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Pearce amends disclosure reports, repays Fiesta Bowl for tickets

Senate President Russell Pearce (File photo)

Senate President Russell Pearce (File photo)

Senate President Russell Pearce amended several years’ worth of financial disclosure reports to include Fiesta Bowl-sponsored trips, and repaid the bowl for several tickets.

In a written statement, Pearce said today he repaid the Fiesta Bowl $272 for football game tickets. When the Fiesta Bowl scandal broke, Pearce said he paid for numerous game tickets himself and said he would comb through his financial records for proof. He said he could not find copies of personal checks for some of those tickets and has not yet received records he requested from the Fiesta Bowl, so he repaid the money.

“It is better to pay, possibly for a second time, than to wait for records from the Fiesta Bowl,” Pearce said.

The Senate president did not say how many tickets he paid for or provide copies of checks proving he paid for other tickets in the past.

Pearce also amended his financial disclosure reports from 2002 and 2004-2010 to reflect travel to junkets that was paid for by the Fiesta Bowl. He said legislative legal counsel told him it was not necessary to report the trips, but now understands that there are different reporting requirements for different financial disclosure forms.

“With an abundance of caution, I have amended my financial disclosure forms to reflect the trips the Fiesta Bowl asked me to attend over the years,” he said. “As you can see from the number of legislators who amended their forms, we were all under the same impression.”

He said he would ask the Legislature to clarify the statutes during the 2012 session, and wants lawmakers to be required attend a course on those statutes.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett, who amended several financial disclosure reports from his time in the Senate, said statutes on the subject are confusing because there are two different definitions of “gifts.” The trips did not qualify as gifts under state lobbying laws, but met the definition in the statutes that dictate what must be disclosed by elected officials.

Nearly two dozen current and former lawmakers have amended financial disclosure reports or reimbursed the Fiesta Bowl in the wake of the scandal.

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