The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce said they didn’t ‘intend’ to leave off the “paid for by” statement required by state law to be on their Proposition 430 mailer. However, that excuse didn’t help them much. This afternoon the Scottsdale City Clerk rendered the verdict that the Chamber violated the governing statute. The whole mess has now been forwarded to the City Attorney’s office for enforcement.
Chamber CEO Rick Kidder’s claim of innocence reminds me of the old Steve Martin schtick where he says that it is a perfectly valid criminal defense to proclaim, “I FORGOT that armed robbery is against the law.”
City Clerk Carolyn Jagger said in a letter to Kidder today, in part:
Based on my review of the complaint, your response, and A.R.S. 16-919.01(A), which requires the words “paid for by” on campaign literature in support of or opposition to a ballot measure, this office has determined reasonable cause exists to believe that there has been a violation of Arizona campaign finance law. Therefore, by copy of this letter, this office is notifying the City Attorney of said violation and advising you that the City Attorney may take additional action.
The Chamber’s last campaign finance violation started almost four years ago, lasted over two years, and ended with a “no harm, no foul” settlement. I’m not holding my breath for swift punishment this time, either…if any punishment is forthcoming at all.
As clear-cut is the statutory violation, the statutory enforcement is that vague. So who knows what will happen? Stay tuned to ScottsdaleTrails…because it looks like the Chamber of Commerce Newsletter (aka the Arizona Republic) isn’t going to report this “news.”
Which reminds me of the old Mark Twain adage: “If you don’t read the newspaper, you are uninformed. If you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.”
Or, like one of my TV journalism friends likes to say about the newspaper: “Yesterday’s news tomorrow.”