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Fired executive director sues Arizona Democratic Party, alleges self-dealing


(Note: This story comes from the Arizona Center for Investigative Reporting through a Creative Commons license. AZCIR is a nonprofit investigative newsroom.)

According to a lawsuit filed earlier this month, the chairwoman of the Arizona Democratic Party directed campaign expenditures toward her friend and husband, and when the party’s top staffer objected to the payments, she was fired.

Former Arizona Democratic Party Executive Director Sheila Healy claims in her lawsuit that a rift between her and Democratic Party Chairwoman Alexis Tameron grew out of Healy’s attempts to stop “what appeared to be self-dealing by Ms. Tameron.”

Healy said she objected to awarding a “large direct-mail contract to a close friend of Ms. Tameron,” and “expressed concerns about the cost of a sizable digital contract awarded to Ms. Tameron’s husband.”

Tameron’s husband, Adam Kinsey, is a partner at Saguaro Strategies. Campaign finance records show the Arizona Democratic Party paid $124,000 to Saguaro Strategies from its federal campaign account.

While Healy raises the issue of “self-dealing” in her lawsuit, the bulk of the complaint deals with how Healy’s bonus was to be structured and whether she is owed more money since being fired by the Arizona Democratic Party.

Healy claims that she is owed $116,000, but she alleged in the lawsuit that the party offered to pay her only a $4,000 bonus.

Tameron said she will work with the party’s attorneys to craft a response to Healy’s complaint, and that it may deal mostly with the contract dispute, since Healy is seeking a monetary remedy for it. But Tameron insisted there was no “self-dealing” and said nothing unethical took place.

“The allegations are false. There is no self-dealing. She’s making these claims only since she was let go from the party,” Tameron said. “I believe she’s trying to draw a narrative that doesn’t exist.”

Tameron said expenditures made to her husband’s company were approved by the party’s treasurer, finance director and compliance director, before she was able to give final approval for the expenditures.

Healy did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


  1. These numbers are crazy no matter how you parse them.

    Arizonans’ need for a conscientious, dedicated, principled, and clean third party couldn’t be clearer.

    In the meantime, it’s clearly necessary — especially given the Republicans wins in November — to fix the AZ Dem board, assembling a board that isn’t into (a) throwing primaries and other such schemes, as this one did with its complicity in the NDP’s self-defeating super-candidate subterfuge; and (b) feathering its own nest.

    …And in the future, hire paid staff who, like the volunteer grunts they constantly exhort to contribute their time for very little money, work on principle rather than on big cash salaries and bonuses that would be better spent vetting and electing candidates. Isn’t that what bonuses are for, to reward success? Were there many Dem successes in November?

    When Dems should be thumping Trump in AZ as elsewhere, instead the party machinery will be be tied up with dirty linen and scandal. Disgusting stuff, mirroring the worst of the Republican opposition.

  2. I hope my fellow state committee members will join me in voting for Alexis Tameron Kinsey for ADP Chair, Sue Castner for ADP Vice Chair, and Janie Hydrick for Education Coordinator this weekend at the Arizona Democratic Party reorganization meeting. rather than for the Alt.-Left, berniebot minority (such as Sol Saguaro). In regards this article it’s interesting to note that it’s release is a week before the election of executives for the Arizona Democratic Party. It’s also interesting that Mrs. Healy is a supporter of the Alt.-Left candidate opposing Alexis Tameron-Kinsey.

  3. Mr. Rowley’s dismissive and insulting reply is what one might expect from the leader of a party cadre in sad disarray. Democrats now “own” a third of the states. Pima County is its last stronghold in Arizona. With reapportionment and the Republican’s talent for gerrymandering, these numbers could be even smaller in 2020. Remove from the tally California, which has no desire to remain in the USA all together, and you see the challenge: if changes aren’t forthcoming, expect oblivion for Democrats for the whole of our lifetimes.

    I didn’t advocate for Bernie Sanders in my comment; Mr. Rowley must take credit for that. Nor did I advocate for an imaginary “alt-left,” a false equivalency with Trump’s despicable alt-right, which is very real and should be the target of Mr. Rowley’s recriminations. My recommendations, after all, were for reforms within the AZ Democratic Party Board: be more responsive, be less Machiavellian, and hire at the top only people who want to work as much for an electoral outcome as for its cash reward.

    That Mr. Rowley would stoop to that level (and not rebut a single argument of mine) shows how isolated his cadre has become. Such contempt shown by a Board member for a Democratic loyalist who did not toe its centrist line, is abominable. I thought the AZ Dems were different — they certainly are around Tucson — but no, Mr. Rowley has proven otherwise. My recommendation for a third party to pick up the pieces and forge a more principled and determined opposition — offered as a prod — is better founded than I thought.

  4. PS Prior to writing, I didn’t know there was a Board election forthcoming or even that there was a contest between the auth-center and the alt-left. No one told me. All the AZ Dems did was ask me for more money, I suppose as an emolient for our defeats in November. In that case, I’ll side with the alt-left and give Mr. Rowley the satisfaction that now, at least in this one regard, he’s proven him right. And should I decide to run for office and the Party’s not been reformed, Mr. Rowley, watch out for your seat.

  5. Really? State committee members use such derogatory, divisive terms? No wonder things are such a mess with such leadership.

  6. Sol, are no threat to my “seat”. One must be a PC to vote for State Committee members and you can, as a PC, only vote in your legislative district. I find it amusing how so many of the Alt Right and the Alt left fruitballs insist on using anything but their real name. Talk about gutless and further, uneducated.

  7. Here’s the real “alt-left,” Mr. Rowley.

    http://www.altleft.com/ “Beatnik Fascism,” et al.

    The alt-left is the unabashedly racist, white supremacist, nationalist “liberal” wing of the “alt-right,” led by Steve Bannon, Trump’s right-hand man. You are quite out of order depicting Democrats who didn’t toe the losing centrist line in 2016 as “alt-left.” In fact, you are libelous. The Party should wash your mouth with soap.

    I hope the Democratic Party purges its ranks of those who sow divisiveness and use degradation as a way of belittling those who are innovative rather than climbing to the top of the trash heap and fighting to maintain their position, as does Mr. Rowley and his allies (I presume) on the state Democratic Board. Otherwise, it is on trajectory to crash and burn, a tragic suicide leaving Americans naked in the face of authoritarianism..

    Which in that case wouldn’t be so bad, there’d be room for a new party really on the left, not compromised by corporate leanings, that would appeal to the majority of Americans overall, in the same way that Lincoln’s Republicans trounced the Whigs who no longer had any purpose except their own preservation even if it meant tolerating racism and the wasting of the Native Americans in order to satisfy parochial and emerging big-corporation interests.

    Speaking of fruitballs, look in the mirror. There you see Robert Rowley, casting aspersions liberally, in the manner of the man from whom perhaps he learned such behavior was tolerable, the 45th President of the United States. Arizona’s Democrats and the American people in all deserve better leadership than the two of you.

  8. PS Just for the record, Rowley, I’ve probably worked on more _winning_ election teams for state and national Democratic candidates and initiatives — albeit, in California, the state to Arizona’s west, solidly Blue — than have you. And written laws that changed people’s lives for the better. And successfully helped fight off the corrupt Reagan administration when it tried to impose its form of reaction on California and other states.

    So I’m pretty sure I could get you deposed, if it became worthwhile for the sake of the AZ Democrats and the pursuit of progressive policies that properly should occupy a Democratic Party board, not petty powerplaying, self-dealing, and name-calling. Can you rise to the challenge of getting a Democratic majority here again? What would you do differently? Many would like to hear what you have to say. So tell us, the same question we’re asking of Mr. Trump.

  9. Last PS, and then I’m done. I’m anonymous ’cause some folks hold grudges and demean individuals endlessly. I’d prefer to not be the victim of one or the other, should we meet, or even if we don’t.

  10. You’re a complete and total joke oh nameless superstar. You are dismissed.

  11. (Empty words. However, your cadre’s lack of campaign successes and your insulting, ill-informed remarks regarding Democrats who don’t agree with your weak-tea Party leadership, speak volumes. It’s you whom every pol I’ve spoken with dismisses as stale bread. Bye, loser.)

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