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New statute would tighten RICO oversight

Posted at 6:21 AM, Jan 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-29 12:03:42-05

For three years, state representative Bob Thorpe has worked to reform anti-racketeering (RICO)  laws.         

Thorpe's efforts led to a new statute -- HB2477,  -- enacted in August. The bill tightens oversight on spending practices and reporting, but he says there's need for more scrutiny, clarity, and accountability.

RELATED: Pima Co. Board of Supervisors to discuss new counsel for RICO funds

"Are there skeletons in the closet? Have the funds been abused in the past?" Thorpe said. "Are they going to do anything to remedy the sins of the past if you will and ensure that people who might have been abusing those monies are held accountable."

Both the Pima County Board of Supervisors and the largest sheriff's union want reviews of past RICO expenditures but have been met with pushback from sheriff Mark Napier and county attorney Barbara LaWall.

RELATED: Board strips County Attorney Barbara LaWall of RICO power

"I'd like to have confidence in individuals to do the right thing and I would hope they do the right thing," Thorpe said. "We would need some independent oversight. I am having conversations up at the capitol -- do we need to come down and audit and really dig through the files and see where these dollars have been used and were they an appropriate use?"

Following our interview, Thorpe requested a meeting with the Auditor General.

Thorpe also hopes to drop a bill this legislative session that gives better guidance to law enforcement agencies as to what those dollars can and cannot be used for.

RELATED: Union calls for immediate Auditor General review of RICO spending