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Ad campaign asks Hobbs to cooperate with ‘pay to play’ investigations

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(The Center Square) – A jarring new set of television and radio ads hints at early groundwork being laid in the 2026 gubernatorial race as Gov. Katie Hobbs’ administration deals with a “pay to play” scheme criminal investigation from Democratic Attorney General Kris Mayes and Republican Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell with the Auditor General’s office.

The six-figure ad buy, backed by the Republican Governors Association-aligned group State Solutions, summarizes reporting from the Arizona Republic that Sunshine Residential Homes donated roughly $400,000 to her campaign, her inaugural fund, and the state Democratic Party and then had their request for their daily per child pay rate increased by around 60%.

After publication, the Republic corrected their story to clarify that the check was dated Dec. 15, 2022, and credited to an account on Feb. 9, 2023.

The increase lead to allegations that they might have received better treatment and Republican lawmakers requested investigations. More details emerged afterward that other operators that had contracts with the Department of Child Safety received rate raises as well, but the investigations are underway still.

“Pay-to-play so brazen, Democrat Attorney General Kris Mayes has launched a criminal investigation,” the television ad, which will run for a week, says.

“Tell Hobbs to cooperate — and cut the corruption,” the ad continues.

Time will tell what the results of either investigation will be, but Hobbs’ and her office have refused to take additional questions on the matter after initially saying they will be cleared of wrongdoing.

“Just like past investigations instigated by radical and partisan legislators, the administration will be cleared of wrongdoing. Governor Hobbs is a social worker who has been a champion for Arizona families and kids. It is outrageous to suggest her administration would not do what’s right for children in foster care,” Hobbs’ office told The Center Square on June 7.

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