Two gubernatorial candidates are facing investigations by Attorney General Terry Goddard over their handling of public funds used in their campaigns.
Secretary of State Jan Brewer has concluded that there is “reasonable cause’’ to believe that the campaign of incumbent Democrat Janet Napolitano violated state election laws prohibiting the spending of money before the formation of a campaign committee.
Brewer signed a similar “reasonable cause’’ determination against Republican hopeful Len Munsil over whether his campaign violated state election laws by failing to spell out on a Web site who had paid for it.
Neither conclusion rises to the level of formal charges. Instead, Brewer is complying with sections of the state Elections Code that require her to notify the Attorney General’s Office when there appears to be a breach of the statutes. Then it’s up to Goddard’s office to investigate and, if appropriate, file charges.
The claim against Napolitano by the state Republican Party mirrors a similar charge it made about her to the Citizens Clean Election Commission. The essence is that the Napolitano campaign spent money to design a web page before it had been formally organized, which is not allowed under state law.
Andy Gordon, an attorney for the Napolitano campaign, said there was no violation of the law.
A complaint by the Arizona Democratic Party noted that Munsil’s own Web site did not have the legally required disclaimer that it was paid for by the campaign and not by others.
Munsil campaign aide Vernon Parker conceded the error and had it fixed, calling it a “minor technical mistake’’ that should not merit any sort of penalty.
He said someone would have to be seriously lacking in intelligence not to know that this was Munsil’s campaign Web site.
Goddard press aide Steve Wilson said he cannot say when the agency will decide whether to press charges on either matter.