Arizona Horizon panel slams Katie Hobbs over dark-money inauguration

PHOENIX — A panel of local journalists slammed Democratic Governor Katie Hobbs on television Thursday for dismissing serious concerns over the dark-money apparatus that funded her inaugural events.

Earlier this week, exclusively revealed the existence of two 501(c) entities connected to Hobbs’s campaign and inauguration, but the Democrat is refusing to disclose the donors behind them.

Arizona PBS host Ted Simons asked his panelists about the brewing “controversy” and noted that “this doesn’t sound like” it syncs up with her “campaign pledges for transparency.” Arizona Republic reporter Mary Jo Pitzl responded that the Democrat was caught having “opened … a dark-money organization” but is now “defending” it.

“That piqued a lot of interest, like, ‘Well, whose money is coming into this?” Pitzl said. “Who’s buying influence with the governor? … Was it $2? Was it $2 million?”

Arizona Agenda reporter Rachel Leingang agreed.

“It just very simply is not transparent,” Leingang said. “I’ve just been really curious, too: How much money did come in? How much are we talking? … These companies are not — out of the goodness of their hearts — helping someone. They’re trying to get their name on something with the governor and get time with her.”

KJZZ host Mark Brodie added that many special-interest groups are seeking to get “off on a good foot” with the new administration.

On Friday, Republican Senator T.J. Shope announced that Arizona lawmakers may “look into” the Hobbs inauguration scandal: “We should have the right to know as a citizen what … kind of contributions they’re getting.”