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Dems fire back at GOP criticisms of IRC by filing records request with Horne’s office

Attorney General Tom Horne (Photo by Evan Wyloge/Arizona Capitol Times)

The Arizona Democratic Party today filed an extensive records request with Attorney General Tom Horne’s office, hoping to find evidence that his investigation into possible open meeting law violations by the state’s redistricting commission is part of a coordinated Republican effort to besmirch the group and its work.

Luis Heredia, the executive director of the state party, said the barrage of press releases impugning the commission that came in rapid fire succession Wednesday afternoon from Gov. Jan Brewer, Republican members of Arizona’s congressional delegation and Republican legislative leaders already demonstrates a level of coordination taking place among Republicans who are dissatisfied with the commission’s work.

And if the coordination Heredia perceives includes an attempt to influence an investigation by Horne’s office, that will finally show that Horne’s case – and by extension the broader Republican rage against the IRC – is only a partisan ruse, he said.

Heredia said he doesn’t know what is wanted by the Republicans who have cried foul over the IRC’s adopted congressional “draft” map. That plan draws four solid Republican congressional districts, two Democratic districts and three competitive districts.

Heredia said Republicans, who have long had a party registration advantage over Democrats in the state, have a “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is negotiable,” attitude toward redrawing the state’s political boundaries.

“You know, the Republicans have a mafia mentality,” Heredia said. “We want to expose the paper trail of conversations between this Republican network, which is trying to undermine the redistricting effort.”

The records request asks for communications between Horne’s office and a list of Republicans including the commission’s two Republicans, Republican members of the Legislature and their staffs, Republican elections attorney Lisa Hauser and any member or representative of the Republican group FAIR Trust.

Republican commissioners Scott Freeman and Richard Stertz had not seen the request and deny having any communication with Horne’s office.

The request also asks for communications Horne’s office may have had with National Demographics Corporation, a California-based firm that had been in the running to be selected as the commission’s mapping consultant, and which was favored by the Republican commissioners, as well as internal communications among attorneys in Horne’s office about the open meeting law investigation.

“(Horne) is a component of this political strategy,” Heredia said, though he acknowledged that Horne could dispute the validity of the request, saying any such communications are part of an ongoing investigation.

“We’re asking for a prompt response,” Herdia said. “The Attorney General’s office could hide behind a defense for why they don’t have to turn this over, and hopefully this doesn’t end up in court.”

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