AG Mark Brnovich Files Petition to Remove Commissioner Bitter Smith From Office

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Phoenix, AZ – Attorney General Mark Brnovich today filed a Petition for Special Action to remove Arizona Corporation Commissioner (“Commissioner”) Susan Bitter Smith from office. The Petition filed this morning in the Arizona Supreme Court is the result of an ongoing investigation regarding an alleged violation of a conflict of interest statute. The Attorney General’s Office alleges Bitter Smith is ineligible to hold office because of her conflict of interest as a registered lobbyist and executive for a trade association of cable companies regulated by the Arizona Corporation Commission (“Commission”).

“Arizonans deserve fair and impartial regulators,” said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. “We filed this case today to protect the integrity of the Commission and to restore the faith of Arizona voters in the electoral process. Arizona law clearly prohibits a Commissioner from receiving substantial compensation from companies regulated by the Commission.”

On September 2, 2015, the Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) launched an investigation into Bitter Smith after receiving a formal complaint against her. The AGO investigation found Bitter Smith receives over $150,000 per year for her trade association work, on top of her $79,500 salary as a Commissioner.  Arizona State Statute 40-101 prohibits Commissioners from being employed by or holding an official relationship to companies regulated by the Commission. The law also prohibits Commissioners from having a financial interest in regulated companies. Section 40-101 promotes ethics in government and prevents conflicts of interest.

Bitter Smith is the executive director and designated lobbyist for the Southwest Cable Communications Association, a trade association for cable companies in Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada. She is also registered as a lobbyist for two affiliates of Cox Communications. The other members of the trade association regulated by the Commission are affiliates of Comcast, Suddenlink, and Time Warner.  Bitter Smith’s salary constitutes 40-percent of SWCCA’s budget. She works as a “CEO” over all of SWCCA’s operational aspects and as its designated and only lobbyist.

The Commission regulates many public utilities in Arizona, including local telephone providers. Because cable companies or their affiliates offer telephone service, often as part of a “bundle” with television and Internet, they are regulated by the Commission. Commissioners are representatives of the people, elected to office with specific constitutional and statutory duties. They must be free of conflicts both at the point of election and during tenure in office. Bitter Smith’s conflicts existed at the time of her election in 2012 and continue to exist today, therefore, she cannot remedy them and must be removed from office.

For a copy of the Petition for Special Action, CLICK HERE.

For a look at the exhibits attached to the Petition, CLICK HERE.

Poll: Who Will You Vote For As Arizona Attorney General?

Attorney General Scott Pruitt In Town to Support Mark Brnovich

Attorney General Scott Pruitt Coming to Town to Support Republican Candidate Mark Brnovich

What: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a leading national conservative voice and the current chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association, is coming to town to support the campaign of Mark Brnovich, Republican candidate for Attorney General. Other leading conservative elected officials will join Pruitt and Brnovich at the conference, including Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

When: Wednesday, August 6, 2014, 11:30 am
Where: Arizona House of Representatives, House Lawn (1700 West Washington, Phoenix)

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt currently serves as the chairman of the Republican Attorneys General Association (RAGA). In 2012, Pruitt became the first Attorney General to sue the DHS on the same grounds as the plaintiffs in the recently decided Halbig case. The National Review Online referred to the Halbig case as “Obamacare’s Biggest Legal Threat.” Pruitt will join Mark Brnovich and other leading conservative Arizona elected officials on the House lawn to discuss why he is supporting Mark Brnovich for Attorney General over Mark’s primary opponent, Tom Horne.

Former Senator Jon Kyl to Endorse Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

For months I have been arguing that the race for Arizona Attorney General was going to demonstrate a change in the modus operandi of this political race. Incumbents rarely suffer a credible challenge from within the party but that appears to be what’s taking place in the nomination contest between current Attorney General Tom Horne and his challenger, Mark Brnovich.

Yesterday, we learned that former US Senator Jon Kyl is set to endorse Brnovich when a letter was leaked to the public between Kyl and southern Arizona’s most influential political kingmaker, Jim Click. Here’s a copy of the letter:

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Let’s just say you know you’re in trouble as an incumbent when one of Arizona’s most popular and influential US Senators comes out in support of your challenger.

And Senator Kyl speaks for many Republicans when he infers that a Horne nomination will guarantee that the Arizona AG’s office will fall to the Democrats in November.

What should be most invigorating and encouraging to the Brnovich campaign is Senator Kyl’s personal endorsement in the letter to Click stating, “Mark Brnovich is principled, intelligent and hardworking.”

This is like a shot of adrenalin to the campaign.

Kyl continues,

“He is a talented lawyer and accomplished prosecutor. He understands that the principles of limited government, free enterprise, individual liberty, and the rule of law are cornerstones of our Republic.”

Let me emphasize. US Senators rarely make endorsements in a primary contest – especially one in which the incumbent is of the same political party.

Yes, this is a real political coup for the Brnovich campaign and the campaign can only gain more momentum as Republicans conclude that Mark Brnovich is our best qualified candidate to retain this important seat in November.

Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

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Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

Today, Republican candidate for Attorney General Mark Brnovich received the endorsement of Chandler City Councilman Jeff Weninger.

“Meeting Mark, you know right away that he is a man of character and integrity.” Weninger said. “It is time that more people like Mark stand up to help our state. Mark will bring a new level of public service to our state and that is why I am honored to endorse Mark Brnovich for Attorney General.”

Councilman Weninger owns five Valley restaurants including Dilly’s Deli and Floridino’s Pizza & Pasta, a Chandler fixture for 17 years.

He has been active in the community coaching youth soccer and serving on the Board of Directors for the Chandler Compadre Branch of the Boys and Girls Club of the East Valley. He supports ICAN through the Business Donor Club and is a former Homeowner’s Association board member. He was also on the Board of Directors of the Chandler Symphony Orchestra.

Weninger is serving his second term on the Chandler City Council and previously served as Vice Mayor.

Of Councilman Weninger’s endorsement, Mark Brnovich remarked: “It is so important to have the support of community leaders like Jeff. He has done a great job on the Chandler City Council and I am honored to have his support. The supporters like Jeff that have stood up for integrity in Arizona is an honor.”

Councilman Weninger joins U.S. Representative Trent Franks, former State Senator Linda Gray, County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Representatives Debbie Lesko, Paul Boyer, T.J. Shope, former State Treasurer Dean Martin, Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil, and national conservative leaders like David McIntosh in endorsing Mark Brnovich for Arizona Attorney General.

ABOUT MARK BRNOVICH

Mark_Brnovich_smRaised in Arizona, Mark Brnovich is a graduate of Arizona State University. After law school, Mark prosecuted felonies in the Gang/Repeat Offender Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona and as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. Mark also served his country as the Command Staff Judge Advocate for the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arizona Army National Guard for eight years. Mark met his wife Susan while both were working as prosecutors. They live in Phoenix with their two daughters.

For more information, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com or to connect with Mark on social media, visit his Facebook page or follow him on Twitter: @Mark4AZ

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Hon. Dean Martin Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

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Hon. Dean Martin Endorses Mark Brnovich for Attorney General

Today, Republican candidate for Attorney General Mark Brnovich received the endorsement of the Honorable Dean Martin, former Arizona State Treasurer and State Senator.

“I am delighted to endorse Mark Brnovich for Attorney General,” said Martin. “Mark is the strong, dedicated, honest leader we need to be Arizona’s Top Law Enforcement Officer.” Martin continued, “Conservatives and moderates agree that we need honesty and integrity in our leaders, especially our Attorney General. For too long, Arizona has suffered with a dysfunctional Attorney General mired in scandals and criminal misconduct.  We need Mark Brnovich to clean up this scandal-ridden office and bring honesty and integrity back to this high office.  It is time for a new Attorney General, and I urge others to stand beside me for honest leadership.  I am proud to endorse Mark Brnovich.”

As Senator, Martin was a leader in tax reform, immigration enforcement, and child predator legislation.  Among his signature achievements, Martin authored the landmark “Chris’ Law”, which prevents child predators caught “red-handed” from posting bail and absconding justice. Martin also authored landmark legislation to prevent child predators on parole from moving in near schools.

Martin is familiar with the challenges facing the next Attorney General.  Martin was elected State Treasurer in 2006 to clean up another scandal-ridden office after the previous Treasurer resigned in disgrace.

As Arizona’s Chief Financial Officer, Martin was responsible for the custody and management of state and local monies.  Called “Chicken Little” by then Governor Janet Napolitano for his economic forecasts, time proved Martin right as his warnings were accurate predictions of the “Great Recession” and allowed him to earn taxpayers over $1.2 billion in profits from his investments.  In 2011, Martin returned to the private sector and is currently an active member of the business community as an entrepreneur and multiple business owner.

Mark Brnovich remarked: “It is an honor to have the endorsement of a public servant like Dean Martin. Dean has shown that when you stand by principles and integrity, you can do great things for the people you represent.”

Dean Martin joins U.S. Representative Trent Franks, former State Senator Linda Gray, County Attorney Bill Montgomery, Representatives Debbie Lesko, Paul Boyer, T.J. Shope, Arizona Christian University President Len Munsil, Coolidge Mayor Tom Shope, and national conservative leaders like David McIntosh, in endorsing Mark Brnovich for Arizona Attorney General.

ABOUT MARK BRNOVICH

Raised in Arizona, Mark Brnovich is a graduate of Arizona State University. After law school, Mark prosecuted felonies in the Gang/Repeat Offender Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona and as Assistant US Attorney for the District of Arizona. Mark also served his country as the Command Staff Judge Advocate for the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arizona Army National Guard for eight years. Mark met his wife Susan while both were working as prosecutors. They live in Phoenix with their two daughters.

For more information about Mark Brnovich, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com.

Stay in Touch with Mark!  ”Like” his Facebook page here or follow him on Twitter: @Mark4AZ

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Tom Horne Looks to Settle Latest Political Scandal

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Tom Horne Looks to Settle Latest Political Scandal

Disgraced Attorney General Tom Horne’s lawyers have reportedly reached a settlement with a former employee over her claims that she was targeted because of her political beliefs and for tipping off the FBI about his illegal campaign coordination.

Meg Hinchey is a former lead investigator with the attorney general’s office and previously filed a lawsuit against Tom Horne alleging that Horne and his employees engaged in an ongoing campaign to ruin Hinchey’s law enforcement career.

Republican Attorney General candidate Mark Brnovich is calling on Horne to disclose to the taxpayers the details of the settlement before any final deal is signed by the state.

“The public has a right to know what went on inside the attorney general’s office,” Brnovich said. “Did Horne seek retribution against his former employee and now he’s reached a settlement to keep that same employee quiet? Will taxpayer money or a taxpayer-funded insurance account be used to pay this settlement?”

Brnovich added: “Tom Horne is paid to uphold the state’s laws but increasingly finds himself on the other side of the law. We need an attorney general who works with law enforcement, not one who has his personal lawyer on speed dial.”

Horne is also trying to quietly settle a serious campaign finance violation that could cost him and an employee more than $1.2 million in fines.

ABOUT MARK BRNOVICH

Raised in Arizona, Mark Brnovich is a graduate of Arizona State University. After law school, Mark prosecuted felonies in the Gang/Repeat Offender Bureau of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and worked as an Assistant Attorney General for Arizona and as Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona. Mark also served his country as the Command Staff Judge Advocate for the 153rd Field Artillery Brigade of the Arizona Army National Guard for eight years. Mark met his wife Susan while both were working as prosecutors. They live in Phoenix with their two daughters.

For more information, please visit www.Mark4AZ.com