A Wyoming man has given more than $1.5 million to help defend Arizona’s controversial immigration enforcement measure in court, Gov. Jan Brewer’s office said Thursday.
The contribution from Timothy Mellon of Saratoga is the largest to Brewer’s defense fund, which has amassed more than $3.6 million from 41,000 donors nationwide. Mellon could not immediately be reached for comment.
Mellon’s Aug. 18 donation was 300 times more than the next-largest contribution of $5,000 — an amount donated by at least four people, records show.
The latest legal bills released Thursday show Brewer’s office has spent more than $440,000 for the first two months of defending the law.
The bills, obtained through a public records request by The Associated Press, are for work performed through June by Phoenix law firm Snell & Wilmer. They do not cover July hearings in federal court before a judge Susan Bolton temporarily blocked enforcement of the law’s most controversial provisions.
Brewer has appealed Bolton’s order to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Her office is defending the state against seven lawsuits challenging Arizona’s law, including cases filed by the U.S. Justice of Department, civil rights groups and two police officers.
Bolton has dismissed two of the cases.
“The fees incurred have been, and will continue to be, sizeable,” Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said, noting there have been more than 900 legal filings totaling more than 12,000 pages.
The invoices are heavily redacted and don’t reveal details about the state’s defense strategy or lawyers’ thoughts. They show Snell & Wilmer attorneys in frequent contact with the governor’s in-house lawyer and occasionally talking with Kris Kobach, a law professor who helped draft the measure and is running for secretary of state in Kansas.
Attorneys met with Brewer and state Sen. Russell Pearce, the measure’s chief sponsor, on June 10.
In June, lawyers billed the state between $225 and $450 per hour for more than 1,100 hours of work at a cost of $363,000.
That work follows $77,000 for 241 hours of work in the last 12 days of May.
Arizona’s law would generally require officers enforcing other measures to check the immigration status of people they suspect are illegal immigrants.