Funny Business Alleged in Phoenix Election

PHOENIX (CN) – A Phoenix councilman illegally transferred $121,265 from a committee fighting his recall to his re-election campaign, three voters in his district claim in court.
     Jane McNamara and her co-plaintiffs all live in Councilman Sal DiCiccio’s district, they say in their complaint in Maricopa County Court.
     They claim that DiCiccio “improperly used funds from the anti-recall committee to finance the activity of the DiCiccio corporation.”
     DiCiccio is not named as a defendant, though his corporations are. The defendants are Citizens Protecting Taxpayers, an Arizona nonprofit; and Committee Citizens Protecting Taxpayers in Opposition to RC-2-11, a political committee.
     The anti-recall committee, “Committee Citizens Protecting Taxpayers in Opposition to RC-2-11,” was formed in April 2011 “to oppose recall efforts directed at Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio,” according to the complaint.
     In six months, “the anti-recall committee raised $176,799.50 to oppose the recall effort against Mr. DiCiccio,” the lawsuit states. The recall effort “never got off the ground and ended prior to completion of the petition circulating phase.”
     The committee filed a termination statement on Oct. 25, 2011, certifying “under penalty of perjury that ‘the political committee will no longer receive any contributions or make any disbursements … and that any surplus monies have been disposed of,'” according to the complaint.
     In its final campaign finance report, the committee said it had $121,265.37 in surplus funds.
     Six days before filing that statement, on Oct. 19, 2011, the committee transferred all of its money DiCiccio’s nonprofit, Citizens Protecting Tax Payers, according to the complaint.
     Since then, DiCiccio, who is running for re-election in Phoenix City Council District 6 in August, “continues to use money raised by the anti-recall committee to promote himself and his candidacy for Phoenix City Council through the DiCiccio corporation,” the complaint states.
     The committee “is currently soliciting and receiving donations which, upon information and belief, are then immediately disbursed to the DiCiccio corporation,” but it is “not filing any campaign finance reports to disclose contributions and expenditures,” according to the complaint.
     The voters claim that the committee’s “solicitation of donations, receipt of donations, distribution of funds to the DiCiccio corporation, and failure to report contributions and expenditures not only violates a myriad of campaign finance laws, but directly contradicts the sworn statements of the anti-recall committee’s chairman and treasurer in the termination statement.”
     DiCiccio’s use of the money gives him “a material advantage in the upcoming election,” according to the complaint. The voters claim it also stops them “from understanding who is funding campaigns for, and against, candidates in Phoenix City Council District 6.”
     They want the assets of the committee and the corporation frozen, and an accounting of money received and spent.
     They also want the committee enjoined from spending the money, and ordered to return it.
     Plaintiffs are represented by Keith Beauchamp with Coppersmith, Schermer and Brockelman.

%d bloggers like this: