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Arizona House forms committee to examine Mayes’ office

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(The Center Square) – Attorney General Kris Mayes is the focus of a new committee in the Arizona House of Representatives.

Speaker Ben Toma launched the House Ad Hoc Committee on Executive Oversight on Tuesday, which will be chaired by Rep. Jacqueline Parker, R-Mesa, and vice chaired by Rep. Austin Smith, R-Wittmann.

Parker cited a list of reasons for the committee’s formation, including saying that the Democrat has politicized the office.

“Attorney General Mayes has refused to defend state laws in court, harassed parents who have elected to use the ESA program to educate their children, threatened elected county officials with illegitimate prosecutions, and diverted funds and resources of her office to serve her own partisan purposes that are not authorized by the Legislature or state law,” Parker said in a statement. “These are among the allegations that I expect the Ad Hoc Committee will thoroughly investigate.”

One of the biggest points of contention among some Republicans is how Mayes has looked into events related to the 2022 election. Two Cochise County Supervisors were indicted in November for allegedly intentionally not following state law in green-lighting the county’s election results, The Center Square reported at the time.

In addition, there is an investigation into Republicans who allegedly served as “fake electors” in the 2020 election for former President Donald Trump, Axios reported. It’s unclear when that investigation will conclude and if there will be indictments as a result of the grand jury.

In a statement, Mayes criticized the purpose of the committee.

“Apparently, every legislator currently running for Congress can’t move fast enough to open a new inquiry into how I’ve done the job of Attorney General,” she stated. “This is just another political stunt from a majority party that doesn’t seem to have solutions for many of the major issues facing our state. Maybe these Legislators aren’t used to an Attorney General who focuses on the actual issues confronting Arizonans.”

“But as I have done for the past year, I will continue to focus my time and the resources of my office on protecting Arizona consumers from fraud and corruption, prosecuting elder abuse cases, protecting the environment and our groundwater supply, and fighting the fentanyl crisis,” she added.

Other members of the committee will include Republican Reps. Neal Carter, David Marshall, and John Gillette, according to a news release. The news release added that there will also be three Democrats on the committee, but those selections are currently unknown.

Carter raised concern earlier this month over the Attorney General’s office issuing a consumer alert for crisis pregnancy centers.

“Her publication does not cite a single example of any pregnancy center that has engaged in unlawful conduct,” Carter said at a news conference calling on her to retract the warning. “Her publication unjustly targets businesses operating well within the bounds of the law for no other reason but to advance a political agenda.”

Mayes was elected by a close margin of 280 votes in 2022 to be the successor to Republican Mark Brnovich.

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