USA Today and Arizona Republic reporter, Craig Harris recently released a story about an FBI investigation into Governor Ducey and some of the Governor’s current and former staff members. The investigation focuses on alleged efforts to secure a major tax refund for a Ducey campaign supporter. Craig Harris joined us earlier to talk about the story.
“It’s a very complex story and it has to do with sales taxes, special interest, and it has to do with big campaign donors. What’s going on is that the former and current employees of the Governor put a lot of pressure on the Department of Revenue to provide a sales tax exemption for one small company up in Flagstaff called ‘Carter Oil’,” Harris said.
If the Department of Revenue gave the exemption, “it would have opened the flood gates for $100 million in rebates to numerous mining companies around Arizona. Those companies were represented by a company out of Texas called ‘Ryan LLC’,” Harris said.
“Ryan LLC hired three high-level staffers of the Governor… and within months of leaving the Governor’s office they were lobbying and putting pressure on the Department of Revenue, an agency that they managed and overseen to give this $100 million sales tax refund back to these businesses here in Arizona,” Harris said.
This money would have gone to a variety of companies represented by the campaign supporter.
Ryan LLC has tried to obtain tax loopholes and get refunds for awhile, but it is believed that 80-90% of the time, they’re rejected but “that doesn’t stop them from trying and…they use their influence with executives and government, in this case Governor Ducey, to try to get an inside leg to put pressure on agencies to get the refund back,” Harris said.