Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Politico: McCain purging conservatives, tea partiers out of party leadership in Arizona

McCain's big purge 
The Arizona senator’s team has been ridding the state’s GOP apparatus of his tea party foes. 

By ALEX ISENSTADT 12/30/14 5:33 AM EST

Note: A FB group has been started called End the Reign of Senator John McCain

Nearly a year ago, tea party agitators in Arizona managed to get John McCain censured by his own state party. Now, he’s getting his revenge.
As the longtime Republican senator lays the groundwork for a likely 2016 reelection bid, his political team is engaging in an aggressive and systematic campaign to reshape the state GOP apparatus by ridding it of conservative firebrands and replacing them with steadfast allies.
Story Continued Below
The ambitious effort — detailed to POLITICO by nearly a dozen McCain operatives, donors, and friends — has stretched from office buildings in Alexandria, Virginia, where strategists plotted and fundraisers collected cash for a super PAC, to Vietnamese-American communities across Arizona, where recruiters sought out supporters eager to help the incumbent defeat the tea party.
Team McCain’s goal? Unseat conservative activists who hold obscure, but influential, local party offices.
Under the byzantine rules of Arizona Republican Party politics, these elected officials, known as precinct committeemen, vote for local party chairmen. The chairmen, in turn, determine how state and local GOP funds are spent, which candidates are promoted in an election year, and which political issues are highlighted — all matters of central concern for McCain heading into 2016, when the threat of a primary looms.
Prior to Aug. 26, when the races for the party offices were held, the vast majority of the 3,925 precinct slots were filled by people McCain’s team considered opponents. Now, after an influx of candidates were recruited by the senator’s allies, around 40 percent of those offices — 1,531 to be exact — will be held by people McCain’s team regards as friendly. They will have the power to vote down hostile Republican chairmen in each of their respective localities.
“There’s been a huge organizational effort that I’ve never seen before,” said Gordon James, an Arizona public relations executive and longtime McCain confidant. “A lot of the party folks who were hostile to John McCain have been marginalized, and that’s a good thing.”
The biggest foe to fall: Timothy Schwartz, the man who authored the McCain censure resolution. Earlier this month, Schwartz was ousted from his post as a GOP legislative district chairman by a group of newly elected precinct committeemen who voted in favor of a McCain-aligned candidate. Another outspoken McCain detractor, A.J. LaFaro, recently announced that he wouldn’t be seeking reelection to the Maricopa County Republican chairmanship, a tacit recognition that he didn’t have enough support to win.
In an interview, Schwartz blamed his ouster squarely on McCain, whom he said had singled him out. “It’s very clear what’s going on,” he said. “Look, John McCain has prominence and money and influence and because of that he thinks he can ramrod us.”
John McCain has prominence and money and influence and because of that he thinks he can ramrod us.
LaFaro accused the senator of engaging in the equivalent of “ethnic cleansing.” “For John McCain to have been so vindictive in his actions … It’s just amazing,” he said. “It’s been all-out war.”
McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, has long faced opposition from conservatives who view him as too moderate, particularly on immigration. During the height of the tea party movement in 2010, McCain stared down a spirited primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth, a conservative former congressman. Many in the state expect the senator to face another primary challenge in 2016.
Until this year, however, McCain aides had never seriously considered a concerted effort to remake the state GOP apparatus, which has traditionally been dominated by his conservative antagonists. That changed after the January censure, which rapped the senator for having an insufficiently conservative record that was “harmful” to Arizona.
“He was very unhappy with the censure and wanted to make sure it never happened again,” said Mike Hellon, McCain’s deputy campaign manager in 2010.
In the days after the state party’s rebuke, a group of top McCain political hands, including Jon Seaton and Christian Ferry — who worked for McCain in his 2008 campaign and have remained with him since — hatched a plan to form a super PAC that would spend money to elect a more friendly slate of precinct committeemen.
The super PAC, which was based out of offices in the Washington, D.C., suburbs and Phoenix and given the generic name “Arizona Grassroots Action PAC,” raised nearly $300,000. The largest checks, according to contribution reports, came from Gregory Maffei, a Colorado businessman, and Gregory Wendt, a San Francisco-based financial adviser, both longtime McCain donors.
Out in Arizona, the McCain forces, led by Seaton, set out to find would-be candidates for the precinct committee positions, many of them citizens with little or no political experience. They conferred with the establishment-aligned Chamber of Commerce and held recruitment house parties.
They also found a well of interest among Vietnamese-Americans, a small but politically active community which has long treated McCain, a Vietnam veteran who spent more than five years as a prisoner of war, as an ally; as a senator, he’s taken up the cause of the country’s refugees. More than 50 individuals of Vietnamese descent signed up to run for the precinct slots, and won.
One of the victors was Kevin Dang, the president of the Vietnamese Community of Arizona. Vietnamese-Americans had been motivated to run, Dang said, because of the attacks against McCain, which the community regarded as “disgraceful and discreditable.”
“The Vietnamese immigrants throughout the U.S. have a high regard for the senator, and the Vietnamese community in Arizona is proud to have him as our senator,” he said.
During the summer-time run-up to the party elections, which were held at the same time as other primary contests across the state, voters received mailers and automated phone calls from the pro-McCain super PAC advertising the new precinct committee hopefuls. In years past, these low profile races had mostly been uncontested affairs that drew only the most politically active conservatives — in other words, people generally hostile to the senator.
McCain aides maintain that he hasn’t been personally involved in the skirmishing, choosing to let his political handlers do the dirty work. But, they say, he’s pleased with the results.
“Sen. McCain has been a supporter of efforts to expand the party and to get more people involved,” said Brian Rogers, a McCain spokesman.
The effort to overhaul the state party comes as McCain, 78, is making other preparations for a reelection campaign. The day after the November midterm elections, he held a Phoenix meeting with top fundraisers that was attended by Michael Bidwill, the president of the Arizona Cardinals football franchise, and Bill Franke, the Frontier Airlines chairman.
McCain, who was first elected to the Senate in 1986, is also taking steps to show voters that he hasn’t forgotten about his home state — a perception that brought upon the defeat of his friend and Senate colleague, Indiana Republican Dick Lugar, in 2012. This month, McCain, the incoming chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, joined several members of Arizona’s congressional delegation on a fly-around to four of the state’s military installations.
Rogers, the McCain spokesman, said the senator had not made a final determination on whether to seek a sixth term but is “strongly leaning toward running again.” A decision, he said, would come sometime next year.
In Arizona, talk of a primary challenge to McCain persists.
Much of the speculation surrounds two potential conservative challengers, Reps. David Schweikert and Matt Salmon. Both have clashed with McCain in the past; in 2012, the senator endorsed establishment primary challengers to each. Spokesmen for Schweikert and Salmon didn’t respond to requests for comment.
McCain advisers believe their campaign to alter the state GOP will strengthen his hand in 2016; a more sympathetic Arizona Republican Party, they reason, will be less likely to lodge a censure resolution against him and rally activist support for any would-be primary opponents.
“If Senator McCain seeks re-election in 2016, the groundwork laid in 2014 will be extremely helpful,” Seaton wrote in an email, adding that he would be “running with the strong support of thousands of grassroots Arizonans.”
The next front for McCain will come next month in Maricopa County, the state’s most populous, when precinct committeemen there elect a new GOP chairman to succeed LaFaro. In the contest for that influential post, the McCain team is lining up behind local activist Lisa Gray and encouraging the county’s new precinct officers to support her over two opponents.
The McCain team hasn’t decided whether it will launch a similar campaign to influence local races in 2016; it’s priority that year, it says, will be reelecting the senator.
The tea party crowd, for now, isn’t retreating in the face of the McCain onslaught.
Anti-McCain forces are still in charge of the majority of precinct committee slots statewide, and, activists say, there are many remaining conservative chairmen hell-bent on making life miserable for the senator.
Schwartz, the ousted McCain foe, hinted that tea party forces were planning on striking back after the holidays. He declined to provide specifics.
“They think it’s over,” he said. “But the fat lady hasn’t sung.”

Posted from

Monday, December 22, 2014

The 20-year Demise of a Blue State

Seattle's Socialist city councilwoman, who got the minimum wage increased to $15/hr.
I left Washington state about 20 years ago for Arizona. A Washington native, I had become fed up with the left-wing politics of Seattle. A couple of years ago, I moved back to the Pacific Northwest. A lot had changed while I was gone, and very little for the better. The only “improvement” I noticed was more greenery everywhere. The environmentalists had gotten so many restrictions passed on logging and burning dense forestation that the Evergreen State had started to look like a jungle.

Everything else had gone downhill. The roads and traffic had become horrendous, especially in the Puget Sound area around Seattle, since there was no longer enough money to keep up with maintenance and expansion, and the left-wing politicians had prioritized mass transit over road infrastructure and planning. This is despite the fact that Washington has one of the highest gas taxes in the country, resulting in high gas prices. Republican legislators in the state side with the Democrats on many issues, including higher taxes for education and gas. Legislation is now being considered that would tax drivers per mile. Seattle has the eighth worst traffic congestion among large U.S. cities, even though it is only the 22nd largest city. Consequently, drivers have lost their reputation for being the nicest in the nation.

Driving in downtown Seattle is dreaded as much as driving in larger cities like Washington, D.C. and New York City due to congestion and parking. The Alaskan Way Viaduct replacement tunnel, which has been under construction in downtown Seattle since summer 2013, making traffic a nightmare, was never approved in any general election or referendum, and has been the subject of multiple lawsuits. It is scheduled to be completed in 2016, but no one believes it will on time due to unions, and it is frequently compared to Boston’s corrupt “Big Dig.” 

Friday, December 19, 2014

SRP Voting February 26 on Whether to Slap New Monthly Fee on Solar Users

Some people like to drive large trucks while others prefer small cars. It’s a matter of choice. Big trucks haul stuff. Small cars save money on gas.

But what if the government were to impose a fee on people with small cars because they consume less gas? Big government would make the case that by using less gas people who drive small cars are not paying their fair share of the infrastructure needed to deliver gasoline to the local service station.

It’s a ridiculous argument. And that’s exactly the argument the Salt River Project is making to justify a $50 a month fee on people who generate their own power through rooftop solar panels.

SRP is upset because the increase in solar could lead to a decrease in electricity used, less of their product purchased. Instead of cutting costs and a little belt tightening, the folks at SRP decided it would be a better idea to simply slap a $50 a month fee on new rooftop solar users and hit existing solar customers with a fee after ten years or when they sell their home.

The SRP Board will have the final say with a vote February 26th.

It’s a win/win for SRP. It collects fees from rooftop solar users while at the same time taxing its competition, rooftop solar, out of existence.

Any student of Arizona history will tell you that SRP was founded on innovation and the pioneering spirit. The bureaucrats who currently occupy the offices at SRP have forgotten that.

Let’s hope the SRP Board members have better memories. The members are listed below.

Division 1: Kevin J. Johnson
Division 2: Paul E. Rovey
Division 3: Mario J. Herrera
Division 4: Leslie C. Williams
Division 5: Stephen H. Williams
Division 6: Jack M. White Jr.
Division 7: Keith B. Woods
Division 8: Deborah S. Hendrickson
Division 9: Arthur L. Freeman
Division 10: Mark V. Pace
Seat 11: Carolyn Pendergast
Seat 12: William W. Arnett
Seat 13: Fred J. Ash
Seat 14: Wendy L. Marshall

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Recall Starts Before Anti-Common Core Arizona Schools Superintendent Even Takes Office

Diane Douglas, a little-known, outspoken opponent of Common Core who ran for Arizona Superintendent of Schools on that issue, surprised everyone this fall when she won. Incredibly, only five days after the election – the day it was announced she had won – a couple of opponents launched a recall effort against her. They formed a political committee and started a Facebook page, which has almost 10,000 likes already.
The premature recall is even more ill-timed considering teachers are now turning against Common Core. A recent poll found that support from teachers dropped from 76 percent in 2013 to only 46 percent in 2014 – lower than the general population’s support. In fact, 60 to 65 percent of teachers are either “frustrated” or “worried” by Common Core. Public opposition has increased from 12 percent to 40 percent.
Douglas describes Common Core as “controlled by federal bureaucrats in Washington, D.C., or ivory-tower academics or quite frankly people who just want to make a dollar off our poor children.” Instead, she says as schools superintendent she intends to listen to parents and teachers.
Anthony Espinoza, the 25-year-old organizer behind the recall, told 3TV, “I believe that she’s unqualified to lead the state schools because the way she ran her campaign was behind closed doors. She refused to talk to media, she ran on one issue which was to repeal Common Core.” In Arizona, where the media is controlled by the left, it is not unusual for conservative candidates to refuse to speak to the media, instead going straight to the people to deliver their message.

Most of the comments on the recall’s Facebook page are nothing more than cheap shots at Douglas’s intelligence and experience. I attended conservative political meetings with Douglas for years, where she frequently gave speeches, and was nothing less than impressed with her knowledge, intelligence and competency. One commenter wrote, “She doesn’t know how to speak properly!! She’s a complete moron!!!” Clearly, they never have actually bothered to listen to her speak.
Read the rest of the article at the Selous Foundation for Public Policy Research

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tucson Electric Power: APS’ Little Brother

Back in 1988 there was a movie called “Twins” Starring Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Well if APS is Arizona’s utility Schwarzenegger, then TEP is DeVito.

Arizona Public Service isn’t the only player on a plan to use captive ratepayer dollars to monopolize the rooftop solar industry. Tucson Electric Power has joined the chorus.

Even though the need for rooftop solar is currently being served by a competitive private sector market, Tucson Electric Power and Arizona Public Service are seeking permission from the Arizona Corporation Commission to use ratepayer funds to underwrite a rooftop solar program.

As regulated monopolies, TEP and APS have guaranteed profits. The utilities want to use those captive profits to drive competitors in the rooftop solar market out of business.

If this happens, private sector options and competition will vanish statewide, including in Tucson.

This jobs-killing plan has been making headlines in the Phoenix area but the debate in Tucson has been more subdued.
Maybe it’s because TEP doesn’t have APS’ lust for as much dark money and deceit. But it’s learning fast from its big brother to the north.

Make no mistake, TEP shares APS’ goal of driving energy competition out of business. TEP itself has claimed that the main purpose of offering rooftop solar is to provide a monopoly controlled choice to customers, competing both directly with the private market.

Why else would it want to pump ratepayer dollars into the rooftop solar market which is being well served by the private sector? In fact, there are many companies competing for that business. What will happen to pricing once TEP controls the market?

Many thought TEP was above the dirty tricks employed by APS. It was hoped that TEP valued its reputation. In partnering with APS on a plan that would undermine rooftop solar, TEP is demonstrating it’s willing and able to employ the same untoward tactics we have come to expect from its big brother, APS.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

"F*** the Police. Shoot Back!" graffiti in Phoenix in response to latest shooting

Thanks to Phoenix City Councilman Sal DiCiccio for posting this photo of Phoenix Police Officer Joel Tranter standing next to threatening graffiti. This is what the race baiters have fomented, and it's just going to get worse unless people stand up and say enough. Photos from the rioting in Ferguson are posted here and my analysis is here.

2014 Victory party with AFP AZ tonight


Dear Arizona Taxpayer:

There is a lot to celebrate, and the Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity Foundation invites you to join us on the evening of December 10 for a special cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception (Details below).

  • 2014 has been a great year for the State of Arizona. AFP-Arizona (our sister organization) and its allies achieved several important policy victories in the 2014 legislative session.
  • AFP-Arizona's field team also conducted a gigantic data-collection and citizen education operation this year from February to November, making 90,000 calls in Arizona this year and knocking on 70,000 doors.
  • Finally, the Arizona chapter of AFP Foundation engaged in a campaign to reach out to 50,000 unregistered voters in September.
On the evening of December 10th, we will celebrate these victories and say THANK YOU to our volunteers and allied elected officials for the hard work they did to educate our fellow citizens on free-market issues and to protect the interests of Arizona's taxpayers, consumers and producers.  AFPF-Arizona will also present the 2014 John W. Dawson "Local Hero" Award to the local government official we believe did the most to educate citizens about limited government policies.

During the event, AFPF-Arizona will announce a major new educational project - the Liberty and Prosperity Initiative - designed to bring 100 college and high school students into the free-market movement in 2015 and train them in state-of-the-art door canvassing and other grassroots technologies. 

On Wednesday night, December 10th, from 6:00 to 8:00 pm, AFPF-Arizona will host a cocktail and hors d'oeuvres reception at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort at 7200 N. Scottsdale Road (just north of Indian Bend). Please register now for the December 10th event HERE.

For Liberty, Tom

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Rep. David Schweikert mulling primary challenge to John McCain

By Arizona Informer, cross-posted from Sonoran Alliance

Rollcall is reporting that David Schweikert is mulling over the idea of launching a primary challenge against Pro-Muslim Brotherhoodpro-Amnestyunpopular, liberal Republican John McCain.
If Schweikert runs, he will be a formidable challenger with a strong chance to unseat McCain.   David Schweikert, who has a stellar 97% rating from the grassroots organization Conservative Review, is well positioned to garner most Conservative activists who do the hard work of door-knocking in addition to establishment gadfly organizations such as Senate Conservatives Fund, FreedomWorks, and several others that can help fund a strong campaign against the liberal Republican Senator.
David Schweikert
With the grassroots up in arms after President Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty power-grab tonight, Arizona is itching to back a fighter that would join the Constitutional Conservative Stable of Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, and newly-elected Senators Ben Sasse, and Joni Ernst in the Senate and Schweikert fits the mold.
“My wife and I made an agreement that we would wait until after the holidays, and then we would have a family meeting,” Schweikert told CQ Roll Call in between votes Tuesday, his wife by his side. “The whole thing: whether you’re gonna run at all over again, do you weigh options for other things.”
As this news breaks, several Conservative activists in Arizona have begun contacting one another to build a grassroots framework to offset the deep pockets of career politician John McCain. Conservative activists expect McCain to use his deep pockets in the Primary to carpet-bomb the airwaves with a negative ad campaign which he would never run against any Democrat.

David Schweikert speaking at FreedomWorks “Free the People” event in 2013:
YouTube Preview Image
We just had a moment imagining Schweikert making a similar speech about Individual Liberty, the Framers, and the Constitution in the Senate Chamber.    All we gotta say is — RUN DAVID, RUN! is a new media site with the main purpose to call out bias and activism by the local media, monitor Arizona’s institutional left, and reclaim our rightful place in pop culture.  It’s our primary mission to call out local hacks who mask as ‘journalists’, inform Arizonans with the Truth, and amplify the voice of Arizona Citizen Journalists — all with a heavy dose of snark.   We are factually correct and politically incorrect.  #War

Monday, October 27, 2014

Tom DeLay Exonerated by Final Court in Texas; Liberal Media Virtually Silent

If you tried to find out what recently happened in court ending the criminal case against former GOP Congressman Tom DeLay, almost all the results that come up are from conservative sites. The left-wing news media deliberately ignored the story of his total legal exoneration earlier this month. Contrast this with the multiple, lengthy front-page articles than ran for years gleefully covering the progression of the politically motivated attacks on him.

I saved an article taking up the top half of the front page of The New York Times from 2006 - with a huge photo of DeLay high-fiving my cousin, a Congressional staffer - announcing that DeLay was being forced to leave Congress due to the indictment. In contrast, the Times printed a tiny, three-sentence paragraph about the exoneration that was buried in the print edition on page A20.

When DeLay was indicted in 2005, most people around the country did not understand how politically motivated the left-wing Travis County District Attorney was. Now that sitting Texas Governor Rick Perry is being prosecuted by current DA Rosemary Lehmberg, a convicted drunk driver, the targeting by that Democrat-controlled office is finally coming to light. The Austin-based office badly overstretched going after the popular governor, and now its history of corrupt prosecutions are all coming to light.

Former GOP Senator Kay Bay Hutchinson was also indicted by the same office, and fortunately for her, then Travis County DA Ronnie Earle’s bogus witchhunt was thrown out. DeLay describes what happened to Earle’s prosecution, “The case [against Sen. Hutchison] did go to court, and his case absolutely imploded the day they went to trial. The judge kicked them all out of his courtroom.” 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

PHOTOS: Strong showing at I-594 protest rally in Seattle against gun control

I-594 signLast Saturday, on October 18, 250 to 300 gun rights activists met in downtown Seattle's Westlake Park to protest I-594, making it the safest place that day to be in the state. Only one park ranger showed up to monitor the rally, and he didn't bother carrying a firearm.

King 5 TV filmed the event, with refreshingly objective coverage, shown below. They didn't just film and interview white males, but showcased the diversity of the attendees, which included minorities and women packing.

A pro-594 protest the next day didn't appear to attract any more participants, despite the millions poured into the initiative. Opinions were mixed, but the majority of attendees felt worried I-594 is going to pass on Nov. 4th. Billionaires in favor of gun control have spent almost 10 times as much money promoting I-594 as the opposition. Gun control proponents say if successful, they're taking the initiative to three other states, including Arizona.

Organizers reported afterwards that the Seattle Police commended them on how well the rally went. One police officer shook organizer Rick Halle's hand and thanked him for exercising his rights.

Below is a list of the speakers, whose speeches are featured beneath on YouTube. Former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders went over the legal aspects of the initiative should it pass, and said the real purpose of it is to take guns away from people. He asked, "why can I give my mother a firearm, but can't sell her or loan her one?" Rep. Jason Overstreet (R-Lynden) said the law has been vaguely written, with few words defined, so that unelected bureaucrats in the state department of licensing can interpret them later, writing rules as restrictive as they want.

Marty McClendon, candidate for Congress
Doug Basler, candidate for Congress
Shahram Hadian, Christian pastor
Former Washington State Supreme Court Justice Richard Sanders
State Representative Jason Overstreet
Adina Hicks (NRA Grassroots Organizer)
Danielle Decker (Amopac)
Rick Halle (Gun Rights Coalition)

The event was hosted by several gun groups, including Gun Rights Coalition,,, Gun Rights Across America Washington State, and others.

Join the No on I-594 Facebook group here.

The King 5 video coverage is beneath the photos, which are courtesy of Michael Gallion, followed by videos of the speakers.Alice-Gheorghiu Alice Gheorghiu stood up for gun rights with her S&W M&P9.100_4046 - Copy100_4051 - Copy Organizer Rick Halle Organizer Rick HalleSome of us met up carrying for coffee at the nearby friendly Fred Meyer's in Bellevue. Some of us met up carrying to have coffee at the nearby friendly Fred Meyer's in Bellevue.This Occupy protester was cool because he reads Western Shooting Journal. This Occupy protester was cool because he reads Western Shooting Journal.Jason Colberg participated in a debate on I-594 with a state legislator, and did quite well - Jason Colberg participated in a debate on I-594 with a state legislator the next day, and did quite well - Ryan Cathy Lee Ryan showed up to express her opposition to I-594 - but support for Western Shooting Journal.The gun bloggers! They meet up every year in Reno, Nev. From l-r: Mike Gallion, D.W. Drang, Barron B. and Janelle Barnett The gun bloggers! They meet up every year in Reno, Nev. From l-r: Mike Gallion, D.W. Drang, Barron B. and Janelle BarnettPatrick Mullen and Mike Carpenter of the Friday Night Rifle League in Bellevue seemed to know everyone there. Patrick Mullen and Mike Carpenter of the Friday Night Rifle League in Bellevue seemed to know everyone there.Whatom County gun rights supporters drove two and a half hours south to attend the rally. Whatom County gun rights supporters drove two and a half hours south to attend the rally.Loved this family of homemade signs Loved this family of homemade signsSandy Wagnon of Redmond was just another woman who showed up packing to support the Second Amendment. Sandy Wagnon of Redmond was just another woman who showed up packing to support the Second Amendment. 100_4054 - Copy 100_4049 - Copy entrance

Originally posted on Western Shooting Journal

Friday, October 17, 2014

North Dakota Bar Association Illegally Spends $70,000 To Oppose Shared Parenting

By Robert Franklin, Esq.
In one of my blog posts on Measure 6, the North Dakota initiative that would establish a presumption of equal parenting in the state, I pointed out that any monetary support given to the opposition (or proponents) by the State Bar Association of North Dakota (SBAND) would violate the holding of the United States Supreme Court in Keller vs. State Bar of California. Keller holds that a mandatory state bar association’s activities are limited to those directly related to the regulation of the legal profession in the state. To do otherwise would be to violate the free speech rights of members who are required to pay dues, but disagree with the position taken by the state bar. Justice Rehnquist outlined to what expenditures mandatory bar associations (like that of North Dakota) were limited:
Thus, the guiding standard must be whether the challenged expenditures are necessarily or reasonably incurred for the purpose of regulating the legal profession or "improving the quality of the legal service available to the people of the State."
Needless to say, equally shared parenting by divorced parents in North Dakota has nothing whatever to do with regulating the behavior and education of attorneys in the state. About that there can be no serious dispute.
But I’ve had some email correspondence with Tony Weiler, Executive Director of the North Dakota Bar, and he claimed that the bar complies with Supreme Court rulings. It doesn’t. In the case of Teachers vs. Hudson, the U.S. Supreme Court held that mandatory dues paid to a labor union were improperly used for a non-union purpose but that the union could establish procedural safeguards to protect members’ First Amendment rights of free speech. A unanimous Court stated:
"[T]he objective must be to devise a way of preventing compulsory subsidization of ideological activity by employees who object thereto without restricting the Union's ability to require every employee to contribute to the cost of collective-bargaining activities."
The same is true when the dues collecting entity is a state bar association. So, what is the North Dakota Bar required to do in order to not violate the free speech rights of dissenting members? First, its procedural safeguards must be narrowly tailored so as to avoid impinging members’ First Amendment rights.
Second, the [bar member] — the individual whose First Amendment rights are being affected — must have a fair opportunity to identify the impact of the [bar’s] action on his interests and to assert a meritorious First Amendment claim.
The North Dakota Bar fails both tests and does so obviously. What procedural safeguards does it afford its members? Executive Director Tony Weiler outlined them in one of his emails to me.
If any member is interested in a Keller Refund, they should contact me and I’ll address it with them individually, after consulting with my Board.
Yes, that’s it. Nowhere does the SBAND inform its members of their right to a refund; nor does it afford them the type of impartial decision-making process so clearly required by the Teachers case. Where is the impartial decision maker? Where’s the due process of law? Weiler’s notion of the first is him and his Board and the second is individuals contacting him on an ad hoc basis. To say that those don’t comply with U.S. Supreme Court rulings is about as controversial as saying the earth isn’t flat.
Don’t believe me? Read what the unanimous court in Teachers said on the subject:
[A] “pure rebate approach 475 U.S. 292, 304] is inadequate.” We explained that, under such an approach, in which the union refunds to the non-union employee any money to which the union was not entitled, “the union obtains an involuntary loan for purposes to which the employee objects.”
A “pure rebate” approach of course is precisely what Weiler is offering his members.
First, as in Ellis, a remedy which merely offers dissenters the possibility of a rebate does not avoid the risk that dissenters’ funds may be used temporarily for an improper purpose. “[T]he Union should not be permitted to exact a service fee from nonmembers without first establishing a procedure which will avoid the risk that their funds will be used, even temporarily, to finance ideological activities unrelated to collective bargaining.”... A forced exaction followed by a rebate equal to the amount improperly [475 U.S. 292, 306] expended is thus not a permissible response to the nonunion employees’ objections.
The Court could have been speaking directly to Weiler and the SBAND.
Then there’s that little matter of an impartial decision maker that happens to be required by Supreme Court precedent.
Finally, the original Union procedure was also defective because it did not provide for a reasonably prompt decision by an impartial decisionmaker. Although we have not so specified in the past, 19we now conclude that such a requirement is necessary. The nonunion employee, whose First Amendment rights are affected by the agency shop itself and who bears the burden of objecting, is entitled to have his objections addressed in an expeditious, fair, and objective manner.20 [475 U.S. 292, 308] 
The Union's procedure does not meet this requirement. As the Seventh Circuit observed, the "most conspicuous feature of the procedure is that from start to finish it is entirely controlled by the union, which is an interested party, since it is the recipient of the agency fees paid by the dissenting employees."
Somehow, according to the Executive Director of the State Bar Association of North Dakota, a members’ objection to his dues being shanghaied by the Bar to oppose a measure he supports is adequately addressed by,
“If any member is interested in a Keller Refund, they should contact me and I’ll address it with them individually, after consulting with my Board.”
Has anyone at the North Dakota Bar even read the cases governing its behavior? You’d think they would have, but if Tony Weiler is any evidence, they certainly don’t understand the plain English of those precedents. But whatever the case, if my sources on the matter are correct, they’ll soon get to prove it in court. I’ve been informed that a lawsuit will be filed seeking to enjoin SBAND from future expenditures of bar funds for activities so clearly unrelated to regulating the legal profession in the state.
But again, don’t take my word for it. A law review article analyzed state bars’ efforts to comply with Keller; the verdict on North Dakota wasn’t flattering:
The North Dakota procedure is deficient in almost every respect. First, it does not provide an adequate explanation of the basis for the fee by categorizing items as chargeable or nonchargeable, and it expressly places an unconstitutional burden on the dissenting member to identify the challenged legislative policy. The procedure does not provide a reasonably prompt opportunity to challenge the determination of amount of dues devoted to nongermane activities, nor does it provide payment of interest on any amount refunded from the date the dues are paid. Finally, the policy does not provide for a hearing before an impartial decisionmaker, or for an escrow for the amount reasonably in dispute while the challenges are pending.
A court in North Dakota should immediately issue a restraining order against the State Bar Association of North Dakota prohibiting it from further expenditure of members’ dues for a purpose utterly unrelated to the regulation of the legal profession and under procedures that are entirely insufficient according to Supreme Court precedent. The SBAND is acting outside the law when it uses members’ dues to oppose Measure 6 that would establish a presumption of equal parenting in North Dakota.
Of course, as I suggested in yesterday’s post, if the SBAND didn’t oppose the measure, who would?