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Horne Announces Lobbyist Connected To Fiesta Bowl Strikes Plea Deal

PHOENIX (Monday, September 10, 2012) --A lobbyist associated with the Fiesta Bowl has entered plea agreement that will result in a misdemeanor criminal conviction, Attorney General Tom Horne announced today. 

Phoenix lobbyist John MacDonald agreed to plead guilty to one count of Failure to Report Principal Expenditures, a Class 1 Misdemeanor under Arizona Revised Statutes §§ 41-1232.02(A). 

“Mr. MacDonald signed a disclosure report that is required of lobbyists and the organizations they represent that he knew was false,” Horne noted. “This agreement brings to a close one chapter in the Fiesta Bowl case.”

MacDonald admitted to falsely signing a “Principal Annual Report of Lobbying Expenditures” for the year 2008 in his role as a lobbyist for the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. That report claimed that expenses benefitting nine state legislators for a trip to Boston in October of that year were reportable as Special Event expenses, when in fact they were not. 

Under Arizona law, benefits paid to or on behalf of individual lawmakers must be reported by identifying the individual recipients and the amount spent on each. However, individual lawmakers are not required to be identified by name on a disclosure form when an entire legislative body, or the legislature as a whole, is invited to what the law refers to as a “Special Event.” In this case, the Fiesta Bowl’s 2008 “VIP Trip” to Boston benefitted nine legislators, but it did not meet the statutory definition of a “Special Event”. The nine legislators were not members of any one committee and the entire legislature was not invited on the Boston trip, something which MacDonald knew before he filed a report which indicated the Boston trip was a special event and did not list the individual legislators who attended. There is no indication any legislators were aware of MacDonald’s actions. 

MacDonald will pay a fine ranging from $ 1,000 to $2,500 plus an 84% surcharge. 

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson and Assistant Attorney General Leesa Morrison of the Criminal Division. 

A copy of the plea agreement is attached.