Home>Crime>Mayes Launches Pay-to-Play Probe into Hobbs Contract

Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes speaking with attendees at the 2023 Legislative Forecast Luncheon hosted by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry at Chase Field in Phoenix, January 6, 2023. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Mayes Launches Pay-to-Play Probe into Hobbs Contract

Shope, Petersen demand investigation of ‘disgusting abuse of taxpayer dollars’

By Steve Kirwan, June 10, 2024 5:00 am

Arizona AG Kris Mayes (D) confirmed reports that her office has opened a probe into Democrat Governor Katie Hobbs’s possible “pay-to-play” scheme. Senate President Pro Tempore Thomas “TJ” Shope (R-LD16) demanded the investigation after a story broke that Sunshine Residential Homes, which donated $400K to Hobbs, had received an exclusive daily care rate increase from Hobbs’ Department of Child Safety (DCS). The story alleged that Sunshine’s daily rate went from $149 to $195 per child while other DCS denied rate increases to similar service providers.

In a letter to AG Mayes and Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell, Shope wrote that the situation could “only be described as a pay-to-play scheme,” advising that Hobbs may have violated several laws ranging from bribery, fraud schemes, conflict of interest, and illegally spending state dollars. Shope called the allegations a “disgusting abuse of taxpayer dollars to further her political career.” An investigation is already underway due to a 9-year-old diabetic boy’s death while in Sunshine Residential Homes’ care.

The senator added, “Knowing Arizona’s Governor and the Arizona Democratic Party are providing preferential treatment to a facility alleged to have engaged in negligence leading to the death of a child is unconscionable.”

In a written response to Shope, Mayes’ Criminal Division Chief Counsel, Nick Klingerman, confirmed that the department is mandated to investigate, stating, “The Criminal Division of the Attorney General’s Office is statutorily authorized to investigate the allegations and offenses outlined in your letter. To that end, the Attorney General’s Office will be opening an investigation.”

After also receiving a letter from Representative Matt Gress (R-4), Mitchell’s office responded, confirming an investigation by the Arizona Auditor General. The response acknowledged a meeting with the Auditor General and advised that Mitchell’s office would “serve as the procession office” while the Auditor General investigates.

“My chief deputy is scheduling a meeting between the Auditor General’s staff members who will conduct the investigation and assigned staff from my office,” Mitchell advised.

Senate President Warren Petersen (R-LD14) issued a statement raising ethical concerns about Hobbs, herself a former social worker.

“Arizonans deserve to know how their elected officials are spending their money, and this case raises a major red flag with what’s happening behind closed doors on the ninth floor. With the state in the middle of a budget shortfall, and with what appears to be a pay-to-play scheme now exposed, the Legislature has a lot of questions we will be seeking answers to from both the Governor’s office and DCS. Our citizens deserve better.” Peterson continued, “Rest assured, we will continue to serve Arizonans as the check and balance against any abuse of power displayed by our Executive and the agencies under her administration.”

Hobbs’ office is confident that the administration will be exonerated, blaming the investigation on politics.

In an official response issued on Friday, June 7, 2024, to The Center Square, Hobbs’ staff stated, “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.”


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Steve Kirwan
Spread the news:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *