Republican Corporation Commission candidates Tom Forese and Doug Little now admit they broke Arizona’s campaign finance laws, and each has been assessed a $1,000 fine by the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission, meaning the two will avoid a deeper investigation into their campaign finance reports.
The commission voted 4-1 to adopt the a settlement, which the candidates proposed just before the commissioners met to discuss commission executive director Tom Collins’ recommendation for a full investigation into the candidates. Tom Collins reported that a staff analysis showed there was reason to believe the two broke campaign finance laws while investigating two complaints filed with the commission by the state Democratic Party.
Some portions of the complaints were found not to have merit, according to the analysis by the commission’s director and staff. But Collins and his staff had found Little and Forese may have violated the law by spending more money than they had on hand when they made some expenditures and failed to report expenditures for campaign signs and paid nominating petition signatures.
In two written proposals from the candidates, Forese and Little admitted to the violations, saying they “failed to make complete reports of expenditures related to campaign signs and installation as well as expenditures related to the gathering of petition signatures and violated rules related to cash on hand…”
The commission’s staff found, after investigating two Democratic Party complaints filed by the state Democratic Party, that the candidates did not have enough money to pay for signs purchased in July. But the commission’s staff only looked at the candidates’ cash flow starting at June 1, 2014.
An Arizona Capitol Times analysis of the period before June 1, 2014 shows that Little also went into debt for more than a month, beginning in mid-March of 2014, according to his campaign finance reports.
The candidates will pay $100 monthly installments.
Tom Forese cash flow:
Doug Little cash flow: