The Arizona Republican Party has lodged another complaint against Democratic state Sen. Sean Bowie for allegedly violating campaign finance laws.
The complaint, along with 35 pages of exhibits and references to video footage, was sent directly to Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs.
Dennis Wilenchik, general counsel for the Republican Party, described the complaint as the “third time that the GOP has submitted conclusive evidence” to Hobbs.
The GOP previously filed two complaints about Bowie with the secretary of state. In both cases, Hobbs, a Democrat, declined to take formal action and refused to refer the matter to the Arizona attorney general.
The latest complaint centers around a California-based liberal political action group, the Sister District Project. Specifically, Wilenchik’s letter says the SDP “unlawfully interfered in the 2018 Arizona legislature cycle on behalf of District 18 State Senate candidate elect Sean Bowie.”
Hobbs responded to previous complaints by asserting she “did not believe that a referral to the Attorney General’s Office was appropriate” — a statement Wilenchik says “defies credulity,” especially since the SDP admitted it violated campaign finance laws.
Wilenchik said the “conclusive evidence” against Bowie and the SDP consists of proof of joint fundraising and video footage of Bowie collaborating with SDP agents to orchestrate messaging in Bowie’s district. According to Wilenchik, the video also shows Bowie specifically asking for help from the SDP in fundraising.
These actions mean both Bowie and the SDP had a “legal obligation to report these in-kind contributions on Bowie’s behalf,” according to the letter.
“Failure to do so was a violation of Arizona law,” Wilenchik said.
According to the letter, once Hobbs received the evidence from the GOP’s earlier two complaints, Hobbs merely “took SDP at its word and trusted [SDP’s] own unsupervised ‘internal review.’”
The latest complaint lists additional evidence that “indisputably concludes that SDP made substantial in-kind contributions in coordination with, and on behalf of, Sean Bowie.” None was disclosed to the secretary of state’s office. According to Wilenchik, Bowie cannot claim he was not responsible for the lapse as he was the treasurer for his own campaign.
— Sean Bowie (@seanbowie) January 14, 2019
The 35 pages of exhibits paint a picture of prolonged and intentional coordination between SDP and Bowie, according to Wilenchik. He explained:
“As discussed above, it was already unlawful for SDP, as an unregistered political action committee, to make those alleged ‘in-kind’ contributions, supposedly consisting of only ‘staff time’ to Bowie’s campaign. Furthermore, it was unlawful for Bowie to accept those contributions, let alone fail to report them at all. A.R.S. 16-913(D) (‘A candidate committee may accept contributions only from an individual, a partnership, a candidate committee, a political action committee or a political party.’); Id. § 901(41) (‘Political action committee’ means an entity that is required to register as a political action committee pursuant to § 16-905.’).
“However, now there is ample evidence to show that Bowie not only accepted supposed ‘in-kind’ contributions but also repeatedly coordinated with SDP to engage in fundraising activities and accept funds from SDP donors, all while failing to report these activities as well. SDP apparently failed to include this information in the March 4, 2019 response letter.
“Moreover, as his own campaign treasurer, Bowie’s failure to report the SDP contributions grossly misled the District 18 electorate and cannot be attributed to anyone except for Bowie himself.”
Click here to read the full letter and entirety of exhibits.
The GOP is demanding Hobbs refer the matter to the attorney general’s office for further investigation within 10 days.
Wilenchik said Hobb’s failure to do would constitute “either a dereliction of [her] official duties or unacceptable political bias.”
Asked for a comment by The Western Journal, C. Murphy Hebert, director of communications for the secretary of state, said in an email Monday, “The Office of the Arizona Secretary of State received the AZGOP’s complaint against Sister District Project last week, and it is currently under review. We do not comment on pending matters.”
The Western Journal also has reached out to Bowie for comment but has not yet received a response. We will update this article if and when we do.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.