A federal grand jury has indicted a former state House staffer on 15 counts of wire fraud, that allege he used a campaign account for his own personal expenses, then returned the money before the election.
The indictment alleges John Rowland Mills used the campaign donations to help pay various mortgages, invest in Google stock, invest in a biodiesel business venture and feed his retirement investment accounts, as well as his wife's.
Although the indictment does not name the candidate whose campaign funds Mills used, Rep. Jim Weiers, R-Phoenix, told The Republic it was his account. At the time of the alleged fraud, Weiers was speaker of the Arizona House and was able to amass hefty contributions for his 2008 re-election bid.
Weiers called the indictment "silly" because he does not feel he was victimized by Mills' actions. He said the indictment appears to be an attempt by the FBI to justify the time and effort federal investigators put into the investigation.
The allegation that Mills may be a little dirty isn't surprising to anyone who dealt with him during the redistricting process last year (he served as House Speaker Andy Tobin's hatchet man) - when I asked a few of my friends and acquaintances about him, the nicest thing that was said was "Karma's a bitch".
Mills was actually fired from the lege once before, for blurring some lines during the 2001-2002 redisricting process, but was rehired by Jim Weiers when Weiers became House speaker during the middle of the last decade.
However, Weiers' attempt to pooh-pooh the current allegation is a little surprising, and may be a little counter-productive.
Spouting a version of "move along, nothing to see here" in a blatant attempt to make this go away quietly only serves to signal to observers (like a certain cynic with a blog ;) ) that there *is* something to see.
And now, we're going to look for it.