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Montgomery: Lawmakers ‘screwed up’ but no prosecutions (access required)

Bad legal advice and confusing and conflicting lobbying statutes allowed 16 current and former lawmakers who accepted football tickets and other gifts from the Fiesta Bowl to avoid criminal charges.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said today that after an eight-month probe he can’t prove whether any of the lawmakers “knowingly” failed to disclose trips they took at Fiesta Bowl expense and game tickets they received.

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County attorney wants lobbying laws overhauled after Fiesta Bowl scandal

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who is wrapping up an eight-month investigation into the Fiesta Bowl scandal, will ask lawmakers to overhaul the state’s lobbying laws, saying financial reporting requirements are confusing and out of touch with what he believes the public demands of its elected officials.

“If it’s too much of a burden for an elected official to keep the public informed … they shouldn’t be in office,” the county’s top prosecutor told the Arizona Capitol Times. “If you don’t want to do this, then go do something else.”

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Goldwater Institute ‘lobbies’ against registering more lobbyists (access required)

The Goldwater Institute is among the most powerful public-policy groups in Arizona.

The organization’s employees draft legislation, regularly meet with lawmakers and testify before committee hearings at the state Capitol. The group even advocated for the call of a 2010 special session in which lawmakers sought to give workers the right to a secret ballot in union elections.

But the institute’s officials bristle at the suggestion that the organization has more than one lobbyist on its staff.

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Bowled over: Fiesta fallout may claim elected officials (access required)

As near-daily revelations pour out of the Fiesta Bowl investigation, allegations that lawmakers benefitted from the besmirched bowl game’s largesse may come back to haunt their campaigns.

Among the allegations in a 276-page report — the result of an investigation commissioned by the Fiesta Bowl board of directors — were claims that bowl lobbyists illegally gave football tickets to legislators. In subsequent days, it was learned that Fiesta Bowl trips and gifts that are perfectly legal weren’t listed on many of the lawmakers’ financial disclosure forms.

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