Fiesta claims sent to Attorney General

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Attorney General's Office has been asked to conduct a criminal investigation into claims that current and former Fiesta Bowl employees made illegal campaign contributions to politicians friendly to the bowl.

Secretary of State Ken Bennett requested the probe in a letter to Attorney General Terry Goddard last Friday. Bennett's office has been investigating the Fiesta Bowl since a complaint was filed in late December.

In an investigation in December by The Arizona Republic, past and present employees told the newspaper that they were encouraged to write checks to specific candidates and were reimbursed by the bowl. Such contributions would violate state election laws. Fiesta Bowl officials have consistently denied that contributions were coordinated or reimbursed.

Goddard's office said Monday it has received Bennett's letter and is reviewing the matter. It declined further comment.