From Arizona Capitol Times July 20, 2012
The increasingly nasty Dem Senate primary in LD30 between Meza and community organizer Raquel Téran escalated today after a Dem activist filed a complaint with Bennett and Horne alleging that Meza has been lining his pockets with campaign funds and accepting illegal contributions.
The complaint, made by a west Phoenix Dem PC named Esther Durán Lumm, asks for an investigation of numerous campaign finance entries dating back to 2009. Lumm doesn’t live in LD30 and said she’s not connected to Téran’s campaign in any way, but Meza told our reporter he’s unconvinced. In particular, her complaint questions 15 payments Meza made to himself in 2009 and 2010 for miscellaneous expenditures totaling more than $12,000 – even though he had no primary or general election opponents – and credit card payments marked as “Professional Service” expenditures made by the campaign.
She says the payments are not clearly explained. She also asks for an investigation into a slew of contributions made to Meza’s campaign by lobbyists and interest groups that were dated at least a week after the 2011 legislative session began. “I’m not accusing him. I’m only asking for an investigation into things that don’t look right to me. If there’s nothing there, then good. I would prefer to hear that,” Lumm said. Meza said he needs to thoroughly review all of his records to be sure, but said he believes he’s done nothing illegal and that what might appear to Lumm as malfeasance can be easily explained.
As for the money he paid himself, Meza said they were run-of-the-mill reimbursements for campaign costs. “Sometimes, I’ll go and buy lunch and bottles of water for my volunteers – I even buy them gas sometimes – and I’ll personally pay for it, then reimburse myself from the campaign,” he said. He also dismissed the roughly $5,000 in supposedly illegal campaign contributions, saying that they were made before the session began, but weren’t deposited into his campaign account until later, and the deposit date was reflected on the report. Regardless of whether the allegations lead to an investigation or a finding of impropriety, the complaint itself serves as political ammunition for Téran.