By Daniel Stefanski |
The 2023 Super Bowl may be long over, but political fallout is continuing into the start of the next football season.
On Thursday night, veteran Arizona reporter Dennis Welch and one of his colleagues released a story that “according to public records, the Arizona Office of Tourism gifted the Governor’s Office twelve tickets (to the Super Bowl)” and that “members of Hobbs’ staff used the remaining half dozen… worth tens of thousands of dollars.”
Two of the six Hobbs’ staffers who reportedly received tickets to the Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona are no longer with the office, having departed earlier this year.
The Arizona’s Family journalists shared the existence of A.R.S. 41-1232.08, which bars “elected officials and public servants from accepting (the free tickets).” The statute reads, “A state officer or state employee shall not accept an expenditure or single expenditure for entertainment from a principal, designated lobbyist, authorized lobbyist, lobbyist for compensation, public body, designated public lobbyist or authorized public lobbyist or any other person acting on that person’s behalf.”
Republican legislators were quick to react to the breaking news, The Arizona Freedom Caucus posted, “Corruption in Governor Hobbs’ administration! Katie Hobbs’ staff accepted free Super Bowl tickets estimated to cost $7,000 per ticket. AZ has laws that make it ILLEGAL for Public Servants and Elected Officials to accept gifts over $25.00 in value. This is flat out corruption.”
Senate President Pro Tempore T.J. Shope wrote, “I purchased my nosebleed seats and these folks go for free in I’m sure way better seats than what I paid for? Cool scam for them eh Dennis Welch? Rules for thee and none for me is the mantra of the Governor Hobbs’ Administration I suppose…”
Freshman Representative Cory McGarr opined, “I’m sure we will see a full Hunter Biden investigation. Nothing to see here.”
Shope also responded to an account that had attempted to argue that the Governor’s Office reported actions were “perks of being in a high office,” saying, “Huh breaking the law is NOT ‘one of the perks’ of being in high office, nor should it be. Why would I want to break the law when I can pay for them honestly. I’m sure that’s difficult to understand for some but being ethical is something three generations of elected Shope’s have had in common. These are the people educating your kids folks…people who think people in high office have a right to break the law.”
In their report, the journalists revealed that “the previous Governor, Doug Ducey, received twenty tickets to the 2015 Super Bowl in Glendale,” and that they were told “Ducey paid face value for his ticket and distributed the remaining tickets to veterans groups.” The journalists added that “at the time, Ducey prohibited his staff from taking free tickets over concerns it was against the law.”
Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.