Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is lashing out at New York billionaire George Soros for dumping money into a local race.
Montgomery spoke out on Wednesday against Soros, saying that he has been spending millions in elected prosecutor races in states he doesn't live in.
"As noted by Scott Bland in Politico in August of this year, Billionaire Soros has injected his money into races in Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas through groups named Safety and Justice or something close to that. A similar group formed in Ohio. Soros' group spent $1.4 Million in an Orlando metro race, $930,000 in a jurisdiction surrounding Shreveport, LA, and has spent $500,000 in the Harris County, Texas DA race," Montgomery said.
ABC15 contacted democratic candidate for county attorney Diego Rodriguez. Rodriguez said his campaign was not being funded by Soros at all.
The issue highlights the concerns about "dark money" with undisclosed donors coming into the state, to fund state, legislative and issue oriented campaigns.
In a statement to ABC15 News Rodriguez said:
"Mr. Montgomery's press conference is nothing more than an attempt to divert attention from his shoddy performance record as Maricopa County Attorney. My debate challenge to him has been open for weeks and he has not responded to it. So, instead of trying to draw attention to a contrived issue about which he has no real credibility based on his past history, I hope that he will finally talk about the many important issues which face our county's judicial system."
Montgomery fired back and said he had never received a direct proposal from Rodriguez or his staff to hold a debate.
He acknowledged that his opponent had nothing to do with Soros pumping money into county attorney races throughout the nation, but stressed concern over why someone with no Arizona ties was interested in the outcome of a local county attorney seat.
"This apparently does not match the billionaire's version of criminal justice reform and just what does that look like? We only have to look to California and Proposition 47. As the funding chart prepared by the Los Angeles Times shows, Soros funded groups helped push so-called reform in that state and the results are pathetic," Montgomery said.
He added, "I will not bow to billionaire Soros or allow him to undermine what we have done to improve our community."