Deseret Morning News _Salt Lake City_ by wuyunyi

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									                        Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City)

                              April 20, 2011 Wednesday

Lobbyists say they spent no money; loophole blamed

SALT LAKE CITY- Only a handful of lobbyists reported spending any money on
lawmakers during the 2011 Legislature despite hosting caucus lunches, receptions
and other events. That's because under the ethics reforms passed a year ago, House
and Senate leaders are able to approve such expenditures ? and exempt the events
from having to be disclosed.

Rep. Carl Wimmer, R-Herriman, said those exemptions need to stop. "I will be
running a piece of legislation next session to implement full and complete
disclosure," Wimmer told the Deseret News. "We certainly don't want the image of a
gaping loophole." Wimmer was a guest at one of the few meals listed in the first
quarter lobbyist disclosure forms filed last week, a nearly $774 dinner for 11
lawmakers and three of their family members last February. "I do believe it should
be disclosed and I'm glad that it was," Wimmer said. "Citizens have a right to know
who's trying to influence their legislators." The dinner for members of the
Legislature's conservative Patrick Henry caucus was held at the Joseph Smith
Memorial Building and featured a guest speaker from the Goldwater Institute, which
promotes free enterprise and liberty. Picking up the tab was lobbyist Jodi Hart, who
said she did not seek approval for the dinner from House Speaker Becky Lockhart, R-
Provo. "It's probably one that wouldn't have been approved anyway," Hart said.
Other lawmakers Hart reported attending the dinner were GOP Reps. Francis Gibson,
Ryan Wilcox, Keith Grover, Brad Daw, Curt Oda, Merlynn Newbold, Michael Morley,
Ken Sumsion, Bill Wright and Eric Hutchings. Hart, whose long client list includes
Delta Airlines, Rocky Mountain Power and the Utah Bankers Association, said the
dinner was hosted on behalf of the lobbying firm she and Rob Jolley are partners in,
RRJ Consulting. She said the dinner, the only item listed on her quarterly disclosure
statement on file with the lieutenant governor's office, was one of six events she
paid for last session and among the most expensive. The other events were all
approved and therefore did not have to be disclosed. Hart acknowledged the
disclosure laws, supposedly tightened by the 2010 Legislature to limit gifts, could be
better. "I think the law was intended to kind of be more transparent, but I actually
think it's done the opposite," she said. "Reporting requirements are pretty broad."
Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville, said there's no reason to change
what lobbyists have to disclose. "If it's on these meals, no. Everyone knows they're
doing it and who the sponsor is," Waddoups said, citing caucus lunches and meals
served in the Capitol rotunda to all lawmakers. Waddoups said he turned down
requests last session from individual senators who wanted to accept meals from
lobbyists without having it disclosed. "The buck stops here," he said. "The more
formal you get and the more stringent you get, the more 'gotchas' you get,' he said.
"We just want to get the work done and not try to get people in trouble for what
everyone would recognize as an acceptable practice." But advocates of more
transparency said something does need to be done to ensure there's an accounting
of what's spent by lobbyists. "The loopholes were pretty easy for everyone to figure
out," said Kirk Jowers, head of the University of Utah's Hinckley Institute of Politics.
"At the very least, these first quarter reports seem to amplify the need to fix some of
those loopholes." Kim Burningham, leader of Utahns for Ethical Government that
sponsored an initiative petition drive seeking sweeping ethics reforms, said he would
go further. "All of this seems to say what we really need to have is a law that says
lobbyists cannot spend money on legislators," Burningham said, calling the lack of
required disclosures "appalling."



                                   The Miami Herald

                                April 18, 2011 Monday

Low-profile lobbyist has high-placed political friends

From 30-year-old community college professor to Florida Senate president, Mike
Haridopolos’ political rise has been steady and methodical.

Two years in the Florida House; elected to the Florida Senate in 2003; on the short
list to be Charlie Crist’s lieutenant governor in 2006; Senate president 2010-present;
now a candidate for U.S. Senate.

At his side all along has been Frank Tsamoutales, a low-profile lobbyist. Haridopolos
calls him one of his closest political advisers.

“He offers good advice. I don’t always take it, but I think he’s a very smart guy and
he’s been around the block,’’ Haridopolos, 41, said of his fellow Brevard County
Republican, who regularly meets with him in the Senate president’s office.

Most ambitious politicians have top strategists and money-raisers. But the degree to
which Haridopolos’ interests and Tsamoutales’ have repeatedly overlapped is striking
and sometimes controversial.

• One of Tsamoutales’ clients and closest friends pays Haridopolos $5,000 a month
— $60,000 a year — for amorphous consulting duties. Haridopolos was admonished
by the Senate last month for failing to disclose the source of that income.

• Tsamoutales helped persuade Haridopolos to earmark $20 million toward a
biomedical development 200 miles from his district. The developer, a Tsamoutales
client, now faces criminal theft charges, accused of bilking taxpayers out of hundreds
of thousands of dollars.

• Tsamoutales’ wife and father have served on the Brevard Community College board
of trustees, Haridopolos’ former employer.

• Haridopolos bought a Lennar Homes investment property in Mount Dora days after
Tsamoutales registered as Lennar’s agent, which both say is sheer coincidence.

“I’d like to think he trusts me,’’ said Tsamoutales, 50. “I trust him, though we
sometimes disagree.”

***

Tsamoutales is hardly among the most recognized or elite lobbyists in Tallahassee,
despite some top-tier clients ranging from communications giant Harris Corp. to
Honeywell and Caesars Entertainment.
But on Florida’s Space Coast, the lobbyist/developer/consultant is a prominent power
broker who has built close ties to politicians ranging from Jeb Bush to Mike
Huckabee.

“He stays mostly under the radar, but if I was going to hire somebody to do some
work for me, I would hire Frank,’’ said Jason Steele, a Republican activist in Brevard.
“He puts his head down to get the job done, and he’s made a lot of connections with
powerful people over the years.”

Tsamoutales cut his political teeth working on Tom Gallagher’s 1986 gubernatorial
campaign and then as a top fundraiser for Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob
Martinez.

Two years later, the Orlando Sentinel profiled the 28-year-old “business-political
prodigy” starting to draw attention in Brevard County with development deals.
Tsamoutales said he planned to be worth at least $10 million in five years.

A Republican activist steered Haridopolos to Tsamoutales when the young teacher
started looking at running for office.

“When you’re Greek and you live in a small bedroom community and share an
interest in politics, there’s a good chance you’re going to get to know each other,’’
said Tsamoutales, who has helped financially support and advise Haridopolos on
every campaign.

Their bond is also personal: Kim Tsamoutales, Frank’s wife and the daughter of
former Orlando Magic coach Brian Hill, has cystic fibrosis that led to a double lung
transplant. Dr. Stephanie Haridopolos, Mike’s wife, was her doctor and friend, and
Tsamatoules said she helped save his wife’s life.

Tsamoutales is best known for bundling checks for Republican candidates — and by
his estimate at least $7 million to combat cystic fibrosis — but he and his companies
have contributed more than $80,000 to Florida Republicans and the state party since
2001.

Tsamoutales has also drawn his share of controversy. In 2002, he faced a criminal
investigation over accusations he defrauded his cousin in a real estate deal, though
nothing came of it. Tsamoutales called it “an unfortunate incident initiated by a very
distant and troubled relative who I barely knew.”

He was at the center of questions about appointments to a state-funded economic
development board, accused in Florida Today of helping secretly rig the process
along with Haridopolos. They denied it.

***

The Senate president makes no apologies for his close association with Tsamoutales
and says his friend never had inappropriate influence.

Indeed, Tsamoutales’ client list has not grown with Haridopolos’ ascension.

But Haridopolos has listened to Tsamoutales’ pitches.
In 2005, Haridopolos pressed then-Department of Environmental Protection
Secretary Colleen Castille to issue a permit for a company represented by
Tsamoutales, Tallahassee-based NuShore, to install an experimental beach
restoration system in Brevard. Haridopolos helped secure $9.8 million in state
funding for Brevard to use NuShore, county records show. He said it was merely a
case of suggesting an effective and cost-effective approach to beach restoration.

In 2007, Tsamoutales pitched Haridopolos and then-state Rep. Adam Hasner on an
ambitious inner-city Miami redevelopment project controlled by client Dennis
Stackhouse. Haridopolos and Hasner both sought $20 million earmarks for the
project, though it never made it into the budget after questions mounted.
Stackhouse now awaits trial for bilking hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer
money.

Haridopolos said he never met Stackhouse and stressed that Hasner and members of
the black caucus talked up the deal.

“(Frank) brought it to my attention, but from all the information we received, just
like everybody else received, it sounded like a good deal,” Haridopolos said.

Around 2004, Haridopolos started consulting for Market Share Systems, a subsidiary
of Melbourne-based Appliance Direct, represented by Tsamoutales. It’s a company
led by Sam Pak, a Korean immigrant and zany TV pitchman in the Orlando area.

Since 2007, Haridopolos says he has earned $5,000 a month from Pak, though he’s
vague on services provided.

“I understand the big picture in the state of Florida, whether it’s big business,
finance or where the economy’s going,’’ said Haridopolos, noting that he’s on call for
Pak to discuss anything from Florida economic trends to national politics.

Tsamoutales is Pak’s Appliance Direct lobbyist but said he has never been paid. He
calls Pak one of his closest friends and confirmed they are partners in a real estate
holding company. People might question a conflict of interest for Haridopolos, he
said, but there’s nothing to it.

“That’s ridiculous,” Tsamoutales said. “He sells washers and dryers. He doesn’t have
work before the Florida Legislature. We just monitor things for him.”

Then there is the Mount Dora investment home Haridopolos failed to disclose. On
June 22, 2006, the senator and his wife bought the Lennar model home in a gated
community — nine days after Tsamoutales registered to lobby for Lennar.
Haridopolos said Tsamoutales had nothing to do with it, that he didn’t even know
Tsamoutales ever lobbied for Lennar, and that the investment proved to be “a
disaster” that has lost him tens of thousands of dollars.

E. Royce White, a Republican blogger and activist in the Panhandle said he thinks the
questions about consulting contracts and undisclosed sources of income are too
damaging for Haridopolos to be a viable challenger to Democratic incumbent U.S.
Sen. Bill Nelson.

“It sounds like he’s a lobbyist for all purposes while serving as a legislator,” Royce
said. “I know there’s degrees of separation when you say you’re a consultant for
marketing and stuff, but you couple that with he forgets about $100,000 in income
and a $400,000 house, and I’m sorry.”


                               The Arizona Capitol Times

                                 April 15, 2011 Friday

Many states' laws would have prohibited Arizona's Fiesta Bowl trips

As stunning as the Fiesta Bowl revelations were in Arizona, the scandal would have
been far more severe for the lawmakers involved had it been the Orange Bowl or
Sugar Bowl.

Florida and Louisiana, which host those games, have some of the strictest laws in the
country governing the gifts that lobbyists can provide to lawmakers. And even many
of the others that allow limited gifts - as Arizona does - wouldn't have permitted
legislators to legally go on the Fiesta Bowl-sponsored junkets.

The trips Arizona legislators took on the Fiesta Bowl's dime, as detailed in a 276-
page report commissioned by the bowl's board of directors, were perfectly legal. The
scrutiny that legislators have since come under is for failure to properly disclose the
trips, and nearly two dozen lawmakers have recently amended their old financial
disclosure statements.

Arizona's lobbying laws include an entertainment ban that prohibits lobbyists from
giving legislators free tickets to sporting or cultural events, and allow lobbyists to
give gifts worth $10 or less.

But those restrictions sound more daunting on paper than they are in practice. The
$10 cap doesn't include meals, travel or lodging, allowing lobbyists to send
lawmakers to out-of-state speaking engagements and educational outings. And
lobbyists can give tickets to lawmakers if they invite the entire Legislature, an entire
chamber or a whole committee.

Those loopholes are large enough for legislators to go on Fiesta Bowl trips to Boston
or Chicago. But it couldn't happen - at least not legally - in many other states,
according to Peggy Kerns, the director of the National Conference of State
Legislatures Center for Ethics in Government (NCSL).

"I would say that it probably could not happen in about half the states," Kerns said.

Nine states, such as Minnesota and Wisconsin, essentially prohibit legislators from
taking any gifts from lobbyists, including meals.

In Wisconsin, lobbyists cannot provide any meals, lodging or transportation to
elected officials. A gift is defined as anything of value, and exemptions are few and
far between. Minnesota bans all gifts, with exemptions only for events where a
lawmaker makes a speech, a plaque worth no more than $5, or a "trinket or
memento. "

"We call those no-cup-of-coffee states," Kerns said.
Ten other states, such as Alabama and Pennsylvania, are "disclosure-only" states,
Kerns said, which have few, if any limits, on gifts, and only require legislators to
disclose the gifts they receive. For example, Alabama law states only that lawmakers
can't accept "anything of value" if it's meant to influence their votes. The law allows
elected officials to accept up to $250 in gifts from a single donor per year, including
tickets to sporting and social events.

But the rest fall into the middle ground. And in many of those states, the trips
Arizona legislators took would be prohibited by their caps on gifts. New Jersey, for
example, allows gifts, but only up to $250 in value.

By most estimates, Arizona falls roughly in the middle of the pack. Some commend
Arizona for taking a more aggressive stance than most states, but say the massive
exceptions make it a moot point. Most states have a monetary cap on gifts, but few
set the bar as low as $10. And unlike Arizona, many states don't restrict principals -
the organizations that hire the lobbyists - from providing gifts or other freebies.

But giving lobbyists carte blanche on meals, trips and group outings is self-defeating,
said Bob Stern, president of the Los Angeles-based Center for Governmental Studies.

"You're at the stricter end. But you have some big loopholes, and the biggest
loophole is the meals because most of the gifts that lobbyists give are meals," Stern
said.

Rep. Ed Ableser, a Tempe Democrat who has sponsored numerous lobbying reform
bills, said the exemptions for meals is a major flaw in Arizona's lobbying laws. But
the junkets may be the biggest problem, he said.

The trips are supposed to be educational, Ableser said, such as the annual trips to
National Conference of State Legislatures conferences, which Ableser frequently
attends. But vacations and recreational junkets can be easily written off as speaking
engagements or educational trips, he said.

For example, Ableser points to the Citizens Commission on Human Rights, an arm of
the Church of Scientology, which sent several lawmakers to Los Angeles in 2004,
2005 and 2006 for what he referred to as "Hollywood parties. " The commission
spent hundreds of dollars on each lawmaker who attended.

"That's a complete violation. There's nothing educational at all about a legislator
going to Hollywood and meeting John Travolta (to talk about) about Scientology,"
Ableser said.

Just as the 1991 AzScam bribery scandal prompted many of the lobbying restrictions
Arizona has today, the Fiesta Bowl revelations have sparked new interest in
reforming the state's laws.

Sen. Ron Gould, who chairs the Senate Ethics Committee, said he plans to tackle the
issue in 2012. Gould sponsored a bill in 2008 that would have banned all lobbyist
gifts, including trips and meals. The bill didn't even get a committee hearing.

But the Fiesta Bowl has provided a new impetus to tighten the laws, Gould said.

"Probably the thing to do is just outlaw gifts from anybody that has hired a lobbyist
or from lobbyists," said Gould, a Lake Havasu City Republican. "I've always thought
that gifts from lobbyists were problematic, because there's no such thing as a free
lunch. "

That proposal has gotten a cool reception from some of Gould's colleagues. Many say
the Fiesta Bowl scandal shows a need for stricter laws, but worry that banning
lobbyist-funded trips could lead legislators to miss out on genuine educational
opportunities or economic opportunities for the state.

Rep. John Kavanagh recalled a trip he and several colleagues took to Yuma shortly
after he took office. The legislators toured farms and food processing facilities, and
spoke to growers about agricultural issues.

"It was far from a junket - no offense to Yuma. But there are a lot of these trips that
we take that involve travel that we would not be able to take if we had to pay for
travel and hotel stays," said Kavanagh, a Republican from Fountain Hills.

Many legislators made similar arguments about their now-infamous Fiesta Bowl trips.
Former Sen. Robert Blendu, who is currently running for the House, said the trips
were an important factor in convincing the Bowl Championship Series to bestow BCS
status on the Fiesta Bowl and allow it to host the national championship game.

"When you serve on the Commerce Committee and you're charged with bringing
business to Arizona, sometimes you have to go to make business come here, if you
will," Blendu said. "That's how the BCS got here. They didn't just wake up some
morning and say, 'Hey, I think we'll go to Arizona and have a Fiesta Bowl. '"

Kerns said many states have strict definitions of what constitutes an "educational"
trip, and many states limit such trips to seminars. Ableser suggested tightening up
Arizona's laws to allow only trips with genuine educational value and requiring
lawmakers to report back to the public on what they learned.

"I personally wouldn't have a problem reporting back to the state, basically reporting
to the citizens and saying I went to New Orleans (and) I learned about labor
legislation," Ableser said.

The biggest push so far appears to be a proposal to clarify the laws on financial
disclosure. Secretary of State Ken Bennett, a former Senate president who recently
amended several disclosure statements to include trips to the Fiesta Bowl and other
events, said the current laws are confusing because the statutes define gifts in two
different ways.

Lobbying statutes exempt travel and lodging, such as the Fiesta Bowl trips, and
meals from the definition of gifts. But the statutes governing legislators defines gifts
as any benefit "not provided to members of the public at large. "

Bennett said he plans to organize a "blue ribbon task force" this summer to hash out
proposals for changing Arizona's lobbying laws.

"The Fiesta Bowl stuff has pointed out that there's a lot of confusion," said Bennett,
whose office collects the financial disclosure reports submitted by elected officials.
"You're told under one part of the law that activity is not a gift. And in a different
part of the law, that activity is a gift. So we need to be clearer in making sure that
legislators understand that these special events might not be a prohibited gift under
one section, but it's still a reportable gift. "

Senate President Russell Pearce, who was named in the Fiesta Bowl report, said the
disclosure laws need to be clarified. Pearce is accused of accepting football tickets
that were not made available to other legislators, which would be a violation of
Arizona's lobbying laws. Pearce has insisted that he paid for the tickets.

"It's just like (campaign) contributions. I don't care how much of your money you
want to give to who. I just want to know who. I want it disclosed and then I'll
judge," Pearce said. "I want transparency more than anything else. "

Kerns of NCSL said disclosure is the key provision to most states' lobbying laws. Only
three states - Idaho, Michigan and Vermont - don't require disclosure, she said.
Arizona requires lobbyists and elected officials to file annual disclosure reports, and
the lobbyist reports are available online.

The Arizona Public Interest Research Group, a liberal advocacy group, said it may
propose a total gift ban or other strict lobbying regulations to the Legislature in
2012. Attorney General Tom Horne, whose office is investigating the Fiesta Bowl
allegations, said he will probably make recommendations for new laws once the
investigation is over.


                               The Arizona Capitol Times

                                 April 15, 2011 Friday

Bowled over: Fiesta fallout may claim elected officials in Arizona

As near-daily revelations pour out of the Fiesta Bowl investigation, allegations that
lawmakers benefitted from the besmirched bowl game's largesse may come back to
haunt their campaigns. Among the allegations in a 276-page report - the result of an
investigation commissioned by the Fiesta Bowl board of directors - were claims that
bowl lobbyists illegally gave football tickets to legislators. In subsequent days, it was
learned that Fiesta Bowl trips and gifts that are perfectly legal weren't listed on many
of the lawmakers' financial disclosure forms. Since the Fiesta Bowl released the
report in late March, elected officials have scrambled to amend their financial
disclosure statements, repay the bowl for trips and tickets, and explain their conduct
to the public. But the allegations have cast a pall over a number of 2012 campaigns.

However, whether implicated lawmakers will pay at the ballot box is a matter of
conjecture. But some are clearly more vulnerable, and the Fiesta Bowl report could
severely damage numerous campaigns in 2012. "Anybody who's named in this is in
trouble if they have a challenger who wants to make it an issue," said Scottsdale
pollster Michael O'Neil, who runs public opinion research firm O'Neil Associates.
"Everything about this says to me this is the kind of issue that sticks. People
understand public officials running around, living high on the hog and doing stuff that
they can't do. " Many observers predicted the Fiesta Bowl scandal would be most
damaging to legislators who are seeking higher office, a bad omen for House
Speaker Kirk Adams and Senate President Russell Pearce. Adams is widely expected
to run for the congressional seat being vacated by U.S. Rep. Jeff Flake, and Pearce is
weighing a run for the same seat. The Republican primary for Flake's seat is
expected to be competitive, with former Rep. Matt Salmon and Mesa Mayor Scott
Smith also pondering runs. O'Neil said Adams' recent admission that he didn't
properly disclose a 2007 Fiesta Bowl-sponsored trip - in early April he reimbursed the
bowl $1,064 for the cost of travel and tickets - may provide political ammunition for
the other congressional hopefuls. "That becomes particularly dicey for him in the
primary," O'Neil said. "If there's somebody else who's completely clean in terms of
Fiesta issues...in a primary, I think that could be devastating. " Pearce's political
future is even less clear - he could run against Adams in the primary, challenge Flake
in the U.S. Senate race or seek another office down the road - but his Fiesta Bowl
involvement might be more of a hindrance than it is for Adams, both because of the
seriousness of the allegations and his controversial nature. Contrary to the Fiesta
Bowl report, Pearce said he paid for the football tickets himself, though he hasn't
produced receipts or other evidence supporting his claim. The revelations that he
was taking junkets to football games across the country flies in the face of the
narrative that Pearce has built for himself. "I think it will be significant. In those
kinds of elections, part of what Pearce had going for him was he was constantly
running against the establishment, running against the business community, running
against the lobbyists," said Bill Scheel, a Democratic political strategist. "Now, it's
revealed that he is basically just like every other politician. " O'Neil said the Fiesta
Bowl allegations would be a serious problem for any incumbent legislator in a
competitive district. But even after redistricting, the pollster said he doesn't expect
that to be much of an issue. "It would be deadly to anybody in a competitive district,
but there aren't very many competitive districts in the state," said O'Neil.
Noncompetitive districts, however, can still yield fierce primaries. And incumbents
who are vulnerable to primary challengers - such as the Republicans who opposed a
slate of illegal immigration bills this year - may have given their opponents extra
ammunition. For example, Sen. John McComish, who recently amended his 2009
financial disclosure statement to include a Fiesta Bowl trip, and Sens. Rich Crandall
and Michele Reagan, who repaid the Fiesta Bowl less than a month ago for past trips,
voted against the illegal immigration bills. GOP lawmakers who opposed similar bills
have faced primary challenges over their votes in the past, and illegal immigration
hawks such as Pearce and Sen. Ron Gould have vowed political retribution against
the Republicans who opposed the 2011 slate of bills. Whether those lawmakers face
primaries will depend on whether potential challengers think there's a strong chance
of unseating them, said Gould, who sponsored some of the failed illegal immigration
measures. But if candidates challenge them, the Fiesta Bowl, "will probably be one of
the issues that they use. " Gubernatorial implications At least one gubernatorial
campaign could take a hit over nondisclosure as well. Secretary of State Ken
Bennett, who is widely assumed to be eying the 2014 governor's race, amended his
financial disclosure statements from his years as Senate president to reflect two
Fiesta Bowl trips. Bennett said the disclosure laws were confusing because Arizona
statute includes two different definitions of "gifts," one of which he interpreted to
mean the bowl's gifts didn't need to be disclosed. O'Neil said the Fiesta Bowl could be
a problem for Bennett, both in the primary or in a general election, and said voters
may view Bennett's explanation of why he didn't disclose the trips as a "tap dance"
around the rules. "Frankly, it hurts somebody attempting to run for statewide office
more than somebody in a safe legislative district," O'Neil said. "You've got a five- or
six-point Republican edge. But this thing could wipe that out overnight, I'd say. It
presents, I think, real difficulties for him. " McComish characterized his and most
lawmakers' involvement as "in the periphery," and predicted that voters will
ultimately care more about the major felonies that former Fiesta Bowl CEO John
Junker and others in the organization are accused of. And the election is still a year
and a half away. News coverage and voters' attention will be directed elsewhere by
then, McComish said. "I think, for folks like myself who were only involved in this on
the periphery, I don't think it will have much impact once it's died down," he said.
Will voters care? Some observers, like Republican political consultant Chris Baker,
don't think it will matter to voters. If the Attorney General's Office files charges
against any of the lawmakers, or if the House and Senate ethics committees
discipline them, the lawmakers could be in trouble. But unless that happens, Baker
said he doesn't expect voters to get too riled up over arcane financial disclosure
laws. "Unless it reaches a level of almost shocking campaign finance ethics and
reporting...it's inside baseball to them," said Baker. "The average voter, in a weird
way they expect politicians to be that way. " O'Neil disagreed. The Fiesta Bowl report
only strengthened voters' negative opinions about elected officials. Voters expect this
kind of behavior, he said, but don't find it acceptable. Scheel, the Democratic
strategist, took a more nuanced view. If the subsequent investigations show
evidence of corruption, he said, voters will take that seriously. But if not, they may
turn a blind eye. And for those who moved quickly to correct non-disclosure forms or
other mistakes, Scheel said he expects voters to be forgiving. "If they do their
proper mea culpas, kind of like (Sen. Rich) Crandall or (Sen. Robert) Meza have
done, I would guess the damage isn't major," Scheel said. "On the other hand,
people who seem to be very immersed in it, like Pearce and (Rep. Ben) Arredondo, I
think potentially have some problems. " A minefield for Horne The gravest danger for
the elected officials is the possibility that Attorney General Tom Horne or another
agency could file charges against them. Horne wouldn't comment on the possibility,
saying he couldn't discuss an ongoing investigation. McComish said he's not
concerned. The law states that public officials, to be guilty, must knowingly file false
reports. And that, he said, would be difficult to prove. "The failure to disclose is
remedied by disclosing it. So, I don't think there's any misdemeanor charge that will
be evident there," he said. The decision on whether to file charges will fall to Horne,
whose own political future may hinge on the results. Horne is investigating the Fiesta
Bowl allegations, despite calls from the Arizona Democratic Party and others that he
appoint an independent prosecutor or pass the case off to another agency because of
an argued conflict of interest. Lobbyists Doug Cole and Chuck Coughlin, who served
on a host committee for a Horne fundraiser and contributed to his 2010 campaign,
represented the Fiesta Bowl, and former Attorney General Grant Woods, who also
served on Horne's host committee, conducted a brief internal investigation of the
Fiesta Bowl that found no "credible evidence" of wrongdoing. Horne, who is widely
expected to run for governor in 2014, said he will investigate the case himself. Some
observers say the results of that investigation could make or break his career. Under
state law, it is a class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly file an incomplete financial
disclosure statement. If Horne doesn't end up charging the accused legislators for
non-disclosure, voters might view the investigation as a political whitewash.
Conversely, if he does charge the legislators - or at least the Republicans - it might
cost him dearly when he seeks GOP support for his next campaign. "If he pursues
these people too aggressively, he ticks off a lot of powers that be in the Republican
Party. If he proceeds too lightly, then he's subject to criticism of cronyism," O'Neil
said. "He has to avoid the landmines. " Of course, charging legislators could be a
political boon to Horne if the voters view him as someone who's committed to
rooting out corruption, even if it means taking on members of his own party.
Republican political consultant Jason Rose said it's a "high risk, high reward"
investigation for Horne. "That is a powerful, powerful argument if one makes it in a
general election, that you are willing to take on those even in your own party," Rose
said.
                               Phoenix Business Journal

                                 April 15, 2011 Friday

Triadvocates No. 1 on list of top Arizona lobbying firms

With a roster of 64 clients, Triadvocates LLC was ranked No. 1 in the Phoenix
Business Journal's Lobbying Firms list, which appeared in the April 15 print edition.

No. 2, with 38 clients, was the Policy Development Group Inc.

Third place was a tie between Dorn Policy Group Inc. and Veridus LLC, each with 36
clients.

All four companies are based in Phoenix.

Business Journal subscribers receive the entire list, which spotlights the 25 largest
lobbying firms in Arizona. Information includes number of registered lobbyists,
number of support staff, a partial list of clients and the name of the top local
executive.

Over the course of the year, more than 110 lists run in the print edition of the
Phoenix Business Journal. Lists range from commercial real estate brokers to
residential real estate brokers, and from commercial building contractors to custom
home builders. All are compiled at the end of the year in the Book of Lists, which is
mailed to subscribers. The book is available separately in print, interactive and CD-
ROM/digital download versions.

								
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