Bill Montgomery Takes Action Against a Campaign Scandal -- While His Campaign Uses a Consultant From Another Scandal

Categories: Election 2012

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Chris Baker, a consultant for the 2012 campaign of Bill Montgomery, was a key player in campaign-finance scandal similar to the one alleged today against state Attorney General Tom Horne.

When it comes to state Attorney General Tom Horne's campaign-finance scandal, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is taking enforcement action.

Meanwhile, Montgomery's got his 2012 campaign to run.

And one of his campaign consultants is Chris Baker, a key figure in another major campaign-finance scandal.

--See Also: Tom Horne's Alleged Hit-and-Run at an Address Listed for Carmen Chenal

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery

We asked Montgomery to comment on the irony inherent in those facts, but after spending two hours talking to reporters today about Horne, the county attorney's apparently done chatting with reporters. He didn't return our messages.

To be clear, we're not alleging that Montgomery himself did anything like that alleged against Horne or Chris Baker. But this isn't the first time we've noticed that "honor" has a flexible definition for Montgomery when it comes to the cut-throat game of politics.

In a conversation with County Supervisor Don Stapley that was recorded secretly in 2010, Montgomery described Sheriff Joe Arpaio as a daffy senior citizen who had been fooled by his then-chief deputy into attacking county leaders. Yet Montgomery owes his job to Arpaio, who bent election law to run ads that benefited Montgomery. Montgomery also sucks up to lawyer Mark Goldman, an ally of Arpaio and disbarred former County Attorney Andrew Thomas, for money.

Now, Montgomery's going after Horne for campaign-finance law violations. Supposedly, these violations are worse than the violations that helped Montgomery for which Arpaio was sanctioned.

Even more ironic, though, is that Montgomery's campaign confirms that Chris Baker is being used occasionally as a consultant.

The allegation by Montgomery against Horne is that the state AG coordinated with an independent expenditure campaign to benefit Horne's campaign. Baker played an important role in Arpaio's infamous -- and similar -- SCA scandal, in which an independent expenditure campaign raised money that benefited Arpaio in 2008.

Baker, a GOP consultant, was the link between Arpaio's campaign and the independent expenditure campaign that ran a sleazy TV ad against Dan Saban, Arpaio's Democratic competitor in 2008.

Hendershott, the chief deputy Montgomery believes fooled Arpaio and who had been acting as Arpaio's campaign manager in 2008, introduced Baker at a restaurant to two deputies who had been helping Hendershott collect money on behalf of Arpaio. The money was put into a secret account by a shadowy group -- the Sheriff's Command Association, or SCA.

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Joel Fox, a former captain with the sheriff's office, lost his job in large part because of the SCA campaign-finance scandal that helped Arpaio's '08 re-election effort.

Baker accepted more than $105,000 from the deputies that had been donated by a few high-ranking deputies and big-wigs like developer Steve Ellman. Then Baker worked on the ad for the independent expenditure committee formed by state GOP workers, all in apparent conjunction with a prior plan to earmark the funds illegally for Arpaio's campaign.

Baker admitted on the witness stand during an appeal hearing for Joel Fox, the deputy who had helped coordinate the fund-raising, that he had lied to state Attorney General's Office investigators about knowing Hendershott. He also said he'd lied to Randy Pullen, the state GOP chair in 2008, about contacting Fox to ask for the names of contributors. However, the latter may itself had been another lie by Baker, because the evidence dug up by a state investigation showed that Pullen knew the details of the scheme by Hendershott and Fox, and therefore would likely not have asked Baker to question Fox.

Arpaio has never told the truth about his own involvement in the SCA. (And no direct evidence has ever surfaced to indicate he personally directed the violations, whereas in Horne's case some interesting e-mails have been released.)

Baker's role in the SCA scandal should be troubling to anyone familiar with the case, as Montgomery should be. After a criminal investigation into the SCA by former state Attorney General Terry Goddard failed to produce a grand jury indictment, and after Tom Horne took office, the case was referred to the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office for possible charges.

It seems likely that the feds are no longer looking into the SCA case, following the announcement that the criminal investigation into Arpaio's office had been dropped. However, we heard recently that the Arizona U.S. Attorney's Office may still be looking at the SCA case. The federal prosecution agency hasn't yet gotten back to us on that question.

Baker's also a campaign consultant for Arizona Congressman David Schweikert. But Montgomery's use of Baker comes off as more hypocritical, since Schweikert didn't hold a news conference today to announce he was taking action against Horne in a case similar to the one Baker had helped coordinate.

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All these slimeballs need to be flushed down the toilet

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

why isnt this guy concerned with the fact that our sheriff is for sale? joe will only investigate sex crimes if the victim is the daughter of someone with political clout. his department had 2 investigators for 1 case and pursued it for 7 years till the guy was caught only because the father had political clout, meanwhile he had 2 officers ignoring 400 cases. joe will only investigate crime if it benefits him, so why isnt this yutz going after arpaio?      oh yeah.... because he's in joe's pocket too


Once again, the ever so astute voters in Arizona HAVE ELECTED A CROOK TO A LAW ENFORCEMENT POSITION.


Way to go Arizona.


I feel sooooooo dirty now.


So disgusted with the politics that is AZ

danzigsdaddy topcommenter

ever notice how anybody who ever has anything to do with arpaio is just crooked as hell? the arpaio taint is spreading


Will MontyPoodle now grow a pair and go after Pearce and the other members of the AZ Legislature and their Fiesta Bowl sham?


Of course NOT!  He's pond scum, and was told to take out HornyBoi, so Bendover Bennett has a better chance for gov in 2014!


Does MontyPoodle forget the illegal stuff done by Arpaio for Billy's own campaign in 2010?  We know MontyPoodle is an idiot, but you think that Lisa Allen or someone would remind the dirt bag of what Joke had to pay out in fines for his purchase of Billy Bagsucker!  ($154k, IIRC!)


My hands are greasy after reading this

MaskedMagician1967 topcommenter

 @WhoKnows Maybe Monty doesn't recall all that illegal stuff the Old Fool did to help him win the position of Maricopa County Attorney.


Sure seemed that way when Candy Andy was in office.

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