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Mecham Defends Campaign Loan Payment

December 08, 1987|United Press International

WASHINGTON — Arizona Gov. Evan Mecham, continuing to claim that he has done nothing illegal, said Monday that the funds used to pay off a $350,000 campaign loan under investigation by the state attorney general came from "good money."

Mecham made his statement in brief remarks after a 50-minute meeting with Rep. John J. Rhodes III (R-Ariz.). When asked how he repaid the loan late last week, Mecham responded: "With good money."

When asked if he could be more specific, Mecham said: "No."

Later Mecham said: "The (campaign) finance committee wrote out the check and paid for it." But he did not elaborate on how the money was raised.

Mecham was in Washington to present the battleship Arizona Memorial trophy to the Navy as part of ceremonies commemorating the bombing of Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.

Mecham also laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. He later started a two-day round of visits with members of the Arizona congressional delegation.

Earlier Monday, the state attorney general's office in Phoenix announced that a new state grand jury will be impaneled Dec. 18 to continue investigating whether Mecham broke the law by failing to itemize the $350,000 campaign loan on financial reports.

The old grand jury was said to be looking into allegations that Mecham violated state campaign contribution and financial disclosure laws by failing to itemize the loan from Tempe developer Barry Wolfson.

The governor admitted that a mistake was made, saying his brother, Willard Mecham, lumped the loan with other contributions when he compiled the report. The governor filed an amended report in November.

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