08/28 - Ex-deputy director files suit against Clean Elections panel - East Valley Tribune: News

08/28 - Ex-deputy director files suit against Clean Elections panel

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Posted: Thursday, August 28, 2003 9:24 am | Updated: 1:09 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

The former deputy director of the Citizens Clean Elections Commission filed suit against the commission Wednesday, claiming he was fired for complaining that politics was driving an investigation into the finances of gubernatorial candidate Matt Salmon.

Matt Shaffer charges that he was forced out of his $66,000-a-year job because he reported that the commission and director Colleen Connor appeared to be singling out Salmon for unfair treatment. In legal papers filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, Shaffer said that Connor’s conduct was unfair and political.

Shaffer also contends he was fired a year ago for refusing to treat campaign finance violations by Salmon more harshly than other candidates.

He said his stance that Salmon’s violations were not serious ultimately was borne out when auditors hired by the commission later concluded that Salmon’s failure to report expenses amounted to far less cash than Connor had contended.

Auditors also said there was no evidence Salmon deliberately sought to underreport his expenses.

The commission ultimately agreed, finding no intentional violation of the law and imposing a $3,472 penalty against the unsuccessful Republican candidate — a third of what Connor had recommended.

Shaffer is seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

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