While Ally Miller won the Republican nomination for the Pima County Board of Supervisors District 1 race Tuesday night, allegations are now surfacing over her finance reports filed before the Aug. 28 primary.
Two of Miller’s opponents, Mike Hellon and Stuart McDaniel, have filed complaints with the Pima County Elections office, alleging that Miller’s campaign violated finance laws.
The allegations center around an independent firm who has been supporting Miller’s campaign. Mitch Stallard, the developer of the La Encantada Shopping Center, gave $10,000 to Tagline Media Group to purchase television and print advertising for Miller’s campaign.
Finance reports filed with the county office show Stallard gave Tagline Media $5,000 on Aug. 8, and then another $5,000 on Aug. 9.
While the financing is legal, Miller’s opponents are questioning the company Stallard gave the money to.
Tagline is the same company Miller had been using for the design of signs and photographs.
Hellon contends that Tagline can’t work for both an independent firm, and Miller’s campaign at the same time. The complaint centers around the fact that advertisements purchased on behalf of Mitch Stallard use the same photographs Miller’s campaign used in her advertisements.
"It went too far over the line to ignore," Hellon said. "I don't know if it's ignorance, or being nieve, or what. I understand what the rules are. From the outside looking in, a reasonable person can see that they probably coordinated efforts."
Deb Weisel, owner of Tagline, said there’s a good explanation, and it’s that she pulled the photographs of Miller from a website.
“There’s no conflict of interest here,” Weisel said. “They aren’t valid complaints. We haven’t worked with Ally since May.”
Miller’s pre-primary financial reports validate Weisel’s statement, there is no expenditure in the final report showing any kind of payment to Tagline.
Weisel said she was advised by an attorney to severe ties with candidates when she started working with independent companies. Besides Miller, Weisel said letters were sent to other supervisor candidates such as Sean Collins and Tanner Bell, stating they would no longer be working together.
Nonetheless, McDaniel said because content and photographs used by Miller's campaign were in the advertisements funded by Stallard, the law was broken.
"In my reading of the statutes, even though they severed ties, the copy and photos used in the ads were the same," McDaniel said. "I wish Ally the best and offered to help in any way I can, but you still have to be held accountable."
In the end, Weisel said she doesn’t believe the complaints will amount to anything.
The complaints have been forwarded to the state for further review.
Hellon said it's now between Miller and the State Elections office.
Miller did not return The Explorer's call for comment.