Livingston Accuses Mayes Of Having Conflict In Hobbs “Pay-For-Play” Investigation

mayes
Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes

State Representative David Livingston is calling for Attorney General Kris Mayes to immediately recuse herself from investigating the pay-to-play scandal involving substantial donations to Governor Katie Hobbs and the Arizona Democratic Party from Sunshine Residential Homes.

In a letter to the Attorney General on Monday, Livingston asserts that Mayes’ recusal is warranted because of a clear conflict of interest due to her prior actions and connections with the state Democratic Party and Governor Hobbs. Mayes’ campaign for AG benefitted from Arizona Democratic Party fundraising and she will again be relying on it for her re-election effort.

Last week, Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell advised Rep. Matt Gress and Senator TJ Shope, that her office was contacted by the Arizona Auditor General as part of an investigation into allegations that Governor Katie Hobbs engaged in a “pay-to-play” scheme.

Mitchell told lawmakers that the Arizona Auditor General asked that “the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office serve as the prosecution office that will work with them while they conduct an investigation into this matter.”

Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, notified Mitchell, a Republican, of her investigation which critics say appears to be an effort to keep the matter “all-in-the-family” to “sweep it under the rug.”

In May, the Arizona House Ad Hoc Committee on Executive Oversight (CEO) released a report that found Mayes has abused her power, neglected her legal duties, and committed malfeasance in office.

The Committee released its comprehensive investigative report to Speaker Ben Toma, who then distributed it to all House members for their consideration.

The Committee’s 102-page report includes the following claims:

  • Attorney General Mayes unjustifiably threatened the Mohave County Board of Supervisors with personal criminal and civil penalties if they voted against her wishes.
  • Attorney General Mayes abused the legal system to attack her political opponents.
  • Attorney General Mayes abused her power and authority under Arizona’s Consumer Fraud Act by issuing a consumer alert filled with deception, fraud, and misrepresentations about organizations providing health care service to women.
  • Attorney General Mayes has misused public resources and town halls to threaten public nuisance lawsuits against farmers and advocate for ballot measures relating to groundwater use.
  • Attorney General Mayes refused to defend state laws when challenged in court, including Arizona’s Save Women’s Sports Act.
  • Attorney General Mayes hindered the Committee’s work by failing to timely produce records and information and refusing to explain her actions to the Committee.

In her letter to Toma, Rep Parker said that the Committee concluded that Mayes has “committed impeachable offenses.”

As a result, the Committee is recommending the House adopt a resolution impeaching Mayes for malfeasance in office – defined under Arizona law as “doing that which an officer has no authority to do, and is positively wrong or unlawful.”

Livingston letter in its entirety:

In light of your recent actions and public statements misrepresenting Arizona law, I feel compelled to write this letter.  I demand that you immediately recuse yourself from investigating the pay-to-play scandal, which involves substantial donations to both the Arizona Democratic Party (“ADP”) and Governor Hobbs’ inaugural fund and potentially implicates the ADP, Governor Hobbs, Sunshine Residential Homes, and/or the Arizona Department of Child Safety.

As you may recall, I wrote to you five months ago, expressing disappointment with your disposition of my public resources complaint, which alleged that then-Governor-Elect Hobbs misused public resources in violation of A.R.S. § 16-192 by impermissibly funneling 53 contributions to the ADP through a state website.  The most shocking aspect of your “investigation” was that you allowed the ADP to simply deposit the improperly-procured funds into Governor Hobbs’ state promotional fund—after I submitted my complaint—instead of holding Governor Hobbs or her agents accountable. You could have sought civil penalties for each violation, to the tune of $265,000, but instead, you chose to sweep those statutory violations under the rug and protect your own party and Governor Hobbs.

As I stated in my January 10th letter, you also failed to disclose your clear conflict of interest in investigating my public resources complaint. You and your campaign clearly benefitted from ADP’s fundraising for your Attorney General fund, and you should have recused yourself from the investigation (as you did in another matter concerning a political mailer) but refused to do so. Consequently, I sponsored House Bill 2768 this session to ensure that future conflicts of interests must be promptly disclosed and analyzed to protect the integrity of public monies investigations.

Your conflict of interest and mishandling of my complaint warrants your recusal from investigating the pay-to-play scandal because it likewise stems from Governor Hobbs’ unprecedented inaugural fundraising and political donations to the ADP. You have already proven that you will shield both the Democrat Governor and your own party from any liability.

If there was any doubt about this conclusion, your June 7th letter to Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell solidifies that any investigation by your office is already biased and will meet the same fate as my public monies complaint. You either grossly misunderstand Arizona law or are making a desperate attempt to claim jurisdiction over the pay-to-play investigation to protect Governor Hobbs and/or the ADP. Either way, it is difficult to conclude that there is any “integrity” left in the investigation you opened last week.

Your June 7th letter demands that County Attorney Mitchell step aside because “it would not be appropriate or in the best interest of the state to conduct parallel investigations into the same matter.”  You fail to cite any legal authority for your demand. Perhaps you do not realize or have forgotten that a county attorney “is the public prosecutor of the county and shall …conduct all prosecutions for public offenses” committed in the county. A.R.S. § 11-532(A)(1). Your jurisdiction over criminal offenses is limited, as explained in Chapter 1 of the Attorney General Handbook posted on your website. In fact, it is the county attorney that may refer criminal matters to you for investigation by the State Grand Jury if the offenses fall within its jurisdiction. See A.R.S. § 21-422(B)(7).

Your letter also indicates that the Auditor General should stand down, citing A.R.S. § 41-1279.04(F). Again, you misunderstand Arizona law. The Auditor General routinely works with county attorneys to conduct investigations and is statutorily authorized to do so. A.R.S. § 41-1279.05(A).

       If you dislike Arizona’s laws or the limits of your authority imposed by those laws, you are welcome to advocate for statutory changes through the legislative process. What you may not do, however, is make false statements about Arizona law to micromanage the conduct of other elected officials and public servants or prevent them from exercising their own powers and duties. The people of Arizona deserve better from their chief legal officer.

For all of these reasons, it is obviously in the best interest of the state that an unbiased, conflict-free prosecutor with jurisdiction proceed with a full, fair, and independent investigation of these serious allegations, in coordination with our Auditor General.

Please confirm that you will relinquish your investigation and recuse yourself so that County Attorney Mitchell and the Auditor General can do their jobs without interference or delay.

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8 Comments

  1. Geesh! Buy some makeup, lady. Do you lib women need to all copy each other to look like peasant hags?

  2. If Katie Hobb’s “pay for play” scheme isn’t grounds for an impeachment, then nothing is. This is nothing more than a money laundering scam where a political donor demands special favors in exchange for hefty campaign donations going to Hobbs. This is taxpayer monies being diverted to enrich a political donor. This is an unethical and illegal practice!

    • yes, that faction of the AZ gop owns all this. they chose to look the other way on election fraud in 2020 and 2022 and this is the result

      • Because their wallets are still thick and unaffected and nobody is bothering them in their mansions.

  3. The fix is in. Who are you going to appeal to, the DOJ? Yeah, right. The democrats have abandoned any appearance of following the law.

    • and why not? What’s the effect… zip – so they are open in action and effect. Nation is in deep trouble from many directions – ‘changing the world for ever’ Charles Ellis Schumer was his comment after as well as before the last election – because he knew the edge of effect just as we are watching here and now in this ‘Fix is in’ was so close – going back – very difficult if at all in possibility – it is ‘do or die’

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