The Attorney General of Arizona has referred a potentially criminal case against NeverTrump AZ Sec. of State Katie Hobbs to the Cochise County Attorney, Brian McIntyre.
In a letter sent Tuesday, Attorney General Mark Brnovich delegated his powers to McIntyre “to investigate and take any appropriate enforcement actions (civil or criminal)” against Hobbs for shutting down the state’s online candidate petition portal, Gateway Pundit first reported.
Brnovich had to refer the case to Cochise County because he and Hobbs have already been to court on the issue, creating a conflict of interest for the AG, according to Republican Ariz. State Rep. Mark Finchem. “Katie Hobbs and Brnovich were already in court on this, so he’s conflicted out,” Finchem explained on Steve Bannon’s War Room, Thursday.
Arizona law states that “the secretary of state shall provide a system for qualified electors to sign a nomination petition … for [candidates for statewide and legislative offices] by way of a secure internet portal.”
Brnovich warned Hobbs in January that if she took the online petition gathering tool that is mandated by law down before the collection period, she would be committing either a class 6 felony, or a class 3 misdemeanor depending on the circumstances.
… a public officer upon whom a duty is imposed by Title 16, who knowingly fails or refuses to perform that duty in the manner prescribed by law or knowingly acts in violation of any provision of such law, is guilty of either a class 6 felony or class 3 misdemeanor. A.R.S. §§ 16-1009, -1010.
The Attorney General is required to enforce the provisions of Title 16 through civil and criminal actions in any election for members of the legislature. A.R.S. § 16-1021.
After Brnovich threatened to prosecute Katie Hobbs for this election law violation, Hobbs sued the AG, requesting injunctive relief.
In her complaint, Hobbs alleged that Brnovich had threatened her with “unprecedented criminal prosecution for performing her duties as Arizona’s Chief Elections Officer.”
The Judge denied her request for protection because it’s possible she broke the law.
Regardless, Hobbs earlier this month shut down the online petition portal for certain candidates, in potential violation of the law.
In his letter, Brnovich said that he has received multiple written complaints after Hobbs on March 17 took down the E-Qual system for congressional and legislative candidates.
Finchem explained that the move didn’t affect statewide offices like the one she’s running for, “but it does affect legislative offices.”
Finchem noted that her actions have denied rural legislators, and even suburban Arizona, the ability to collect signatures online.” “We are just days away from the close of the nomination, petition, collection period. So what she’s done is she’s interfered with the political process of candidates getting on the ballot. That is serious,” he said.
The Republican added that Hobbs has been “lawless all throughout this past year. ”
Bannon asked Finchem if it was realistic to believe Hobbs could be brought up on charges, or if this is just “hopium.”
“I don’t think this is hopium,” Finchem replied. “The referral of this to a county prosecutor is a pretty matter, and Cochise County is a fairly conservative county.
The state rep. also noted that Hobbs had been duly warned, but took the action anyway, showing premeditation.
“At the end of the day, she committed a crime,” he said.