Tom Horne accused of campaign violations, hit-and-run - New York News

Tom Horne accused of campaign violations, hit-and-run

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PHOENIX -

He's the top law enforcement officer in Arizona, but now Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has found himself on the other side of the law.

According to the FBI, Horne broke campaign finance laws during his run for office by coordinating campaign strategy with an outside group.

We've also learned he's part of a Phoenix Police investigation surrounding a hit and run accident that happened in downtown Phoenix.

The FBI says he broke the rules, but Horne says he's innocent. He's says he going to fight this. He says there is no proof he did anything wrong.

The FBI investigated Horne for 11-months and investigators say he broke campaign finance rules.

"This isn't acceptable, this isn't acceptable to me," says Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery.

County Attorney Bill Montgomery says Attorney General Tom Horne violated campaign finance laws when Horne ran for office two years ago.

"Voters did not have all the information that our campaign finance reporting laws call for," says Montgomery. "Whether that information would have caused them to make a different decision in the voter booth, that's something we will never know."

Horne faces a civil fine of more than a million dollars, but no criminal charges. Montgomery blames weak campaign finance laws for not being able to do more.

Investigators claim Horne ran out of campaign money during his race against Democrat Felecia Rotellini. He's accused of helping to form an independent group that raised $500,000 for attack ads against Rotellini.

Under state campaign rules, candidates can't coordinate with independent groups. According to investigators, Horne did just that. Horne says he did nothing wrong.

"The charges regarding the 2010 election are completely false," says Horne.

Horne says his campaign and the other group never talked about those ads.

"I didn't ask people to contribute, I didn't have input into the ad, the placement of the ad or anything else relating to the independent campaign."

Felecia Rotellini was Horne's challenger in the 2010 election, and she released a statement saying in part: "The 2010 Attorney General's race was decided by precious few votes. While there's no way of knowing if that election might have ended differently without the boost provided by TV ads paid for with hundreds of thousands of dollars in illegal contributions, I do know this: Tom Horne stands accused of breaking the law, as determined by an FBI investigation and the Republican Maricopa County Attorney, Bill Montgomery. The Attorney General will have his day in court, as he should. But the fact that Tom Horne needs to have a day in court is shameful. An Attorney General accused of breaking the law by his fellow law enforcement officials undermines the credibility of the AG's office and hurts the State of Arizona."

Horne is looking at a fine as high as $1.5 million. He'll have a chance to fight the accusations.

Horne is also part of a hit and run investigation. Phoenix Police say they just got the case today, even though he allegedly hit a parked car on March 27 near 2nd Avenue and Roosevelt.

The FBI uncovered the accident while investigating Horne for campaign finance violations. Once their investigation was over, they turned the information over to Phoenix.

"What I have been told is that pulling out of a parking space I bumped into another car's bumper. When I was told about it I sent a letter to the county attorney saying we have heard about it and I would be happy to pay for it. I would have been happy to pay for it at the time. I didn't think there would be any damage. We haven't heard back from him but as soon as we do I would be happy to pay for it," Horne told us.

Question: "Do you remember the incident at all?"

Horne: "Not really."

Phoenix Police say nobody was injured in the accident that occurred near downtown and their investigation continues.

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