About $190,000 of public funds were spent to produce 600,000 copies of a crime-prevention pamphlet circulated last week by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, reports the Arizona Republic. The Road Map to Crime Prevention was criticized by county supervisors as an inappropriate and self-serving use of general-fund money because they feature Thomas’ name and picture. Thousands of the brochures were distributed in local newspapers, and others are still appearing in mailboxes. The county attorney paid $1.31 per pamphlet to mail the brochures to officials two floors above his office.
Thomas refused to disclose to top county administrators or the media the amount of public money spent to print the 45-page crime-prevention book. The $190,000 price tag does not include distribution or mailing costs of the booklets. The distributions came after high-profile billboards and TV advertisements in which Thomas stars or his name is prominently displayed. He is a Republican and almost certainly will run for re-election this year. As taxpayers and voters, the public has the right to know how their money is being spent, said Steve Doig, professor of journalism Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.