December 1, 2004
An anonymous benefactor wants to bail out two former East Valley legislative candidates who were ordered last year to repay half of their public campaign financing from the 2002 election season.
Paul DeDonati and Trevor Clevenger had campaigned as Libertarians to represent south Scottsdale and most of Tempe in the state House of Representatives.
They agreed to pay the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission about $15,000 each in monthly installments amid allegations they misspent their public funding on parties at Scottsdale nightclubs, vehicle rentals from Tucson and new equipment for an office rented outside of the district.
Yuri Downing, a third partner who ran for the state Senate, faces a Dec. 21 trial on felony charges that allege he orchestrated the misspending of all three campaigns.
DeDonati and Clevenger twice were late in their monthly payments earlier this year, and the state started proceedings to collect all of the remaining debt at once, said Colleen Connor, commission executive director.
In a letter dated Monday, attorneys for DeDonati and Clevenger said someone who wants to remain anonymous has offered to pay off their balances totaling $24,950. But the attorneys said the commission had to agree to waive any interest that had accrued and to close the matter forever.
The commission voted 4-1 Tuesday to accept the proposal. Outgoing chairman David McKay said this was the only way to collect the money.
Commission member Kathleen Detrick objected, saying the candidates never respected the proper role of public candidate funding.
As a team, the three candidates spent about $101,000. Downing was required to repay his entire funding of $41,155.
But all three candidates have denied any intentional wrongdoing, blaming mistakes on political inexperience and accusing the commission of improperly applying its own rules.