When you think about it, the amount of effort it takes to be thought of as a truly terrible public official in this state is significant. You'd think Fife Symington, governor from 1991 to 1997, who was convicted of a bank fraud, forcing him to resign his office, would probably be remembered in some sort of hall of shame, but his conviction was overturned and he was pardoned, so he probably doesn't even make the top five in the same state as Russell Pearce and Joe Arpaio. Even Jan Brewer has backed off her finger-wagging, unexplainable-pauses days, pushing through Medicaid expansion last legislative session, making it almost appear that she has a soul.
However, while he might not make the top of anyone's list, Attorney General Tom Horne has to be at least considered for the top five on a (abuse of) power poll covering the last decade. Has he received a lifetime trading ban from the Securities and Exchange Commission? Yes! Did he kick off an attack on ethnic studies in Tucson as Superintendent of Public Instruction? Yes! Did he hire a generally-unqualified woman for a high profile job in the Attorney General's office, probably because he was having an affair with her? Yes! Did he get into a hit-and-run accident trying to avoid being seen with this aforementioned employee/mistress? Yes!
This week, however, a second county attorney general determined that Horne violated campaign finance laws by coordinating efforts with an independent expenditure committee during his 2010 race against Felecia Rotellini. Adding insult to injury, the head of that committee, Kathleen Winn, ended up joining Horne's staff after the election, because of course she did.
Of course, there's no real public outcry to get the guy who can't seem to obey the law who also happens to be in charge of enforcing Arizona laws out of that office, but my question is how much Horne's fellow Republicans are willing to tolerate. Considering the total disregard Horne seemingly has for even maintaining the illusion that he's a decent person, you'd think someone from the Arizona Republican Party would consider turning on the guy, making an attempt to get him out of office before the election cycle really heats up.
Then again, maybe he hasn't hit the tipping point quite yet. The social experiment continues; how much can Tom Horne get away with before he's challenged publicly by his party? I shudder to think of what the Attorney General has up his sleeve.