Tom Horne Targeted by Conservative Group's New TV Ad, While Horne Snuggles Up to Jerry Simms, with Chuck Coughlin's Assistance
It ain't 2014 yet, and already Attorney General Tom Horne is taking it on the chin in a new TV ad, demanding that he return the nearly $400,000 in donations that two county attorneys say were improperly used on Horne's behalf in his successful 2010 general election run against Democratic foe Felecia Rotellini.
The Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, a conservative-leaning 501c4, began running the ad on Fox News this Friday, targeting Horne's notorious absence of ethics, specifically the allegation that in 2010 he illegally coordinated with an independent expenditure committee headed by supporter Kathleen Winn, now Horne's outreach director at the AG's office.
"Attorney General Tom Horne, we trusted him to enforce Arizona's laws," the ad begins, "but Tom Horne does not even follow Arizona's laws himself."
General Slime gets the once-over in this new ad by AZPIA
The 30-second spot urges viewers to call Horne's office and tell him, "It's time to return the illegal money."
Additionally, the ad pimps the website unethicalhorne.com, which refers to Horne as, "An Embarrassment to Arizona," and asks readers to sign a petition ordering Horne to give back the loot.
The ad also indicates that, "Now Tom Horne is under an FBI investigation," referring to a 2012 story regarding that probe, during which Horne was shadowed by FBI agents looking into the possibility that he had obstructed justice and tampered with witnesses as part of a cover-up.
Most embarrassingly, FBI agents witnessed Horne engage in a vehicular hit and run at the apartment complex where his alleged mistress Carmen Chenal lived. Horne, who is married, had hired Chenal to an Assistant AG's job at a salary of $108,000 a year.
Chenal has since left the AG's office and is now working for Horne-supporter Dennis Wilenchik's law firm. Horne pleaded no contest to the hit and run and paid a $300 fine.
Thing is, in October of last year, the U.S. Attorney's Office released a statement saying that, "The U.S. Attorney's Office has no ongoing investigation regarding Tom Horne."
Typically, the FBI will neither confirm or deny if an investigation is ongoing, but last year, the FBI turned its investigative file on Horne over to the office of Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, who subsequently made it public after deciding not to go after Horne criminally.
Instead, Monty sought a civil sanction, specifically, that Horne pay back the ill-gotten booty.
When I spoke to former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton last year about the Horne saga, he told me that, "It is unusual for the FBI to share its investigative reports . . . if there's going to be a future federal prosecution on those same issues."