GOP leaders threaten to investigate Hobbs over inaugural events donations

Some Arizona GOP leaders say they support an investigation looking at the contributions to the Hobbs inaugural fund.
Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 6:07 PM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) — Arizona’s new legislative session kicks off Monday, and it appears it’ll immediately put Republicans in control of the Legislature at odds with the new Democratic governor. GOP leaders are threatening to investigate Gov. Katie Hobbs to find out how much dark money she raised from special interest groups to pay for her inaugural events.

Hobbs and her campaign have been asking donors for as much as $250,000. The money is supposed to be used for events like her inaugural ball this weekend. A list of more than 100 contributors is disclosed on a government website. It includes some of Arizona’s biggest movers and shakers, like APS, SRP, Intel, Honeywell and the Phoenix Suns.

But so far, Hobbs, who campaigned on transparency and openness, is refusing to reveal how much these organizations have contributed. Government watchdog groups like Common Cause have urged full disclosure. They say the public deserves to know who’s trying to buy access and influence with her elected leaders. Incoming Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope, a Republican from Coolidge, agrees. “I would think it might be something we would look into. I can tell you any contributions I receive, I have to have that reported and there’s a reporting deadline coming up on the 15th for the last cycle. People can go to the secretary of state’s website and find out anybody that’s contributed any expense that I’ve had for that cycle and that’s the way it should be. We should have the right to know as a citizen what kind of contributions they’re getting,” he explained.

In response to Shope’s comments, the Hobbs administration issued a statement that reads in part, “No taxpayer funds have been used for either (yesterday’s) inaugural ceremony or the inaugural gala. The inaugural committee has made the names of all donors public and available on the website ... The governor maintains her commitment to transparency and accountability in her administration.”

Other Republicans, like incoming state Sen. John Kavanagh, have told Arizona’s Family they support looking into contributions to the Hobbs mutual fund, that “transparency is good.”