Campbell calls for full financial reports from organizations participating in recent European trade mission
STATE CAPITOL, PHOENIX – Requests for public records prompted the Governor’s Office to release expense reports for a recent trade mission to France and Germany. The governor and her aides reportedly spent about $32,000 on the trip, a portion of which was paid for with tax dollars and the rest with private donations.
Officials from the Office of Tourism and the Arizona Commerce Authority, who also participated in the trade mission, have not released expense records, according to news reports.
“As a matter of transparency, the Arizona Commerce Authority and the Office of Tourism should publicly release the expense reports for this trip,” House Minority Leader Chad Campbell, D-Phoenix (District 14), said. “These organizations operate with taxpayer money. There is a lack of oversight and accountability. We don’t know what they spent and we don’t know if this trip will have any benefits for the people of Arizona.
“Trade missions are a vital part of economic development, but the public has a right to know how tax dollars are being spent. What kind of taxpayer investment is being made and what is the payoff? There should be oversight to prevent excessive spending. That’s just good business.”
Other reports revealed that Team ACA, the fundraising group associated with the Commerce Authority, paid to upgrade the governor and a staff member’s airfare to business class. Team ACA is the recent subject of scrutiny by the Phoenix Business Journal because of questions related to its nonprofit status.
“We don’t have the full financial picture and to avoid any suspicion, each organization involved should make a full and complete financial disclosure,” Campbell said. “Transparency and oversight are the key elements missing from this equation.”