The Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce formally responded Monday to allegations it violated campaign finance law, saying a complaint lacked merit and was an "election season ploy" not deserving of extra time or effort.
The chamber, in a five-page letter, responded to the first of two complaints leveled against the group's media campaign highlighting four local candidates who promote the chamber's economic policies.
The chamber's letter, citing state statute, said a political committee was not needed for the four-page mailer and television commercials, which never tells readers to "vote for" a candidate.
"There is NO express advocacy and, because four people are mentioned, it does not fall under any other statutory provision," wrote Tom Irvine, an attorney representing the chamber.
The complaint alleges that the chamber is illegally using corporate funds for advocating for four candidates - Mayor Mary Manross, City Council members Betty Drake and Ron McCullagh and City Council candidate Suzanne Klapp - because a political committee was not formed.
Those four candidates are the same four endorsed by the chamber in the Sept. 2 mayor and council election.
The chamber was responding to a city deadline following the filing of a complaint by mayoral candidate Jim Lane's campaign committee. A short time later, every mayoral and council candidate not listed in the chamber ads signed onto a second complaint alleging potential felony violations.
That complaint was filed with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, which sent it to the Scottsdale Police Department. Scottsdale police on Friday sent it to the Arizona Attorney General's Office, where it is under review, a spokeswoman said.
Rick Kidder, president of the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce, said the group has yet to see the second complaint.