Monday, December 14, 2015

RIP Austin Hill, Beloved Conservative Columnist and Talk Show Host of ‘PC Friday’

The last time we saw Austin and his son

It was with great sadness that I heard fellow conservative writer Austin Hill, age 51, had passed away on November 13. Even more well-known for his conservative talk radio shows, he was one of those unique conservatives who appealed to everyone; as more of an intellectual, he rarely alienated anyone. You didn’t have to meet him to sense his warmth and decency, although once you met him, you knew you had a trustworthy, honest friend for life. He wrote for Townhall for many years, and we had many great conversations about how wonderful being with the site had been for our careers.

Townhall’s staff wrote about him,

As faithful readers know, Hill brought a wealth of knowledge and passion to his work, which focused on small business ownership, economics, and entrepreneurship. Beyond his role as columnist, Hill was an accomplished author, consultant, small business owner, and a popular syndicated radio show host.

Austin’s family reported that he passed away from a pulmonary embolism. It may have been related to the incredible pace he kept up. As one radio fan of his wrote, “He was a Christian, a conservative, a radio host, a news anchor, an author, a columnist, a consultant and a public speaker. Whew!” Austin had recently expanded to writing for The Blaze this year, and had started appearing more often on TV. Watch him debate the left-leaning Alan Colmes on a Fox show here.

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Monday, November 23, 2015

Time for a Congressional Investigation? Shattering New Developments of Corruption in Rep. Rick Renzi Trial

The case of the corrupt prosecution against imprisoned former Congressman Rick Renzi continues to explode with new evidence of wrongdoing - literally every few weeks something else comes out. It is beginning to look like Fast and Furious as more information pours out implicating the government.

As I’ve explained previously, the crux of the case against Renzi was he had proposed a federal land exchange that allegedly would have benefited himself. Evidence came out during the trial and especially afterward revealing this wasn’t true. The FBI offered to give money to the government’s key witness/”victim,” Philip Aries, to change his story and say the land exchange was Renzi’s idea. The DOJ prosecutor, Gary Restaino, whose wife worked closely under Janet Napolitano, never disclosed this information to the defense.

As more evidence came out about this collusion in July, U.S. Federal District Court Judge David Bury granted a hearing to consider a new trial. I attended the hearing,  where I met several of Renzi’s 12 children, who have developed into impressive young adults, sure of their dad’s innocence. I was shocked by what I heard as Aries and the main FBI agent repeatedly contradicted each other's testimony on the witness stand. How can you convict someone based on that?

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Sunday, November 22, 2015

RIP Austin Hill

Our dear friend Austin Hill, longtime conservative radio talk show host and my fellow contributor at Townhall, passed away earlier this month. He had a talent for covering issues that no one else did, and covering them thoughtfully and analytically, not with hyperbole. Here is the press release from his family.

Austin Hill Press Release
It is with great shock and sorrow that we announce Austin Hill unexpectedly died on Friday night, November 13th. At this time, doctors suspect the cause of death was cardiac related.
As a follower of Jesus, Austin's faith permeated and influenced all aspects of his life. He was committed to speaking the truth and engaging people in thoughtful conversation. In addition to writing and public speaking, Austin had a national radio presence with dedicated listeners across the country. Most importantly, he was a loving husband, and as his son describes him, an avid father.
Details concerning a memorial service will be posted on Austin's Facebook page.
In lieu of flowers, it is requested that gifts be sent to a college fund for his son, Graham, a high school senior:
- The Family of Austin Hill
Memorial Service to Celebrate the Life of Austin Hill
Saturday, December 5th at 2PM MT
Foothills Christian Church
9655 W. State Street
Boise, ID 83714
A reception at the church will follow immediately after the service. We invite you to stay and reminisce with family, friends and colleagues as we celebrate Austin's life.
In lieu of flowers, the Hill family has requested donations be made to a college fund for his son, Graham, who is finishing his final year of high school. A fundraiser has been set up at:
The family wishes to express their deep gratitude at the overwhelming outpouring of support, memories and love.
Cards may be sent c/o
Summers Funeral Home
1205 Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83702

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I'm speaking to Tempe Republican Women Monday night about the horrific prosecution of former Congressman Rick Renzi

Meetings are free and open to the public, sign-in begins at 6:30pm. Located at Pyle Recreation Center (655 E Southern Ave 85282). From their website:

Meeting: November 16

We’ve scheduled a very special speaker: Rachel Alexander, political columnist and former prosecutor, will be speaking on the Rick Renzi case and explaining why she thinks he deserves a second trial. You won’t want to miss this one, as it is sure to be fun and informative!
Also, we will be electing people to 1st VC, 2nd VC, Treasurer and Secretary. This is an exciting time for our organization and we have some great candidates for these positions. Attend, and cast your vote.

Two upcoming important events regarding eliminating the mandatory Arizona State Bar

A non-authorized independent advisory periodically informing members about proposed State Bar of Arizona plans, programs and rule amendments that impact them and their practices.

November 13, 2015 Report




Arizona House of Representatives

Ad Hoc Study Committee on Mandatory Bar Associations, Regulation of the Practice of Law, and the First-Amendment Freedoms of Attorneys

The study committee will examine the structure of the State Bar of Arizona.  It will review the history and role of a mandatory bar association in Arizona as well as the practice in other states.  It will also examine the practice of law in Arizona, how it is regulated, and the practices of other states.  Finally, the committee will address the associational and free-speech rights of attorneys in Arizona.  The study committee will create a report, which may include any recommendations for proposed legislation.

Date:                  Monday, November 16, 2015
Time:                  2:00 P.M.
Place:                House Hearing Room 1

1. Call to Order
2. Presentation - Mandatory Bars and the First Amendment Freedoms of Attorneys
                         - Jim Manley, Senior Attorney, Goldwater Institute
3. Discussion
4. Public Testimony
5. Next Meeting: December 7, 2015, 2:00 PM
6. Adjourn

Representative Anthony Kern, Chair
Representative Eddie Farnsworth, Esq.
Representative Randall Friese, M.D.
Paul Avelar, Esq.
Jared Blanchard, Esq.
Mauricio Hernandez, Esq.
Eleanor Miller, Esq.

People with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, alternative formats, or assistance with physical accessibility.  If you require accommodations, please contact the Chief Clerk's Office at (602) 926-3032, TDD (602) 926-3241.


Announcement from the Maricopa County Bar Association - For your information


"There is much focus at the present time on whether or not the State Bar of Arizona should remain a mandatory, unified bar.  In order to better educate our members and the public on this subject, a Public Forum has been planned for Tuesday, December 8 at 4:30 p.m. in the MCBA’s CLE Conference Center.  Panelists will be Geoffrey Trachtenberg, State Bar President; John Phelps, State Bar CEO; Paul Avelar, Institute for Justice; and Jared Blanchard, Goldwater Institute.  The Forum is FREE OF CHARGE, but please let us know you are coming." 



Oh look, Judge Snow is now considering going after Sheriff Joe Arpaio's underlings CRIMINALLY. When is the madness going to stop? I was only one of Arpaio's attorneys for a mere TWO AND A HALF MONTHS, not calling the shots, and they destroyed my bar license and I'm still fighting everything six years later. Like my friend Leigh wisely said to me, "at least they didn't go for the death penalty." Arpaio's enemies know the way to take him out is to tarnish and destroy those beneath him who don't have the money or connections to fight it in order to make them look crooked - they just cut off their attorneys like they did to us underlings, meanwhile they spend millions squandering the taxpayers' money to get us. When is everyone else - not just us conservatives and patriots - going to wake up and realize that spending millions to get Arpaio and people around him on behalf of sleazebags like Mary Rose Wilcox is not right? How many more lives have to be ruined at taxpayer expense to protect people like her?

Here's an article I wrote earlier this year on the trial against Arpaio. 

Friday, November 6, 2015

SBA BAR MONITOR November 5, 2015 - Rebutting the One-sided Message from the State Bar President on Eliminating the Mandatory Bar

Dear Colleagues:

This week you received a blast email from the State Bar of Arizona (SBA) President. And as one colleague replied: "The Bar’s approach to the current dispute is not simply about improving the practice of law or helping the public, although Bar leaders may sincerely hold that opinion. It is advocating an institutional self-serving position in what has become a political and ideological dispute. Let’s take the high road and give the pro-voluntary folks a fair shot to make their case."

Unfortunately, the SBA has so far been unwilling to let the other side be heard on a fair and equal footing. With all its advantages, it keeps presenting a one-sided misleading message. Here at least is one rebuttal.

A non-authorized independent advisory periodically informing members about proposed State Bar of Arizona plans, programs and rule amendments that impact them and their practices.
November 5, 2015 Report

Rebutting the Message from the State Bar of Arizona (SBA) President

Fellow Members of the Bar:

"Your Bar and, more broadly, your professional independence are under attack by factions that would allow the Legislature to regulate the practice of law in Arizona. Much of this debate centers around eliminating the "integrated bar" in Arizona and is premised upon what I believe are false or misleading claims that promise a future of lower costs, greater efficiency, and more benefits. These claims are not accurate. Worse still, the proponents are threatening to upend and politicize the practice of law in Arizona."

Response: The SBA President is correct. This issue concerns "your professional independence." Currently, you don't have any. No other Arizona profession -- except for lawyers -- requires membership in any organization to practice. Under the current mandatory bar membership structure, you do not have freedom of choice. Indeed, under a line of cases, most recently, Knox v. Service Employees Intern. Union, 132 S. Ct. 2277, 2289 (2012), the SBA's mandatory dues are a form of compelled speech and association that impinges on the First Amendment. If standing up for lawyers' First Amendment rights by opposing bar membership as a precondition to practice law means being part of a faction, so be it.

House Bill 2629  introduced last session had no provision "that would allow the Legislature to regulate the practice of law in Arizona." Instead, it reaffirmed lawyer regulation under the state supreme court. The Bill also stated, "An attorney shall not be required to be a member of any organization to become or remain a licensed attorney in this state."

As for lower costs to practice: lawyer regulation fees paid to the respective state supreme courts average $210 in the 18 voluntary bar jurisdictions that regulate lawyers without conditioning the practice of law on bar association membership.

In sum, the "false or misleading claims" are being made by self-interested stakeholders. And by controlling the means and access to communicate with all members, they're ensuring you only hear their side of this debate.  Ask yourself: For what reason?

Not to mention that those instruments of communication have been bought and paid for by all members.

"In terms of efficiency, the Bar is as lean and efficient as ever. Not only has the Bar cut its budget and staff size in recent years, but did you know that, as of 2011, the vast majority of consumer complaints to the Bar are handled by a simple telephone call? This allows staff to spend greater time on more serious charges. You will not find a more efficient self-regulatory agency than the State Bar of Arizona and other states borrow from us to improve their organizations."

Response: Just two years ago, the current SBA President joined 10 other governors to vote against a 13% dues increase, then deemed unjustified given the Bar's cost inefficiencies; unreliable fiscal discipline; and a projected $4.1M surplus. The increase was rammed through just the same, along with a 33% increase in membership fees; MCLE late compliance fees; and MCLE late filing fees. In-house counsel fees went up by $55 and pro hac vice fees also went up. And though the state bar says it cut expenses last year by $300,000, or 2% of a $15M budget, when the dues increase is fully implemented, incremental bar revenues will top $1.09M.

As for lawyer discipline: when it comes to borrowing from other states, the SBA followed Colorado when it revamped its disciplinary system in 2010 on Colorado's purported "best in class" lawyer disciplinary regime. Arizona, however, did not completely adopt the Colorado model. It made the significant exception of not completely separating its regulatory and trade association functions. That said, the state supreme court has already stripped away most of the public protection functions from the integrated state bar and placed them under professional staff that ultimately reports to the court. What are left are mostly discretionary trade association functions.  

"As far as member benefits, I've learned that our Bar provides many free or subsidized, low-cost benefits that I'd never noticed. The following is just a partial list. How many are you aware of?"

Response: The long list of SBA programs and services is very much like the long list of programs and services offered by state bar associations in the 18 voluntary bar jurisdictions. The SBA likes to mislead its members by conflating the existence of a mandatory bar with the availability of their programs and services.

If lawyers in the 18 voluntary jurisdictions want to take advantage of their voluntary bar association's programs and services, they do so by choice, not compulsion. Consequently, the voluntary bar associations in those states take a free-market approach. They incentivize membership by creating a value proposition of programs and services lawyers want and are therefore willing to pay for.

"And then there is our Bar's service to the public, which enhances the practice of law and the image of lawyers in Arizona. Last year our Bar's efforts to improve access to justice helped . . . . This month's President's message in Arizona Attorney magazine was a reminder: You don't know what you've got until it's gone. The reality is that if our Bar is broken apart, some of these services will disappear and you will spend more money to get some of the same services that you receive today. This means young, struggling attorneys might not have access to benefits like the ethics hotline or the trust account resources. But for all of us, this also means the practice of law, professionalism, and access to justice will likely suffer in Arizona."

Response: The reality isn't speculative. It is evident in the many years history of 18 voluntary bar states. Some of these voluntary state bar associations are among the oldest state bars in the nation. They enjoy robust memberships. They offer a diverse panoply of programs and services members want and are happy to pay for. They, too, offer programs that enhance the practice of law and the image of lawyers. They also promote access to justice.

For example, see the Tennessee Bar's Access to Justice page:

And the New York State Bar's "Law, Youth and Citizenship Program" at:

And the full-fledged pro bono legal services initiatives started in 1966 by the Ohio State Bar at:

And the Iowa Bar's young lawyer mentoring program:

Or see the Maryland Bar's fee dispute resolution services:

And see the Minnesota Bar's government relations initiatives, free of Keller restrictions, which provides "the collective, persuasive voice of the legal profession at the Capitol."

"Our Bar's mission is to improve the profession and serve the public. While there is always room for improvement, changes being discussed at the Legislature will create chaos with no discernible benefit."

Response: The Bar wants to serve as both regulator and trade association. This is an inherent conflict of interest. It cannot serve both the public and lawyers. The "discernible benefit" we need is improved public protection by eliminating the trade association function from an organization that regulates its own industry. The "discernible benefit" we need is enhanced professional independence for lawyers. The "discernible benefit" we need is protected lawyer First Amendment rights. The "discernible benefit" we need is a voluntary professional association free of conflicts of interest. The "discernible benefit" we need is a SBA with the free-market opportunity to sell membership on the merits not by coercion. The "discernible benefit" we need is the same option lawyers have in 18 voluntary bar jurisdictions, which is the option to pay only the costs of lawyer regulation that protects the public.

"All I ask of you is that you become informed on this important matter, look carefully at the people on both sides and consider their biases and motives, and let your state representatives and senator know how you feel."

Response: Amen.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Judge Unravels Illegal Activity by Prosecution That Ensured a Conviction of Rick Renzi  — But Will he Do Anything About it?

Last Monday, Federal District Court Judge David Bury held an evidentiary hearing in Tucson to consider new evidence that prosecutorial wrongdoing took place during the criminal prosecution of imprisoned former Congressman Rick Renzi. Specifically, the judge considered whether the the FBI had offered money to the one “victim” Renzi had allegedly extorted, to change his testimony and make it unfavorable toward Renzi in order to ensure a conviction. As the hearing was ending and the shocking bribery exposed, Judge Bury told chief DOJ prosecuting attorney Gary Restaino he wrongly violated Renzi’s rights.

Who is Restaino and why was he so intent on convicting Renzi that he would violate the law? His wife, Leezie Kim, worked closely for former Arizona Democratic Governor Janet Napolitano, and Renzi had been rumored to be a potential contender against her for governor in 2006. In 2003, Kim took a sabbatical from Quarles Brady where she was an attorney to serve as the executive director of Napolitano’s Governor’s Citizens Finance Review Commission. She became the treasurer of Napolitano’s 2006 gubernatorial campaign and the treasurer of the Competitive Edge PAC in 2007, which was primarily started to support Napolitano.

Kim next became Napolitano’s general counsel in February 2008, and after Napolitano was confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security, joined her in Washington as a deputy general counsel. Kim left Washington in 2010 after news reports indicated that she was involved in efforts to limit responses to politically sensitive Freedom of Information Act requests. In addition to these active roles, Kim also donated $400 to the Arizona Democratic Party in 2005 and $928 to Democratic candidates in 2008.

Friday, October 23, 2015

AZ Bar CEO arrogantly ridicules attorney it wrongfully disbarred at legislative hearing about dismantling the mandatory Bar

On Monday, I attended the first meeting of the ad hoc committee which is analyzing the merits of dismantling the mandatory State Bar in Arizona, HB2629, and was pretty shocked to hear the State Bar's approach and arguments. It just reinforces why Arizona doesn't need a mandatory Bar, but should have a voluntary bar like 18 other states that believe in freedom. Especially since Arizona is a right-to-work state; why are attorneys the only profession in the state still allowed to be regulated by a heavyhanded, corrupt, left-leaning union?

First of all, it was refreshing to see such a diverse group of people on the committee (unlike the State Bar itself, which is pretty white). There was a criminal defense attorney, Hispanic attorney, and at least a couple of attorneys involved in protecting freedom, including Clint Bolick from the Goldwater Institute (he was absent yesterday) and Paul Avelar from the Institute for Justice.

The committee asked the State Bar's CEO John Phelps to provide information about the Bar first, then followed up with questions.

Phelps said the Bar exists to protect the public, not attorneys - yet admitted that of 26 voting members on the board, only 4 are non-attorneys! As well as 3 who are appointed by the Arizona Supreme Court and don't have to be lawyers. In fact, NONE of them are elected by the general public! Tell that to the multiple members of the public I've talked to over the years who have had their complaints against big firm attorneys thrown out by the Bar, simply because those attorneys were powerful and connected. The fact the board is primarily composed of attorneys and elected by attorneys is evidence the Bar is really a union, protecting its favored attorney members, not the public.

The 18 elected members don't have term limits, and as I can personally attest to, some have abused their permanent positions to target attorneys they don't like for years. Insiders have told me that I have been targeted since 2007 by a former Bar president who still remains on the board indefinitely, and who not just once, but twice is behind the only bar complaints that have ever been filed against me. This is all allegedly because I wrote an article for Fox News for my boss at the time, the Maricopa County Attorney, refuting this bar president's defense of someone who had allegedly downloaded 93 images of child porn. For that article, I have paid the price for eight years now; I lost my home to foreclosure since no one would hire me, had to move in with my parents (who aren't wealthy) and my husband and his four teenagers who we solely support had to move in with his parents since the bills added up so fast. I'm actually one of the lucky ones. Others targeted by Bar establishment have ended up with heart attacks, filed bankruptcy and (I've been told) even committed suicide. I don't want anyone else to go through anywhere near what I've been through. Sadly, there are no repercussions for those victimized by the Bar; everyone is scared of it and there is no accountability as a government mandated union.

So next time someone tells you "the Bar is operating just fine, there's no need to change anything," cite the hundreds, if not thousands, who have been abused by the Bar like myself with no recourse. If the Bar were no longer mandatory, with these functions moved under the Arizona Supreme Court instead, people with complaints could boot out the justices in the next retention election. Plus the court is subject to public records laws and lawsuits (I am prohibited from suing the Bar).

Of the members on the board, there are a whopping 9 members from Maricopa County; most other counties only have 1 member, which results in more unequal representation of the big and powerful firms.

Currently, there are 23,527 member attorneys in Arizona, but only 18,207 are active. The rest who aren't active, 3,625, have to pay a hefty annual fee of $265 merely to remain inactive! Uh, what benefit do they derive from this? Seriously, NOTHING, in fact the State Bar usually acts AGAINST your interests, as we've heard time and time again. It lobbies (and we believe illegally) for left-wing political causes and puts on optional, overpriced continuing legal education classes that are already done much cheaper by voluntary organizations.

Phelps said there were a whopping 254 in-house employees - the Bar employs that many attorneys to work for it (note: not sure how this jives with the 98 employees mentioned later on in this argument, maybe some of those attorneys are merely on contract?). Sounds like a massive abuse of attorney dues to prop up a unnecessary, optional institution with a long history of corruption and abuse that is continuing to get worse.

Phelps admitted that the $475 paid in annual active dues by each active attorney (which is the second highest in the nation after Alaska for a mandatory bar), will increase $15/yr over the next 3 years. The Bar will be pulling in an incredible $9.2 million in 2015 from dues alone. It will also pull in a massive $1.9 million from continuing legal education (so why does it need the mandatory dues to supplement this generous revenue?) It will bring in $3.9 million in other income. What is that additional $3.9 million for? Questions need to be answered at the next committee meeting.

Phelps admitted that 30 people - yeah, not 3, not 5, not even 10 - but 30 employees are hired to handle professional development (continuing legal education), general counsel and the special services division. Attorneys are required to take 15 hours annually of continuing legal education - but they can take it anywhere. The Federalist Society frequently offers free continuing legal education, which conservative attorneys like myself like to take advantage of, and most continuing legal education I've come across is offered at prices well below the State Bar's courses.

The Bar has a history of targeting solo practitioners, conservatives, and those who are not connected (e.g. not members of big law firms). It spends millions of dollars on this kind of discipline. Phelps admitted in 2014 that the bar initiated a whopping 751 investigations. Of that, 13 lawyers were disbarred, 38 lawyers were suspended, 18 lawyers were reprimanded, 39 were given informal sanctions, 73 were given diversion orders/agreements and 202 were given instructional comments.

It is well known among attorneys in Arizona that if you're in one of the targeted classes listed above, you can expect disbarment or suspension. Anyone else - no matter how egregious the offense - can expect a lesser sentence. The disciplinary judge for the Bar allowed a trustee who had worked on one of his cases to continue practicing law in prison - after he had killed a woman while drunk driving!

What was extraordinarily disturbing was watching Phelps deliver his Powerpoint presentation and ridicule Lisa Aubuchon, perhaps the most egregious disbarment of an attorney in years, and a good part of the reason this bill is now being proposed. She was a political target, collateral damage to a conservative county attorney the Bar wanted to take out. Phelps had the ARROGANCE to pull up her page on the AZ Bar website to show the ad hoc committee as an example of Bar discipline! There were audible gasps  throughout the audience, as people realized Phelps and the Bar think they are untouchable in how they destroy lives for political gain.

One of the panel members asked Phelps how the Arizona Bar is better than the voluntary bars in 18 states. Phelps responded and said that in Colorado, in order to join the voluntary bar to get the benefits, it costs more, $750.

Really? The "benefits" of a bar association include the continuing legal education (which I've pointed out can be obtained cheaper elsewhere) and joining their myriads of diversity committees. As well as supporting their left-leaning (and likely illegal) political lobbying. Do most of us care about joining some diversity committee? Of course not. We have families and obligations and the last thing we want to do is serve on some boring committee where people sit around and talk about bringing more diversity into the bar. Especially from some hypocritical Bar that is mostly composed of white people. If the Bar were voluntary, hardly anyone would join it, since it's not necessary. It's like throwing your money down the drain or at left-wing causes.

Another panel member pinned Phelps down as to how many employees the State Bar actually employs. Ready for it? 98 paid employees! She asked how much is the total cost of their salaries, and he tried to duck it at first, saying the 2015 budget is posted online. She responded and said she had looked on the Bar's website and couldn't find it. Finally, he admitted that the total cost for the bar's employees for 2015 is $6.7 million!!! This sounds like a medium to large corporation, not some nonprofit. I served on the board of Arizona Right to Life for several years, a nonprofit, and we never had more than two or three paid employees.
The panelist then asked how much more does a certified criminal law specialist need to pay the Bar for that designation per year? Conveniently, Phelps didn't know the answer, but implied that the Bar had never turned down the suggested cost of this additional membership.

The panelist asked why the bar charges such high prices for continuing legal education. "Doesn't CLE pay for itself? Yet I've seen it as high as $350 from the Bar."

Phelps tried to weasel out, saying, "It varies, we've offered some free and some on sliding scale." (hmmm, surprising, I've never seen any of those). The panelist responded, "Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice puts on a 3-day seminar for under $300 where you can get all 15 credits of annual CLE." In fact, as I can attest to in the past, it's easy to find national CLE providers that offer all 15 credits for $79.

Next, the panelist said she had heard that the Bar was considering charging other folks for putting on CLEs. Phelps attempted to dodge that question as well, finally admitting there had been a proposal that recommended setting up certification of CLE on the front end (fortunately, the board voted against it, maybe they started to get worried the goodie train is coming to an end?).

The panelist asked if the criminal defense attorney committee section of the bar she is a member of makes a profit. Yet again, Phelps tried to weasel out of the answer. At first he said, "It varies from year to year, last year it made $10,000. Then he changed his tune (probably realizing people might request the numbers later), saying, "It usually breaks even or makes a little revenue."

Another panelist asked what is the highest cost to the bar? Phelps responded and said after salaries, it is discipline. Compared to other states, Arizona has higher discipline costs (hmm, could it be because they ship in high-cost disciplinary attorneys from out of state to target attorneys they don't like?) Disciplinary costs are about half of what salaries cost, a whopping $3.2 million. Phelps admitted that most attorneys and paralegals who work for the Bar are in the disciplinary division. More evidence the Bar is spending exorbitant amounts to target attorneys it doesn't like.

A panelist concerned with liberty asked Phelps whether the Bar is public or private. Phelps hemmed and hawed, then finally said it is a nonprofit; it performs a governmental function and is overseen by a governmental entity, but is not technically a government organization. The panelist pressed him further, asking if it has a regulatory function. Phelps admitted the Bar performs investigations and prosecutions. When asked if the Bar was subject to public records laws, Phelps said it was not, but admitted the Supreme Court, which oversees it, could change that and make it open. So basically the Bar has the best of both worlds; it has ultimate authority like the government, is granted a monopoly union from the government, but is not subject to public records laws like the government. Anyone see a problem here?

Rep. Anthony Kern, who is heading up the ad hoc committee, asked Phelps about the Bar's involvement in politics, which it is prohibited from participating in as a nonprofit. "I saw you lobbying down here against the bill last year, I even heard that a Supreme Court justice was lobbying legislators with a phone call," he said. "There were emails sent out from bar associations with false information that mirrored your website."

Another panelist said he had seen an email that Phelps had sent to voluntary bar associations, which basically sounded like a veiled threat. It said,  "I'd like to think the State Bar is a partner with your organization. If we were to become merely another voluntary organization..." It went on to threaten that relations would worsen and money would dry up.

Astonishingly, Phelps arrogantly responded, "You're absolutely correct" and proceeded to defend his threat.

Stay tuned, this is just going to get worse. Taking on the last mandatory union in a right-to-work state will not be easy, but freedom lovers have justice on our side. Visit for more information from our friends. 


Another attendee described Phelps' talk as "a raw display of the arrogance of an uncontrollable tyrant."

One attorney posted this photo of the Bar's annual membership directory, with the following commentary, 

Behold! This glossy covered 700 page obsolete recycling bin filler, which goes out to about 20,000 active members, is how the Bar chooses to spend the yearly tithe they exact from you. They could at least include a free CD with 100 hours of AOL. It would be just about as useful as this thing. Instead of sending out useless garbage, they could be doing stuff they're really good at like persecuting anyone that disagrees with their left wing agenda. Disband the bar. End compulsory dues. Turn regulation over to the courts. 
To which another attorney responded, "To be honest, I haven't opened that book up in I don't know how many years. I go to the bar site and search the attorney, or firm, that I need for my pleadings/correspondence smile emotico"

The second meeting of the ad hoc committee is coming up Monday, with a final one scheduled for November.

The second meeting of Representative Anthony Kern's Ad Hoc Study Committee on the State Bar of Arizona is Monday, October 26, 2015 at 9:30 AM in House Hearing Room No. 1.

The Study Committee composed of House Members and Arizona State Bar members is examining the history and role of a mandatory bar association in Arizona and the practice in other states. The study committee will create a report along with possible recommendations for proposed legislation. This is a public meeting. I urge you to attend and to make yourselves available for public comment.

The third and final Study Committee Meeting will be held on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2 PM and will focus on attorney free speech and associational freedoms.

Please forward this announcement to others and post on listservs and social media.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Legislative Ad Hoc Committee meeting this Monday to discuss eliminating mandatory Bar association

Per last week's announcement, Representative Anthony Kern, chief sponsor of HB2629[1], the voluntary state bar bill, is chairing an Ad Hoc Study Committee of House Members and Arizona State Bar members to examine the history and role of a mandatory bar association in Arizona as well as the practice in other states. The study committee will create a report along with possible recommendations for proposed legislation. This is a public meeting. Find below the agenda for the first meeting on Monday, October 19, 2015 at 2 PM in House Hearing Room 1. 

It is open to the public. If you're tired of the State Bar's abuses, which are being compiled here,, please attend and show your support.

Following this Monday's meeting, the Study Committee will meet two additional times, on Monday, October 26, 2015 at 9 AM focusing on the public interest, and on Monday, November 16, 2015 at 2 PM focusing on attorney free speech and associational freedoms.

House of Representatives Ad Hoc Study Committee, Monday, October 19, 2 PM




Date:              Monday, October 19, 2015
Time:             2:00 P.M.
Place:            House Hearing Room #1


Call to Order

Introduction of Committee Members

Purpose of Ad Hoc Study Committee

·   Overview of State Bar of Arizona - John Phelps, Executive Director of the State Bar of Arizona


Public Comment

Announcement of Next Meeting: 10/26/25, 9:00 AM


 Ad Hoc Study Committee Members:
Rep. Anthony Kern, Chair
Clint Bolick, Esq.
Rep. Eddie Farnsworth, Esq.
Mauricio Hernandez, Esq.
Rep. Randall Friese, M.D.
Eleanor Miller, Esq.
Paul Avelar, Esq.

People with disabilities may request reasonable accommodations such as interpreters, alternative formats, or assistance with physical accessibility.  If you require accommodations, please contact the Chief Clerk's Office at (602) 926-3032, TDD (602) 926-3241.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Former Congressman Rick Renzi Deserves a New Trial

In an incredible new development in the criminal case of imprisoned former Congressman Richard Renzi, Federal District Court Judge David Bury has agreed to hold an evidentiary hearing on October 26th in Tucson to look into FBI corruption and consider Renzi’s motion for a new trial. This comes due to new information that emerged after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal earlier this year. Renzi’s new-trial motion reveals a significant and appalling pattern of misconduct by the FBI during both the investigation and prosecution of his case.

Renzi was targeted by Democrats within the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the mid-2000s, including former U.S. Attorney Paul Charlton, a Republican who consistently sides with Democrats, even endorsing them. They saw Renzi as a serious threat — a potential contender for president someday — due to his charisma and ability to get elected in a Democratic-leaning district. He became one of the top Republican targets in the country. President Bush fired Charlton in 2006, but by then it was too late, he had already smeared Renzi so much, with the help of the complicit local left-leaning media, that it was difficult to turn things around.
Now, a key witness against Renzi has admitted that the FBI secretly led him to believe that he would be paid for helping to convict Renzi, which is illegal. The government not only concealed that information during Renzi's trial, but prosecutors dishonestly told the jury that the witness had no financial interest in the outcome of Renzi's case.

Read the rest of the article at Townhall