A Maricopa County Sheriff's captain was fined $450 on May 26 after failing to convince an administrative law judge that he should be allowed to withhold the names of individual contributors to a group that gave a six-figure donation to the Arizona Republican Party last year.
But that could be just the first phase of penalties against Capt. Joel Fox, who faces additional fines if he continues to keep secret the names of people who contributed to a group known as SCA.
Administrative Law Judge Thomas Shedden ruled that the $315,000 fine imposed by Maricopa County was improper only because the county failed to give Fox 20 days to comply with campaign finance laws after determining the $105,000 contribution to the Republican Party required he register SCA as a political committee and list its individual contributors.
During his appeal, which began in February, Fox has repeatedly asserted that he has no intention of providing those names, saying they had no idea how he intended to spend the money and they shouldn't be identified against their will.
Under Shedden's ruling, Fox must register SCA as a political committee and file campaign finance reports detailing where his money came from and how it was spent within 20 days of the county's final order on the matter. If he fails to do so, Fox will again face the $315,000 fine.
Still, Fox lost all of his main arguments. Shedden ruled that SCA is a political committee and Fox is its treasurer; the money given to the Republican Party, though ultimately returned, was legally considered a contribution; and the outside counsel hired by the county had authority in the matter.
"Mr. Fox presents no substantial evidence in support of his arguments," Shedden wrote.