke the law by colluding to use BLA funds to conduct an ad campaign against Horne’s rival, Felecia Rotellini, in the 2010 general election. On October 17, the parties were ordered to return the monies used for these activities to contributors or risk additional financial penalties to the tune of $1.5 million. Horne has persistently claimed that he is innocent of the charges and is the victim of a smear campaign; he just refuses to pay out.
In a recent interview on the 12News show Sunday Square Off (azcentral.com/news/politics/tomhorne), reporter Brahm Resnik asked Bill Montgomery why criminal charges were not being brought against Horne and why the Attorney General was not being pressured to resign. Montgomery said that, in the public mind, all of Horne’s alleged misdeeds have become conflated but, actually, the various offenses fall into different legal and jurisdictional domains. Only the campaign finance violations were his bailiwick, Montgomery explained, and these were abrogations of civil, not criminal, statutes, which only carry financial penalties.
The idea that there are simply no consequences for Horne’s refusal to pay these penalties is galling to quite a few Arizonans. On November 8, the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance (APIA), a non-profit corporation with a libertarian agenda founded in 2012, launched a statewide multimedia effort to educate the public about Horne’s “embarrassing” behavior. Visitors to their website, unethicalhorne.com, are urged to sign a petition and/or call or tweet the attorney general’s office to personally request that he pay back the money. The APIA describes its mission as advancing “principles of limited, constitutional government; integrity and accountability in government and public officials; government fiscal responsibility; and lower taxes.”