- Associated Press - Monday, April 14, 2014

PHOENIX (AP) - An Arizona administrative law judge concluded Monday there is not enough evidence to find Attorney General Tom Horne broke civil campaign finance law during his 2010 election campaign.

Prosecutors didn’t prove Horne illegally coordinated campaign spending with an aide who was running an independent group during his 2010 election bid, Judge Tammy Eigenheer ruled.

Yavapai County prosecutors had argued that they showed during a civil hearing in February that Horne and aide Kathleen Winn broke the law by working together on outside ads targeting Horne’s Democratic opponent in the weeks before the November 2010 election won by the Republican attorney general.

Prosecutors wanted Horne to repay $400,000 to donors and up to three times that amount in civil fines.

Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk has 30 days to accept, reject or modify the ruling and could reinstate the civil violation order.

“The judge’s decision is lengthy and detailed,” Polk said in a statement. “I will carefully review it and make my decision within 30 days.”

Horne called the decision a complete victory.

“I think it vindicated what we’ve been saying all along, that there was no coordination,” Horne said.

He also said he did not settle the case despite its potential political consequences as he seeks re-election because Polk would have required an admission of guilt, which he would not do.

“The fact is I did not do anything wrong, so even if I decided intellectually that it was in my interests to settle, I would not have been able to get those words though my throat,” Horne said.

Winn was ecstatic.

“I’m very happy. This is the outcome we were hoping for,” she said. “I have been pretty steadfast from the beginning that I didn’t coordinate with AG Horne and I’m elated with the ruling.”

Winn said she has worked with Polk, respects her, and hopes she accepts the judge’s findings.

“She had her attorneys in the courtroom … and I would hope that she stands with what this administrative law judge says,” Winn said.

Lawyers for Horne and Winn said prosecutors failed to show any real evidence that the pair broke campaign finance laws.

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