On Sen. Al Melvin’s (R-Tucson) legislative bio, there is a sentence that directs readers to www.votealmelvin.com in order to contact him.
That website is a violation of campaign ethics according to Sen. Steve Gallardo (D-Phoenix).
“It’s definitely illegal for him to utilize the state website to promote his gubernatorial campaign so it should definitely be taken down,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo plans to take the violation to Senate President Andy Biggs (R-Gilbert) so that the ethics committee can review the issue and determine if sanctions need to be taken against Melvin.
Melvin has announced his campaign for governor of the state and if one were to go to the website, a prompt asking for a five dollar donation pops up immediately.
“I think it is not fair for the other candidates that are running for governor when you have a state paid, taxpayer paid website and you’re using it to promote your candidacy for governor,” Gallardo said.
Constantine Querard, Melvin’s campaign manager doesn’t think that the link is a big deal.
“It’s not a link it’s another way of reaching somebody if the business is non-legislative,” Querard said, “There’s no advocacy or using state resources to campaign or that certain aspect. It’s been there for six years and no one’s ever cared and quite frankly it’s operated by the senate staff.”
The website has been on Melvin’s bio since 2009 and hasn’t been an issue until now. When asked about the link, Melvin said it was an oversight and said that he’d work on taking it down.
But even if it were taking down, Gallardo says that he would not be satisfied.
“When you have a candidate, particularly one that is running for governor,” Gallardo said, “And he is using it to promote his own campaign on tax payer paid website servers than no, it doesn’t make it ok. He should have never done it and it’s a discussion that the ethics committee should investigate.”
It will come down to whether or not Biggs will call for an ethics meeting about the issue, but Querard thinks it’s unlikely.
“It’s never been an issue, it’s certainly not an issue of ethics or anything like that. He’s not doing anything wrong, he’s doing it the same way he’s been doing that for six years,” Querard said.
— Courtesy of the Arizona Sonora News Service —
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