City Clerk finds reasonable cause NoDDC, Alexander violated campaign finance laws in latest complaint

A view of the entrance into the Scottsdale City Hall Kiva Auditorium where campaign finance violations are filed with the city clerk. (Independent Newsmedia/Arianna Grainey)

There is reasonable cause to believe Arizona law may have been violated by the NoDDC organization and its director Jason Alexander, Scottsdale City Clerk Carolyn Jagger found in a June 19 report.

Ms. Jagger issued a 16-page report to City Attorney Bruce Washburn with her findings regarding a campaign finance complaint filed in her office on May 17, by Timothy A. LaSota on behalf of former city councilman David N. Smith.

Mr. Washburn serves as the enforcement officer for campaign finance complaints filed with the city.

NoDDC supporters during a 2017 Scottsdale City Council meeting. (file photo)

The complaint alleges that NoDDC, NoDDC PAC, NoDDC Inc, Jason Alexander, Mike Norton and Rebecca Holmes violated Arizona campaign finance laws.

Ms. Jagger’s report contains reasonable cause findings, she stated in the document, noting that as the filing officer she is the sole public person who is authorized to initiate an investigation into alleged violations.

“It is important to understand that a reasonable cause finding is not a definitive finding that there has been a campaign finance law violation, but instead simply means that the filing officer believes a violation may have occurred,” she stated.

The complaint filed in May was separated into three sections:

  1. Contributions made to NoDDC; NoDDC Inc.; and NoDDC PAC have been misrepresented and/or not disclosed;
  2. Donor information has not been disclosed in accordance with Arizona Statutes governing disclosure of donor information; and
  3. Funds donated to and held by NoDDC PAC have been and continue to be converted to personal use.

Attorney Thomas F. Glavin Jr. responded to the complaint on behalf of Mr. Alexander and Ms. Holmes, while Mr. Norton responded on his own behalf.

(Independent Newspapers/Arianna Grainey)

Initial findings

Ms. Jagger identified three allegations regarding the first section of the complaint.

Allegation 1: NoDDC PAC’s statement of organization is erroneous

Ms. Jagger found at this time, there is no reasonable cause to believe the NoDDC PAC or Mr. Norton is in violation of campaign finance laws.

Allegation 2: Contributions to NoDDC were not properly reported by NoDDC PAC

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe that NoDDC PAC violated two Arizona Revised Statutes by failing to report all disbursements in excess of $250 on its campaign finance report; and by failing to segregate contributions into separate bank accounts.

In addition, there is reasonable cause to believe that NoDDC Inc., violated the law by failing to keep personal monies segregated from committee monies.

Allegation 3: NoDDC does not include the proper disclosures on its Facebook webpages and contribution solicitation webpage

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe the PAC is in violation of state law by failing to include the proper “paid for by” disclosures on its Facebook page; and by failing to clearly ask for identification and inform contributors that the committee is required by law to seek identification.

For section two, the complaint notes that NoDDC PAC’s campaign finance reports do not include all required donor information, and identifies three contributions listed on NoDDC’s PayPal transaction history that appear to be from corporations.

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe that NoDDC PAC violated state law by failing to make its best effort to obtain the required information for any incomplete contribution it received.

In addition, there is no reasonable cause to believe Mr. Norton violated campaign finance laws as they relate to section two.

Section three of the complaint included three allegations.

Allegation 1: NoDDC PAC reported expenditures for legal expenses incurred and fines assessed at a time when NoDDC PAC did not exist

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe that NoDDC PAC violated state law by failing to properly report all disbursements in excess of $250 on its campaign finance reports.

Allegation 2: NoDDC PAC reported expenditures that do not appear to qualify as expenditures

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe that NoDDC violated state law by converting surplus monies to personal use.

There is no reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Norton violated campaign finance laws as they relate to allegation 1 or 2, Ms. Jagger stated in the report.

Jason Alexander

Allegation 3: Jason Alexander made contributions to candidates using corporate monies

Ms. Jagger found there is reasonable cause to believe that Mr. Alexander violated state law by contribution corporate monies to candidates in the city’s Nov. 8, 2018 General Election.

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at mrosequist@newszap.com or can be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/mrosequist_.

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