Arizona Governor Facing Calls For Investigation

In a significant development, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes’ office has launched a criminal investigation into political donations made by a state contractor closely associated with Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs. This investigation follows allegations surrounding substantial state funding increases to a contractor, Sunshine Residential Homes Inc., while other providers faced denied pay increases.

According to an Arizona Central report, Sunshine Residential Homes Inc., a home operator working with the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS), received a 60 percent increase in their daily child care rate over the past year. This rate hike has potentially funneled millions of taxpayer dollars to the company. The CEO of Sunshine Residential Homes, Simon Kottoor, has notable connections to Governor Hobbs, having been part of her inaugural committee. Additionally, Hobbs publicly praised the company during her gubernatorial campaign.

Interestingly enough, the investigation has been launched by a Democrat Attorney General amid the report that Arizona voters will decide if illegally crossing the border will be a state crime.

Adding to the controversy, Governor Hobbs and her husband attended a private event hosted by Kottoor at his mansion while the Arizona DCS was renegotiating contracts with home providers. This event has raised eyebrows and added fuel to the investigation’s initiation.

On Thursday, AG Mayes’ office announced the commencement of a criminal probe into Sunshine Residential Homes Inc. The investigation was prompted by Republican State Senator T.J. Shope, who urged Mayes to look into a possible “pay for play” scheme. In response, Mayes’ office affirmed the Attorney General’s statutory authority to investigate the outlined allegations, declaring an official investigation would begin.

A letter from Nick Klingerman, chief of Mayes’ criminal division, thanked Senator Shope for the referral but notably did not mention Governor Hobbs or the Arizona Department of Child Safety directly. As of now, the specific goals and targets of the investigation remain unclear. Senator Shope expressed his hopes for a thorough and impartial investigation process, underscoring the need for comprehensive scrutiny.

In addition to urging AG Mayes, Senator Shope and other Republicans have also called on Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, a Republican, to launch her own investigation into the matter.