An Arizona appeals court has ruled against a political group that spent about $1.5 million during the state's 2010 attorney general race on a TV commercial that was critical of Republican candidate Tom Horne.
A three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals on Thursday reversed a lower-court judge who concluded the commercial by Committee for Justice and Fairness was issue-oriented, rather than advocating for Horne's defeat.
The group claimed its ad confronted issues of child safety, but the appeals court rejected that argument, saying the only purpose for running the TV spot just weeks before Horne's general-election showdown with Democrat Felecia Rotellini was to advocate for Horne's defeat.
"In this case, reasonable minds could not differ as to whether CJR's advertisement encouraged a vote against Horne," the appeals court wrote.The appeals court said the group, which is funded primarily by the Democratic Attorneys General Association, should have registered as a political committee and filed campaign finance reports.Horne's 2014 campaign had no immediate comment on the ruling.
Thomas Irvine, an attorney for the committee, said it's unknown whether the group will appeal the decision.