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Settlement talks stall in Horne campaign finance case

A settlement conference over the campaign finance allegations against Attorney General Tom Horne produced no agreements and an upcoming hearing in the case will move forward as planned, according to Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk.

Attorneys for Horne and the Yavapai County Attorney’s Office met today for an informal settlement conference in the case. But Polk said nothing came of the conference, which she described as simply a “meeting of the minds.”

“There is no settlement,” Polk said. “Full speed ahead for the hearing.”

Polk has accused Horne of illegally coordinating his 2010 campaign with Business Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure committee run by Kathleen Winn. The Yavapai County attorney has ordered Horne and Winn to repay $400,000 spent by the committee that she deemed an illegal in-kind contribution to Horne’s campaign.

Administrative Law Judge Tammy Eigenheer will hear evidence in the case at a Feb. 10 hearing, and hearings could continue for several days afterward. If Eigenheer decides that Horne and Winn are guilty of the allegations, they could face fines of up to $1.2 million.

Timothy La Sota, Winn’s attorney, said his client has no interest in a settlement.

“She’s looking forward to proving at the hearing that everything she did was lawful,” La Sota said. “Our position is we’ve done nothing wrong and we’re not willing to say otherwise.”

Neither La Sota nor Polk would comment on why a settlement wasn’t reached.

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