Lawyer filing campaign complaint against AG Horne - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Lawyer files campaign complaint against AG Horne

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Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - There's some possible trouble for Attorney General Tom Horne -- the lawyer for a former staffer has filed an election law complaint against him.

That complaint was filed with the Secretary of State on Monday afternoon.  It claims that Horne's staffers, who are state employees, engaged in campaign activities during work hours, which is against the law.

Horne has been accused of campaign violations in the past, but nothing has come of them.  This time, the accusations are being made by someone who was once on the inside.

The complaint includes dozens of campaign related e-mails between employees that while sent from personal accounts may have been done during work hours, in addition to the former employee's eyewitness accounts.

"It clearly states in the affidavit that Tom Horne many times came down the hallway and asked members of the executive staff to come into meetings where they would talk about campaign stuff," said Tom Ryan, the former employee's attorney.

Sarah Beattie worked for the AG for about eight months.  In one e-mail she saved, staffers are discussing a campaign event flier.  Her attorney claims computer data shows a staffer spent more than 1,200 minutes working it.

"That is not coffee breaks, that is not lunch, that is somebody abusing the privilege of the executive office while running for reelections," said Ryan.

Beattie also claims Horne kept a folder in his office that was deliberately mislabeled as "Border Patrol."  She claims it actually contained a list of donors and that Horne used it daily to make campaign solicitation calls in his office.

"It has been very touch and go that we would file this today because they have come after her tooth and nail and it has been vile and it has been filthy," said Ryan.

The Attorney General fired back, saying he is bitter and his office bent over backwards to accommodate her.  She also volunteered to do fundraising.

The Secretary of State will now look into the claims.

The former employee's attorney would not say if he shared this information with any law enforcement agencies.

Statement from Attorney General Tom Horne:

“All of our employees are expected to work 8 hour days, and do, as is reflected in their weekly time sheets.  In fact, many of them work well over a 40 hour work week.  Some volunteer to do campaign work on their own time, as is their first amendment right. All significant campaign work, including meetings, is done at an off-site location, at lunch time, or after work.

Several people will testify that at an off-site meeting, Ms. Beattie had an emotional crying fit over the fact that her hours were being watched. Her bitterness apparently stems from the fact that she was expected to work eight hours on legitimate state business.

What is ironic, and will most certainly come out, is that in her short time with the AGO, this office bent over backwards to accommodate Ms. Beattie’s many requests.  Now, guided by her “attorney,” a known political hack who regularly attacks Republicans, and recently offered to defend (pro bono) the dark money group attacking the Attorney General, Ms. Beattie is clearly being exploited.

In a political season, this entire sideshow reeks of desperation, opportunism and political games and the truth will come out.  In the meantime, I will continue focusing on real issues such as drug cartels, consumer protection and keeping Arizona safe.”

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