State Rep. David Livingston Sends Follow-Up Letter to Hobbs Regarding Inauguration Funds, Answers Lead to More Questions

Arizona State Representative David Livingston (R-Peoria) sent another letter to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) Wednesday demanding more answers regarding where she is placing funds for 2023 inauguration events. While Livingston did receive answers to his first letter, he said those have only led to more questions.

“Those records have not alleviated my concerns regarding your administration’s solicitation of inaugural funds. Instead, they have prompted new concerns and this supplemental request for more information,” Livingston wrote.

The Arizona Sun Times reached out to the governor’s office for a response but did not hear back before publishing time.

Livingston sent his first letter to Hobbs and her campaign manager, Nicole DeMont, on February 13th. Livingston shared concerns that Hobbs had not been entirely transparent with who donated to her inauguration fund. Hobbs reportedly received roughly $1.9 million in donations, although the inauguration event cost only $207,000. To remedy these concerns, he asked the governor to provide the complete list of donations to the Katie Hobbs Inauguration Fund (Hobbs fund), the State Inaugural Fund (State fund), and emails about procuring these funds.

Livingston is allegedly still reviewing the documents he received from this first request, but his new letter asserts that more issues need to be addressed. For example, Livingston shared that there may be issues with the State fund. He stated that on February 6th, the State fund was “$903.73 short,” and there were “insufficient funds” to pay an outstanding invoice from Pro Production.

Livingston shared that Rose Huerta, one of Hobbs’s staff members, was responsible for “managing a lot of the fundraising” for the inaugural events and had several communications with state employees “to facilitate transactions” for donors. Livingston said the state fund was still short as of February 8th.

On the Arizona Inauguration website, potential sponsors were directed to contact Huerta to donate. Additionally, the website advertised tickets to the January 7th Inaugural Ball held at Talking Stick Resort as $150 each. However, Livingston stated that the records he received did not show any ticket-sale proceeds being deposited into the State fund.

Therefore, Livingston made several more information requests, starting with the current balance of the State fund. Additionally, he requested all financial records showing where Inauguration Ball ticket proceeds were placed, copies of all outstanding invoices from inaugural events, records showing deposits and withdrawals from the State fund after February 8th, and all emails from Huerta that may relate to donations. He requested all documents be delivered by March 1st.

As reported by The Sun Times, the Republican-led State Legislature has been sending letters to Hobbs regarding her inaugural funds since January. House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petrtesen (R-Mesa) asked Hobbs to place any leftover funds in a transparent Protocol Fund for general use. However, Hobbs has yet to agree to the legislators’ request.

On Tuesday, Hobbs announced she is committing $500K to flip Republican legislature seats Democrat in 2024. While this money was reportedly not from the inauguration funds, Livingston still said he found this commitment alarming.

“I find it alarming that you have already committed to spend $500,000 for political purposes, yet you refuse to commit to the people of Arizona any intention to give leftover inauguration funds back to the State where those funds belong,” wrote Livingston.

Additionally, a new bill from State Senator Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff) would address this issue by requiring a governor to post a list of all entities that donated to an inauguration fund 15 days after the event. The bill passed the Senate Government Committee with unanimous, bipartisan support.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Background Photo ā€œArizona Capitolā€ by Wars. CC BY-SA 3.0.

 

 

 

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