Election officials scrutinizing Barnes, Marsh - East Valley Tribune: News

Election officials scrutinizing Barnes, Marsh

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Posted: Tuesday, August 24, 2004 11:21 pm | Updated: 4:39 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Election officials are scrutinizing questionable campaign financial practices of two District 7 House candidates, incumbent Rep. Ray Barnes and challenger Wes Marsh, both Republicans.

The Citizens Clean Elections Commission on Tuesday said it was looking into Barnes' financial reports that did not specify some of his expenses.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office is investigating Marsh's activities in his failed 2002 campaign, said Autumn Southard, a Clean Elections spokeswoman.

It comes a week after the Tribune reported his former girlfriend is suing him for failing to repay a $10,000 loan in 2002.

The loan could be illegal under Arizona's Citizens Clean Election Law because Marsh received public funding for his campaign.

A suit filed by Heather Reevs this month claims Marsh borrowed $10,982.98 in 2002, yet those funds do not appear in campaign finance reports.

Election laws require a report on such a transaction.

Law also prohibits Marsh from taking more than $110 from a nonrelative because he obtained public funds for his campaign. Marsh is not running as a Clean Elections candidate this year.

Though Barnes lists specific goods and services for most expenses on his finance reports, he did not specify approximately $385 spent at America West Airlines, Home Depot and Fry's Electronics, writing "not sure" where those items were to be detailed.

Arizona law requires a candidate to specify all expenses, Southard said.

Barnes said the unspecified funds paid for a flight to a conference on border issues in Santa Fe, N.M., an air conditioner for his campaign office and materials for campaign signs. But Barnes said he might reimburse his account $146 he used to pay membership dues with the National Rifle Association and Kiwanis Club of Carefree.

"That might be perceived as being a legitimate complaint," Barnes said.

He said the Kiwanis Club membership is important to representing the district because he lives 15 miles from Carefree and the club helps him meet constituents.

Those memberships are most likely legal, based on previous campaigns, said Barbara Lubin, executive director of the Clean Elections Institute.

District 7 includes parts of north Scottsdale, Carefree, Cave Creek and northeast Phoenix.

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