The Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday reported that David Garcia, a Democratic candidate for governor in Arizona, received a donation from Michael Lacey, the co-owner of the controversial Backpage.com website, a site linked to underage prostitution. Following the Free Beacon report, the candidate has announced the money will now be given to homeless youth and victims of sex trafficking.
Garcia, who is challenging Republican Governor Doug Ducey, accepted $2,000 in contributions from Lacey in 2014 as legal troubles began to grow against Backpage. Garcia was running for state superintendent of public instruction at the time of the donation. Garcia was the only state-level politician in Arizona to receive a contribution from Lacey in 2014.
The Free Beacon discovered the donation following the publication of an investigative article published in the Arizona Republic. The article touched on $162,000 in contributions the owners of Backpage gave to Democrats at the state and federal level as legal problems began to mount against the company. The donation to Garcia was not mentioned in the report.
Garcia, who did not provide a comment to the Free Beacon, later posted a statement on Twitter saying that the money will be donated to a group to help the homeless and victims of sex trafficking.
"Michael Lacey was one of thousands of contributors to my 2014 campaign. My entire career has been spent in service to Arizona's young people and one contribution shouldn't cloud that record," Garcia's statement reads. "So I'm donating $2,000 to a local-nonprofit that serves homeless youth and survivors of sex trafficking."