Two of Arizona’s most powerful officials ran into some trouble this week, though one seems to be in far bigger trouble than the other.
Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett (R), for example, is perhaps best known for flirting with the “birther” conspiracy theory and publicly questioning whether President Obama would be on the state ballot in 2012. This week, however, Bennett faced a different kind of controversy, when we learned the Arizona Secretary of State is bankrolled by the Tea Party group Freedomworks, to the tune of $2,000 a month.
But as it turns out, that’s the less interesting story out of the Grand Canyon State this week.
On Wednesday in Phoenix Municipal Court, while all eyes were on the Jodi Arias murder trial, Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne pleaded no contest to leaving the scene of an accident, a misdemeanor, and agreed to pay a several hundred dollar fine. […]
Horne on Wednesday issued a statement announcing that the case had been settled. “Today I paid a $300 fine to settle a traffic misdemeanor arising from not leaving a note after a traffic incident in a parking lot, which at most left a paint scratch and no dent,” Horne said in the statement.
And why is a minor traffic accident interesting? As it turns out, when Arizona’s attorney general hit another car and drove away without leaving a note, he very likely would have gotten away with it, except, unbeknownst to him, Horne was being followed by FBI agents who saw the incident and reported what happened.
And why were FBI agents following the state attorney general? Because federal law enforcement suspects Horne may be guilty of breaking federal campaign finance laws, illegally coordinating with an outside political group.
What’s more, making this just a little more entertaining, the Arizona Republican drove away after hitting that other car in part because his passenger is one of his subordinates, with whom Horne has had an extra-marital affair.
Incidentally, Horne, ostensibly Arizona’s top law-enforcement official, initially lied about hitting the other car and declined to cooperate in the police investigation.