You are hereCREW: Will the FEC Fumble the Fiesta Bowl Fiasco?

CREW: Will the FEC Fumble the Fiesta Bowl Fiasco?

Press Release:

April 5, 2011- Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Fiesta Bowl for violating campaign finance law by reimbursing Fiesta Bowl executives and their spouses for campaign contributions to Arizona politicians. Former Fiesta Bowl President and Chief Executive Officer John H. Junker was fired last week for his role in the scandal and the ensuing cover-up.

“The question here isn’t whether anyone broke the law -- independent investigators already found violations – it is whether the FEC will do anything about it,” said CREW Executive Director Melanie Sloan.  “When FEC Commissioner Donald McGahn openly brags about not enforcing the law, Americans can’t have confidence that even those who flagrantly and deliberately violate our campaign finance laws will be held accountable.”

Prior to joining the FEC, Mr. McGahn once served as a top campaign finance lawyer to disgraced former Rep. Tom DeLay (R-TX).  In March, McGahn publicly expressed his contempt for election laws, admitting during a keynote speech at a symposium at the University of Virginia Law School to “not enforcing the law as Congress passed it.”

CREW’s complaint lists 13 individuals who were reimbursed $28,500 by Fiesta Bowl officials for campaign contributions they made over the past five years.  These donations were made to the campaigns of  Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ), former Representatives J.D. Hayworth (R-AZ) and John Shadegg (R-AZ), as well as Senator McCain’s leadership PAC, the Straight Talk Express. Additionally, Fiesta Bowl officials violated campaign finance laws by hosting fundraising events at the Fiesta Bowl Museum for former Rep. J.D. Hayworth, Senator McCain and the Straight Talk Express.

CREW’s complaint is based on the public version of the final report prepared for the Board of Directors of the Fiesta Bowl by an outside law firm investigating allegations of illegal campaign contributions first raised by The Arizona Republic in December 2009.  The law firm conducting the outside investigation reviewed 55 gigabytes of electronic data, more than 10,000 additional documents and interviewed 52 different individuals, many of whom confessed to investigators that they had been reimbursed for their campaign contributions by Mr. Junker. The transcripts of the interviews with Fiesta Bowl employees have not yet been made public, but can be subpoenaed by the FEC.

“What will it take for the FEC to do its job and enforce our country’s campaign finance laws?” said Ms. Sloan.  “If the commission continues to resist taking action, when will the president and Congress finally take notice and do something about this outrageous state of affairs?”




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