For David Gowan it’s the stain that won’t wash out.

The former speaker and announced candidate for the state Legislature earned headlines last week with another — perhaps the final — announcement by the attorney general on a public records dispute with the Arizona Capitol Times.

Though the AG’s office said earlier this year that Gowan would not be subject to criminal prosecution in connection with unmerited travel and work expenses he repaid, Thursday’s announcement revealed a troubling attempt during the former speaker’s administration to compromise public records.

Once again, the office of Attorney General Mark Brnovich has made the decision not to prosecute the case, pointing to the idea that it would not be worth the state’s time and resources. In the end, Assistant Attorney General Todd Lawson contended, the newspaper received what it requested and the compromised records were cleaned up.

All that’s missing from that opinion is any form of consequence that would prevent something similar from happening again. What Lawson’s investigation has revealed is a decision to intentionally alter public records to hide expenses and cover up, delay and obstruct efforts by the Capitol Times to show that Gowan was using state vehicles to travel the First Congressional District while he was a candidate.

It is the intention that should stick with voters in Legislative District 14 when they head to the polls next fall to choose their next Republican candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives. Gowan has already filed papers declaring his intention to seek the party’s nomination for one of the district’s two seats in the House and is expected to face incumbent Becky Nutt and longtime state legislator Gail Griffin.

The stain of serving as speaker and directing an administration that willingly doctored public records, campaigned at state expense and reimbursed those expenditures only after public scrutiny offers a troubling insight into Gowan’s view of government.

Reprinted from the Herald/Review

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