David Joseph, a Democrat running for Arizona House of Representatives on the northwest side of the Tucson area, has admitted to misusing funds from the Arizona Clean Elections Commission, according to his formal response to a complaint about his spending.
Joseph is competing against two Republican candidates for the two House seats in Legislative District 11. The Pinal County Republican Committee complained to the Clean ELections Commission that Joseph spent money during the primary to convince voters to elect him in the general election.
Candidates running "clean" are required to collect $5 donations from a set number of voters, in exchange, they receive funding from the commission to conduct their campaign. Primary funds are supposed to be used solely to convince primary voters to advance a candidate to the general election.
The Pinal County Republican Committee complained that during the primary Joseph sent mailers to Republican voters, which would be considered general election activity because he was technically competing in the Democratic Party primary, although he did not have an opponent in the primary.
Joseph responded to the formal complaint, saying he agrees the funding was used incorrectly.
"The Committee acknowledges its error in sending out its primary mailer to some Republican voters," Joseph's written response to the Clean Elections Commission says.
Joseph's election committee says 27 percent of the mailers it sent during the primary went to Republican voters. The cost of printing and mailing 27 percent of the cards was $1,760.
Daniel Ruiz, spokesman for the Commission, said Joseph has offered a remedy.
“He’s proposing that since they were actually general election expenses because they went to his general election electorate that he withhold money from his general election funding and pay that back to the commission," Ruiz said.
Joseph's offer is to pay back $1,760 of his general election money to the Commission.
The Clean Elections Commission staff is considering Joseph’s proposal, Ruiz said, and will offer a recommendation to the board on how to proceed with the complaint.
In the meantime, the commission has asked Joseph to refrain from spending the equivalent amount from his general election funding in case the commission agrees to ask him to pay it back.