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FAST FORWARD : Arizona's Political Travails, the Sequel

March 20, 1992|PAUL DEAN

BACKGROUND: On Sunday, View reported on Arizona's splotchy political record: one governor impeached, seven state legislators accused of bribery, and a $140-million federal suit against Gov. J. Fife Symington III for his part in the alleged mismanagement of a failed savings and loan.

UPDATE: Arizona's political melodramas continue.

Tuesday it was revealed that Annette Alvarez--aide and close friend to Arizona Gov. J. Fife Symington III--accepted $8,800 from the governor's 1990 election fund to pay her delinquent taxes.

A Phoenix newspaper also has alleged a romance between the married Symington and Alvarez, whom he appointed his $60,000-a-year executive assistant for international affairs.

Now the Mesa (Ariz.) Tribune says election records show that two checks from the campaign were sent to state and federal agencies to clear liens for taxes Alvarez had not paid since 1988.

Alvarez says the money was partial payment for work during Symington's campaign: "I owed money in taxes at the time and I was just being a good citizen."

A state elections officer says such use of campaign money does not violate election laws.

But Dana Larsen of Arizona Common Cause thinks a trust may have been broken: "The money that was given to the candidate . . . was given for the most part by people who felt they were trying to elect someone to office, not for use for personal reasons."

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