State Representative David Livingston Seeks Further Transparency from Gov. Katie Hobbs on Inauguration Funds

Arizona State Representative David Livingston (R-Peoria) sent letters Monday to Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and her campaign manager Nicole DeMont seeking further transparency regarding the funds Hobbs received for her inauguration events.

“To that end, I have serious concerns relating to the procurement of funds that appear to have been solicited and donated for the purpose of sponsoring Inauguration events hosted at the Capitol in early January,” Livingston wrote. “It is my understanding that you or your campaign manager publically disclosed some of the donors and the amounts of their donations several weeks ago, but this disclosure is incomplete.”

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

As reported by the Arizona Republic, Livingston’s claims appear correct. While Hobbs did release a public list showing roughly $1.5 million in donations from corporations and special interest groups to her inauguration fund, that list did not show everything. The outlet reported that at least an additional $270,000 were donated to Hobbs that was not disclosed. Additionally, the Republic identified 235 unique donors to Hobbs’s inaugural fund, but 70 of those, including businesses, lobbying firms, and individuals, do not have their contributions publicly documented. The inauguration event only cost $207,000, and Hobbs has not stated how she plans to use the leftovers.

Moreover, Livingston brought up some new legislation in his letter to address a situation like this. Senate Bill (SB) 1299, sponsored by State Sen. Wendy Rogers (R-Flagstaff), would require every Arizona governor to be more transparent about funds used for their inauguration events. Should it become law, the governor would have 15 days after inauguration to post a list containing the name and address of every committee, organization, individual, or corporation who donated “anything of value” to the fund. Additionally, the Governor would have to provide an itemized list of every good or service provided to the inauguration and whoever was behind it.

SB 1299 is set to appear before the Senate Government Committee, Chaired by State Senator Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Livingston ended his letters by making two requests of Hobbs and DeMont to “determine whether SB 1299 or any other legislation regulating the solicitation, disclosure, or use of inauguration funds may be appropriate.” Those two items are a “complete and accurate” list of all deposits and withdrawals from Hobbs’s inaugural fund and all communications associated with advertising funds procured for the events. Livingston requested the documents be presented to him by Thursday. Alternatively, he gave Hobbs or an agent of hers the opportunity to present the information at the House Appropriations Committee hearing on February 20th.

Moreover, as reported by The Sun Times, this is not the first time Republicans have questioned Hobbs about these funds. In January, House Speaker Ben Toma (R-Peoria) and Senate President Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) sent Hobbs a letter requesting she put all leftover funds in a Protocol Fund. In this fund, Hobbs could still spend the money however she wanted, but it would be transparent as Arizona law would require her to produce an annual report showing where the money went. However, as they are now, Hobbs could use the leftover funds for political purposes without accountability.

The House majority team shared that the governor’s office has not responded to the legislator’s letter, and Hobbs has refused to do as they asked.

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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].
Photo “David Livingston” by David Livingston. Background Photo “Katie Hobbs” by Governor Katie Hobbs.


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