Mesa City Council candidate Scott Somers has filed a complaint alleging a homebuilders lobbying group backing his opponent has violated campaign finance law.
Somers raised concerns with the campaign finance report filed by Citizens for Responsible Government because it shows zero contributions or expenditures even though a campaign flier was mailed and the group purchased early voting information during the reporting period. He also calls into question the flier that does not name the financial contributor, a violation of state law.
Citizens for Responsible Government is an independent expenditures committee created by the Home Builders Association of Central Arizona to re-elect Councilwoman Janie Thom in southeast Mesa’s District 6 race. The election is March 14.
“If everything is above board, then why wouldn’t you list who all of your contributors are?” said Somers, who filed his three-page complaint Friday with the Mesa City Clerk’s Office. The complaint was forwarded to the city attorney, who has not released a ruling.
Home Builders Association of Central Arizona deputy director Lauren Barnett acknowledged that the flier should have included funding information.
“That was an inadvertent omission,” said Barnett, adding that future mailers will include the required information.
But she stood by the campaign finance report, saying the association has not received an invoice from its consultant and therefore had nothing to report for the period of Jan. 1 through Feb. 22. This was the final report before the election, meaning voters will not know how much the association is spending to back Thom. Barnett declined the Tribune’s request to release those figures.
The committee was formed Feb. 3, the day after a Williams Gateway Airport area rezoning case was first discussed by the council. Thom cast a key vote Feb. 21 that allows homes to be built under the flight path.
Thom said she has not been influenced by the association’s campaign, which cannot consult with her. In September, Thom received a $1,800 contribution from the association.