Tuesday, June 30, 2015

WATCH: McSally On CNN Re: Terrorism: "Enjoy Your Holiday, Don't Live In Fear, But Let's Be Vigilant"

Arizona Congresswoman Martha McSally (R-CD2) was on CNN this afternoon, discussing the threats of July 4th terror attacks and the differences between Al Qaeda and ISIS.  Her bottom line: "Enjoy your holiday, don't live in fear, but let's be vigilant."

McSally chairs the House Subcommittee on Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Communications.  This is (at least) her 2nd appearance on CNN within the past two weeks.

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Monday, June 29, 2015

READ: Supreme Court Thwarts Arizona Legislature In Redistricting Case

The U.S. Supreme Court denied the Arizona Legislature in its bid to overturn the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission formed by voters 20 years ago.

In a 5-4 decision, the Justices found that Arizona voters can set up the redistricting commission.


Also in Supreme Court news about Arizona-related cases on this last day of the term, the Justices declined to consider ex-Arizona Congressman Rick Renzi's appeal of his conviction on bribery and insurance fraud.  And, the Court also declined to hear the Kansas/Arizona appeal that the states had a constitutional right to impose their own requirements on federally-mandated voter registration forms. 

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Friday, June 26, 2015

READ, VIEW (NSFW?): Sheriff Arpaio, Rev. Maupin Complain About Poster Portraying Them As Entwined "Nude" "Political Monsters"; "Vulgar, Racially Insensitive, Homophobic"

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Phoenix Rev. Jarrett Maupin have received a lot of attention recently for their joint efforts. Today, they filed a complaint with the city of Phoenix that one reaction of "nude artwork" goes too far and is "vulgar, racially insensitive, homophobic and generally offensive."

At risk of being complained about, Arizona's Politics is going to publish this display. By clicking "Read More", you are certifying that you are old enough to view a non-explicit cartoon likeness of two local politicians.

Arizona's Politics - along with the rest of the media - received a copy of Rev. Maupin's "complaint" to the Phoenix Human Relations Commission, along with a picture of the "nude artwork" this afternoon....from the Sheriff's Office's communications staff.*

It claims that the "display" is being propped up against various pieces of city of Phoenix property (light poles, bus stop, street lights, etc), and that the city should do something about it.

We could continue to quote from Maupin's letter, but let's let you read the entire missive for yourself (before looking at the nude display, if you are mature enough).

Maupin and Arpaio received national attention this month when the former asked the latter to provide protection to Phoenix-area Black churches in the wake of the Charleston, SC massacre.  They also received their share of derision, including from both the Arizona Republic and the Phoenix New Times.

This mocking no doubt inspired the anonymous artist.

And that no doubt inspired the Reverend and the Sheriff to claim to be "victim(s)" of the life-size editorial cartoon.  (This is especially impressive given that two of today's lead stories are the Supreme Court's same sex marriage ruling and President Obama's eulogy in Charleston.)

Again, please make sure that you are old enough and mature enough to view the "nude artwork" below the jump. However, if you would like to complain about this article, please address Howard Kurtz, c/o Fox News; this would be guaranteed to keep his head spinning for weeks to come (and might get me an interview slot).

* Because the Sheriff used County employees and resources to broadcast this complaint, Arizona's Politics is considering him to be endorsing/signing on to the Reverend's complaint.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Arizona Redistricting Case Makes It To Supreme Court's Final "Significant Seven"

Arizona's important independent redistricting case is now one of the final "Significant Seven" opinions left for the U.S. Supreme Court to hand down in this 2014-15 season.

The nine Justices finish deciding cases from the October term by the end of June (or, occasionally, the beginning of July), and some of the most difficult and significant cases end up being the last ones left.  This year, the Arizona Legislature v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission still remains, along with the ACA ("Obamacare") subsidies, same sex marriage, and four other cases.

Former Supreme Court clerks have noted that opinions are often getting proofread, circulated, changed, etc. on difficult cases until shortly before being announced.  ar

The Supreme Court does not announce in advance which opinions they are releasing on any given day, and word never seems to leak out.  And, because they do not allow live broadcasts from their court, this leaves interested parties anxiously watching sites like SCOTUSblog and news sources for word.

The Justice who authors the majority opinion has the opportunity to make a statement and/or read from the opinion. (Dissenting justices can then do likewise.) The Court did announce that they are adding another day of releasing opinions, this coming Thursday. (Next Monday will be a regularly-scheduled opportunity to hand down rulings.)

The Arizona redistricting case was one of the final argued.  Former U.S. Solicitors General Paul Clement and Seth Waxman presented the case to the Supreme Court for the Arizona Legislature and Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, respectively.

As noted on Arizona's Politics, the latter represented the AIRC pro bono, saving Arizona taxpayers a few hundred thousand dollars.  Even so, this one case alone has cost more than $850,000, and the state has footed more than $3.65M in outside legal bills for the attacks on the AIRC and the redistricting maps that it approved.

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, June 19, 2015

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

Arizona's taxpayers have paid five law firms more than $3.65 Million for post-redistricting legal battles.

Wednesday, Arizona's Politics reported on the legal costs incurred by Arizona taxpayers because of the partisan battle over the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission - that article noted the costs - to the taxpayers - had "exceeded $3.4 Million." The AIRC has now provided breakouts of legal fees it has paid over the past four years, and it turns out that the legal bill is now at $3,649,239.

The article had relied upon the records provided by Arizona Open Books, as the most reliable source of unbiased information about state expenditures.  Even so, that site has limitations - such as, the inability to distinguish between legal fees paid for one case or another - and the article listed them.

There were many good responses to the article, but the most helpful came from the AIRC itself.  After discussing the numbers and the current statuses of the cases with Ray Bladine, the AIRC's Executive Director*, I received spreadsheet data breaking down the $5.3M total spent on outside counsel in the past four years.

To come up with our revised post-redistricting, partisan litigation number of $3.65M+, we removed the $1.2M in "General" legal fees, the $578K incurred in fighting then-Attorney General Tom Horne's challenge of the AIRC's open meetings, and the $182K expended to fight then-Governor Jan Brewer's action for removal.  We then added the $360K paid by the Arizona Legislature to local law firm Davis Miles and U.S. Supreme Court expert Paul Clement, as part of the case that Arizona (and several other states) are anxiously awaiting a decision from the Justices (within the next couple of weeks).

There are presently three live cases against the AIRC, all from either Republican lawmakers, or Republican-philic interests.  Surprisingly, the AIRC has spent THE LEAST in outside legal expenses on the Arizona Legislature v. AIRC case about to be decided by the Supreme Court.

This is partly because it is a Constitutional challenge that did not require much time-intensive (costly) discovery, and partly because the U.S. Supreme Court expert Seth Waxman surprisingly agreed to represent the Redistricting Commission pro bono.  That saved Arizona taxpayers somewhere between $300-500,000.***

Again, what is NOT included or currently calculable is 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

Here are the three live cases, their statuses, and the amounts spent on legal fees:
1) Arizona Legislature v. AIRC: $558,092 spent by Defendant, at least $359,938 spent by Plaintiff. The U.S. Supreme Court will issue its ruling within the next couple of weeks. It will either uphold the Arizona voters' decision to give redistricting responsibility to the independent commission (appointed by the legislature), or it will give redistricting back to the lawmakers.

2) Harris v. AIRC: The AIRC has spent $1,734,603 in legal fees. The U.S. Supreme Court has received an appeal by the Plaintiffs, but has not decided whether to accept the case yet. It is very possible that the Justices are waiting to hand down the other AIRC opinion, in order to avoid accepting a case that they might be about to moot. The Plaintiffs are Republican-backed (including money from the well-known Koch Brothers network), and are seeking to overturn the AIRC's state legislative maps.

3) Leach v. AIRC: The AIRC has spent just shy of $1M ($996,606) on this case.  The Plaintiffs are a mix of Republican legislators and supporters, who are challenging the Commission's procedures.  A great deal of discovery took place in this case before the parties and the Court (Maricopa County Superior) agreed last year to put the case on hold pending a decision or decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court.

(Tempe attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article. Mr. Weich practices election law, but has not represented any parties in the redistricting cases.)

*Bladine reports that he and the AIRC are still open pending court decision(s), albeit with a skeletal staff and part time hours.
**Nearly all of the "general" legal fees were incurred in FY12, which is when the final maps were still being worked on.
***It also could legitimately make you wonder about the $304,884 paid by the Republican legislators to Clement, and whether they could have saved taxpayers that money by seeking out an attorney that felt the same constitutional/ideological urgency that they did.

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Arizona's Redistricting Legal Battles Cost Taxpayers (Much) More Than $3.4M (So Far)

UPDATE, 6/19: A new article that includes updated (higher) figures, more detail, and confirmation that former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman reprsented the AIRC pro bono is located here.

(Correction: The Arizona Republic reported that the Arizona Legislature has retained a firm to prepare for the possibility of new maps, and not the Secretary of State's office. The text has been corrected.)

As Arizona waits for the U.S. Supreme Court to issue its ruling on the state's Independent Redistricting Commission, the legal bills paid by Arizona taxpayers has exceeded $3.4 Million.  The legal tab for the Supreme Court briefs and oral arguments alone will likely be more than $500,000.

Arizona's Politics has scoured the state's books to tally the legal fees paid by the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission ("AIRC") and the State Legislature since the Republican-controlled House and Senate - and Republican-backed individuals filed dual challenges to the AIRC and the redistricting maps created by the AIRC in 2012.

The Legislature spent $304,884 to hire former U.S. Solicitor Paul Clement to handle the Supreme Court portion of the case.*

(Arizona's Politics had a difficult time ascertaining the fee earlier this year; Arizona Open Books - Arizona's Official Transparency Site - did not post the payment until April 17.  That was nearly one year after Clement first filed on behalf of the state and six weeks after he argued the case in front of the nation's highest court.  Neither the House nor the Senate - which split the fee 50/50 - responded to requests for clarification, and the Democratic caucus was unable to figure out the details.)

The Legislature also retained the local law firm of Davis Miles to help with the legal action in both the District Court and the Supreme Court.  Davis Miles received about $55,000.  The lawmakers and the aligned Secretary of State's Office also utilized state attorneys from both the Attorney General's Office and both Houses; Arizona's Politics is unable to calculate the value of those attorney's hours.

The AIRC did not have the benefit of "in house counsel", and instead have paid the law firms of Ballard Spahr and Osborn Maledon a total of $3,078,641 since June 2012.  The AIRC also retained a former U.S. Solicitor General to represent it in the Supreme Court.  However, the fees paid Seth Waxman's firm of Wilmer Cutler has not yet been posted on Arizona's website.  (It should be in the same ballpark as Clement's $304,000 fee; reports indicate Waxman's hourly rate is $950/hour.**)

The Supreme Court's decision in the Legislature's constitutional challenge to the Arizona-voter-approved setup of the Independent Redistricting Commission could come as soon as tomorrow, and certainly by the end of the month.  The Arizona Republic has reported that the Legislature has already paid out money to begin the redistricting process if the Court rules in the Legislature's favor and reinstates the old Legislative-controlled redistricting process.

The Supreme Court has not yet decided if it will hear the other Republican-based challenge to the state legislative districts.  That decision should come by the end of the month, as well.

*Arizona paid Clement $400,000 to represent it before the Supreme Court to defend anti-illegal immigration SB1070. That was paid from contributions to a state fund.

**Thanks to SCOTUSblog for providing that link to Arizona's Politics.

₁ Corrected from "Secretary of State". (Thanks to Eric Spencer from the Secretary of State's office for catching that error.)

(Tempe attorney Paul Weich contributed to this article. Mr. Weich practices election law, but has not represented any parties in the redistricting cases.)
Former Solicitors General Paul Clement (left) and Seth Waxman

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WATCH: Rep. McSally Urges Military To Step Up Bombing ISIS, Take Greater Risks Re: Civilian Casualties

Arizona Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) today urged the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to step up aerial attacks on the Islamic State, even if it puts civilians at greater risk.

McSally questioned Gen. Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Ash Carter during an Armed Services Committee hearing, and then took to CNN to step up her attacks on what she calls the "incoherent strategy" to defeat ISIS.

(Click on picture above for video. Will open in new window.)

McSally wanted to know how many U.S. strike sorties were ending with the pilot not firing on their target, because of the fear of civilian casualties.  She quoted retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula*, and noted that the fastest way to end ISIS' crimes against humanity is to step up bombing. "While unintended casualties of war are regrettable, they pale in comparison to the savage acts being carried out by the Islamic State. It allows the certainty of Islamic State's crimes against humanity."

Gen. Dempsey would not give specifics in open testimony, but said concern about civilian casualties "is not the limiting factor." He also said he "couldn't disagree more with the retired General."

McSally is a retired USAF Colonel, and flew A-10's over Iraq in the first Gulf War.

ADD, 12:20pm: Rep. McSally's office has now posted the video from her post-committee hearing interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer.  She emphasizes the points that she was making during her questioning.

*Lt. Gen. Deptula wrote a column in the Washington Post two weeks ago espousing giving U.S. pilots more leeway to fire on targets in Iraq.  He was debarred this past winter from conducting business with the Pentagon.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

WATCH: McCain Fights Amendment To Deal With Sexual Assaults In Military; Dies 50-49, Rubio Only Absent Senator (READ amendment)

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) passionately inveighed against a measure to change the way that intra-military sexual assaults are handled.  The Gillibrand (D-NY) amendment received 50
votes (and 49 votes opposed), but required at least 60 votes to be attached to the National Defense Authorization Act.

McCain (and others) criticized the proposal to establish an independent justice system for sexual assault charges, removing it from the current chain of command.

McCain said that "What her proposal is is rejected by literally every member of the military that I know that has years of experience.  We cannot remove the commanding officers from the chain of command, and that's what the Senator Gillibrand's amendment and effort has been, to remove the commanding officer from responsibility. And, I will steadfastly oppose it!"

The amendment was defeated when it failed to obtain the 60 votes necessary.  McCain and Flake both voted against it.  Ten Democratic Senators opposed it, and 14 Republicans supported it.  Senator - and Presidential candidate - Marco Rubio was the only non-voting Senator.

Here is the text of the (defeated) amendment:

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Monday, June 15, 2015

Arizona Supreme Court Hires Former Congressman John Shadegg As Lobbyist

The Arizona Supreme Court took the unprecedented step this month of hiring former Congressman John Shadegg to lobby for it at the federal level. The Court is hoping to lay the groundwork to be able to intercept federal tax refunds from state criminals.

The contract with the Arizona Supreme Court is the first time (per the federal lobbying database) that the Court has hired a lobbyist, and the first time Shadegg has lobbied for a State of Arizona entity.

Shadegg notes on his registration form that he will be lobbying for the Supreme Court regarding "issues relating to the interception of court ordered restitution, fines and fees."  Arizona does not currently have the right to intercept federal tax refunds from convicted criminals in order to fulfill restitution orders.

Arizona Supreme Court Communications Director Heather Murphy tells Arizona's Politics that Shadegg has been hired on "a very limited basis, for an amount of less than $10,000."  She notes that previous attempts to gain this important tool to collect restitution orders for victims have not made it far, possibly "due to inertia".

Murphy is not aware if other states have attempted or are attempting to do likewise. A search of the lobbyist database did not turn up any other states' Supreme Courts.

Shadegg represented Arizona in the House of Representatives from 1995 to 2011, and became a lobbyist with the law firm of Steptoe & Johnson two years later.  The Republican also lobbies for Facebook, Basis Schools and the Las Vegas Sands Corporation (Sheldon Adelson), although his two most lucrative lobbying contracts are presently for the National Association of Convenience Stores and the Society of Independent Gasoline Marketers.

The lobbyist registration is required for attempting to influence either the Executive Branch or the Legislative Branch.  (Arizona's Judicial Branch is NOT attempting to influence the federal Judicial Branch.)

Arizona's Politics discovered the lobbying registration today and has asked the Court and former Rep. Shadegg for additional details on the lobbying, and will update as warranted.

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, June 11, 2015

Arizona Lawmaker Questioned About His Military Status Compares Accusations To IED's

Arizona State Senator Jeff Dial (R-LD18) is fighting back against intra-party allegations that he has exaggerated his military service for political benefit; however, tweeting the headline of a blog post defending him may cause him more trouble.

The headline: "Jeff Dial - Still serving, despite the IEDs of politics".

Dial also posted the op-ed on his website, comparing accusations against him to IEDs, which
have killed and caused numerous Traumatic Brain Injuries to members of the U.S. Armed Services (and others).

The Arizona Republic has prominently (front page) published two articles this month about Sen. Dial's service in the Army Reserve, and has editorialized on it as well.  Yesterday's article prompted a response from "Military Retiree" Jon Altmann, that was posted on at least one blog.

Sen. Jeff Dial posted Altmann's response - complete with the attention-grabbing headline - on his website. That gave it a "jeffdial.com" URL, which he promptly posted on Twitter.

After communicating with Arizona's Politics (via Twitter!), Sen. Dial moved Altmann's headline (on his site) to the article portion of the page, and inserted "Great article by Jon Altmann" as his headline. The Tweet (shown above) remains.

Dial told Arizona's Politics that "in no way does what I'm going through compare with what our soldiers overseas are experiencing with IEDs."

Arizona's Politics had not reported on the issues presented in the Arizona Republic articles.  Now that we have interviewed Sen. Dial on the underlying subject, we will shortly post an article.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

WATCH, READ: McCain Senate Floor Monologue Today On Obama, World

Arizona Senator John McCain (R-AZ) took to an empty Senate chamber today to discuss current events, especially President Obama and his lack of a complete strategy to deal with ISIS.

Here is the complete video, along with a transcript (from C-Span closed captioning, read at your own risk).

Transcript of remarks is below the jump.

Managers of Jeb Bush's Campaign and "Campaign" Both Have Ducey, McCain Connections

The leader of Jeb Bush's anticipated Presidential campaign last saw campaign action last year as a consultant for Doug Ducey's successful Arizona gubernatorial campaign, according to the Wall Street Journal today. Thus, both Bush's campaign and his "campaign" are led by men with Arizona and John McCain connections.

39-year old Danny Diaz is apparently a surprise choice to head up the Bush committee, according to
the WSJ.  However, as the lede of the article notes, Diaz has worked for the past three GOP presidential nominees, including Arizona Sen. John McCain's effort in 2008.

Diaz was deputy communications director for the McCain campaign that year; the chief strategist was Mike Murphy.  Murphy has been directing Bush's Right To Rise SuperPAC, which is expected to take on many of the tasks that previously were handled by the candidate's (controlled) campaign committee.

TheHill.com notes that Diaz describes himself (on his PA firm's website) as "the general consultant in Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's general election campaign." In reality, however, Ducey had a covey* of consultants for his general election campaign, of which Diaz - through Deep Red Strategies - was one of the lower-paid.

Deep Red Strategies received $3,000 for work during the campaign against Democrat Fred DuVal. (He did receive $13,886 for work done during the multi-candidate primary campaign.)

*Open to suggestion re: the best term to describe a group of political consultants, or even consultants in general. We chose "covey" because it is close to a "coven of witches". The similarities made it irresistible; the AP Stylebook did not provide guidance.

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Friday, June 5, 2015

WATCH: Rep. Franks Getting Pushed To Support Trade Fast Track Measure, By GOP Group Tied To House Speaker; Arizona's Delegation Split

Arizona Rep. Trent Franks (R-CD8) is one of 65 Republican Congressmembers being pushed by a Boehner-tied group to support the trade fast track TPA later this month.

The American Action Network is spending nearly $1M on a national TV ad (Fox News, and below), mailers, digital and radio advertising.  They will only use the national ad and digital advertising to influence Franks regarding the Trade Promotion Authority measure.

The campaign by a Republican group backing the Republican House Speaker to influence Republican House Members who may be reluctant to support TPA because of Republican voters is obviously going to "make the Republican case" for promoting trade.

The ad urges passage because "If we don’t lead on global trade, China will.”  It points out that "liberals and labor unions" oppose the measure because they "advocate weakness abroad". (Interestingly, the ad shows a picture of President Obama just before that statement, although the President is campaigning hard for Congress to pass it.)

Franks' position on the TPA is listed as "undecided or unclear" by TheHill.com.  Arizona's Politics has asked the Congressman for his position and will update as warranted.

TheHill's list also describes Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) as undecided or unclear on the GOP side, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-CD1) as the same on the Democratic side.  It notes that Arizona GOP Reps. Martha McSally (R-CD2), Matt Salmon (R-CD5) and David Schweikert (R-CD6) are "yes or leaning yes". Equally on the other side, Arizona Democratic Reps. Ruben Gallego (D-CD7), Raul Grijalva (D-CD3) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1) are "no or leaning no".

A Politico article notes that a vote on the TPA is expected within the next two weeks.

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

UPDATE: Ballard Spahr Law Firm Responds To Arizona's Politics' Article About Fmr. Gov. Brewer's New Consulting Gig

Yesterday, Arizona's Politics published an article about former Governor Jan Brewer's new gig with national law firm Ballard Spahr, and the $3.3M in legal business the firm's new Phoenix office did with the State after Brewer's General Counsel jumped from the Governor's Office to Ballard Spahr in 2011.  We asked* Ballard Spahr's Joe Kanefield and/or Scott Smith for reaction to the article, and promised that we "would be happy to either run a followup or to supplement the article with your comments and/or relevant data."

Mr. Kanefield did respond.  As he raises a valid point (and some not-as-valid points), we are publishing his email in full here. (Our reply is below it.)
Mitch, we appreciate the opportunity to respond to your blog post. We wish you had given us that opportunity before you published the article, and then you would not have made such serious errors of fact. The post falsely states that Governor Brewer "directed $3.3M To Law Firm That Now Hires Her." That statement is provably false. While the firm has represented Governor Brewer in the past, the bulk of the fees the firm received for Arizona government matters over the past four years came from public entitiesindependent of the Governor's Office, including the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission and the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission. In addition, it's only fair to note that Ballard Spahr was among several firms that provided outside counsel to the Governor's Office during Governor Brewer's last term, including Snell & Wilmer, Fennemore Craig and Gammage & Burnham. Moreover, as The Arizona Republic article correctly noted, Governor Brewer is a consultant to the firm, not an employee. While we cannot understand why you published the article without speaking with us first, we respectfully request that you correct or retract the statements immediately.
Arizona's Politics does agree with Mr. Kanefield that the one word "directed" is misused there.  While any direction may be fairly implied** by the circumstances and the timeline laid out in the article, there is no "smoking gun" to indicate that Gov. Brewer personally directed all of the state agencies and commissions to begin sending outside legal work to Ballard Spahr.  Arizona's Politics did not use the term in the article itself, and has removed it from the headline.***

Mr. Kanefield also states that "it's only fair to note that Ballard Spahr was among several firms...." The article does not imply anything to the contrary, and focuses on overall legal services to the State of Arizona - as detailed on the State's website.  For the article, Arizona's Politics reviewed the legal billings of all firms that received more than $100,000 from Arizona taxpayers in a fiscal year.  Only one law firm received more than Ballard Spahr.

The large law firms mentioned by Kanefield were - surprisingly - not even close to receiving the approximately $3.3M taken in by Ballard Spahr between July 2011 and January 2015.  Removing the $3.3M which Snell & Wilmer received from the Governor's legal defense fund for SB1070****, those three major firms combined received less than Ballard Spahr (approx $2,4M).  And, at most, those three combined received half of what Ballard Spahr did from the Governor's Office.*****

Mr. Kanefield's attempt to cloud the issue by comparing Ballard Spahr to the very limited amount of legal work given to everyone else is ill-taken.

However, we appreciate Mr. Kanefield's response, and have removed the word "directed" from the headline, and adjusted the language to reflect the "consultant" status.  The article was - and, is - accurate and newsworthy, and will stand.

* The request for reaction was made shortly after publication.  The Kanefield quotes in the Republic article and the State's legal billing numbers speak for themselves, and the article was on deadline.
** Mr. Kanefield's examples of state commissions retaining Ballard Spahr do not make the word "directed" "provably false."  
***Social media references to the term will be changed; however, reposts and retweets may remain.
****The legal defense fund was from voluntary contributions (without limits), not taxpayers' money.
*****If you remove the monies received by Gammage & Burnham for the first months after Kanefield went to Ballard Spahr, and the monies Snell & Wilmer received after Brewer left office, the "big three" combined received approximately $75,000 from the Governor's Office, while Ballard Spahr received approximately $292,000.  Ballard Spahr currently has approximately 30 attorneys in Arizona (website), while the others have more than 400 attorneys (Republic, websites). (No other outside attorneys worked for the Governor's Office.)

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Jan Brewer Following The Money After Stint As Arizona Governor; During Her Tenure, Arizona Paid $3.3M To Law Firm That Now Hires Her (FOLLOWING STATE MONEY IN ARIZONA'S POLITICS)

(Update, 6/4/15, 2:30pm: At our request, Joe Kanefield - Gov. Brewer's former General Counsel and current partner with Ballard Spahr - responded to this article. His reaction is published in full, along with our reply.  We have adjusted the wording of the headline - removing "directed" - and adjusted this article to reflect that the former Governor is a consultant to Ballard Spahr and not employed by them.)

There is a good article in the Arizona Republic today updates readers on former Governor Jan Brewer getting used to being out of the public eye, and getting hired by a national law firm. The article quotes Joe Kanefield - the "attorney and longtime Brewer adviser".* And, the article discusses some of the interesting ethical and lobbying issues presented by Brewer's new career.

What the article does NOT touch on is the Governor's relationship with Ballard Spahr** WHILE she was Arizona's Governor.  Her new client was one of the two law firms that most benefited from her term as Governor, billing the State of Arizona approximately $3.3 million in the last 3 1/2 years of Brewer's governorship.

The relationship began within weeks after Kanefield left his position as the Governor's General Counsel in May 2011, in order to become a partner with Ballard Spahr, when he began representing the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.  The firm also quickly began representing the Governor's Office and Arizona's Medicaid program ("AHCCCS"),

Within 10 months, Ballard Spahr had billed the State $1,000,000.  The three straight years of nearly $1M billing is about to come to an end this fiscal year, as Governor Brewer left office in January.  During the past four years, only one other law firm has billed Arizona taxpayers more.

In addition to Kanefield leaving the Governor's Office to move to Ballard Spahr, the Republic article also notes that Brewer's Chief of Staff - who presumably had major input into choices of outside legal counsel - now directs Ballard Spahr's Arizona lobbying operations.

Brewer may currently be back to driving her own Cadillac around town; her new client might want to look into providing her with a chauffeured limo.
(image from the archives)

(P.S. The amount that the State paid annually to outside legal counsel increased dramatically throughout Governor Brewer's tenure (to $19.3M in FY2014).  More on that in separate article.)

***Gov. Brewer's Super PACs: Retirement Fund, 2016 Run Against McCain, Or Just "Stay Active" Money?
***Governor Brewer, Personal SuperPAC Benefit From Company Privatizing Arizona Rest Stops 
***WATCH & READ, IN CONTEXT: Gov. Brewer On Senate's Immigration Bill, Yesterday and Today: I Have Not Endorsed That Bill 
  *Interestingly, it is not made clear that Kanefield (a) was the Governor's legal counsel during her 1st two years in office; and (b) went straight from his state job to Ballard Spahr.

**Tempting though it may be, Arizona's Politics will NOT abbreviate this law firm.

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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gosar Amendment Penalizes DOJ Officials Salaries $1M; McSally 1 Of Only 14 Republicans To Oppose

Arizona Rep. Paul Gosar (R-CD4) successfully pushed an amendment to take $1,000,000 from salaries for Department of Justice officials.  He suggested that stripping the million from the budget of the DOJ legal activities* would "hold (the Department) accountable for its failure to enforce the rule of law."

Gosar's amendment passed on a roll call vote of 228-198.  Only 14 Republicans joined all Democrats in opposing the amendment; Arizona Rep. Martha McSally (R-CD2) was one of that group.

Here is Rep. Gosar's short speech explaining the amendment.

The House of Representatives is continuing to debate the appropriations bills past 1:30am.

* page 25, line 3

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Arizona Senators Split On USA Freedom Act Today, Restoring Provisions of PATRIOT Act

Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake (both R) split their votes on  the USA Freedom Act this afternoon, which restores key provisions of the PATRIOT Act.  The measure now goes to President Obama's desk; he has indicated he will sign it.

The Senate voted 67-32 to pass the USA Freedom Act, after the House passed it 338-88 on May 13. The bill restores provisions which lapsed this past weekend, regarding roving wiretaps, and reforms the bulk collection of phone data.

McCain had been a vocal proponent of amending the House-passed version; he voted "nay" today.  Flake voted "aye," joining 22 other Republicans and all but one Democrat in passing the House version. (Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was the only Democrat to oppose it.)

Today's vote continued the showdown between the libertarian-leaning wing of the Republican party - led by Sens. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Mike Lee (R-UT) - and the party leadership and more establishment portion of the party. McCain was a vocal leader of the latter.  (Lee ended up voting "aye", Paul voted "nay".)

Here is video from Sunday night, when Sens. McCain and Paul got into a rules battle:

The leadership tried to gather support for amending the House-passed version, with the risk that the House would not support those amendments and the lapsed provisions would hamper U.S. intelligence efforts.  Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) then noted that the defeat of the proposed tweaks was a "resounding victory for (NSA leaker) Edward Snowden. It is also a resounding victory for those currently plotting attacks against the homeland.”

The issue scrambled the usual party lines in both the Senate and the House.  In the latter, three of the five Arizona Republicans voted "nay", and Arizona Democrats split 3-1 "aye".

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.