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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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