Manuel Cruz, candidate for Arizona State Mine Inspector, announced this morning that he had filed a complaint with Attorney General Terry Goddard against incumbent state mine inspector Joe Hart for illegally assuming office in 2006.
Cruz presented evidence that Joe Hart did not have the required four years of underground mining experience when he signed a sworn affidavit attesting to his qualification for the office in 2006. “I am calling upon Joe Hart to resign from office immediately and suspend his reelection campaign,” said Cruz.
In 2006, the requirements for the job of mine inspector included a provision that candidates for/holders of the office have at least four years of underground mining experience, something that Hart never even claimed to have. The mining experience that Hart took an oath swearing that he had was all with a surface mining company.
This year, Hart's former colleagues in the Arizona legislature passed an industry-lobbyist-written bill to lower the qualifications threshold for the office, slipping the new language into an "omnibus" mining bill, HB2617. In that bill, they removed the requirement that the mine inspector have any experience in underground mining.
Besides being a tool for the mining industry in a job that was created specifically to ensure the safety of miners, Hart didn't even meet the basic qualifications for the position when he first ran for it. No one noticed in 2006, when the only people running for the job were Republicans.
It's no coincidence that the people who were most supportive of the lower qualifications threshold were the mining industry lobbyists who have benefited the most from Hart's apparently fraudulent hold on the office (the videos of the committee meetings on the bill can be found at the bottom of this page).
More information about Manuel Cruz, his background, and his candidacy can be found on his website.