The state Republican Party chairman called Sept. 2 for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Attorney General Terry Goddard and a House Democratic leader violated the state’s resign-to-run law.
Randy Pullen called a news conference to press his claim Goddard should have resigned before or immediately after he told a group of Democrats that he intends to run for governor. He said Kyrsten Sinema, D-Phoenix, violated the resign-to-run law by saying in a Facebook post last year that she is running for state Senate.
“Obviously they don’t have intentions of following the laws,” Pullen said.
Sinema and a spokeswoman for Goddard dismissed Pullen’s complaint as a political stunt.
Arizona’s resign-to-run law, created by a ballot initiative, forbids anyone holding a paid elected office from declaring candidacy for a local, state or federal office except during the final year of his or her term. According to the statute, filing nomination papers or making a formal announcement constitute a declaration.
Pullen said Goddard violated the law by telling a May meeting of a Maricopa County Democratic group that he intends to run for governor. He quoted Goddard as saying, “Since you were kind enough to ask, I intend to run for governor.”
In interviews at the time, Goddard acknowledged making the statement but said it didn’t constitute a formal declaration.
Anne Hilby, a spokeswoman for the Attorney General’s Office, called Pullen’s complaint a “frivolous political stunt” but said it would receive the same consideration as any other.
Pullen said Sinema, the House assistant minority leader, violated the law in a December 2008 Facebook post that said, “I’m running for State Senate in 2010 and would love to have your support.”
In an interview, Sinema said that the post was supposed to say she intended to run and that she corrected the error.
“I think Mr. Pullen doesn’t understand the law,” she said, adding that she considers the complaint an attempt to draw attention away from Republicans’ inability to finalize a state budget.
But Pullen said an investigation by someone other than Goddard is more than justified.
“In my mind, I think it’s very clear that they stepped over the line, both of them,” he said.
The reactions of Attorney General Goddard and Kyrsten Sinema are certainly not surprising, as neither want to give up their public paychecks. Calling for an investigation into possible violations of Arizona’s ‘resign to run’ law by two of the state’s leading Democrats is certainly not frivolous. Thumbing their nose at the very statues they write or enforce shows either ambivalence or ignorance. Either way, it is a serious problem.
I find it troubling that a spokesperson for the top law enforcement official in the state and aspiring governor would characterize an official complaint of wrong doing as frivolous! I had hoped and expected for a more professional approach to these serious charges.
People making a mistake and promptly correcting it is certainly understandable, but for Ms. Sinema to characterize her Facebook announcement as a ‘typographical error’ is ludicrous. She clearly made the statement she was running for Senate in 2010 in December of last year, and after 6 months deleted it only after an Internet blogger took her to task. The only thing left for her to do is to file her nominating papers and buy yard signs. She obviously needs to resign and focus on her announced campaign for Senate.
It is a shame that these two Democrats are still displaying this cavalier attitude towards these charges. Rather than making excuses, Mr. Goddard should immediately name a special prosecutor and get to the bottom of this. If he and Kyrsten Sinema expect Arizonans to abide by the laws they enact and are responsible for enforcing, so should they, even if they feel the laws are frivolous and don’t apply to them.
So it was ok for Tim Bee and many other GOG politicians to do this but god forbid a Democrat even consider running? What a HUGE load of Republican hypocrisy!!! No wonder intelligent people are leaving the GOP to vote Democrat.