Tuesday, March 22, 2016

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

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

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

Business Attire/Business Casual

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

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

Click here for the Facebook event. 

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

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

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

Saturday, March 12, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 10, 2016

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

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

Monday, March 7, 2016

Arizona Legislature Finally About to Dismantle Corrupt Arizona Bar

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the article at Townhall

Thursday, March 3, 2016

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of the article at Townhall