Horne responds to allegations of breaking state laws - FOX5 Vegas - KVVU

Horne responds to allegations of breaking state laws

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Attorney General Tom Horne Attorney General Tom Horne
Sarah Beattie on McCain Campaign in 2010 (Source: Joshua Lott/Getty Images North America) Sarah Beattie on McCain Campaign in 2010 (Source: Joshua Lott/Getty Images North America)

Some employees at the Attorney General's office work on the top cop's campaign while getting paid with tax dollars, the newest complaint against Attorney General Tom Horne alleges.

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk remain critical of Horne's actions while in the Attorney General's office.

Following an FBI investigation of Horne's management of a 2010 campaign, Montgomery accused the state's top cop of breaking campaign finance laws by coordinating with an independent expenditure committee.

Last month, an Administrative Law Judge concluded there was insufficient evidence to prosecute those claims. Horne believed that would be the end of it.

"We all make mistakes." Horne told CBS 5 News, "but I haven't violated any campaign finance laws."

On Wednesday, Polk put more heat on Horne's office by rejecting the judge's opinion to dismiss the 2010 case. Montgomery agreed with Polk's decision, calling the judge's ruling 'a farce.'

"It is certainly very clear that [Horne] is someone who assumed an office he is unfit for," Montgomery said.

The newest ammunition Montgomery has against the Attorney General's office is a complaint filed by former employee, Sarah Beattie.

Beattie's 15-page complaint accuses the Attorney General and some of his top staffers of working on his re-election campaign while on the clock, getting paid by the taxpayer.

Horne responded on Thursday by addressing Beattie as a disgruntled former employee who resigned from the Attorney General's office last month.

"We found out that [Beattie] did this every time she left an employer," Horne said. "Unfortunately we didn't find out before we hired her."

Beattie's legal counsel, Tom Ryan, responded to Horne's remarks in an e-mail, calling Horne's accusations of his client as "absolutely false. What proof did Horne offer? None, because there is none."

Beattie is a former campaign strategist who worked for John McCain's re-election campaign, among others. Horne said she was hired based on a recommendation he received from a colleague at the state legislature.

Horne continued defending himself against Beattie's accusations, recalling a time he says they were working together on his campaign outside of business hours.

"[Ms. Beattie] had a crying fit because she was saying her time was being watched," Horne said. "Specifically, we wouldn't let her do campaign on state time and that was making her cry about it."      

Ryan responded by claiming his client 'was upset because Horne's office kept pushing her to do what she knew was a violation of campaign election/finance laws.'

The Attorney General did admit to working on his campaign during the day but that his employees used break times and lunch hours to do so.

Beattie's complaint against Horne's office is under review by Maricopa County prosecutors. Montgomery said he has pulled himself from the case due to a conflict of interest. 

For more on this story and other stories around Arizona from this author, follow Shawn Kline on Facebook and Twitter. 

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