A Republican complaint against Dave Joseph, a Democratic candidate for state House, will probably not be heard by the Clean Elections Commission until Nov. 15.
On Sept. 28, Stephen Kohut, chairman of the Pinal County Republican Committee, filed a complaint against Joseph with the Arizona Citizens Clean Election Commission. In it, he argued that Joseph used primary-election funding to wage a general-election campaign in three different ways.
He said Joseph sent primary-election campaign mailers to Republican households, spent primary-election funding on signs that didn't go up in time for that election, and spent money on campaign materials he could not have distributed before the primary.
"In total, Mr. Joseph appears to have spent $9,006.18 of his primary funding on expenses designed to benefit his general election campaign," Kohut wrote.
In two written responses sent to the commission, Joseph acknowledged the first allegation. He said he accidentally used a list of addresses for the first mailer in which 27 percent of the names belonged to Repubicans. He got the list from the Democratic Party, and it did not list party affiliation, so he assumed them all to be Democrats, Joseph said. He offered to pay back to the commission 27 percent of the cost of that mailer, or $1,760.
Joseph denied that either of the two other complaints were valid. He did purchase 150 signs with primary-election money and only put up two of them before the primary but that was because of a conflict with the printer that delayed their production until just before the primary, Joseph and his attorney, James E. Barton II said in written responses. The late posting of the signs was disadvantageous to Joseph's candidacy overall, Barton said.
Kohut's compaint about the so-called "palm cards" purchased a week before the primary was simply baseless, Joseph said. He bought 20,000 of the cards a week before the primary election and distributed most of them to voters or organizations supporting his campaign, Joseph said.
The commission's staff has been looking at the complaint, and the commission itself will probably consider it at its Nov. 15 meeting, said Sara Larsen, a commission staff member, via email. If any of the allegations are upheld, they would be considered civil, not criminal, violations.
Joseph is facing Republicans Steve Smith and Adam Kwasman in the general election. The top two vote-getters win House seats.