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.