Len Munsil’s gubernatorial campaign wants an investigation into what its lawyer says may be “illegal coordination’’ between Janet Napolitano’s re-election campaign, a nonprofit corporation and two political committees.
On Tuesday, Attorney Douglas Drury said the Project for Arizona’s Future has backed the efforts of the Arizona Conservative Trust and the Arizona Values Coalition.
The latter two groups have paid for attacks — including automated phone calls and a Web site called www.lenmunsilfacts.com — on the Republican nominee.
That’s legal as long as they eventually disclose the source of their funds and how they were spent.
But Drury said there is evidence the Project for Arizona’s Future has assisted the two groups even though the organization is set up under a section of the Internal Revenue Code that prohibits it from endorsing candidates.
Drury noted in a 25-page complaint to the Citizens Clean Elections Commission there are several potential links between Napolitano and the Project for Arizona’s Future.
If the complaint is verified, it could signal a violation of state campaign finance laws, which bar a publicly financed candidate from being involved in an effort to spend nonpublic money to attack a foe.
Jeanine L’Ecuyer, press aide for Napolitano’s campaign, said the governor participated in a May fundraiser for the Project for Arizona’s Future. That organization had paid for radio ads in February that supported Napolitano’s legislative agenda, including pay raises for teachers and tax credits for businesses that offer health insurance to employees.
L’Ecuyer said there was nothing improper about Napolitano’s action, adding that Napolitano has raised money for other political causes, including the Democratic Governors’ Association and Emily’s List. She specifically denied any link between the governor’s re-election campaign and the three groups.
Drury said the Munsil campaign should be entitled to a match for funds spent on attacks on the GOP contender, at the very least.
Both Napolitano and Munsil have received $680,774 in public campaign financing under the Clean Elections formula.