Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The secretive GOP redistricting organization FAIR Trust has finally ended the charade and registered as a lobbyist for the Tea-Publican Caucus. Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports FAIR Trust registers as lobbyist in redistricting fight - Arizona Capitol Times:
FAIR Trust, the high-powered, highly secretive legal team being used by incumbent Republican politicians to try to guide the redistricting commission’s decisions, is now an official lobbyist.
The tight-lipped group of attorneys, which represents Arizona’s Republican congressional delegation and GOP leaders in the Legislature, formally registered as a lobbyist with the Secretary of State Oct. 26, according to recent lobbyist filing.
The group had consistently resisted being called a lobbyist, because the state’s lobbying rules technically could not be applied to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission.
Those rules only apply to the Legislature.
But on Oct. 26 – the same day Gov. Jan Brewer took the first steps to dismantle the redistricting commission – FAIR Trust lead attorney David Cantelme filed the paperwork that would allow the group to legally lobby lawmakers with regard to redistricting.
According to its lobbyist registration, the stated goal is “to ensure compliance with the U.S. Constitution, federal law, the Arizona Constitution and Arizona law in the drafting of congressional and legislative districts.”
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Although a previous Arizona Capitol Times report uncovered who is involved and what measures the group has taken to remain as secret as possible, the group’s new designation doesn’t change much about how little the group will have to tell the public.
“They’re going to have to disclose their expenses and file annual reports,” a Secretary of State representative said.
Financial contributions made to the group and their membership are still able to be kept away from public scrutiny.
Cantelme could not be reached for comment, but Michael Liburdi, another FAIR Trust attorney, said the group’s change of heart on their lobbyist status was tied to the Legislature’s ability to formally comment on redistricting proposals.
“The decision to register as a lobbyist comes from the Legislature’s constitutional right to comment on the IRC’s draft maps,” Liburdi said. “It begins and ends there.”
Yeah? How about the legislature's use of threats and intimidation of the AIRC by FAIR Trust lawyers/lobbyists prior to ending this charade and registering as lobbyists? There are ethical and perhaps legal issues raised by their actions. They should be put under the microscope for close scrutiny.