State Treasurer Dean Martin’s campaign for the Republican nomination for governor was short on cash before qualifying for $707,000 in public funding in late June, but he then paid more than $130,000 to his campaign manger and other consultants in the 11 days before he suspended his campaign.
About a third of that money went to Martin’s campaign manager, Renee Roebuck, who was paid $4,500 in March but denied that a July 6 payment of $45,000 included back pay. Arizona candidates running with public funding can only spend money that they have, not what they anticipate. That means they can’t commit to future spending unless they have the money in hand.
Martin’s campaign reports indicated he received only about $25,000 from limited private contributions and could spend only up to that amount before receiving his $707,000 public funding on June 29. The latest report was filed Thursday.
Martin did not immediately respond to several telephone and e-mail messages Monday, but Roebuck said the $45,000 payment was for work going forward to the Aug. 24 primary under a contract with Martin.
“I just received it. Dean was the one who set it up,” Roebuck said. She declined to provide specifics — “that is between him and I” — and said before hanging up that she had no further comment.
Besides the payment to Roebuck, the report lists roughly $87,000 to six other consultants and a polling firm.
Todd Lang, executive director of the state office that runs the public campaign funding system, said his office hadn’t reviewed Martin’s report in detail. But he said at first look, there was no indication that Martin’s spending included back pay for work done before a candidate had funding, which could trigger fines for exceeding campaign spending limits.
Other public-funded candidates have had campaign aides work as volunteers and then get paid when the candidate has money, he said.
The $45,000 payment to Roebuck “would be unusual, but as long as it is fair-market value, that would be permissible,” Lang said.
Martin formally withdrew as a candidate on July 29 — too late for his name to be removed from the ballot — and he returned nearly $502,000 of unspent public funding to the state the same day.