Tom Horne Seeks Settlements in Campaign Finance and Meg Hinchey Cases
Facing both a primary challenge from former Arizona Gaming Director Mark Brnovich and ongoing attacks from fellow Republicans at the Arizona Public Integrity Alliance, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne is seeking settlements in two intertwined civil actions involving his alleged wrongdoings in office and on the campaign trail.
The first involves AG investigator Meg Hinchey, who sued Horne, the state, and Horne chief deputy Eric "Rick" Bistrow last year after filing a notice of claim for $10 million in 2012 for retaliation, slander, and harassment.
The other is a campaign finance case against Horne and former campaign operative Kathleen Winn (now the AG's outreach director). In October, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk ordered that the pair pay back nearly $400,000 in ill-gotten campaign contributions or face triple damages.
A Brnovich supporter, with a wearable jab at our infamous Attorney General...
Court filings in both cases indicate that Horne is looking to throw this baggage overboard as he sails into battle first with Brnovich and perhaps later with Democrat Felecia Rotellini, whom he bested in 2010 with the assistance of a TV ad attacking Rotellini paid for by Winn's Business Leaders for Arizona.
On Friday, the parties in the Hinchey case filed a joint settlement report with a U.S. District Judge, stating that talks between the two sides "produced an agreement in principal" and that the lawyers are now "drafting the settlement agreements."
The notice further states, "The parties anticipate that the language will be finalized and the agreements executed within about three weeks."
Hinchey got the ball rolling on an FBI investigation of Horne after she discovered information implicating Horne in campaign-finance irregularities, among other shenanigans, and turned over the info to the feds.
As a result, Hinchey claims that she was the subject of retaliation, slander, and harassment because she did what was right. And knowing how Horne operates, her claims are not difficult to believe.
Brnovich's campaign responded to a request for comment with this quote from the candidate:
"Tom Horne is a classic bully and the only way to stop a bully is to fight back. Meg Hinchey fought back and blew the whistle on Horne and his staff when she believed he was covering up campaign state finance law violations and attempting to destroy records.
"The problem is that while Tom Horne settles with Meg Hinchey, Arizona taxpayers are left holding the bill."