The evidence against Rep. Doug Quelland continued to pile up May 4 when the Citizens Clean Election Commission received banking records that appear to show he made a $2,000 down payment for services that went unreported on his campaign finance reports.
Political consultant Larry Davis turned over a copy of a $2,000 check from Quelland that he says was a down payment for campaign services leading up to the 2008 election. If validated, it could be used to prove Quelland provided false information to the commission last week during a hearing to determine whether Quelland had violated state campaign finance law.
On April 30, Quelland told members of the Clean Elections Commission that he never paid Davis' company for campaign services. He said Davis had failed to prove receipt of the $2,000 down payment, and he said the lack of evidence bolsters his argument that he had terminated the agreement with Davis' Intermedia Public Relations before payment was rendered.
The discovery of the bank records throws a measure of doubt on Quelland's contentions, though Clean Elections officials were still trying to verify the documents and to determine whether the transaction was part of the consulting contract or for other services.
Todd Lang, director of the Clean Elections Commission, confirmed that commission members had received a photocopy of a check, dated May 2007, as well as banking records that show $2,000 was deposited into the public relations firm's account.
The commission also has received records that appear to indicate the company e-mailed at least two invoices for payments to Quelland in July and October of 2007, Lang said. Quelland had testified to commission members that he had never received any invoices from the company.
The contract between Quelland and the company called for an initial payment of $2,000 be made by May 1, 2007, and subsequent monthly payments of $1,000, according to documents given to the commission. The total amount of the contract was $15,000.
Quelland's problems started in November after he won a narrow victory in the District 10 House race over Democrat incumbent Rep. Jackie Thrasher. Two weeks after the election, Quelland, a Republican, was accused of failing to report a $15,000 contract with Davis' firm.
The complaint, filed by a Democrat voter in the district, initiated an investigation by the Clean Elections Commission to determine whether Quelland had indeed hired and paid Davis for campaign work. If so, his failure to report the expense to the Secretary of State could lead to punishment such as a fine or removal from office. State law requires the removal of publicly funded candidates that are found to have exceeded campaign expenditure limits by 10 percent or more.
Quelland, who ran a publicly funded campaign, has argued for the past five months that he terminated the March 2007 contract within days of its signing and after a disagreement with Davis over campaign strategy.
Quelland acknowledged he paid Davis thousands of dollars, but he has insisted the payment was for months of work by Davis to blanket the neighborhoods surrounding Quelland's north Phoenix strip mall with coupons and advertisements promoting Quelland's business.
Davis, on the other hand, has told the commission he carried out his contractual campaign obligations and received payment from Quelland in the form of checks and free rent at an office located in a north Phoenix strip mall owned by the lawmaker.
Commissioners balked when presented with conflicting information during the April 30 hearing and decided to postpone judgment. The next scheduled meeting of the commission is May 14.
At one point during the hearing, Commissioner Louis Hoffman declared that "clearly somebody here is lying."
Hoffman said he was troubled by the fact that Davis was still unable to prove that Quelland had received invoices demanding payment for the campaign services. Likewise, Quelland was also unable to prove, he said, that he had delivered to Davis any notice of termination of contract.
Contacted by the Arizona Capitol Times on May 4, Hoffman said he still considered it too early to determine if the documents prove the accusations against Quelland.
Quelland did not return phone calls. His attorney, Lee Miller, said he had not received copies of any of the documents forwarded to the commission.
But, Miller did say that, if verified, the existence of the check "is certainly contrary to one of the points he (Quelland) made to the commission."