Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett has asked the State Attorney General's Office to conduct a criminal investigation into claims that current and former Fiesta Bowl employees made illegal campaign contributions to politicians friendly to the bowl.
Bennett requested the probe last week in a letter to attorney general Terry Goddard, according to the Arizona Republic. Bennett stated that "reimbursement for political contributions, whether engaged in by the organization's agents and/or employees, would be in violation" of state law. Read the letter by clicking here.
Bennett's office began its investigation last December after a report in the Arizona Republic detailed more than $38,000 in campaign contributions made by bowl employees since 2000. Employees were encouraged to write checks to specific candidates and reportedly were reimbursed by the bowl.
A written complaint was filed by Playoff PAC, a federal political committee dedicated to establishing a competitive postseason championship for college football, later that month, asking the state to investigate.
In January, the Secretary of State's Office said officials did not provide "sufficient information" to an inquiry into payroll records. Instead, bowl officials hired former state attorney general Grant Woods to examine the claims, and he turned up "no credible evidence that the bowl's management engaged in any type of illegal or unethical conduct."
Fiesta officials also declined requests by the Arizona Republic to examine bonus requests made to employees.
Bowl officials continue to maintain there was no wrongdoing. "I'm disappointed because I just think it's a waste of state resources and our time as well," chairman Duane Woods said.
The Fiesta Bowl is operated through four non-profit organizations. It will play host to the Bowl Championship Series title game on Jan. 10.