Why Tom Horne might have thought he could get away with it

19 May 2014 02:08 pm
Posted by: Donna

Arizona’s top prosecutor, Attorney General Tom Horne, is in hot water yet again. This time it’s because of revelations by a former staffer in his state office that she was required to spend the majority of her time doing campaign work (which is illegal) and that Horne’s offices has been flagrantly using state employees and resources for campaign efforts. As Horne’s reelection chances grow ever dimmer, it may seem puzzling why he would have taken such a stupid risk with all the other problems (infidelity, hit-and-run, etc.) he has. My theory is that Tom Horne and his top aide Kathleen Winn are simply following the precedent set by Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who has been using taxpayer dollars to run a nonstop PR and reelection campaign for several years now, with impunity.

Last week Mark and I got to see a sneak preview of “The Joe Show”, a documentary about the infamous Maricopa County Sheriff, produced by local journalist Randy Murray. The film is a series of interviews and news clips chronicling the Sheriff’s career and (mostly) fawning media coverage. Murray explained in a Q and A afterward that he structured it as a romantic comedy where Arpaio and the news media play the love interests. Allen, a former newscaster and PR whiz, figures prominently in the film, as she is the “best friend who introduces the two main characters”. It’s a characterization that really fits her, as the many interviews of Allen over the eight year period it took to make the film reveal a woman who doesn’t seem to possess an iota of interest in public safety, but who does have a single-minded focus on getting her boss good coverage and getting him reelected. Allen is the Director of Media Relations for the Sheriff’s Office, not a campaign staffer, and can often be seen wearing official MCSO articles of clothing – yet The Joe Show crew followed her around as she spent much of 2008 and 2012 blatantly engaging in campaign work for the Sheriff. I mean, the evidence is right on camera but I guess Arpaio and Allen feel they have nothing to fear from it.

Tom Horne and Kathleen Winn show a similar disinterest in the actual responsibilities of the Attorney General’s office but their mistake was in failing to realize that Tom Horne is neither a celebrity like Arpaio nor remotely liked by the news media or the public.

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