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Updated Jan 22, 2014 - 3:58 pm

AG Tom Horne seeks campaign finance settlement

PHOENIX — Lawyers for Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne have asked an
administrative law judge hearing his campaign finance violation case to hold a
settlement conference before the case is heard next month.

Horne and aide Kathleen Winn are accused of illegally coordinating spending in
his 2010 election while she ran an independent committee called Business Leaders
for Arizona. They deny those allegations.

The case was brought in October by Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk and is
being heard by a judge from the Arizona Office of Administrative hearings.

Polk determined that the pair violated state campaign finance rules and ordered
Horne to return nearly $400,000 to donors and amend his campaign finance
reports. She also is seeking civil penalties of three times the amount.

Horne on Wednesday called the settlement request routine.

“I was a litigator for 30 years, and so I always believe you settle cases if
you can. And if you can’t, then you have to try them,” he told The Associated
Press.

Horne declined to discuss the case further.

Winn had not filed for a settlement conference as of Wednesday afternoon.

Administrative law Judge Tammy L. Eigenheer has scheduled a three-day hearing
for next month to hear evidence in the case and the defense.

The request for a settlement comes weeks after lawyers for Horne and Winn
failed to revive a lawsuit seeking to have the state’s limits on political
contributions thrown out as unconstitutionally low. They hoped getting the
limits thrown out would sidetrack the campaign finance case.

Horne, a Republican, is the state’s top law enforcement officer. He defeated
Democrat Felecia Rotellini, a former prosecutor and bank regulator, by
approximately 63,000 votes out of a total of 1.6 million ballots cast in the
2010 general election for attorney general.

Horne is seeking a second term as attorney general but faces a GOP challenger
in the September primary, Mark Brnovich. Rotellini also is running again.

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