Tom Horne Admits Document Destruction and Is Fine With AG Employees Working on State Time
Denials can be telling. Certainly, this is the case with Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne's denial of wrongdoing, in the wake of attorney Tom Ryan's dropping his bunker buster of a complaint on Horne's office.
The document, which Ryan filed dramatically on Monday with the Arizona Secretary of State, alleges that the AG's executive office has been doubling as Horne's campaign headquarters.
It's based on a sworn affidavit from whistle-blowin' ex-AG staffer Sarah Beattie and a trove of campaign-related documents, e-mails, opposition research and other goodies allegedly created and/or sent to others on the taxpayer's dime.
Yesterday, Horne issued a response to the accusations. The reply is lawyerly, and inadvertently damning.
It's as if he's saying, in a very Bill Clinton sort of way, "Look, we didn't break the law, but if we did, it's not really against the law."
Horne: Sometimes a denial is more than a denial
By itself, that cache of documents reveals the political brothel Horne's made of his high public office.
Regarding the claim in Beattie's affidavit that Horne instructed her to delete a campaign-related e-mail he inadvertently sent to her state e-mail account, Horne essentially admits to a cover-up.
"You cannot control what emails you receive on your state computer," writes Horne. "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 emails. So if Ms. Beattie was told to delete an email, it is because that is what our office instructs employees to do. Records requests are answered from a central computer memory, so deletions at individual computers cannot hide anything and are not intended to."
Is Horne admitting that he ordered Beattie to delete the e-mail? I asked his spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham just that question.
She replied: "As per our written policy, yes."
Thing is, what Beattie described both to me, when I interviewed her last week, and in her affidavit, is an orchestrated effort to use personal computers and e-mail accounts so as to avoid detection. No public records, no evidence that campaign work is being done on state time, which is illegal.