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FAIR game? How GOP politicians are trying to secretly influence the IRC

How GOP politicians are trying to secretly influence the IRC

A group of high-profile attorneys working for a group called FAIR Trust say they want to help the state's redistricting commission adhere to the legal requirements that govern the high-stakes, once-in-a-decade political remapping process, and the group’s name suggests it is interested in fairness.

But what FAIR Trust’s attorneys refuse to say is that they’re actually representing a group of incumbent Republicans from Arizona’s congressional delegation and the state Legislature.

The group's representatives have gone out of their way to hide who is involved and who is funding their pricey legal efforts. And so far the group has done a good job keeping that information away from the public.

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GOP staffer claims IRC gerrymandered maps; Dems promise complaint (access required)

A Republican legislative attorney claimed today that the state’s redistricting commission gerrymandered its maps to benefit certain Democratic incumbents and harm GOP politicians.

Democratic leadership from both chambers of the Legislature promised to file a complaint that the testimony to the committee represents a violation of the prohibition against state employees being involved in partisan political or election-related activity.

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Horne disqualified from investigating IRC (access required)

Attorney General Tom Horne will no longer be able to pursue an open meeting law investigation into members of the Independent Redistricting Commission, as a Maricopa County Superior Court judge has ruled the attorney general is saddled with an existing conflict of interest.

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Brewer lofts ‘nuclear’ option, setting off redistricting turmoil (access required)

Republicans are nearly unanimous in their belief that something must be done about the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission. As legislators prepare for a possible special session, however, they are divided on the next step.

Gov. Jan Brewer invoked the so-called nuclear option on Oct. 27 when she sent a letter to the IRC’s five members demanding explanations for handful of alleged improprieties. Under the Arizona Constitution, the letter is the first step Brewer must take to remove a commissioner, which requires the governor and two-thirds of the Senate.

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… Or go to the ballot in February

Rather than pursue removal of the redistricting commissioners, many senators seem keener on asking voters to revamp the redistricting process – potentially through a proposition on the Feb. 28 presidential preference primary ballot.

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Seel suggests mapping firm retaliated for his bills (access required)

Rep. Carl Seel suggested that the Independent Redistricting Commission’s mapping consultants may have put him in a less Republican district in retaliation for his legislative record.

Speaking at Monday’s meeting of the Joint Legislative Committee on Redistricting, Seel, R-Phoenix, questioned why Strategic Telemetry – which has ties to Democratic candidates and causes, including President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign – put him a new district that eliminated much of his conservative support.

Questioned after he made his public comments, Seel told the Arizona Capitol Times that he is not accusing Strategic Telemetry or the IRC of gerrymandering him into a less favorable district – and he had no proof that such a conspiracy took place.

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