Republicans Ask Maricopa County Attorney To Take Hobbs ‘pay to play’ Investigation

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More Republican state officials are calling on Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell to investigate the “pay to play” allegations involving the Hobbs administration and Sunshine Residential Homes.

Attorney General Kris Mayes, a Democrat, has already opened an investigation triggered by a letter from Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope after the Arizona Republic story broke with the allegations that the group home company got better daily pay rates per child after donating around $400,000 to Hobbs’ campaign, inaugural fund, and the state Democratic Party. Mitchell, a Republican, also said she may open an investigation after the Auditor General’s office reached out to her.

“As the Treasurer of Arizona, I am responsible for overseeing, safekeeping, and managing the State of Arizona’s securities and investments, which are duties I take seriously. Arizona taxpayers need financial accountability and deserve to know how their money is being spent,” Treasurer Kimberly Yee, a Republican, stated. “Providing state dollars to political donors is a grave misuse of public funds. ‘Pay to play’ and special favors have no place in state government.”

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Yee said Mayes wrongfully asserted that she has singular control over any investigation.

“I have requested a separate investigation to be conducted by the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office,” Yee said. “The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office has separate jurisdiction in this matter and the current investigation by the Attorney General’s Office raises concerns of potential ethical conflicts of interest in representing state agencies and officials involved in the alleged scheme.”

In response, the Attorney General said that it’s the role of the state to look into the allegations.

“As with any other investigation our office conducts, we will follow the facts wherever they lead us. As with everything else we do, we are also fully cognizant of our ethical obligations and have taken appropriate measures to protect the interests of all concerned, including directing the Department of Child Services to obtain outside counsel in this matter,” Mayes wrote. “Finally, I will note that while you are certainly always welcome to express your personal concerns to me, nothing about the matters Sen. Shope has asked us to investigate are remotely related to any of your statutory duties as set out by [state law].”

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Rep. David Livingston, R-Peoria, took it a step further saying that Mayes should recuse herself from the case, saying that she has clearly benefited from Arizona Democratic Party funding before and said she did not handle a previous complaint from him regarding Hobbs’ use of “public resources” prior to taking office.

“Your conflict of interest and mishandling of my complaint warrants your recusal from investigating the pay-to-play scandal because it likewise stems from Governor Hobbs’ unprecedented inaugural fundraising and political donations to the ADP. You have already proven that you will shield both the Democrat Governor and your own party from any liability,” Livingston wrote.

The Center Square reported on Monday that Mayes is asking Mitchell to not conduct her own process to avoid “parallel investigations.” Hobbs refused to answer questions about the allegations during a media availability on Tuesday morning, including when The Center Square asked if she would comply with both Mayes and Mitchell in the event they both investigate.

In an email to reporters on Monday, the Attorney General’s office said they would not be responding to Livingston’s letter.

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This article was published by The Center Square and is reproduced with permission.

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