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Commission votes to continue defending its Horne investigation

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(Photo by Tom Tingle/The Arizona Republic)

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted today to continue defending a lawsuit brought by Attorney General Tom Horne to stop an investigation against him.

The commission took no action to comply with Horne’s attorney’s request to put the investigation on hold.

The commission voted June 19 to investigate claims from whistleblower Sarah Beattie that Horne is using the offices and staff of the Attorney General for his campaign headquarters.

Clean Elections executive director Tom Collins said if the allegations are true, those resources would constitute in-kind contributions to Horne’s campaign.

Horne filed suit July 3 to stop the investigation.

Horne’s attorney, Tim LaSota, said he has been trying to convince the commission through its attorney to put a hold on the investigation until after Judge Dawn Bergin of Maricopa County Superior Court rules on the suit. She scheduled to hear arguments from the attorneys on Aug. 11.

Commission attorney Joe Kanefield declined to discuss the matter.

The commission has filed an extensive public records request with the attorney general, including records of electronic key-cards at specific doors of the office, WiFi logs, and computer access logs belonging to Horne and several employees.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is investigating Beattie’s allegations and so are a retired judge and Gilbert Town Attorney, who were asked by the solicitor general to conduct an investigation.

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