Southwest Border Sheriffs examined in Pinal election for possible violation of campaign finance laws

Sheriff Larry Dever said Southwest Border Sheriffs ‘co-opted our badges and symbols and put it on their releases and made it sound and look like it was an extension of our group. Nothing could be farther from the truth’

By Lindsey Collom – Aug. 15, 2012 10:06 PM

The Arizona Republic

The Gila County Attorney’s Office is looking into whether a self-styled border sheriffs group violated campaign-finance laws in its support of a write-in candidate for constable in Pinal County.

A complaint filed with the Pinal County elections department alleges that an entity called Southwest Border Sheriffs is attempting to “sway the constable election into a certain direction by using less than legal and honorable means.” Shon White, also a write-in candidate for constable, alleges the group has paid for “hundreds” of campaign signs for challenger Ryan Sudrick, a Republican seeking the seat.

At issue is the legality of the expense: Southwest Border Sheriffs is not a registered political committee with the state or county, and Sudrick filed a $500 threshold statement, meaning his campaign wouldn’t spend or receive more than $500. Anything over that would require him to file a statement of organization and submit campaign-finance reports.

A campaign-finance violation is a civil penalty punishable by up to three times the offending amount.

Citing a possible conflict of interest, the Pinal County Attorney’s Office forwarded the complaint to Gila County last week. Gila County Attorney Daisy Flores said her office is reviewing the case.

Note: RLG represents Sheriff Dever and not Southwest Border Sheriffs


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August 2012