Ducey looking for money for transition team, inauguration

Evan Wyloge//November 14, 2014

Ducey looking for money for transition team, inauguration

Evan Wyloge//November 14, 2014

Arizona Treasurer Doug Ducey speaks after his Jan. 3, 2011 inauguration. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)
Arizona Governor-elect Doug Ducey speaks after his Jan. 3, 2011 inauguration. (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

Newly elected as governor, Doug Ducey is now seeking private dollars to fund his transition team.

And he’ll also be looking for donors to finance the ceremonial parts of his January inauguration.

But spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said this isn’t an opportunity for special interests hoping to quietly curry favor with the new governor. He said Ducey has placed a $15,000 limit on cash from any one source, at least for the transition fund.

Scarpinato said there will be no limits on how much anyone can give to the separate fund to pay for the formal inaugural and any parties that might be planned for afterward.

“We don’t believe that is feasible given that the fund is for the inaugural ceremony for all statewide elected officers,” he said.

But Scarpinato noted that, in both cases, the names of every individual or company that gives will be publicly disclosed.

Scarpinato said the public fundraising is just a part of a website set up by Ducey to ease the January changeover in government from Gov. Jan Brewer. That includes a chance for anyone who wants to serve in a Ducey administration.

“The site is an opportunity for Arizonans to participate in the transition process,” he said. “The purpose in launching this is to look for the best people from all across the state to help the governor-elect with his policy agenda.”

That means more than applying for openings for everything from department heads to non-paying positions on boards and commissions.

Scarpinato said Ducey needs people on board now to start looking at issues that will be dumped in the new governor’s lap when he takes office on Jan. 5. And that includes the $500 million in red ink for the current fiscal year.

The inaugural funds present a different question.

When Brewer was sworn in in 2010, the ceremony for her and the other state officers cost $65,000. That included more than $13,300 for special inaugural coins given to invited guests gathered in the courtyard of the Old Capitol bearing an image of Brewer’s face with her name and the notation that she is the state’s 22nd governor.

It also cost more than $6,400 to rent and set up the chairs and an additional nearly $6,000 paid to the Department of Education to print fliers and special badges to identify who was invited and entitled to be in the fenced area. The general public was relegated to bleachers off to the side in the rear.

But none of that came from taxpayers.

Instead, Brewer took in cash from some of the largest lobbying firms in the state, along with groups representing special interests like restaurants, apartment owners, contractors and the sand and gravel industry. The state’s major utilities also put up some cash.

As it turned out, the event cost less than the $200,000 raised. Matthew Benson, who was spokesman for Brewer at the time, said the leftover money was earmarked to refurbish the governor’s offices, particularly to pay for new carpeting.

Brewer’s inaugural was cheap in comparison to the one for Janet Napolitano eight years earlier when she was sworn in.

She collected $150,000, which included money for four separate receptions. And those funds were on top of more than $50,000 from state taxpayers, mostly for audio and video equipment, including a large-screen television and the staff to operate all that.

Benson said Brewer made a conscious decision in 2010 not to have any formal receptions, instead serving hors d’oeuvres in Wesley Bolin Plaza across the street. “Those were tight times,” he said.