An Unforced Error by Governor Hobbs, Potentially a Lesson Learned

If you read us regularly, you know that it has been a wild ride condensed into less than a year for Governor Katie Hobbs, full of slip ups, power moves, falls and redemptions (get the full scoop here). One thing that has been certain is that the Arizona GOP is looking for any opportunity to nail her administration against the wall, and while the administration has made good progress towards limiting mistakes, a recent development demonstrates that they still have a way to go.

The latest unforced error comes via the Department of Revenue, and underscores how much of a microscope she finds herself under. The scandal this time? A website URL…

While the website URL for most official government letters is one of the items that only the most bored of us will ever endeavor to type into our browsers, it would seem that at least one Republican did: they found that it didn’t go to the Department of Revenue page, but instead to the Governor’s official website. While subtle, it was seemingly an attempt to insert some marketing into a fact-based letter.

This comes on the heels of her attempt to take credit for a $260 million tax credit for families. It was the GOP that put it into law above Hobbs’s initial rejection, a more blatant attempt to take credit for something that she had nothing to do with.

Was this URL redirect intentional? It is hard to see a case where it wasn’t; after all, the default option would be the actual Department of Revenue website, so it’s hard to see how it isn’t an attempt to slip one through. Is it a big deal? As far as uses of taxpayer funds to promote an incumbent go, this is nearly as benign and overlook-able as they get.  But it almost unquestionably is an attempt to use public resources to promote yourself in a way that as slight as it might be, likely violates the spirit of the law, if not the letter.

As far as wins go, this is a small one for the Arizona GOP. In what has been nearly a full year of relentless gotcha-ism, early successes related to unforced errors from poor staffing choices are in the past; while the chase continues, the low hanging fruit is gone. If this scenario is any indicator, the Hobbs administration has tightened up considerably and future slip-ups will likely be about as inconsequential in outcome as this.

But one thing seems fairly clear: the Governor and her team continue to act as though there are dozens of keen sets of eyes circling the wagons, waiting for any sort of slip up to pounce on. Perhaps they should already be acting as though this is the case, but for whatever reason they continue to leave these breadcrumbs for her enemies to collect. Perhaps she would be better served to not do so.