August 19, 2004
A lawsuit filed against state House candidate Wes Marsh shows apparent campaign finance law violations, election authorities said Wednesday.
The suit claims Marsh failed to repay a loan of more than $10,000, far more than Marsh was eligible to receive under Arizona’s Clean Elections Law. Also, state records do not show the loan, another violation.
"He’s in violation of several laws if indeed he did this," said Barbara Lubin, executive director of the Clean Elections Institute, a nonprofit group that advocates publicly funded campaigns.
Lubin said the suit should trigger an investigation of Marsh’s finances from his failed 2002 campaign.
Marsh is again a Republican candidate in the primary election for District 7, which includes northwest Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Carefree and northeast Phoenix.
When he ran two years ago as a Clean Elections candidate, Marsh was prevented from taking more than $110 per contributor, although candidates or their close relatives can give up to $550.
The suit claims Marsh took loans totaling $10,982.98 from former girlfriend Heather Reevs. Marsh should not have taken more than $110 from Reevs, Lubin said.
A spokeswoman for Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission agreed that a loan of that type is illegal. The commission has not investigated Marsh’s case, Autumn Southard said.
State campaign finance laws obligate Marsh to report loans with the secretary of state, but a review of those documents by Lubin and the Tribune did not show the transaction.
"All the money that goes in or out of the campaign should be clearly identifiable and I don’t see anywhere where he said this woman gave him money," Lubin said.
Marsh could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
A spokesman for the secretary of state said the office was unaware of the potential violation. The office could investigate if a complaint is filed, said Kevin Tyne, deputy secretary of state.