A Phoenix-based nonprofit that advocates for public transportation in the city has filed a campaign finance complaint against the political committee behind a failed ballot measure aimed at ending the city’s future light rail plans.
An attorney working for Urban Phoenix Project, a 501(c)(3) organization, filed the complaint with the Phoenix City Clerk’s Office on Sept. 17. In the complaint, the group alleges that Building a Better Phoenix, the political committee that spearheaded Proposition 105, has inaccurately reported where tens of thousands of dollars of campaign cash came from.
The complaint cites Arizona Mirror reporting raising questions about the campaign filings.
Building a Better Phoenix filed campaign finance reports in April and August that identified Scot Mussi, the executive director of Arizona Free Enterprise Club, as the source of $40,000 in campaign contributions — a little less than 10% of the campaign’s overall campaign funding.
After the campaign contributions were first reported by the Mirror, Mussi claimed that the campaign finance reports were wrong. He said reports listing him as the source should have identified Arizona Free Enterprise Club and another political action committee led by Mussi, Freedom Club PAC, as the sources the contributions. He said he didn’t give any of his own money to the campaign.
Nonetheless, Building a Better Phoenix has not amended either of the two campaign finance reports listing Mussi as the source of the contributions.
“(Building a Better Phoenix) has a responsibility to the citizens of Phoenix to accurately report who was funding the Prop 105 ballot measure,” the complaint reads. “(Building a Better Phoenix) should be held to account for its actions, and should either provide accurate campaign finance reports, or pay the presumptive penalty…”
According to Arizona’s campaign finance laws, the City of Phoenix, which administered the Prop. 105 election, can request the voluntary production of “evidence or attendance of witnesses” in order to determine whether violations may have occurred. If the city refers the matter for enforcement, then subpoenas for evidence could be issued or penalties could be doled out to the committee.
Campaign finance reports are considered to be filed “under penalty of perjury by the committee treasurer.”
The Phoenix City Clerk sent a letter to Building a Better Phoenix’s treasurer, Susan Gudino, asking her to respond to the complaint within one week.
Gudino, reached by text message, told the Mirror she wasn’t aware of the complaint.
Scot Mussi did not respond to requests for comment.
**UPDATED to include Gudino’s comment**