Arizona attorney general disregards law
By Allison Weintraub
In the U.S., an attorney general is the highest-ranked law enforcement officer and lawyer. One would think this denotes an attorney general’s full understanding of the law and how it works. That being stated, what happens when an attorney general cannot seem to follow the law himself?
Since 1973, Arizona attorney general Tom Horne has received a lifetime trading ban from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has been cited for speeding six times, violated campaign finance laws, left the scene of an accident after hitting and notably damaging another vehicle and coached employees to lie to interrogators during an FBI investigation.
Horne founded T.C. Horne & Co. in the late 1960s while studying at Harvard. In 1970, the investment firm went under and the SEC subsequently placed a lifetime trading ban on Horne because he “among other things, violated the record-keeping, anti-fraud, and broker-dealer net capital provisions of the federal securities laws and filed false financial reports with the commission.”
If Horne’s offenses ended here, the public might have been able to forgive his lapse in judgment and move on. However, in 2007, while positioned as State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Horne was cited for criminal speeding. In the next year and a half, Horne was cited for speeding another six times, including once in a school zone.
In early October, Horne’s misconduct culminated in an FBI investigation that found Horne guilty of campaign finance violations committed during his 2010 bid for attorney general. Horne and Kathleen Winn, general director of community outreach for the attorney general’s office, coordinated with the independent expenditure committee Business Leaders for America (BLA).
According to a press release from Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery, “Horne actively directed BLA’s fundraising and communications strategy with Winn in the final weeks of his 2010 campaign for attorney general. During this time period, BLA raised more than $500,000 from the Republican State Leadership Committee and individual donors which paid for television advertisements advocating against Felicia Rotellini, Horne’s Democrat opponent.”
Although Montgomery did not ultimately file criminal charges, he has demanded Horne report and refund the illegal campaign contributions.
The FBI also found Horne coached employees to lie to interrogators.
“Even though federal agents suggested Horne’s employee received coaching, he [Montgomery] chose not to file criminal charges such as obstruction,” said Tim Vetscher in an ABC15 article.
The only charge that remains is a misdemeanor hit-and-run. According to police reports, investigators saw Horne hit a parked vehicle in March while leaving the home of Carmen Chenal, whom the FBI alleges Horne was having an affair with.
“Though motive is not an element of the criminal statute listed above,” the police report said, “it stands to reason that Horne did not want any record of his presence in the parking garage of Chenal’s apartment complex thus he did not leave a note [on the vehicle].”
Instead of admitting his mistakes, Horne has repeatedly attempted to conceal his crimes. Horne’s website says his primary goal is to defend Arizona. However, due to his blatant disregard for the law, it is evident that Arizona citizens must defend themselves from Horne.