A complaint filed with two state agencies allege Doug Ducey and his campaign staff illegally coordinated with conservative groups to attack one of his Republican gubernatorial rivals. 

The 236-page document filed on Tuesday with the Secretary of State and Clean Elections Commission suggests there is "substantial evidence" Copper State Research and Strategy and the Legacy Foundation Action Fund violated state campaign finance laws in their independent expenditures that benefitted the Ducey campaign.

The campaign of the former Cold Stone Creamery CEO benefitted from opposition research performed by the two groups without having to pay for it, said Kory Langhofer, an attorney representing the Smith for Governor campaign.

The complaint asks the two state agencies to investigate.  

A spokesperson for the Ducey campaign, Melissa Delaney, said the filing was baseless and designed to distract voters.

"It's too bad Mayor Smith is trying to breathe life into his lagging campaign with a cheap publicity stunt like this," DeLaney said. "It smacks of desperation and will be quickly dismissed because it's so transparently politically motivated and meritless."

Campaign finance complaints are routinely handled by the Secretary of State's office, but there could be a problem with this matter, as Secretary of State Ken Bennett is also running for governor. 

This is the second time a group has suggested the Ducey campaign has improperly worked with outside groups.  

In May, the Jones for Governor campaign asked cable TV providers to voluntarily take down an ad paid for by the independent expenditure group Conservative Leadership for Arizona, which was running a pro Ducey ad.  

The Jones campaign argued CLA was given access to a private Ducey event in order to film the ad, an allegation that both the CLA founder and the Ducey campaign denied.

Contact reporter Joe Ferguson at jferguson@azstarnet.com or 573-4346. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFerguson