A member of the Arizona Senate's Ethics Committee has filed a formal complaint against Sen. Jack Harper (R-Surprise), arguing that Harper acted improperly when he issued a subpoena requiring that voting machines be released to a consultant hired by Phoenix New Times. Harper said he agreed to allow New Times to fund consultant Douglas W. Jones, a computer-science expert, after the Senate refused to pay for an investigation into a contested 2004 election. On Dec. 21, a judge refused to enforce a second subpoena for the individual ballots to be released to Jones, whose report on the machines is expected in a week. It is unclear whether Jones' report will be made public, or if it will be published first in New Times. According to the Arizona Daily Star, New Times Editor Rick Barrs "said he is not sure whether he will even give a copy of the consultant's report to Harper."
An abnormally high number of children in Sierra Vista, Ariz., were getting leukemia, but government agencies had repeatedly declined to investigate the cause of the cancer cluster. Freelance writer Renee Downing stepped into the breach. In her article for Tucson Weekly, "Cancer Wars," she discusses two scientists' research exploring a possible environmental link as well as the politics surrounding the identification of a cancer cluster. This is the sixth in a "How I Got That Story" series highlighting the AltWeekly Awards' first-place winners.