Judge blocks campaign finance violation charges against AG

May 02, 2013

Campaign finance charges against Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have hit a roadblock. A judge has ruled the case was mishandled. 

Horne is accused of illegally working with an independent expenditure committee during his 2010 election campaign. Horne’s own office would normally prosecute a case like this, but because of the conflict of interest, the Secretary of State sent the case to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

But Thursday, County Superior Court Judge John Rea blocked the case from going forward. In his order, he wrote that the law is clear -- the case has to be referred to the Attorney General’s office first, who then can refer the case to someone else.

Montgomery said even though he disagrees with the legal basis of the ruling, he will not appeal it.

"I believe it's more important for us to get the case heard, so that Arizona voters will know whether or not a statewide law enforcement official violated state law, than it is necessarily important for me to have a court agree with my rationale," Montgomery said. "We want to get this done as quickly as possible.”

Horne declined to comment for this story. His office said he believes the ruling speaks for itself, and that when the charges against Horne are sent to his office, he plans to refer them to outside counsel.

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