Friday afternoon, Mesa resident and city hall activist Gene Dufoe filed a complaint with the Arizona Secretary of State arguing that former Mesa Mayor Scott Smith failed to disclose travel and event gifts, a requirement candidates must follow when seeking public office.
The complaint provides a detailed list of travel expense gifts that Smith did not claim on his personal financial disclosure form when he submitted the forms on May 21, 2014.
Exhibits in the complaint detail expense reports filed with the City of Mesa in the year leading up to his announcement for Governor. Those same gifts are also required to be disclosed with the Secretary of State when becoming a candidate.
Smith’s failure to disclose the gifts draws into question whether he may have any conflicts of interest issues related to seeking the office of governor.
Dufoe’s complaint states:
Whether Mr. Smith was justified in accepting these gifts is not the issue here; the only issue is that he failed to report them. Arizona has several important reasons to require candidates to disclose gifts. One reason is so that voters may assess whether a candidate is beholden to special interests. The disclosure may reveal the leanings of the candidate on policy issues. It also reduces the possibility of corruption, or the appearance of corruption. Here, the United States Conference of Mayors is a policy-driven organization, and voters have a right to know that they have flown Mr. Smith all around the globe, put him up in nice hotels, and fed him at nice restaurants.
With Wednesday’s controversy over the use of government resources during a campaign trip to Yuma now drawn into question, this latest complaint may reveal a pattern of shielding important financial information from the general public.
In 2011, several Arizona lawmakers were caught up in a controversy surrounding unreported gifts received to travel and attend sporting events. That investigation led to the conviction of the Fiesta Bowl CEO, John Junker. (Arizona Republic article)
Due to conflict of interest issues, the Secretary of State’s office will forward the complaint to the Attorney General’s Office for an investigation.
To read the complaint letter, click here.