Public corruption tough to prove without smoking gun

By Ben Giles | Arizona Capitol Times

Ask any prosecutor what their favorite kinds of cases are, and you’d likely get a similar answer: public corruption.

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich is no different, according to his spokesman, Ryan Anderson.

“Nothing would make him happier than to be able to prosecute an elected official who has broken the law, regardless of their political party,” Anderson said.

A record of investigations by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office under Brnovich’s tenure reveals those cases are far from simple. While Brnovich has had some success seeking charges or court ru- lings against elected officials at the highest levels of state government, recent investigations show how nuanced filing charges can be, and how decisions about when to prosecute, or not, can hinge on quirks in statute.

Brnovich has investigated fellow Republicans, such as former Secretary of State Michele Reagan, former House Speaker David Gowan and most recently, former state Rep. Todd Clodfelter, who the Secretary of State’s Office alleged was violating the law by lobbying shortly after he left elected office. None was charged. The same can be said for some Democrats, such as former state Sen. Catherine Miranda, who was referred to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation by the Senate Ethics Committee.

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