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Updated Jun 2, 2014 - 8:32 pm

Arizona AG Tom Horne takes aim at ex-staffer in response to claim

PHOENIX — A former employee who alleges Attorney General Tom Horne used
his office staff to do work on his re-election campaign has a history of making
false claims against her employers and should not be believed, Horne said in a
formal response Monday.

Horne said in his response to Sarah Beattie’s complaint that the 26-year-old
also failed to disclose previous drug use and having once worked as a stripper
when she applied for a job in his office last year. Horne says either would have
prevented her from being hired.

Beattie’s attorney, Tom Ryan, said she disclosed both to Brett Mecum, the
attorney general’s lobbyist who recruited her.

Beattie claims the Republican attorney general violated state election laws by
directing his executive staff to work on his campaign while on state time. The
complaint was filed last month with the Arizona secretary of state and Citizens
Clean Elections Commission.

Horne has publicly denied the allegations, saying staffers may have engaged in
“water-cooler” talk but did no real campaign work on state time.

He also said Beattie was apparently bitter because she was expected to do eight
hours of state work while also being a campaign volunteer. He also has called
her lawyer “a known political hack” who regularly attacks Republicans.

“I was worried about what his response might be _ I thought it might be
substantive,” Ryan said of Horne’s filing. “Instead what we have is an attack
and distract strategy that’s he’s engaged in.”

The attorney general is defending himself without an outside attorney.

The secretary of state and Clean Elections Commission will determine whether
there’s reasonable cause to initiate formal investigations. The secretary of
state could refer the complaint to Horne’s solicitor general. Horne spokeswoman
Stephanie Grisham has said the case would then be referred to an outside agency
for a civil investigation that could lead to an enforcement action and fines.

The commission can initiate its own investigation that also could lead to

In another section of Horne’s response, he accuses Beattie of stealing a
notebook containing donor lists and handing it over to her lawyer, who held it
up for a news photographer. He also says she stole “intellectual property,”
including meeting notes and a campaign “strengths and weaknesses” presentation
that were included in the complaint.

“This was for the purpose of politically damaging Horne, and of giving
significant advantages to Horne’s political opponents,” Horne wrote in his

Ryan said Horne or others in the office gave her all those items, and they
weren’t stolen. He included those documents in the complaint and also turned
them over to police and the FBI.

“When you have evidence of a crime and you turn that over … to police
agencies, how is that a crime?” Ryan said. “That is what our top cop is saying

Horne is appealing a separate campaign violation complaint stemming from his
2010 election bid. Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk accused Horne and an aide
of illegally coordinating outside campaign spending. In that case, Horne has
been ordered to repay about $400,000 to donors and could be fined up to three
times that amount.


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