Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Don's Delusions


Recently, Robert Robb, columnist for the Arizona Republic wrote a piece about the entrance of Don Stapley in the race for Congressional District 5. As Robb points out, Stapley's decision to run for Congress is the epitome of "self delusion," and will likely be the final professional downfall of a man who can't help but to be corrupted by the political system.

Read Robert Robb's column to refresh your memories about who the real Don Stapley was - and still is!

Reposted from azcentral.com: http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/robertrobb/2016/04/11/don-stapley-innocent-runs-congress/82811302/

Robb: Don Stapley the Innocent runs for Congress


I was shocked that former County Supervisor Don Stapley announced for the open Congressional District 5 seat. It’s a testimony to the capacity for self-delusion by the political animal.
Stapley claims that he was exonerated in the soap opera that engulfed county government during his tenure.
Now, it is true that Stapley was badly abused by Sheriff Joe Arpaio and former County Attorney Andrew Thomas in their maniacal pursuit of an imagined grand conspiracy between the board of supervisors, senior county staff and certain judges. And Stapley has been compensated by county taxpayers for that abuse.
But he hardly came out of the ordeal smelling like a rose.
During the ruction, it became public that Stapley set up a fund ostensibly to run for office in the National Association of Counties. Contributors to it were people who do business with the county.
However, Stapley instead spent a majority of the funds on personal stuff for him and his family. In other words, he leveraged his elected office for personal enrichment.
Stapley wasn’t charged with a crime. But he was pretty much documented to have been a skunk.
A sensible person would have taken the settlement money for the Arpaio-Thomas abuse and retreated from public life. Instead, Stapley says he’s just the man to represent the East Valley in Congress.
Given the low-esteem in which Congress is held these days, perhaps he’s right.

Andy Biggs: A Proven, Trustworthy Leader for CD 5

The Arizona Senate is moving closer to completion of the latest budget, which means that President Andy Biggs will soon be unleashed full time to campaign for the U.S. House of Representatives.

Andy Biggs will be missed in the Arizona Legislature, where he has served faithfully and honorably for over a decade. Those who know him best will remember him as a person of utmost principle, yet someone who always held his door open for a conversation - even with those who most vehemently disagreed with him.

Andy's temperament and legacy is what has endeared him to his LD 12 constituents, and what ultimately factored in to Congressman Matt Salmon's decision to endorse him for the District 5 race. In a world where so many candidates trip over themselves for the rights of assumed powers and to be counted in the body of 1/435, Andy Biggs wasn't looking to go to Congress. He wasn't looking for an upgraded political position. He wasn't looking for fame or power.

Rather, Andy Biggs was looking to do a good job for his constituents.

Andy Biggs was looking to stand for what he believed in - no matter what the cost.

Andy Biggs was looking out for the interests of the colleagues he served with at the Arizona Legislature.

Andy Biggs was doing a good job with all of the little things he was entrusted with at the Arizona Legislature.

For over a decade, Andy Biggs has a proven record of standing for the free market, jobs, life, religious freedom, smaller government, veterans, strong border security, adherence to laws, and empowerment of the members of Arizona's public safety departments.

Most importantly, though, Andy has also proven that the system has not changed him, but that he has changed the system. That trait is becoming increasingly rare in our elected officials these days - especially those in DC. Relatively good, upstanding men and women with the best intentions of serving "the people" become corrupted in some way once they get off the plane and head to the U.S. Capitol. And still those who had no intentions of serving the people, but only themselves, exploit the angst and the frustrations that people have with Washington, DC, and give Congress its current reputation.

However, District 5 voters know that Andy Biggs is a rare breed. Voters know that Andy is a man who will not change by an upgraded political office and who will bring sorely-needed change to a system that is out-of-control. District 5 voters know that Andy Biggs is a man of his word and a man of integrity - and man who will work hard every day to earn trust and satisfaction of his constituents.

Andy Biggs is a man with a record that people know, and a conscience that people trust. Congressional District 5 voters deserve a man like Andy Biggs to continue the sterling legacy that Matt Salmon is leaving behind. They know that like Matt, Andy Biggs will not make them regret their votes for him at all.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Andy Biggs Leads Fundraising for CD 5

Last week, Andy Biggs posted his Q1 fundraising report, which showed that he had outraised all other declared CD-5 challengers. Biggs' report showed that he had raised $100,325 in the short time that he had been a candidate for Congress and that he had loaned himself another $100,000.

One of Andy Biggs' other opponents Justin Olson reported raising $14,785 and loaning himself $70,000.

The other two declared Republican challengers in CD-5, Bryan Martyn and Don Stapley, filed to run after the quarterly deadline, and thus did not have to file reports. These two individuals will be under enormous pressure to show fundraising strength when the next quarterly report is due.

Christine Jones, an expected challenger in the race, will dump a boatload of money into her campaign should she, in fact, announce.

Immediately after news broke about Biggs' fundraising haul, his opponents attempted to discredit his impressive number by pointing to his $100,000 loan. That figure most certainly will be dwarfed by at least two of the candidates expected to be in the race at the next filing deadline. The difference between Biggs and other candidates is that Biggs commands a substantial share of the grassroots support - vitally imperative to winning the primary.

Andy Biggs is expected to continue with his fundraising prowess - especially once the Arizona Legislature winds down, due to his self-imposed restrictions on fundraising from Capitol lobbyists. Other candidates may attempt to buy this seat, but between the healthy fundraising and hearty support from the grassroots, Andy Biggs has the pole position in the race heading into the summer months.


Paul Gosar's Ties to Pelosi, Reid, and Obama

At times, the loudest person in the room is often trying to compensate for or to distract from something that they don't want anyone else to see.

Like Paul Gosar.

Paul Gosar has always talked a good game when it comes to upholding conservative principles, fighting Obama, and taking on Eric Holder or the IRS. Not only does he talk, he yells. He blusters. He makes sure that people understand he is not happy with whomever he is not happy with at the moment.

So by creating all this noise, what is Paul Gosar trying to hide?

Anyone hear of the American Dental Association PAC? 

If one were to look up the American Dental Association PAC, he (or she) would find that this PAC has donated to a whole host of political candidates and incumbents throughout the years, including the most notorious leftist Democrats this country has ever seen.

Democrats like Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, and Barack Obama.

Paul Gosar has contributed thousands of dollars to the American Dental Association PAC. By doing so, he has helped to facilitate the donations of dollars to the campaign coffers of the very people he has railed against in Congress.

Gosar may claim that his dollars were meant to go to Republicans; or that since he is a dentist, he was expected or encouraged to donate to the American Dental Association; or that this PAC only is concerned with dentistry issues on the Hill.

But by trying to thread the needle and make excuses for his donations, Paul Gosar would only be playing the Washington game - the same Washington game that he assails almost each and every day that he is in Congress. 

Americans are tired of politicians who say one thing, and do something completely different. Paul Gosar had a choice to send his money to an organization or a PAC that exclusively supported conservative Republicans.

He did not. He chose the PAC that supports Pelosi, Reid and Obama.

And now Paul Gosar yells to keep you from finding out the truth about his past.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

VIDEO: 4/20 is no joke

Watch the latest from Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy:
Sally’s son, Andy, committed suicide after becoming addicted to marijuana. In his suicide note, he said “marijuana killed my soul and ruined my brain.”
4/20 is no joke. And neither is recreational marijuana.
Arizonans For Responsible Drug Policy actively opposes any initiative to legalize recreational and commercial marijuana in Arizona.
Visit www.ardp.org for more info on what you can do to stop another story like Andy’s from happening in AZ.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Gowan leads Q1 Fundraising in CD 1; Carlyle Begay falters

For all of the narrative that members of the media and his opponents seek to destroy his candidacy with, Arizona House Speaker David Gowan led all Republican challengers in fundraising for the first quarter of 2016. Gowan’s fundraising number for Q1 was extremely impressive because of the fact that he has not been able to fundraise from Capitol lobbyists during the (still-ongoing) Arizona legislative session.
Here were the amounts raised in the first quarter from the major Republican candidates in CD 1:
  1. David Gowan                 $169,390.27
  2. Paul Babeu                     $157,734.35
  3. Wendy Rogers               $144,209.00
  4. Ken Bennett                   $ 80,027.00
  5. Gary Kiehne                   $48,980.47
  6. Carlyle Begay                 $39,906.00
Here are some notes about the first quarter of fundraising in CD 1:
  • A significant amount of Wendy Rogers’ Q1 funds came from out-of-state donors.
  • Paul Babeu’s burn rate is mind blowing, and his out-of-state funds are disproportionate to a candidate who claims to want to represent Arizona and CD 1. Though his scandals have not greatly hurt his fundraising so far, many donors are still waiting to see how long he can survive in the race before another significant story from his checkered past breaks against him.
  • For all the talk about how Carlyle Begay was going to raise upwards of $100,000 for the quarter, his haul was severely underwhelming and raised serious questions about his viability in a Republican primary. Most people have already noted that without the Arizona Republican Party’s exaggerated and drawn-out celebration of his party switch (masterminded by the then-Executive Director of the AZGOP, Chad Heywood-now Begay’s consultant), Begay would have no foothold in this primary. Simply put, Carlyle Begay is merely a product of a conflict of interest by the immediate-past ED of the AZGOP (as previously reported by the Yellow Sheet), and his fundraising numbers are reflecting this dark reality.
  • Ken Bennett raised a respectable amount of money, but not enough to break through into the presumed top-tier of contenders.
  • Gary Kiehne has the potential of challenging for the frontrunner’s position because of the shier amount of dollars that he has already lent himself. If he can run a disciplined campaign to the end of the primary, he has a shot a the Republican nomination.

Sierra Vista Herald: Yes on Prop 123!

No tax increaseSierra Vista Herald
04.18.2016

The bottom line? Prop. 123 will not cost taxpayers a dime while it pumps $3.5 billion into education over the next 10 years.

The money is coming from the State Land Trust — property deeded to Arizona by the federal government with the stipulation that when the state sells it, the money is used for education.

Gov. Ducey is proposing to do just that with his support of this legislation to change the State Constitution and accelerate the amount of money that can be allocated from the trust over the next decade. It is the closest thing to a guarantee for public education that it will receive at least 71 percent of the money Arizona schools were entitled to, before the State Legislature chose to ignore Proposition 300.

That “assurance” points to the most infuriating aspect of the debate on whether to check “yes,” or “no” on your ballot for the May 17 statewide referendum.

If state lawmakers had followed the provisions of Prop. 300, which Arizona voters approved in the 2000 election, the upcoming ballot would not be necessary. Instead, legislators in 2008 took money specifically allocated for education and spent it from the general fund to avoid increasing taxes during a national economic recession.

Public schools filed a lawsuit which after eight years since the funds were lost, advanced as far as the State Supreme Court, with the judicial branch in strong agreement that Arizona lawmakers owed as much as $1.3 billion to the education fund.

During that eight year span, public education in Arizona has spiraled to the bottom of national benchmarks. Compensation for teachers is among the lowest in the country, the ratio of teachers to student is among the highest, and today the Legislature allocates less revenue per student, than any other state in our Union. Arizona ranks 50th.

The consequence to education of the Legislature’s financial policies — in just eight years — has been catastrophic. Good teachers have left the profession in droves, student achievement scores are well below national standards and Arizona public schools cannot afford to invest in textbooks or the technology to keep up with the rest of the nation.

Imagine what the next eight years would be like if opponents of Prop. 123 get their way at the ballot box on May 17. If the referendum fails, public schools will go back to court to try and recover the money they are rightly owed, but there is little that will compel the current Legislature to be earnest in finding a solution to its $1.3 billion obligation. As Gov. Ducey said when he proposed this plan, it’s past time that Arizona taxpayers continued paying lawyers to negotiate a settlement between two government entities.

The solution for those who oppose Prop. 123 isn’t found by defeating the only assured source of revenue for public education over the next decade.

To change the behavior of the Legislature, it is incumbent on those who support education to change the membership. Electing representatives who are in tune with what public schools need to survive and prosper is the best way to prevent future State Senators and State Representatives from breaking the law and overruling a voter-approved proposition.

We strongly endorse a “Yes” vote on Proposition 123 on the May 17 ballot.

Rep JD Mesnard on Arizona Flex Loans

(Reposted from azcentral.com: http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2016/04/18/my-turn-providing-alternative-arizonans-payday-loans/83028610/)

My Turn: Providing an alternative to Arizonans on payday loans

Last month, the Arizona House of Representatives passed a consumer finance bill that contained little-noticed provisions inserted by my colleagues that abolish the toxic lingering effects of payday loans once and for all in Arizona.

It was a wise move, as Arizona is the only state where certain loopholes are used due to the lack of other legal lending options available in the state, such as installment loans.
The consumer finance legislation in question, which carries these critical provisions, is the Arizona Flexible Credit Act.

This act will establish a realistic pathway to serve those lacking access to viable, legal and safe credit options for the first time in Arizona, and will further help consumers rebuild their credit scores and profiles.
 
It permits loans from $500 to $2,500, which must be paid in equal monthly payments over a term of up to 24 months.

Research in other states shows that the overwhelming majority of these types of installment loans are paid off in approximately six months. The maximum monthly interest rate is comparable to existing title loans at 15-17 percent; however, much like existing title lending in Arizona, the heated marketplace between lenders will drive down rates.

For Arizona’s working middle class, there is an unmet need for these types of loans, which are not offered by traditional banks and credit unions.

Furthermore, this proposal carries the most robust set of consumer protections anywhere in the nation. The protections include:
  • A free repayment plan option for at least three months if a customer becomes delinquent in his or her payment schedule
  • A database that will track all lending activity and require authorities to immediately investigate any violations of the statute
  • No hidden or additional fees
  • A 10-year legislative review and 20-year sunset (elimination)
Under the proposal, qualified entities can apply for licenses to offer flexible credit loans if they meet certain criteria of solvency and legitimacy as determined and overseen by the state Department of Financial Institutions , as it should be.

The public policy is sound. My colleagues in the Arizona House did tremendous work, quietly in some cases, inserting major amendments to this legislation last month on the House Floor with little fanfare.

The bill, SB 1316, faces a vote in the Senate in the coming days, and I am hopeful that the governor signs it quickly. Arizonans can win with this long-overdue legislation.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Paul Gosar insults Catholics, embraces pro-abortion Democrats

Last year, Representative Paul Gosar made headlines across the nation when he boycotted the address from Pope Francis to Congress. Gosar was so sincere about his boycott of the Pope’s address that he even attempted to make money off of his brazen and desperate ploy for publicity.
In his contrived reasoning for the boycott, Representative Gosar stated that he initially wanted to hear the Pope discuss the “intentionally planned genocide of unborn children by Planned Parenthood and society”; and that he went forward with the boycott because “when the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one.”
All talk and no action.
Many Republicans and conservative-leaning independents still want to know why Representative Gosar has never publicly boycotted one of President Obama’s State of the Union addresses, and yet he chose to do so with the one of the most respected and revered men in the world and the leader of Catholicism.
In fact, Paul Gosar has (for the most part) embraced the glamor and the camaraderie of the State of the Union addresses, choosing to sit meekly in the audience, listening to, arguably, the most pro-abortion, pro-climate change President that this country has ever seen. Of course, the press releases condemning the President’s State of the Union proposals have flown out of Gosar’s Congressional Office in the aftermath of such addresses – but never a public boycott of President Obama.
Paul Gosar even took his chumminess with the State of the Union, the President, and other Democratic colleagues to a new level one year, intentionally seeking out Representative Elijah Cummings to sit next to during a recent State of the Union Address. A Gosar spokeswoman said that “Rep. Cummings has long been a champion for children….and Dr. Gosar is looking forward to sitting next to him.”
That “champion for children” Gosar’s office referred to has a lifetime rating of 100% from the Planned Parenthood Action Fund and 0% from the National Right to Life Committee. And yet Representative Gosar sought out Cummings to sit next to during one of President Obama’s States of the Union.
This example shows the inconsistency of Paul Gosar and of his rhetoric and actions. Though Gosar may have a relatively conservative voting record throughout his tenure in Congress, his true colors are exposed from time to time.
If Paul Gosar didn’t think that President Obama’s States of the Union were important enough to boycott (although he did quietly stay back in the district for at least one of the addresses), then there should have been no reason good enough to boycott Pope Francis last year, insulting an entire religion in the wake of his decision. With Congress as divided as it is already, the last thing we need is for so-called conservatives to pick and choose where they want to stand on principle, giving the party and our cause a bad name when they do so.
It’s past time for Paul Gosar to apologize to Catholics for his political attempt at embarrassing their religion and their leader.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation

For Immediate Release
April 8, 2016
Contact: Mickie Niland, (480)-726-0543, Chairman@azld12.com
Arizona
CD5 Republican Legislative District Chairs Call for Local Representation
To interested parties,
As Republican leaders of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District, we were saddened by the news of Congressman Matt Salmon’s retirement from Congress. We wish him nothing but the best in his next endeavor, and thank him for all the service he has provided to his constituents and our nation.
As the candidates to replace Congressman Salmon begin to form their campaigns, we wish to make our intentions known that we will not support, or encourage other grassroots leaders to support, any candidate running for the Republican nomination who does not reside within the current boundaries of Arizona’s Fifth Congressional District.
The East Valley has a long tradition of electing public officials who have known and understood our distinct culture and the values of our treasured communities. Many of our public officials and candidates have lived in the East Valley for a number of years; some for generations. East Valley constituents wish to elect candidates who are “one of us”, who truly understand us and can best represent the unique ideals that have helped to make the East Valley region what it is today.
While we respect the right of any individual to run for public office, we strongly discourage candidates who live outside of our district from running in the primary election to replace Congressman Matt Salmon.
We plan to support “one of us” in this election cycle.
Sincerely,
Legislative District Chairmen
12, 16, 25 and 26
Mickie Niland, Chairwoman LD12
Denis T. Brimhall, Chairman LD16
Ian Murray, Chairman LD25
Raymond Jones, Chairman LD26

You’re Invited! Campaign Kick-Off for Andy Biggs!


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Former AZ Board of Governors member Jack Levine responds to biased article in The Arizona Republic about the bill to end the mandatory bar

The article he is referring to is here.

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Your column on HB 2221, State Bar of Arizona, Andrew Thomas and Deputies
Date: Tue, 5 Apr 2016 17:17:15 -0400
From: Jack Levine
To: Ed Montini


Are you kidding me, Montini?. The entire Andrew Thomas affair was nothing but a political hatchet job designed to distract the public from believing that there really is corruption by public officeholders. The disciplinary action taken against Thomas, Aubuchon and Alexander will have a chilling effect in the future whenever one of our public prosecutors gets wind of corruption in high places. After what happened to Thomas and his two deputies, who uncovered enough evidence to investigate correct practices involving the construction of the new Criminal Courts building, no one would ever dare go after the bad guys again.

Jack Levine,
Past Member of the State Bar Board of Governors

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Politics on the Rocks Thursday night: Rep. David Schweikert and Texas State Land Commissioner George P. Bush

Politics on the Rocks in coordination with Maverick PAC Arizona are honored to announce an event featuring Texas State Land Commissioner George P. Bush and United States Congressman David Schweikert on Thursday, March 24th 6:00 PM at "The Montauk" located at 4360 N. Scottsdale Rd. Scottsdale, AZ 85251. We would like to thank our marketing partner Scottsdale Nights. 

6:00 PM - VIP Reception Begins ($25)
6:30 PM - General Reception Begins (free)

Business Attire/Business Casual

To learn more about Politics on the Rocks please visit:www.politicsontherocks.com

To learn more about Maverick PAC please visit: www.maverickpac.com. 


Click here for the Facebook event. 

All funds solicited in connection with this event are by Maverick PAC USA, and not by David Schweikert or George P. Bush, who are only attending as special guests.

Goldwater Institute: Arizona Lawyers Shouldn't be Misled; They Have Constitutional Rights Too

Yesterday, the Arizona State Bar sent an email to the state’s lawyers urging them to oppose House Bill 2221, a bill that would eliminate the Bar’s ability to force attorneys to fund its operations. The email warned melodramatically that the bill would mean a “drastic change” and create a “Frankenstein” version of the State Bar. But it made no mention of the fact that HB 2221 would help protect the constitutional rights of lawyers across the state, increase transparency by subjecting the Bar to public records laws that all other regulatory bodies must obey—and would leave in place all state laws that protect the public against dishonest or incompetent lawyers.
In fact, the Bar’s opposition to HB 2221 is just a reflection of its desire to retain its unjust power over the state’s legal profession. 
Forcing attorneys to join the State Bar violates the rights of free speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions. HB 2221 would minimize this violation of fundamental rights by requiring that mandatory bar dues be used only to regulate attorneys, and not for the political causes and extra amenities these dues currently fund.
The U.S. Supreme Court noted three years ago that the mandatory dues that the State Bar now imposes are a form of “compelled speech and association that imposes a ‘significant impingement on First Amendment rights.’” Such a burden can only be justified when it’s necessary for regulating lawyers. But it isn’t. Nineteen other states—including New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Illinois, each home to some of the largest legal markets in the country—do not force attorneys to join a bar association, and they manage to regulate lawyers anyway.
Arizona’s Bar, on the other hand, currently collects mandatory dues for a whole host of activities that have nothing to do with regulating the practice of law. Some attorneys may find these services valuable and worthwhile—but that’s no justification forforcing all attorneys to pay for those services.
It’s because of these extra charges that the cost of practice in every voluntary bar State is hundreds of dollars lower than Arizona’s $490 mandatory charge. Nebraska recently implemented a change much like HB 2221 and attorneys there now pay $98 for regulation; if they choose to join the Nebraska Bar Association they pay $240 more.  Nothing in HB 2221 stops the Arizona Bar from taking a similar approach.
Rather than rely on coercion for its funding, a voluntary Arizona Bar will have to attract members who are willing to pay for its services. It may need to lower costs to be competitive. Right now, the Arizona State Bar has eight employees raking in salaries of more than $100,000 per year. The voluntary Colorado Bar Association, by contrast, has only one employee so richly compensated. The Arizona State Bar employs 98 people; the voluntary New York Bar Association—which has ten times as many members—only employs 125. Making Arizona’s Bar voluntary instead of forcing lawyers to subsidize it would encourage similar cost savings.
But instead of making the case that bar association membership is a good value, the State Bar is threatening to raise prices on optional services if HB 2221 passes.
Under HB 2221, the cost of attorney regulation will remain the same and attorneys will still pay it, including regulatory costs like the Client Protection Fund. In fact, the bill makes no changes at all to rules that protect clients from attorney wrongdoing; it only stops the State Bar from forcing all attorneys to fund extra amenities that only a few attorneys use.
But more is at stake here than dollars and cents. The fundamental question raised by HB 2221 is whether Arizona values free speech, free association, and transparency enough to impose modest limits on the Bar’s ability to take money from attorneys against their will, and require it to open its books to the public that it serves. On these facts, the Arizona State Bar’s email was silent. But the Constitution is not silent: lawyers can only be forced to join a group—or subsidize one—to fund the actual cost of attorney regulation.
Nineteen other States already regulate the practice of law without intruding upon attorneys’ First Amendment rights and forcing them to fund the amenities of a bar association. Arizona should follow the lead of states that have chosen to respect freedom of choice instead of coercion.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

HB 2221 to dismantle the corrupt Arizona Bar passes Senate Government Committee, headed to floor vote

Bar fat cats John Phelps, the CEO, and Rick DeBruhl, its spokesman, were paid by attorneys' dues to spend hours at the legislature lobbying against HB 2221. Why do they get paid to do that when many of us attorneys are lobbying for the bill?

Despite the State Bar of Arizona pulling out all the stops to defeat our bill to dismantle their corruption, HB 2221 successfully passed out of the Senate Government Committee. It will come up for a floor vote as soon as next week. Governor Ducey has indicated he will sign it.

An attorney from the Goldwater Institute explained that the bill does not violate the separation of powers. The Arizona Constitution delegates power over attorney licensing and discipline to the Arizona Supreme Court. HB 2221 is narrower than a similar bill that was proposed last year, that would have eliminated the mandatory bar. Under HB 2221, the Supreme Court could keep the state bar as is. It merely stops the bar from spending money on things other than regulation. This is totally separate from attorney licensing.

One attorney testified that he asked Bar CEO John Phelps for information on why attorneys' dues keep increasing, and Phelps ignored him. When he asked again a couple more times, Phelps threatened him with an investigation.

Mo Hernandez, an attorney who has been leading much of this effort, testified that it's all about the money. The Bar has a $15 million annual budget. One-third of that goes to lawyer discipline and regulation - the rest should be voluntary.

Phelps got up and arrogantly said, "I'm the guy who would have to make it work if it passed - it is unclear what would happen." Which didn't make much sense, considering 18 states have not just these reforms, but fully voluntary bars. And actually Phelps, if it passed, you might be the top dog anymore, I don't think all those bar employees are going to be too pleased with you when their income and lavish perks are cut back.Maybe if you hadn't protected your big firm attorney friends from complaints and gone on witch hunts after attorneys you didn't like, this bill would have never come up.

Karyl Krug, an attorney who has been vocal about supporting the bill, said 10 days after she testified to the legislature, a 400-page bar complaint was filed against her.

Chad Gammage, whose complaints against powerful, connected attorneys were dismissed by the bar, forcing him to sue the attorneys himself to get justice, said he is concerned that procurement laws are being violated. The Bar acts like a vendor to the state, but there is no oversight and no competition.

Eleanor Miller, a criminal defense attorney who served on the ad hoc committee for the bill, noted that she's only gotten involved in this because she's retired; since she's not a practicing attorney anymore, she doesn't have a target on her back and can speak up. She expressed concern that the bar violates attorneys' First Amendment rights. She doesn't want her dues supporting merit selection. Ironically, there is no transparency except when it comes to discipline, and then attorneys are publicly humiliated in long, drawn-out proceedings. She agreed with Mo that it's about the money, how they spend the money. It's a financial empire and they don't want to lose it.

David Derickson, a cheerleader for the bar who serves on its board of governors, whined that the bill would take away services for lawyers. Really? There are services for lawyers all around the state from various voluntary bars like the Maricopa County Bar. And somehow, the 18 states with voluntary bars manage to get by.

A final speaker said there is fraud coming out of the courts and bar - the bar is padding their wallets at the expense of the public and it's not transparent. He said he has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit over it.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Call AZ legislators ASAP for vote today on SB 1316 - preserve freedom to obtain flex loans outside of government

Arizona Republicans need to hear from YOU about an urgent vote expected tomorrow on SB 1316!
If you haven’t been paying attention to SB 1316, it’s time to start. This hot-button bill has special interest groups running around the Capitol Complex with their pants on fire, telling lies to your Republican lawmakers and pressuring them to oppose this important bill.
SB 1316 offers Arizonans an additional financial choice, called a flex loan, in times of need. Not surprisingly, liberal legislators and controlling special interest groups ignore the facts as they attempt to blow up this bill and limit your lending choices.
WHY? The truth is Democrats and their special interest cronies want to limit your financial lending choices to just one option – the government!
That’s right – those socialists think you’re too dumb to make your own financial decisions. And they think THEY know better than you… and that a nanny state is the solution to every problem.
FACT: Flex loans would give Arizonans protected access to smaller-dollar loans in a legal, well-regulated marketplace.
When an emergency strikes, like a needed A/C repair or unexpected healthcare cost, cash-strapped Arizonans should have as many lending options as possible. A flex loan is simply one additional option.
Your elected representatives need to hear from you about the importance of voting for financial choice and freedom. They need to vote YES on SB 1316!
Call your legislator today and tell them keep the government’s hands out of your finances, and to vote YES on SB 1316!
NameDistrictPartyPhone (602)
J. Christopher Ackerley2R926-3077
John M. Allen15R926-4916
Brenda Barton6R926-4129
Sonny Borrelli5R926-5051
Russell “Rusty” Bowers25R926-3128
Paul Boyer20R926-4173
Kate Brophy McGee28R926-4486
Noel W. Campbell1R926-3124
Heather Carter15R926-5503
Regina Cobb5R926-3126
Doug Coleman16R926-3160
Karen Fann1R926-5874
Eddie Farnsworth12R926-5735
Mark Finchem11R926-3122
Speaker of the House
David Gowan14R926-3312
Rick Gray21R926-5993
Anthony Kern20R926-3102
Jay Lawrence23R926-3095
Vince Leach11R926-3106
Majority Whip
David Livingston22R926-4178
Phil Lovas22R926-3297
Javan D. “J.D.” Mesnard17R926-4481
Darin Mitchell13R926-5894
Majority Leader
Steve Montenegro13R926-5955
Jill Norgaard18R926-3140
Justin Olson25R926-5288
Warren H. Petersen12R926-4136
Franklin M. Pratt8R926-5761
Tony Rivero21R926-3104
Speaker Pro Tempore
Bob Robson18R926-5549
Thomas “T.J.” Shope8R926-3012
David W. Stevens14R926-4321
Bob Thorpe6R926-5219
Kelly Townsend16R926-4467
Michelle B. Ugenti-Rita23R926-4480
Jeff Weninger17R926-3092

Monday, March 7, 2016

Arizona Legislature Finally About to Dismantle Corrupt Arizona Bar

Those of you who regularly read my columns know I have a special focus on progressives misusing the left-leaning legal system to destroy conservatives. Republican officials, prosecutors — even I was targeted because I was briefly assigned to represent Sheriff Joe Arpaio for three months as a deputy county attorney. I have now been under attack for over six years, with no end in sight. The shady State Bar of Arizona will not let me practice law until I pay $101k, the cost of disciplining me and my superiors. Because of this, people tell me I am now the “poster child for reform of the Bar.”

But this isn’t about me, I’m doing fine as a journalist. I simply cannot tolerate the unethical activity, and since I understand the legal system, the extent of the wrongdoing, and can speak out without fear of having my law license yanked, I feel a moral obligation to expose it and stop it.

As I covered in my column last week, conservatives are finally starting to make inroads into dismantling these totalitarian state bars, which essentially operate as unions in the 23 states where they are mandatory. The Nebraska State Bar association has had most of its authority removed, and the State Bar of North Dakota is currently embroiled in a lawsuit by The Goldwater Institute challenging its authority.

HB 2221 passed in the Arizona House last week, and will likely come up for a vote in the Senate this week, where it has a good chance of passing. Inside sources say conservative Republican Governor Doug Ducey will sign it. The bill does two things: 1) subjects the Bar to public records laws, and 2) protects attorneys’ free speech rights by requiring that mandatory dues be used only for regulation.

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Goldwater Institute: Why we need to pass HB 2221 to reform the Arizona mandatory state bar

Attorneys who want to practice law in Arizona must pay the State Bar of Arizona mandatory member dues. The State Bar of Arizona uses this money to regulate the practice of law and to engage in other activities, including lobbying and other political activity. 
 
HB 2221 accomplishes two things. First, so long as the State Bar regulates the practice of law, HB 2221 subjects the State Bar to public records laws. Second, HB 2221 protects attorneys’ free speech rights by requiring that mandatory dues be used only for regulation. The bill allows the State Bar to continue to collect voluntary dues to pay for its other operations. 
 
HB 2221 respects the free speech rights of attorneys
The Goldwater Institute opposes conditioning the practice of law on bar membership because coerced membership violates the rights to free speech and free association guaranteed by the United States and Arizona Constitutions. HB 2221 limits the violation of the free speech rights of attorneys by requiring the State Bar only use mandatory dues for the direct regulation of the practice of law. 
 
Limiting attorneys’ forced funding of the State Bar only to regulatory activities is not a radical proposition. 18 states—Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Vermont—already regulate attorneys without compelling membership at all. These states demonstrate that violating attorneys’ free speech rights is unnecessary to ensure the practice of law is safely regulated. 
 
HB 2221 increases transparency of the State Bar
While the State Bar plays a large role in regulating the practice of law, it is not subject to ordinary transparency measures such as public records laws. HB 2221 addresses this problem by subjecting the State Bar to the normal public records requirements all other regulatory agencies in the State are subject to.

The State Bar can already engage in lobbying on activities unrelated to the regulation of the practice of law; HB 2221 does nothing to change this
Under Keller v. State Bar of California, 496 U.S. 1 (1990), the State Bar cannot compel attorneys to fund the Bar’s lobbying activities unrelated to regulating the practice of law. But nothing in that case prevents the State Bar from collecting voluntary funds from attorneys to engage in any political activity that it wants. Just because the State Bar presently has a policy that it will not engage in political activities beyond those authorized in Keller, there is nothing to stop the Bar from changing that policy tomorrow. As a result, HB 2221 has no bearing on whether or not the State Bar will expand the array of political activities it chooses to engage in.

HB 2221 allows the Arizona Supreme Court to continue to delegate regulatory functions to the State Bar
The Arizona Supreme Court has interpreted the Arizona Constitution as giving the Court authority to regulate of the practice of law, including the power to determine who may practice law and under what conditions. HB 2221 respects that interpretation. The bill allows the State Bar to receive funds related to regulatory functions. HB 2221 does not, however, dismantle the State Bar, prevent the Supreme Court from delegating regulatory functions to the State Bar, or require attorneys to join the State Bar to further its regulatory functions. If the Arizona Supreme Court would like to maintain the regulatory structure as it presently stands, it can. All HB 2221 does is increase the Bar’s transparency should it continue to function as a regulator and prevent attorneys from being forced to fund the State Bar’s activities beyond regulation.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A New Kind of Target: Low-information Journalists Pile on Conservative Prosecutor

There are plenty of abuses by prosecutors in the justice system, and I’ve written about many of them. Many of these political witch hunts come from the Department of Justice, which has become more politicized than ever under the Obama administration. Former Congressman Rick Renzi (R-Ariz.) is now sitting in prison due to a politically motivated DOJ prosecutor with close ties to Janet Napolitano.

With the public’s heightened awareness of politically motivated prosecutors, the left has ironically figured out how to use state bar prosecutors to target conservative prosecutors. They are having some success because attorneys are terrified of speaking out against state bars, which can retaliate by disciplining them and destroying their careers. Naturally, conservatives in the law tend to be attracted to the law and order career of prosecution.

State bars have a massive amount of power. This is due to the way most of them are structured; they have all the regulatory powers of a government agency, yet are not subject to open meeting laws and public record requests because they’re ostensibly private. They’re essentially granted a monopoly over the legal profession, and don’t need to perform very well since they have no competition and everything is secret. This becomes a problem when conducting disciplinary trials; between the cozy relationship that exists among left-leaning bar prosecutors and bar disciplinary judges, and the lack of a jury trial, many attorneys can’t get a fair trial — the old judge, jury and executioner adage. When the left wants to politically target an attorney, but has a weak case that would never stand in a regular court of law, state bars and their accommodating disciplinary judges are useful tools.  

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Friday, February 26, 2016

Bill to reform corrupt Arizona State Bar passes in the House!

HOUSE BILL 2221 PASSES!

THIS IS GREAT NEWS AND A HUGE WATERSHED WIN.
THANK YOU FOR ALL YOUR EFFORTS AND SUPPORT!!!

By a vote of 31 to 29, HB 2221 passed out of the House this afternoon. The roll call is below. Thank the House Members who supported First Amendment principles and greater transparency.
BILL STATUS VOTES FOR HB2221 - Third Reading

Y = Yes
N = No
NV = Not Voting
EXC = Excused
V = Vacant
Member Name
Vote
Member Name
Vote
Member Name
Vote
J. Christopher Ackerley
Y
John M. Allen
Y
Lela Alston
N
Richard C. Andrade
N
Brenda Barton
Y
Jennifer D. Benally
N
Reginald Bolding Jr.
N
Sonny Borrelli
Y
Russell "Rusty" Bowers
Y
Paul Boyer
Y
Kate Brophy McGee
N
Noel W. Campbell
N
Mark A. Cardenas
N
Heather Carter
Y
Ken Clark
N
Regina Cobb
Y
Doug Coleman
N
Diego Espinoza
N
Karen Fann
N
Eddie Farnsworth
Y
Charlene R. Fernandez
N
Mark Finchem
Y
Randall Friese
N
Rosanna Gabaldón
N
Sally Ann Gonzales
N
Rick Gray
Y
Albert Hale
N
Anthony Kern
Y
Matthew A. Kopec
N
Jonathan R. Larkin
N
Jay Lawrence
Y
Vince Leach
Y
David Livingston
Y
Phil Lovas
Y
Stefanie Mach
N
Debbie McCune Davis
N
Juan Jose Mendez
N
Javan D. "J.D." Mesnard
Y
Eric Meyer
N
Darin Mitchell
Y
Steve Montenegro
Y
Jill Norgaard
Y
Justin Olson
Y
Lisa A. Otondo
N
Warren H. Petersen
Y
Celeste Plumlee
N
Franklin M. Pratt
N
Rebecca Rios
N
Tony Rivero
Y
Bob Robson
Y
Macario Saldate
N
Thomas "T.J." Shope
Y
David W. Stevens
Y
Bob Thorpe
Y
Kelly Townsend
Y
Michelle B. Ugenti-Rita
Y
Ceci Velasquez
N
Jeff Weninger
Y
Bruce Wheeler
N
David M. Gowan Sr.
Y

AYES: 31   NAYS: 29   NOT VOTING: 0   EXCUSED: 0   VACANT: 0


THE CAMPAIGN NOW MOVES TO THE SENATE!
MORE THAN EVER, WE NEED YOUR HELP. MAKE NO MISTAKE; THE STATE BAR WILL BE DOUBLING DOWN ITS EFFORTS AND PULLING OUT ALL THE STOPS TO STOP THE BILL IN THE SENATE.

PLEASE EMAIL THE FOLLOWING MEMBERS OF THE SENATE ASAP.


ASK FOR THEIR SUPPORT OF HB 2221.

STATE THE BILL IS CONSTITUTIONALLY SOUND. PROTECTS THE FIRST AMENDMENT. BRINGS TRANSPARENCY TO THE BAR. THE BAR WILL CONTINUE TO EXIST. AND HB 2221 RAISES NO SEPARATION OF POWERS CONCERNS.

Sylvia Allen                        sallen@azleg.gov
Nancy Barto                        nbarto@azleg.gov
Carlyle Begay                      cbegay@azleg.gov
Andy Biggs                         abiggs@azleg.gov
David Bradley                     dbradley@azleg.gov
Judy Burges                       jburges@azleg.gov
Olivia Cajero Bedford         obedford@azleg.gov
Lupe Contreras                   lcontreras@azleg.gov
Andrea Dalessandro           adalessandro@azleg.gov
Jeff Dial                              jdial@azleg.gov
Susan Donahue                  sdonahue@azleg.gov
Adam Driggs                       adriggs@azleg.gov
Steve Farley                        sfarley@azleg.gov
David C. Farnsworth           dfarnsworth@azleg.gov
Gail Griffin                          ggriffin@azleg.gov
Katie Hobbs                        khobbs@azleg.gov
John Kavanagh                   jkavanagh@azleg.gov
Debbie Lesko                       dlesko@azleg.gov
Barbara McGuire                bmcguire@azleg.gov
Robert Meza                        rmeza@azleg.gov
Catherine Miranda              cmiranda@azleg.gov
Lynne Pancrazi                   lpancrazi@azleg.gov
Steve Pierce                       spierce@azleg.gov
Martin Quezada                  mquezada@azleg.gov
Andrew Sherwood              asherwood@azleg.gov
Don Shooter                        dshooter@azleg.gov
Steve Smith                        ssmith@azleg.gov
Bob Worsley                        bworsley@azleg.gov
Steve Yarbrough                syarbrough@azleg.gov
Kimberly Yee                       kyee@azleg.gov


FOR MORE BACKGROUND ON THE BILLS AND OUR POSITION, VISIT: http://workingforabetterbar.org/


Thank you and warmest regards,

Mo