DECEMBER 29, 2009
A prominent middle-aged Arizona politician has been cleared of wrongdoing for paying his young “consultant” girlfriend hundreds of thousands of campaign dollars because an immediate family member didn’t personally benefit from the deals.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, a renowned open borders advocate who claims detaining illegal immigrants violates their civil rights, was under investigation for giving his girlfriend more than $340,000 to help him get reelected and raise funds for various city initiatives. More than half of the money—at least $200,000—was paid while the 58-year-old mayor was romantically involved with the 38-year-old consultant.
Arizona law forbids these sorts of shady arrangements in which politicians’ family members, or the politicians themselves, benefit from such campaign largess. Girlfriends are not covered by the statute, however. Because the consultant/fundraiser (Elissa Mullany) only sleeps with the mayor and is not related to him, he’s off the hook.
The rather bizarre determination was made recently by a former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice (Thomas Zlaket). The former judge, now a Tucson attorney, cleared Gordon of wrongdoing after deciding that the mayor didn’t violate state conflict-of-interest laws since neither he nor an immediate family member personally benefited from Mullany’s lucrative payments.
Zlaket did acknowledge that “certain actions or payments” involving the mayor’s young gal pal do indeed prompt “legitimate questions” but assured that nothing brought to his attention qualified as a “prohibited activity.” The former judge did give the mayor some valuable friendly advice, however: “Perception is sometimes as important as reality.”
Gordon is nationally known as a powerful advocate of illegal immigrants and huge adversary of immigration enforcement. He helped launch a federal probe of a Phoenix-area county sheriff (Joe Arpaio) who enforces immigration laws, claiming the crackdowns are “discriminatory harassment” and “improper” stops, searches and arrests. The sweeps have helped rid the area of many violent criminals and restored much-needed law and order in a Phoenix business district (36th & Thomas) rife with solicitation, trespassing, loitering and public health ordinance violations.
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