There’s a sense of mystery surrounding today’s hearing for former gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon to challenge his $10,000 fine from the Arizona Citizen Clean Elections Commission.
Neither Salmon nor the commission filed documentation beforehand, which allowed both sides to hide their strategies from each other and from the public. But the lack of paperwork also means administrative law judge Brian Tully won’t have any background to help guide him.
Cliff Vanell, director of the state Office of Administrative Hearings, said both sides will have time to provide details during the 9 a.m. hearing in Phoenix and in writing afterward.
"It’s really up to the parties if they want to provide information in advance," Vanell said. "The judges are very seasoned and are very used to doing very complex cases. I do not see any particular difficulty in the fact there have been no documents and so forth that have been pre-filed before the judge."
Salmon is accused of missing deadlines in July and August for reporting about $97,000 in expenses by his campaign manager and some vendors. Commission executive director Colleen Connor said Monday that Salmon has the burden to prove the commission made an error.
"We would probably respond, but since nothing has been provided, we’re not doing anything (before the hearing)," Connor said. "The law is spelled out, so we’ll just supply the documents reviewed by the commission. I’m not sure what the appellant’s argument will be."
Salmon was required to appeal the fine before he could take the issue to Superior Court. The Mesa Republican has claimed his expenses were reported appropriately, just not in a form preferred by Connor.
Salmon said Monday he expects to need a lawsuit to be vindicated. Salmon already has filed a $3.2 million notice of claim against the commission, which won’t be considered by the administrative judge.