State Representative Paul Smith filed the following complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office along with the Citizens Clean Election Commission regarding illegal campaign coordination between the Scott Smith campaign, Better Leaders for Arizona and Randy Redd. In the complaint, Boyer alleges that Smith’s campaign and the independent expenditure committee illegally coordinated an attack against Doug Ducey using ads. The complaint states that Smith’s committee and Better Leaders for Arizona violated Arizona Revised Statute § 16-911.
Here is the complain in entirety:
August 1, 2014
Arizona Secretary of State
1700 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
Citizens Clean Elections Commission
1616 W. Adams St.
Phoenix, AZ 85007
I submit the following campaign finance violation complaint against the following individuals and committees:
1. Scott Smith
Smith for Governor
PO Box 5057
Mesa, AZ 85211
2. Jim Simpson
Better Leaders for Arizona
6022 N. 51st Place
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
3. Randy Redd
52 W. Red Fern Rd
San Tan Valley, AZ 85140
In late July, 2014, Better Leaders for Arizona, an independent expenditure committee making expenditures in the Arizona governor’s race, released on its website a video advertisement featuring Randy Redd. Mr. Redd is a failed Cold Stone Creamery franchisee. The advertisement included commentary from Mr. Redd complaining about his failed experience as a Cold Stone Creamery franchisee. Mr. Redd blames his business failure on gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey.
On August 1, 2014, the Smith for Governor Campaign issued a press release featuring Mr. Redd. The press release tracks the same talking points that Mr. Redd used in his advertisement with Better Leaders.
The definition of independent expenditure is found at ARS § 16-911. That statute provides that an expenditure is not “independent” if:
1. Any officer, member, employee or agent of the political committee making the expenditure is also an officer, member, employee or agent of the committee of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure or an agent of the candidate whose election or whose opponent’s defeat is being advocated by the expenditure.
2. There is any arrangement, coordination or direction with respect to the expenditure between the candidate or the candidate’s agent and the person making the expenditure, including any officer, director, employee or agent of that person.
4. The expenditure is based on information about the candidate’s plans, projects or needs, or those of the candidate’s campaign committee, provided to the expending person by the candidate or by the candidate’s agents or any officer, member or employee of the candidate’s campaign committee with a view toward having the expenditure made.
The facts illustrate several reasons for your agency to open an investigation to see whether the Better Leaders video and Smith press release are not “independent” of one another. Both communications featured the same person, Mr. Redd, who complained about his failed Cold Stone franchise. In both communications, Mr. Redd follows the same basic script. In both communications, Mr. Redd blames Doug Ducey for his personal business failure. Both communications were released close together in time.
Applying the facts to the law also justifies an investigation. By providing services to both committees, Mr. Redd may be acting as a member, employee, or agent of both by supplying them with similar information about his experience. He may be directing information on what content about his failures that each committee should include in the ad, based on the “plans, projects or needs” of Smith’s campaign. It is reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign helped direct the Better Leaders expenditure through Mr. Redd and a pass-through, by requesting that they post the video a few weeks prior to Smith issuing his press release. It is also reasonable to believe that the Smith campaign worked directly with Better Leaders to coordinate this “double punch,” with Better Leaders’ video followed by an aggressive press release and media campaign by Smith.
In conclusion, I ask that your agencies open an investigation into Better Leaders, Smith, and Mr. Redd based on the apparent lack of “independence” between the video and press release.
The contents of this letter are based on my personal knowledge. I declare under penalty of perjury that the foregoing is true and correct.