A county prosecutor is accusing Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne of campaign finance violations during his 2010 campaign.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery on Monday said the allegations in a planned civil enforcement action stem from an FBI investigation into $500,000 of spending by a group that was led by a Horne ally.
He said there were violations of state law prohibiting coordination between campaigns with groups that are supposed to be acting independently to support or oppose candidates.
Montgomery said there could be a civil penalty of to $1.5 million.
But he said no individual would be held personally responsible and that there's no penalty if the groups agree to refund larger-than-allowed contributions.
Horne released a statement Monday afternoon. It said:
"The charges regarding the 2010 election are totally false. There was no coordination between the campaign and the independent campaign. The law permits people to have contact, so long as there is no coordination or direction of the expenditure by the candidate, which there was not in this case. This will be completely proven to be true during the legal process.
"The chairman of the independent campaign, Kathleen Winn, chose from whom to request contributions, made the requests, chose the consultant, prepared the ad, and did all other tasks associated with the expenditure, independently and without any input from Horne. Horne never referred anyone to an independent campaign to make a contribution. He never suggested to anyone with the independent campaign names of people to be solicited for contributions. He never attended an event for an independent campaign. He never spoke to anyone about making a contribution to an independent campaign. He never spoke to anyone about choosing the consultant, preparing the ad, or any other aspect of the independent expenditure.
"This can be seen from the results. For example, Horne's Campaign had 1,900 contributors. The independent campaign had seven. If there had been coordination, the independent campaign would have had hundreds of contributors.
"Mr. Montgomery stated that he had taken action against the independent campaign that supported Felecia Rotellini and that opposed me. It should be added that an independent law judge has already found that campaign violated campaign law by not registering or making required disclosures. Also, on September 14, 2010, Felecia Rotellini attended a meeting of the Democratic Attorney General's Association and gave a speech there, which led to their decision to fund her independent campaign. Tom Horne never did anything like that.
"In this case, by contrast, it will be fully and completely proven that the claims are false."
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