Who Will Chop Off the Head of Tom Horne's Zombie-Like Campaign?
Even Horne had to admit in an interview with ABC 15 that Beattie was "good" at her job. Both at her AG responsibilities and her campaign duties, raising money for his re-election.
A memo sent out to all state Attorney General employees in 2013 by the Solicitor General's Office (part of the AG's Office) advised recipients on the law regarding public employees doing political work.
Federal restrictions generally apply to positions funded in whole or in part by the federal government.
Called the Hatch Act, there's nothing new about it. It's been the books since 1939. The idea is to protect against the scourge of patronage and to keep the civil service free of political influence. Or as free as possible.
Many states, including Arizona, have a "little Hatch Act," offering similar restrictions on state employees. These restrictions vary depending on whether an employee is considered exempt or non-exempt.
But for exempt and non-exempt alike, one rule abides, according to the above-mentioned memo:
"No public employee may participate in any political or campaign work while on the public's time, use public facilities, materials, and equipment for political or campaign activity, or travel at public expense for non-public purposes."
Yet Horne, like a Republican version of "Slick Willie," as GOPers liked to call Bill Clinton, has argued the opposite: That it is okay for state employees to take breaks to check e-mails and do other things campaign-related.
Apparently, Horne is saying that as long as exempt employees do their eight hours, they can work for his campaign all they want on their "breaks" and "lunchtimes," even while in state offices.
This is not what the law says. This is not what the AG's handbook says. This is not what the Solicitor General's Office says.
Similarly, Horne, in his official response to Beattie's allegations, attempted to justify his ordering her to delete a campaign-related e-mail he inadvertently sent to her AG account.
Beattie said she and other staffers had been warned by Winn, Horne, Dugan, and other Horne-ites to always use personal laptops and e-mails, presumably to avoid the creation of records subject to public requests — records that would reveal that campaigning was getting done on state time in violation of the law.
"It is written in the policy & procedures that if any employee receives an inappropriate political email, they are to delete it and instruct the sender not to send any more e-mails," Horne said in a recent statement to the press.
"So if Ms. Beattie was told to delete an e-mail, it is because that is what our office instructs employees to do."
Was Horne admitting that he ordered Beattie to delete the e-mail?
Asked this question, Grisham replied, "As per our written policy, yes."
However, what Beattie described both to reporters and in her sworn affidavit, was an orchestrated effort to cover the Horne camp's tracks as AG employees violated state law.
For Horne to suggest that, shucks, he was just abiding by the policy of his office, is a load of hooey of Nixonian proportions.
The documents that accompany Beattie's affidavit are hard to refute, containing as they do, computer meta-data showing when and where they were produced — and by whom.
For instance, Beattie provided the agenda of a regular Wednesday "calendar meeting" at the AG's Office, where the political items discussed are marked in "deep blue."
Almost all of the agenda is colored blue.
Additionally, there are e-mails allegedly sent on state time from Winn haranguing Beattie to finish a campaign document, e-mails from Horne's executive assistant Debra Scordato reminding Horne-ites of campaign events, and e-mails to AG staffers from Chenal, in her perch at Wilenchik's law firm, commenting on fundraisers and robo-calls.
Beattie relates that Winn recently used a state car to attend a campaign event. 'Cause of this, Beattie says, she knew she had to leave Horne's office and his out-of-control campaign.
Following queries about this accusation, Grisham had to admit the part about Winn and the state car was true.
For this, Winn was admonished by Dugan, Grisham claimed.
Even local TV news has begun to get it. Horne's interviewers seem incredulous, wondering why he does not resign.
Another AG employee amscrayed recently: Garrett Archer, mentioned by Beattie in her affidavit as a "data guru" for the Horne campaign. Archer declined New Times' request for an interview.
Grisham claims Archer resigned because his wife is expecting, that his departure already was in the works.
Initially, Chenal's boss, Dennis Wilenchik, was going to represent Horne in the complaint brought by Tom Ryan on behalf of Beattie.
Just as this article went to press, Wilenchik alerted the Secretary of State's Office in an e-mail that he will not represent the AG "in either the Secretary of State matter or the Clean Elections matter from this date forward."
Rather, Wilenchik says, Horne "will be representing himself." And do not bother e-mailing Wilenchik, he adds, he is on vacation.
"Since I am headed to Peru and the Galapagos Islands through mid-June starting this Wednesday I think I will be having the better time than working on this anyway," Wilenchik writes. "In any event, thanks again to all . . . Have a wonderful summer (if there is such a thing here) and take care. There is no need to copy me on anything further with respect to this matter."
Which begs the question: How bad is it when even Dennis Wilenchik does not want to represent you?
Indeed, Horne's dreams of becoming governor were dashed long ago. Now mere re-election seems a Sisyphean feat.
How long must we wait for the inevitable? The primary at the end of August? The general election on November 4?
Will Brnovich strike the magic blow? Or will Rotellini – like Arizona's own version of Game of Thrones character Daenerys Targaryen – zap Horne with dragon fire?
If only he could go down tomorrow, thus sparing us the spectacle of Arizona's chief law enforcement officer making a fool of himself — and us — for months to come.