Saturday, October 23, 2010

Is Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin Corrupt ?

By Bob Haran;

Recently I was accused of making unsubstantiated accusations against Arizona Treasurer Dean Martin regarding his profiting from public office as a state senator.

Please allow me to submit the facts as I know them in regard to this case and let those who don't know them decide if our state treasurer is corrupt or not.

This information can easily be verified by going to the Arizona Secretary of State's web site.

In the 2004 campaign, incumbent Dean Martin had no primary challenger in his Republican safe district, which had a 19.9% Republican voter registration advantage over the Democrat Party. His Democrat opponent in the general election was a political unknown and professional petition gatherer by the name of Marla Wing. According to campaign finance reports, Ms. Wing spent a grand total of $26 on her campaign.

Obviously this campaign was going to be an easy win for Mr. Martin.

Shortly after then Arizona Senator Dean Martin's 2004 campaign for re-election, I examined his campaign finance reports and discovered something very unusual.

In a legislative campaign postage is usually the biggest expense but in Martin's campaign his largest expense was for printing, $11, 903.76 and his expense for postage was only $4,865.37. Martin spent more then twice as much on printing then he did on postage, which means his spent more then twice as much to print a piece of literature then to mail it, that doesn't make sense.

What made even less sense was that Martin claimed to own a printing business, Digital Print Design, located at 4718 E. Cactus Rd # 159, and was producing his own printing in house, that $11,903.76 for printing was paid to Digital Print Design.

Out of curiosity, I decided to go to 4718 E. Cactus Rd to see Mr. Martin's printing business for myself and discovered it was merely a rented mail box at Paradise Valley Mall.

Suspecting that Digital Print Design may merely be a front company to launder campaign funds into Martin's pocket, I checked for a telephone listing in the White and Yellow Pages and called information, there was no listing for a Digital Print Design in Arizona. I then did a web search and discovered no web site for a Digital Print Design. I discovered no evidence anywhere of any kind of advertising or marketing by a Digital Print Design to generate business.

If Digital Print Design was merely a front, where did the $ 11,903.76 Martin's campaign paid for printing go? Remember that money came from lobbyist with business before the legislature, and Martin was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee at the time.

Something else was unusual in regard to Martin's campaign finance reports. His second largest campaign expenditure, $7,331.54, went to a company named "Grassroots Programs," for "voter outreach." I'm not sure what Martin meant by voter outreach but the address for Grassroots Programs was exactly the same rented mail box as Digital Print Design and that the owner of Grassroots Programs was Kerry Martin, the now deceased wife of Dean Martin.

Again I checked the telephone directory and called information, no Grassroots Programs in Arizona. I did a web search for Grassroots Programs and again nothing. Apparently, Grassroots Programs was also a phony front company used to launder Martin's campaign funds. Where did the $7,331.54 the Martin campaign paid to Grassroots Programs go?

If either Digital Print Design or Grassroots Programs were legitimate business entities they would have records, such as; a business journal to record sales, purchases, payroll, accounts receivable. There would also be bank and tax records, a business licence and tax number. A printing business would require equipment such as a printing press and purchase records for large amounts of ink and paper. If these were real business entities, it would have been an easy task for Mr. Martin to produce these records for examination.

It also appears that Dean Martin was using his campaign fund as if it were his own personnel checking account, spending over $2,200 to pay for his cell phone service, and over another $2,200 on food, and somewhere around $12,000 on various electronic and computer equipment, which he gets to keep for his own personnel use and enjoyment.

To celebrate his 30th birthday, Mr. Martin used $650 of his campaign fund to rent a movie theatre for a private showing of Mel Gibson's, "The Patriot," and invited lobbyist to help him celebrate his birthday by attending the showing and making further campaign contributions.

In summation, these facts, which can be verified, describe a public official who turned his public office into a profit making enterprise that solicited contributions to his campaign fund, which he controlled, and which he then laundered through phony business entities he controlled, and then into his own pocket.

These actions resulted in a pecuniary gain for Mr. Martin and therefore, Dean Martin knowingly created an additional income for himself and a conflict of interest in relation to his official duties as an Arizona elected official; in violation of ARS, 38-504, Conflict of Interest, Prohibited Acts, a class 6 Felony.

If directing money from people with business before the legislature into your own pocket, regardless of how circuitous the route, is not corruption, then I don't know what is.

But please don't say that my accusations against Mr. Martin are unsubstantiated or without foundation, the facts are the facts, Dean Martin profited from public office and is therefore corrupt and unfit to hold any public office.