AG Horne’s fundraising comes under scrutiny

The Arizona Capitol Times is reporting that “Federal authorities are investigating Attorney General Tom Horne over allegations that he illegally collaborated with an independent expenditure committee that spent more than a half-million dollars on negative ads against his Democratic opponent in 2010.”

Don Dybus, long considered Horne’s fix-it-man in Tucson has come forward with allegations that the Horne collaborated with an independent expenditure organization, Business Leaders for Arizona, chaired by Kathleen Winn, which received $115,000 from Horne’s brother-in-law in California. Winn was awarded a high paying job in the AG’s Office, as the Community Outreach Director.

Dybus is an attorney in the AG’s Tucson office who also volunteered for Horne’s campaign during the primary against Andrew Thomas. Dybus is now claiming to be a whistleblower, however it fairly well-known that he has been working on other clandestine fundraising endeavors this past year on behalf of Horne.

According to the Arizona Capitol Times, “Dybus said in the complaint that he believes Winn, Horne, his brother-in-law, and a political consultant Nathan Sproul, who worked for BLA, all violated state or federal campaign laws. In his letter to Secretary of State Ken Bennett that accompanied his complaint, Dybus invoked whistleblower protections and said Bennett should feel free to pass his contact information along to the FBI or U.S. Department of Justice.”

“This is a matter of grave concern to all citizens of Arizona who should not tolerate a law-breaking attorney general. Enough of Horne already. He should not be employing, at taxpayer expense, his co-conspirator Kathleen Winn. Winn should be off the state’s payroll immediately,” Dybus wrote. “Surely Governor Brewer will select and appoint a respected, law-abiding person to serve as Arizona’s attorney general.”

Horne is currently using his 2010 candidate campaign, Tom Horne for Attorney General, to raise money to pay himself back for the money he loaned to himself. Dybus had been assisting him in that endeavor, according to one source.

“Horne has paid himself about $62,000 so far. He has also raised about $68,000 for his re-election through a separate campaign, Tom Horne 2014,” according to the Arizona Capitol Times.

Horne issued a statement late today accusing Dybus of sending his letter because “he knew he was about to be fired. He sent letter to the Attorney General’s Office indicating that he could not be fired. Sharon Collins, the Manager of the Tucson Office, asked him why he sent a letter of charges, as referred to in his letter, and he responded that “I knew that Rick Bistrow [the Chief Deputy in the Attorney General’s Office] was about to fire me, and I was afraid of losing the health insurance.”

On February 9, shortly before the letter was written, Tom Horne was on the telephone with Sharon Collins, and with Rick Bistrow, the Chief Deputy Attorney General. Horne told Collins to tell Dybus that he had not been working to standard, and that if he did not start working to standard, he would have to be let go. Collins passed this message, in substance, to Dybus, shortly before he sent his letter.”

In his statement, Horne claims that he “did not know that Kathleen Winn was approaching his sister for a contribution to the independent campaign. His sister and Kathleen Winn had met at the primary victory party, at which time his sister gave Kathleen Winn her phone number and asked her to call if there was anything she could do to help in the general election.”

The back and forth accusations are expected to thwart Horne’s effort to become Governor.