Candidates’ Campaign Filings Have ‘Shoddy Record Keeping’

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Arizona’s secretary of state has found instances of “shoddy record keeping” in the three Legislative District 5 Republican candidates’ campaign finance filings, according to agency documents.

The office has referred the matter to the state attorney general for enforcement. An attorney general spokeswoman said Monday that the office would conduct its own investigation. She could not offer further details.

The issue stems from a complaint filed shortly before August’s primary from counsel for former Rep. Bill Konopnicki, who unsuccessfully ran for Senate against incumbent Sylvia Allen.

The complaint mainly targeted Allen, but also named House candidates Brenda Barton and Chester Crandell.

“I look forward to working with the attorney general to ensure that they have all the information they need and that all questions are answered satisfactorily,” said Allen in a press release. “I’m confident that this (was a) bookkeeping error.”

Alleged violations included untimely expense reporting, under-reporting expenses, failure to report shared advertisements and unclear disclosure of “paid for by” fine print.

The secretary of state’s investigation found the campaigns failed to report expenses on time. It also uncovered math discrepancies in shared expenses with the agency’s calculations for split costs differing from the candidates’. The agency cleared the candidates of alleged non-reporting of shared advertisements and the other allegation of unclear “paid for by” disclosures.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission also investigated the complaint and found reporting errors, said Campaign Finance Manager Daniel Ruiz.

“Nothing we believe was intentional,” said Ruiz.

The investigation revealed that the candidates reported their expenses on the day they received a bill instead of the day they incurred an expense, for example. Candidates have since amended their reports.

Ruiz said they worked cooperatively with the commission and were proactive in handling the situation.

“We’re satisfied with their amendments,” said Ruiz. The clean elections committee will determine any repercussions at its Nov. 18 meeting.

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