FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

BREAKING: Arizona Taxpayers Have Spent (Approximately) $4.5M In Legal Fees Defending Republican-Backed Challenges To Redistricting

In the wake of today's unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding the legislative maps approved by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission ("AIRC"), it is time to re-tally the amount of legal fees Arizona taxpayers have paid to date because of the multiple legal challenges.

The bill was $3,649,239 as of last June 19, as Arizona's Politics and the AIRC tallied up at the time.  While the AIRC is still reviewing and allocating the legal bills paid since then (when the SCOTUS killed the case brought by Arizona's Republican lawmakers), Arizona's Politics notes that more than $850,000 has been paid by the state to law firms from the AIRC's account in the current fiscal year.

As almost all of that will be related to the Harris (decided today) and Leach cases (and not general
legal expenses), the total is now very close to $4.5M. The breakdown among the seven firms is to the right; it totals $853,724.55.

The $4.5M total does NOT include the amount taxpayers have paid for Assistant AG's and other Arizona-employed attorneys (at the Legislature, the Secretary of State's Office, the Governor's Office, etc.) while they have been working on these cases. We have also not included those challenges that were mounted by the AG or the Governor. It also does not include any payments that may have been made between last year's article and the close of the fiscal year at the end of that month.

For details on how Arizona's Politics and the AIRC reached the previous $3.6M total, please refer to last year's articles.

It is also worthwhile to note here that the AIRC received several hundred thousand dollars' worth of pro bono legal services by top Supreme Court advocates Seth Waxman and Paul Smith, in both the cases brought by the Arizona GOP legislators and the Harris case (partly funded by GOP-philic dark money).

(Here is a complete list of links to articles Arizona's Politics has published regarding the AIRC and the legal challenges.)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

AIRC On Today's Unanimous SCOTUS Opinion: "Yes, we are very happy with the court’s decision. Only one more case to go."

The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission ("AIRC") is "very happy" with today's unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding Arizona's legislative maps.

"Yes, we are very happy with the court’s decision. Only one more case to go." That is the comment to Arizona's Politics from Kristina Gomez, the Deputy Director of the AIRC.

That, of course, refers to the ongoing Maricopa County Superior Court action Vince Leach v.  Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. Arizona's Politics provided an update on that case earlier today.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

READ: Redistricting Eyes Now Turn To Superior Court, Where AZSOS Reagan, AG Brnovich Would Rather Fight AND Switch

Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has today knocked down Republicans' challenges to Arizona's redistricting process and maps (for the 2nd time), all interested eyes will turn to a 3rd, still-active case in Maricopa County Superior Court.

There, last month, the judge (Hon. Roger Brodman) denied the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission's ("AIRC's") motion to disqualify Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan and Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich from taking an active role on behalf of the Plaintiffs...even though they are named as Defendants.

The 7-page minute entry from March 14 (posted below) concludes that the politicians can fight and switch because they are only nominal defendants and since it will not end in a jury trial, there will be no prejudice, and "(i)t will not be decided on political posturing of any of the participants in this case."

The judge notes that discovery in the 2012 case will be cut off shortly, and that the AIRC raised the close issue of whether the AG's office should be disqualified under the rules of ethics was not made in time. Reagan and Brnovich's offices made the declaration of fighting and switching to the Plaintiffs' side in September 2015, but the motion to disqualify was not made until December 16.

You may recall that the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia joked around with Brnovich about the identical side-switch on December 8 when the Attorney General argued on behalf of the Republican-backed plaintiffs in the Harris case. "What happened? Was there an election in between or something," asked Scalia. "Yes, and I won overwhelmingly," was Brnovich's reply.

Through last June, the AIRC had spent $1M of taxpayers' funds defending the Leach suit ($3.65M for the three cases).  Arizona's Politics has requested an updated figure.




(This article was contributed by Tempe election law attorney Paul Weich. He does not represent any of the parties listed in this article.)

*In a related article, Arizona's Politics reported about how dark money funded some of the redistricting challenge.

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

BREAKING/READ: U.S. Supreme Court UNANIMOUSLY Rejects Arizona Republican Challenge To Legislative Redistricting




From 6/19/15: 

UPDATE: Arizona Taxpayers' Bill For Post-Redistricting Legal Battles Greater Than $3.65M, Even With Fmr U.S. Solicitor General Waiving Fees (Pro Bono)


From 2/14/14: 

BREAKING: Sean Noble Double-Uses Federal EIN To Help Hide FAIR Trust; How Koch Brothers' Money Made Its Mysterious Way Into Arizona Redistricting Fight


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, April 8, 2016

BREAKING: Meeting Between Sen. Flake, SCOTUS Nominee Garland On Thursday's Calendar

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake will be meeting with Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland on Thursday, according to reports.

Arizona's Politics has requested confirmation from the Senator's office.

Flake is one of only a few GOP Senators - and one of only __ GOP Senators on the Judiciary Committee - to agree to meet with the Obama nominee. Flake has said he does not support hearings in the Judiciary Committee on the nomination.


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

WATCH: "Fuggedaboudit, Ted!" Pro-Kasich Super PAC Runs Ad Slamming Cruz "New York Values" Critique (FOLLOWING MONEY IN 2016 POLITICS)

(Updated to include Kasich campaign's ad.)

"Fuggedaboudit, Ted!" is the message of the new ad that a pro-Kasich Super PAC will be running in New York. The ad slams Texas Senator Ted Cruz for his critique of "New York values" earlier in the campaign.  Both Ohio Governor John Kasich and front-runner Donald Trump are determined to spend the next couple of weeks reminding New Yorkers of Cruz's criticism.

The New Day Independent Media Committee filed with the FEC tonight that it had spent $24,459 for a "media buy" in New York opposing Cruz.  However, the Super PAC supporting Kasich announced that the ad will be part of its "seven figure television buy in New York and Pennsylvania."

The Cruz comments in January were part of his  earliest criticisms of Trump in the run-up to the Iowa caucuses. They are now front and center now that New Yorkers are about to weigh in on the GOP candidates.



Kasich's campaign ALSO unveiled a new ad today using the Cruz/


We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.

Friday, April 1, 2016

BROKEN, WATCH: Election-related April 1 News Items

Item #1: Don't usually help commercials go viral, but this one is too appropriate to pass up:

Thanks, Esurance!

Item #2: My breakfast fortune cookie today says: Candidates will continue exploring ways to "push the envelope".

(Know of an item that I should add here? Send me an email!)

We welcome your comments about this post. Or, if you have something unrelated on your mind, please e-mail to info-at-arizonaspolitics-dot-com or call 602-799-7025. Thanks.