Violent felons collecting signatures for “clean energy” initiative campaign, in violation of state law

May 21, 2018

Violent felons collecting signatures for “clean energy” initiative campaign, in violation of state law

Criminal rap sheets include convictions for kidnapping, vehicular homicide, domestic violence and more; complaint filed with Secretary of State

Multiple individuals registered as petition circulators for the “Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona” initiative campaign are convicted felons. Some have violent criminal rap sheets with past convictions ranging from kidnapping to domestic violence, vehicular homicide and more.

Arizona law prohibits convicted felons from circulating initiative petitions, unless they have had their rights restored. The issue is one of both election integrity and public safety, as petition circulators are dispatched into Arizona communities and paid to interact with the public.

“Clearly, the ‘Clean Energy’ campaign hasn’t done its homework on the men and women collecting initiative signatures on its behalf. The use of felons as petition circulators is not only a violation of Arizona law, it is an outrageous abuse of public safety,” said Matthew Benson, spokesman with Arizonans for Affordable Electricity. “Arizona families should be able to trust that the signature-gatherers approaching them on street corners, in front of public libraries and at other community gathering spots are not violent felons. Yet, that is exactly who the initiative campaign has dispatched – men with felony convictions for kidnapping, domestic violence, aggravated vehicular homicide, burglary, forgery and more.

“We respectfully ask the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office to investigate these serious claims and invalidate any signatures collected by felons in violation of state law.”

The initiative campaign and its signature-collecting firm, Field Works, already face an active criminal probe by the Arizona Attorney General’s Office related to their petition-circulating activities. The campaign must collect and submit at least 225,963 valid signatures by July 5, 2018, in order to qualify its initiative for the November ballot.

Multiple former Field Works employees have signed declarations alleging wrongful termination for failing to meet signature-collection quotas, which are prohibited under state law. Additionally, in April, state Sen. John Kavanagh and Rep. Vince Leach filed a complaint noting the initiative campaign had registered hundreds of inactive petition circulators with the Secretary of State’s Office – an apparent bid to flood the office with dummy registrants, making it more difficult to assess the legality of individuals submitting signatures.

Benson continued, “It now seems clear the initiative registered so many phony petition circulators hoping to hide the ineligible – and, in some cases, dangerous – individuals working on the campaign’s behalf. Whatever the reason, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office should order the campaign to immediately cease its illegal activities.”