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Updated Oct 10, 2013 - 4:17 pm

Ex-Phoenix lobbyist indicted over contributions

PHOENIX -- An ex-Phoenix lobbyist whose former clients included the Fiesta Bowl has been indicted for allegedly using his firm's money to reimburse staff after directing them to make specific political campaign contributions, state prosecutors said Thursday.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office said Gary Husk and his company have been accused of one count of conspiracy to make prohibited political contributions and seven counts of prohibited contributions.

Prosecutors said the contributions went to high-profile politicians with whom Husk allegedly sought access and influence, including Gov. Jan Brewer.

``There is no indication any of the campaigns that received donations knew what was happening,'' according to a statement from the AG's Office.

State prosecutors said Husk and his company ``directed its employees and in some cases, their spouses, to make contributions to various political campaigns with the promise of reimbursement. Once the contributions were made, the employees were reimbursed from Husk Partners, Inc. or directly from Gary Husk, which often coded the reimbursements under the firm's account as an `office expense.'''

The indictment shows that alleged illegal contributions were made between 2007 and 2010 and ranged between $140 and $600 apiece.

Husk, a former state and federal prosecutor, could lose his law license if convicted in the case. He's been served with a summons to appear Monday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Husk's lawyer Rick Romley said his client is innocent.

``These trumped-up charges are 100 percent false. Gary has done absolutely nothing wrong,'' said Romley, who is a former Maricopa County Attorney.

The AG's Office said it uncovered the alleged conspiracy at Husk Partners during its Fiesta Bowl investigation.

Husk's firm represented the bowl from March 2000 to January 2011.

The FBI and Arizona Attorney General's Office raided Husk's office as part of a criminal investigation involving the postseason college football game in January 2012 and thousands of pages of documents were seized.

Current and former Fiesta Bowl employees have alleged that Husk was involved in a scheme in which employees were reimbursed with bowl funds for making political campaign contributions.

The Fiesta Bowl probe, which began after The Arizona Republic uncovered the campaign-contribution scheme in December 2009, led to criminal convictions against six current or former Fiesta Bowl employees.

One ex-employee of Husk's firm also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor for not properly reporting expenditures while currying favor with lawmakers on behalf of the bowl. No politicians were charged.

Husk has repeatedly denied wrongdoing, and Romley has said that Husk repeatedly told the bowl it was illegal to reimburse employees for making campaign contributions.

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