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Legal Ethics

Arizona AG Says Disgruntled Prosecutor ‘Conjured Up’ Accusations of Campaign Violations

Posted Apr 3, 2012 8:29 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is denying allegations that he worked illegally with an independent campaign committee that ran attack ads against his opponent in 2010.

Horne said a disgruntled employee “conjured up” the allegations, the Arizona Republic reports. The complaint by former prosecutor Don Dybus was filed in February and released on Monday, the Arizona Republic reports in a prior story. Dybus had worked on Horne’s campaign while in private practice and then took a job in Horne’s office working on consumer and civil-rights cases.

Dybus alleges Horne violated state campaign law by coordinating with the independent committee and by promising a job to its leader. Independent committees are often used to bypass limits on individual contributions made to a candidate’s own campaign, an election law expert tells the Arizona Republic.

The allegations have been forwarded to the FBI, the story says.

Horne says in a three-page response (PDF) that Dybus knew he was about to be fired when he made his complaint. Horne says the campaign committee was formed without his input, no promises were made to hire its chief, and when she was hired, she wasn’t the first choice for the job.

Dybus told the Republic there was no ulterior motive for filing the complaint. "There is no vendetta,” he said. “This was purely done for ethical and legal reasons."

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