We’re not sure what to make of today’s article in the Arizona Republic hitting Doug Quelland for violating campaign finance laws. Mary Jo Pitzl is either demonstrating sloppy journalism or engaging in blatant misrepresentation. We will let our readers decide.
Recently re-elected conservative Republican, Doug Quelland, was hit with a campaign finance complaint filed by Democratic activist and precinct committeemen, Carol Vandercook. The complaint alleges that Quelland’s committee violated Clean Elections laws and limits and therefore warrants his removal from office.
Democrat incumbent, Jackie Thrasher, lost the seat to Quelland in the November 4th General Election in a rematch of the 2006 General Election in which Quelland lost the seat to Thrasher.
According to the article online,
At the heart of the complaint filed with the Clean Elections Commission and the Arizona Secretary of State is that Quelland, a Republican making a comeback bid for a House seat, hired a campaign consultant for $15,000 and failed to report it.
The suspected expenditure also exceeded the amount allowed under the state’s public-financing system. And because the consulting contract was signed seven weeks before Quelland officially filed to run for the Legislature, it could trigger a fine of three times the amount of the contract, or $45,000.
Specifically, Quelland is accused of not reporting the hiring of Larry Davis of Intermedia Public Relations in a contract in which Intermedia Public Relations was to provide consulting products and/or services to the Quelland campaign committee.
Quelland canceled the contract 48 hours after signing the contract because Davis proposed and encouraged Quelland to attack a member of Jackie Thrasher’s family over an incarceration. Quelland refused to engage in Davis’ negative campaign strategy and severed the committee’s contract with Intermedia Public Relations. Quelland asserts that he possesses a copy of the contractual termination document.
It is important to recognize that Quelland’s committee canceled the contract with Intermedia Public Relations before filing any paperwork with the Secretary of State’s Office or Citizens’ Clean Election Commission. Even during the two-day period that the contract was under consideration or in effect, Quelland was not subject to the jurisdiction of the Citizens Clean Election Commission because the committee had not yet filed to become a participating candidate.
The mere fact that Quelland’s campaign committee was not under any contract with a vendor when he became a participating candidate makes the Vandercook complaint irrelevant and spurious.
But even if Quelland’s committee did conduct business with Larry Davis’ Intermedia Public Relations, an expenditure would have been reported on the committee’s campaign finance reports.
In reality, campaign finance reports reveal that the Quelland campaign committee made NO expenditures to Larry Davis nor Intermedia Public Relations. Instead, Quelland’s committee utilized the services of Discessio LLC which obviously contradicts claims that Intermedia was the consulting firm for the campaign.
Pitzl further reports that Larry Davis was contacted for the story and made the claim that he was Quelland’s campaign manager:
Davis, in a brief phone interview Tuesday, declined comment except to confirm that he was Quelland’s campaign manager through the Nov. 4 election.
When Quelland backed away from doing any business with Larry Davis, this severed any contractual relationship between Intermedia Public Relations and the Quelland Committee. Perhaps Davis falsely believes that no contract termination occurred and the original contract entitled him to the title of campaign manager despite the fact he performed no campaign management for the campaign during the entire election cycle? If Quelland’s copy of the contractual termination document exists, as he claims, Davis and Intermedia Public Relations was fired a long time ago and any relationship with Davis is irrelevant to any complaints filed with CCEC or the Secretary of State’s Office.
That leaves the text on Quelland campaign committee website as Pitzl points out:
However, Quelland’s campaign Web site, as of Tuesday afternoon, credits Davis’ company, Intermedia, for creating the site.
A review of the Quelland committee finance reports shows no expenditures to Larry Davis nor Intermedia Public Relations for website design or development. Why then does the website assign credit to Intermedia Public Relations? This is yet to be determined when the Quelland committee responds to the complaint within the five day period.
Returning to the origination of the complaint is another mystery. Democrat Carol Vandercook filed the complaint but has been resistant in disclosing details. Vandercook claims that she obtained details including a copy of the signed contract between Quelland and Davis from District 10 Democrats.
This leads some to speculate that Larry Davis may actually be the originator of the complaint. Davis may be spurned over Quelland’s decision to quickly back away from doing business with Intermedia who was willing to attack Thrasher’s imprisoned family member as part of the campaign strategy. Little else is known of Larry Davis other than what appears on the company website.
Quelland’s attorney and campaign committee are expected to respond to the complaints within the five-day period which ends on Saturday.