Hear from the attorney representing a former aide to Attorney General Tom Horne who says campaign work was done on state time. Tom Ryan will discuss allegations made by his client, Sarah Beattie.
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I'm Ted Simons.
Ted Simons: State senator Steve Gallardo is out of the race to succeed congressman Ed Pastor. Gallardo announced today he will instead run for the board of supervisors seat soon to be vacated by Mary Rose Wilcox, who plans to leave the board soon for her bid to run for pastor's office. Today's announcement leaves Wilcox and former state representative Ruben Gallego as the main challengers for that open congressional seat.
Ted Simons: Former aide to former state attorney general Tom Horne says she and other staffers did campaign for Horne's reelection bid while on state time. Attorney Tom Ryan is here to discuss allegations made by his client Sarah Beattie and we shut know attorney general Tom Horne will appear on our show Thursday. You are here now. Good to see you again. Thank you for joining us.
Tom Ryan: Thank you for inviting me back.
Ted Simons: What exactly does your client claim?
Tom Ryan: She claims that Tom Horne had taken the Arizona attorney general's office and turned it into his personal campaign to be reelected as attorney general. He's using staff time, computers, desks, email accounts, all on personal time. All on state official time. That's a violation of state law and it's a violation of federal law.
Ted Simons: Talk about the state law. Political activity by political workers and the state law regarding campaign work on state time.
Tom Ryan: Absolutely. There's the federal hatch act and the Arizona's mini-hatch act. And what it says is elected officials may not use their particular office to get themselves reelected or to go out and campaign for somebody else. Because it gives them an unfair advantage. Also, they're using Taxpayer money. They don't get taxpayer money, so for those reasons, we have a law here in Arizona that prevents people like Tom Horne from campaigning on the taxpayer dime.
Ted Simons: Attorney general Horne says workers, his workers are expected to work eight-hour days but they can volunteer for the campaign if they so choose. That is their first amendment right.
Tom Ryan: Sure. But that's not what's happening here. The documents that we provided to the secretary of state and clean elections commission clearly showed that a substantial amount of this campaign work was being done during regular working hours. You can see, for example, email chains going back and forth between all the staffers that start like at 9 in the morning and don't end until 4:30 in the afternoon on one particular item. Another one that we provided to the secretary of state was a flyer that Brett Meekham worked on and spent one-thousand-two-hundred-and-23 minutes. Mr. Horne can claim that was all coffee breaks but that would be roughly 81 & 1/2 coffee breaks in a two-day period of time. It's just not credible. The defense he's trying to Mount here.
Ted Simons: He basically does say that people can work on campaign stuff throughout the day, they got lunch breaks, they got time when they're not supposedly on the clock, they can maybe make it up. How do you prove that these folks were on the clock?
Tom Ryan: That's a good question. What we provided to the secretary of state and the clean elections were the emails and the word documents that they were working on. And if you go to the property section, when you put it into your computer, you can look at who the author was, the number of times they've edited them, and you can look at when they've edited them and you can look at the time they spent on them. When you start putting that all together, you start to get a big picture of -- That this was an entire campaign being run out of the attorney general's office.
Ted Simons: So when the attorney general says that basically that the campaign hasn't really started, your client's claim, I think you used the word vacuous, because nothing has begun with, you say --
Tom Ryan: I say you go back and look at the exhibit that we provided, because there's a calendar that he had everybody sit down and review in August of 2313, and it had the campaign for the next six months. When you look at it, all the campaign items were in blue, and probably 80% of the stuff on Tom Horne's campaign or on that calendar was all related to his political campaign. So he can say whatever he wants to say, he can call it vacuous, BANAL whatever he wants to choose, but it's belied by the actual documentary evidence that we provided the authorities.
Ted Simons: Basically he's also saying there isn't that much to do right now as far as his reelection campaign is concerned.
Tom Ryan: Well, if he's not doing anything, he's going to have his head handed to him very quickly in the primary. So that's not likely. The plain fact of the matter is, he's been out as you'll see in the evidence attached to Sarah's affidavit, there was substantial efforts to do fund-raising, to meet donors, also there's been a process -By the way, they have to collect somewhere between five and 15,000 signatures statewide. Tell me why that's not campaigning. And these are being discussed in the documents we provided to the secretary of state.
Ted Simons: Another claim by your client is Tom Horne solicited money on state time, and that there was a binder that was mislabeled border patrol. What's that all about?
Tom Ryan: There was -- He kept a deliberately mislabeled book behind him on his shelf entitled "border patrol." When I opened that book up there was nothing to do with border patrol. It was a list of all his donors, broken out into who gave more than $500, who were the attorneys that donated to him, what companies did they come for, come from, and it had his personal notes in there and he would actually make calls - Now, it was on his cell phone, but it was at his desk in his office, where the taxpayers have paid for him to do that.
Ted Simons: Again if he uses his own cell phone and he has said maybe a binder does exist, but he did not use it on state -- How do you prove he used out state time?
Tom Ryan: That's where Sarah comes in. Sarah will say I was in his office and he did that. Also, Sarah will tell you that when Tom would go out and campaign and talk to donors, because she was quote unquote the official fund-raiser for this campaign, he would give her official state phone number at her desk for the donors to call her. And so we put all these things together -- You're not going to just find it in one piece of evidence. You start putting them all together and you're going to get the big picture. You know, you gotta ask Mr. Horne some tough questions here. Let's start with a basic one -- Mr. Horne, where's your headquarters? Where's your campaign headquarters? Where do you keep all your petitions? Where do you put all your campaign material? Everybody else, if you go to Mr. Brnovich's office or Mrs. Rotellini's office then you can see a beehive of activity going on where's his beehive of activity going on?
Ted Simons: Your client now, how long did she work for Tom Horne and when did she first notice improprieties?
Tom Ryan: She worked from August 1 to April 22nd the day of her resignation. Literally from the get-go she would notice improprieties. For example, Kathleen Winn was sending out this achievement list that she wanted Sarah to work on.
Ted Simons: Who is Kathleen Winn?
Tom Ryan: Kathleen Winn is the director of community outreach for Tom Horne's office. And I'm going to take just a break for a second here to tell you something -- There isn't an attorney that's actually practicing in Tom's office in the executive office. They are all political operatives. Margaret Dugan, Kathleen Winn, Brett Meekham, Garrett Archer, who just resigned earlier this week, and Sarah Beattie my client. They're all political operatives. Where are the lawyers that would help guide Tom away from these kind of mistakes?
Ted Simons: As far as your client is concerned though, if she noticed immediately, why did she not leave sooner? She had a couple of pay raises involved there along the way as well.
Tom Ryan: Exactly. Well, at first she thought that she would be able to do these things after hours. But she realized she was being continually pushed to do them during regular hours. What you will see when you look at Sarah's pay records is that she started taking unpaid time off to do the work on Tom's campaign. And so -- But Tom continually pushed her to do campaign work in the office. She will tell you that she cannot think of one official bit of business that she and Tom ever talked about, it was always about where are we on the campaign fund-raising.
Ted Simons: I ask the question because the attorney general's office is calling your client bitter. Bitter because she had to work eight-hour days and they infer, that she was caught or at least they allege that she was lying about her time sheets. That she had a problem as far as hours worked.
Tom Ryan: Two things, if you read the affidavit that we submitted on behalf of Sarah, Sarah starts off, I know they're going to smear me. I know they're going to make it difficult for me to ever work in this field again but I have an obligation to step forward and tell the truth. And she did, knowing fair well that would be the attack. Tom Horne and his campaign have committed to an attack and distract theory here with Sarah. And with me. I don't care, I came from nine Irish Catholic brothers, bring it. But for Sarah, she's been a real profile in courage and she's taken dirty, filthy shots from this campaign. Not so veiled threats and so forth. She's a real profile in courage. They can say whatever they want to call her and say whatever they want to say. I will tell you this -- She's the truth teller in this whole process.
Ted Simons: She could be the truth teller in the whole process, but from the attorney general's side, what they're saying is that they bent over backwards to try to accommodate her many requests. They bring up the fact she had problems, or allegedly had problems with the McCain campaign back in 2010, and they're trying to say that when it comes to unpaid overtime and hours worked, she has a history. Is that not something to consider?
Tom Ryan: No. First off, that's a misstatement of the case. Sarah, when she does fund-raising for legitimate campaigns, is paid a base salary approximate to the one she was paid toward the end of her work there. Plus she's entitled to a bonus of the money that she raised. At the end of the McCain campaign, there was some discussion about what the bonus ought to be and it was resolved, there were no lawsuits there were no threats. But that's something Tom Horne wants to put out there. That's again, that's the attack and distract strategy.
Ted Simons: And as far as you're concerned, you're working this case pro bono.
Tom Ryan: Yes!
Ted Simons: Why?
Tom Ryan: Because I see myself in this state, and as you know I've been involved in more than just this, I was involved in the Russell Pearce and Olivia Cortez matter, the Darren Mitchell, I sleep on a mattress guy, Carlisle the Gay who lives in Gilbert but actually claims to live somewhere else. I see myself as kind of the political bulldozer here and my job is to push the political garbage out of our state offices. I don't want money. I'm not looking for money
I'm not looking for fame. And by the way, Sarah gets nothing out of this. She's not suing. She's not asking for damages. So this whole concept that oh, Sarah always does this, it's belied by what's exactly happening in this case. She just wants to bring it to the forefront that this guy, Tom Horne, is seriously violating state and federal campaign laws.
Ted Simons: And again, that brings up the question of what your client really wants to come of this. She's putting herself at risk if she is the victim of a smear campaign, that's not an easy thing to go through. Why?
Tom Ryan: Part of it, she told Tom multiple times, Tom, you understand you may well be being watched right now by either a county attorney's office for the or the FBI or department of justice. You've had these ongoing problems, wake up and smell the sanka. I am not willing to go at risk for you if they are still looking at.
Ted Simons: You what did he say?
Tom Ryan: He laughed it off. And that's what you're going to find. He didn't think it was any big deal. It -- I think Tom Horne believes his spin. He's a spin it and win it kind of guy. He's got a lifetime ban from the SEC, but he'll still spin it and win it. I was a young guy, there were bookkeeping errors. He's got a lifetime ban because of fraud. You can't keep spinning and winning it for the rest of your life here.
Ted Simons: So when the attorney general says you're working -- He notices you're working pro bono, I believe he called you a known political hack who regularly attacks the Republican party. How do you respond?
Tom Ryan: I think he meant to say political hunk, but I'm not sure about that. Actually, it's important because I've represented Tom Liddy, whose a well-known Republican, the Maricopa County Republican party, I've represented Bob Robson, I've represented Sandra Dowling on a small matter. I've represented Russ Jones from down in Yuma county. Most of the work I've done is actually been on behalf of Republicans. And by the way, I also went after a democrat, senator Carlyle the Gay, showing that he signed affidavits that he lived in Gilbert. He can say whatever he wants. The plain fact of the matter is it's belied by my actual work in this field.
Ted Simons: So are you an associated in any way with the Brnovich campaign?
Tom Ryan: No. I have not talked with Mr. Brnovich. I've not met him, I have not donated to him and the same would be true with Felicia Rotellini. I've never donated to her. I have not met her. I have met her in the past at like a state bar function, but I'm not associated with either camp.
Ted Simons: Before we let you go, you've submitted another letter today regarding what you want to see as far as records preserved from the attorney general's office. Talk about what you asked for today and why you asked for it.
Tom Ryan: Actually, it's a little different. It's a letter given directly to Tom Horne as an individual and as the chair of his campaign. What it is now is his attorney has said I'm not handling the response to the secretary of state and clean elections. So if he's going to write his own response he cannot, because this is a political matter, he cannot be using state time, state staff, state resources to do the response. Including, if he has to talk to one of his staff members like Kathleen Winn or Barbara Dugan, he can't be calling them on their state time. He has to be talking to them after hours. So my letter to him was to let him know, I'm going to be looking at this very tightly. Because I fully suspect, and expect that he will still violate that.
Ted Simons: I was going to say, it almost sounds as if you're attempting to shut down a lot much what's going on allegedly going on in the office.
Tom Ryan: Yes! He has an obligation to campaign outside the office. It's your taxpayer money, it's my taxpayer money, it's my children's taxpayer money. Yes. Somebody's got to step up and put a stop to this.
Ted Simons: As far as these claims are concerned, what's next? What's the time frame?
Tom Ryan: The secretary of state has given him until June 2nd to file a response. So he's got a lot to do between now and then. He cannot be using state resources in the meantime.
Ted Simons: Alright, well Thomas, it's good to have you here. We'll have attorney general Horne on the show Thursday, but I'm glad you were here to explain what your client is claiming and we'll see where we go from here. Good to see you again.
Tom Ryan: Thank you. Good to see you again too.
Tom Ryan:Attorney, Chandler;