Jim Loughead, the former Treasurer for the Arizona Natural Resource Conservation Districts State Association, has accused Democratic LD 20 House nominee Tonya Norwood of embezzling on his blog. Being unfamiliar with Loughead, I searched for him on LinkedIn and he seems to have a believable profile on that site. He also has a Twitter account and a Facebook page.
What bothers me about his blog is that the only entry is the one on Norwood. Perhaps the issue was important enough to Loughead that he started a blog to highlight his accusation, he did tweet about his blog post. Loughead has all of 8 followers on Twitter and apparently doesn’t know how to use hashtags, so, his tweet was pretty much lost in the whirlwind. The accusation is serious enough to warrant a discussion of the matter.
Loughead writes on his blog that he showed Phoenix police documentation proving his claims, but the Phoenix Police Department declined to act on the accusation because Norwood didn’t steal enough money to pursue the matter. While it might be disturbing to know that someone could possibly steal below a certain amount and the police would never pursue it, the assertion does beg exactly how much is Norwood accused of stealing? $0.15? $20? $10,000? These are “facts” Loughead should make public. Certainly, inquiring minds would have a raft of other questions about the accusations and they have a right to truthful answers.
Voters have a right to be fully armed with the facts as they head into the November general election. Not only should Norwood publicly answer this accusation, but Loughead should make public his documentation (or at least as much of the documentation as he legally can) and, if there is a police report, that should be publicly posted as well. Perhaps the media (e.g. The Arizona Republic, the Arizona Capitol Times, the TV news shows, etc.) will become interested in the story and do some investigative reporting.
If Loughead’s accusations prove to be true, it would behoove the Democratic Party of Arizona to pressure Ms. Norwood to withdraw from the race. In fact, the Arizona Democratic party should act quickly and decisively to determine the veracity of the claims. By not acting to ensure that their candidates are trustworthy, the Democratic Party of Arizona runs the risk of having it’s reputation further sullied. At the least, if the accusations are unfounded, I think Ms. Norwood would be owed a very public apology and the blog post should be removed.