FEBRUARY 19, 2014

Rotellini calls for “transparency and accountability” to restore public trust in elected officials

Plan targets Campaign Finance Violations, Increased Disclosure and “Dark Money”
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PHOENIX – Felecia Rotellini today announced a series of ethics reforms targeted at restoring public trust in Arizona’s elected leaders, furthering accountability in government and putting teeth in Arizona’s flimsy campaign finance laws.

Rotellini, a career frontline prosecutor and former agency head under both Republican and Democrat governors and attorneys general, says the years-long series of law enforcement investigations and allegations of campaign finance violations aimed at Attorney General Tom Horne have created a pressing need to restore faith in the office.

“Having the state’s top law enforcement official – the elected leader charged with prosecuting criminals and keeping communities safe – constantly accused of flagrantly disregarding the law is more than an appearance problem. It destroys citizens’ belief in the Attorney General, in our elected leaders and the rule of law,” said Rotellini. “Those charged with enforcing the law need to act with the utmost integrity. At every level of government, leaders need to be held to higher standards. These reforms increase transparency and penalties for violating the law. We need to restore the public’s trust.”

Among the reforms in Rotellini’s “Transparency and Accountability” package:

Increasing penalties for campaign finance violations to include criminal sanctions and/or removal from office in cases of serious or intentional misconduct.

Changing state laws to allow Arizona’s Secretary of State to refer cases involving the Attorney General to a County Attorney.

Restoring the independence of the Office of the Solicitor General to handle further conflicts of interest.

Closing legal loopholes allowing certain Arizona corporations organized to influence elections or legislation to evade accountability and transparency.

Instituting a requirement that independent expenditure groups report to the Secretary of State’s office within 48 hours after receiving or spending more than $10,000.

Creating a real time online filing system that enables elected officials to report the receipt of any meal, trip or gift.

Reforming the Secretary of State’s campaign finance filing system to require quarterly reports in non-election years in addition to election year reports and document changes if reports are amended.

“For more than three years now, the Arizona Attorney General’s Office has been mired in politics and has become a soap opera,” said Rotellini. “If we want elected officials and leaders who are committed to obeying the law, we need more transparent campaigns and more effective laws.

The core mission of the Attorney General’s Office of prosecuting criminals and protecting families, children and seniors is serious business. We need a new day in the AG’s Office - one that begins with reforming our election and campaign finance processes to discourage and prohibit bad actors who compromise the public’s trust.”

Rotellini, a former fraud prosecutor and Superintendent of the Arizona Department of Financial Institutions, worked for 17 years as an Assistant Attorney General and agency director under both Republican and Democratic governors and attorneys general. In August 2009, she received the "Excellence in Cooperative Law Enforcement" Award from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for her agency’s participation in "Operation Cash Back," which indicted 36 individuals involved in mortgage fraud. In 2010, Rotellini lost a close race to Republican Horne, who remains the subject of civil hearings over an alleged illegal shadow campaign that pumped more than $500,000 into the race at the last minute.

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