SCANDAL: State Bar imploding – removes its former president, a Democrat, for defending Thomas

Ernie Calderon
In an MSNBC/East Valley Tribune article, powerful and well-liked former bar president Ernie Calderon says the State Bar has retaliated against him for speaking out against the Bar’s serious ethical misconduct in targeting County Attorney Thomas.

A prominent Valley attorney says he is facing retaliation by the State Bar of Arizona for speaking out against the organization’s wide-ranging ethics probe of Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas. Ernest Calderon learned on Friday the State Bar plans to remove him from a position he has held since 2004 representing the organization on the national stage. The reason? “Because I said something positive about Andy Thomas,” Calderon said. A Democrat, Calderon said he “never voted for Andy Thomas and I don’t agree with his immigration policy.”

In one probe after another, Calderon determined none against Thomas were legitimate. Calderon felt qualified to make that call because he previously worked for the State Bar reviewing hundreds of similar investigations. Calderon served as the organization’s president from 2002 to 2003, sat on the governing board for seven years and has served on many Bar committees. Beyond that, Calderon is a member of the Arizona Board of Regents, appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2004, and the governor’s P-20 Council on education. He is a past or current board member of dozens of state and local organizations.

Read the rest of the article.
Read the entire story about the bar investigation.

Hershberger a big hit with Planned Parenthood.

     Republican National Committeewoman from Pennsylvania Christine Olson co-hosted a Planned Parenthood Advocates of Arizona fundraiser for candidate Pete Hershberger last night. The soiree was actually in district 28 at the quaint Arizona Inn. About 15 to 20 people showed up for hors d’oeuvres at the $125 event. Even former State Senator Toni Hellon attended. Democrat donor Joan Cauthorn was listed as the other host besides Olson.

     Thursday night’s event continues Hershberger’s knack for raising funds from out-of-district special interest groups like Maricopa County lawyers, lobbyists, and PAC’s.

     Hershberger is in a tough position in the primary. If he raises too little money he will have trouble getting out his message. Too much and he will just end up funding the Al Melvin campaign thanks to the voter approved Citizens Clean Elections Commission.

Press Release: Preston Corn Files Petitions in CD1

Preston Korn Files Nomination Petitions
For Immediate Release: May 29, 2008

(Flagstaff, Arizona) – Preston Korn has filed his nomination petitions with the Secretary of State on Tuesday, May 28th just after greeting the President’s plane at Sky Harbor International. 

Preston Korn was privileged to be an integral part of making it possible for four living generations of Eagle Scouts to meet the President of the United States.

Korn explained, “Tom Boggess IV had told me that his son, Shelton, would soon be earning his Eagle Scout.  Shelton had worked very hard to earn his Eagle badge, particularly for his great-grandfather, Thomas Shelton Boggess, Jr., an Eagle Scout himself, whose health had been beginning to fail.” 
 
With Shelton’s achievement, the Boggess family now had four living generations of Eagle Scouts.
 
“I believed that the Boggess family had achieved something unique and special and wanted to help in any way I could so that Tom Boggess, Jr. could meet the President with his descendents, who were also Eagle Scouts.”

“I decided I was going to do what I could to help Mr. Boggess meet the President one more time.  I contacted a few people who I thought could help and Ken Bennett came through with a phone call to Karl Rove.  Eventually the call came from the White House, the arrangements were made, and Tuesday all four generations were able to greet President Bush at the bottom of the steps of Air Force One in Phoenix.”

Korn says he “was honored to be there with the Boggess family.”

Preston Korn is now the second Republican to file petitions for Arizona’s First Congressional District.

“I believe it’s important for the people to have a conservative representative who lives in this district and, thus, better understands the needs of those living in the district”

“Thank you to all those who have helped collect signatures to make this campaign possible.” Korn concluded.

For more information on Preston Korn’s Congressional Campaign, please visit his website at www.prestonkorn.com

Press Releases: Shadegg Endorses Sydney Hay

Congressman John Shadegg Endorses Sydney Hay
For Immediate Release: May 28, 2008

(Phoenix, Arizona) – Saying “We need you in the halls of Congress,” Congressman John Shadegg told Sydney Hay of his endorsement today joining both Congressman Jeff Flake and Congressman Trent Franks in uniting the Arizona U.S. House Republicans behind Sydney Hay’s candidacy in the First District of Arizona.

“It is indeed an honor to have the endorsement of someone whose work in Congress I have deeply admired,” said Sydney. “Congressman John Shadegg is a leader in Arizona’s finest tradition and I am truly grateful to have his support.”

 

Also issued today…

 

Republican Legislators in CD One Rally Behind Sydney Hay
For Immediate Release: May 28, 2008

(State Capitol, Phoenix, Arizona) – Republican legislators in Congressional District One unite behind Sydney Hay for Congress.

While still divided on several important legislative issues and budget items in this legislative session, one thing is clearly uniting the Republican members of the Arizona legislature in CD One – Sydney Hay’s candidacy.

Those who have signed a support pledge backing Sydney are:
Senator Jake Flake and Representative Bill Konopnicki of District 5, Representatives Lucy Mason and Andy Tobin of District 1, Senator Ron Gould and Representatives Nancy McLain and Trish Groe of District 3, and Senator Jack Harper and Representatives Judy Burges and Tom Boone of District 4.

Representative Bill Konopnicki, who at one time considered running for this seat himself, said, “Sydney Hay, with her natural resources and small business background, will well-represent this district, one of the most important natural resources districts in America. I look forward to working with her on issues vital to our rural economy.”

Added Representative Nancy McLain, “I have worked with Sydney Hay on meaningful change that has lowered taxes, provided educational opportunities for families and cut government red tape on small businesses. As a small business owner myself, I believe it is vitally important that we elect Sydney Hay to fill this seat in Congress.”

Humphries files signatures.

     The Trent Humphries campaign is reporting that on Tuesday they filed 710 signatures with the Secretary of State. The minimum number for LD 26 is 470 so the campaign is confident with their numbers. The people at the Secretary of State’s office did remark that signatures were coming in much slower than two years ago. Look for a rush at the last minute or possibly for some candidates to miss the mark.

     The Al Melvin campaign was the first to file in the state. Marilyn Zerull turned in her signatures in early May. The Democrat candidates only need 375 signatures and Don Jorgensen has already submitted his.

County Attorney Andrew Thomas takes on AZ State Bar Ass.

Supreme Court Asked to Intervene in Bar Matters
Legal Experts Cite Extensive Ethical Misconduct by Bar Officials

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 27, 2008
For more information contact:
Barnett Lotstein, Special Assistant County Attorney
(602) 506-1527 (office) or 390-7884 (cell)

The County Attorney’s Office today filed a brief with the Arizona Supreme Court asking the court to terminate or, at minimum, refer to an independent special master all State Bar inquiries regarding the County Attorney and other prosecutors in related matters due to serious ethical misconduct by Bar officials and attorneys.

The petition for special action was filed after evidence has mounted that former members of the Maricopa County judiciary improperly enlisted the State Bar, which is an arm of the judiciary, to begin retaliatory investigations of Thomas and other prosecutors due to their criticism of several county judges last year. This sudden flood of investigations occurred right after Thomas criticized members of the county judiciary over their handling of Proposition 100, the ballot measure approved by 78 percent of Arizonans that ended the right to bail for illegal immigrants accused of serious felonies. Growing evidence has made clear the Bar investigations, which legal experts have unanimously concluded are frivolous, were intended to retaliate for the Proposition 100 controversy, as well as to intimidate prosecutors into not criticizing county judges.

Thomas stated, “Proposition 100 is the law of the land today because I took on the judges who refused to enforce it. Now, some judges have reportedly retaliated by encouraging the State Bar to launch improper investigations of my prosecutors and me. Our office will not be intimidated. And I will continue to speak out and defend the will of the people.”

Accompanying the brief were affidavits from five esteemed experts in legal ethics stating Thomas had acted properly in all areas being scrutinized by the Bar and had committed no violations of the rules of professional responsibility. These experts are: Thomas Zlaket, former Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court; Jack La Sota, former Attorney General of Arizona; Ernest Calderon, former State Bar President; Geoffrey Hazard, former Yale Law School professor and perhaps the nation’s leading expert on legal ethics; and Michael Alan Schwartz, former chief counsel at the State Bar of Michigan.
In addition, Hazard and Schwartz were asked to opine on the propriety of actions by State Bar officials. Both concluded that senior Bar officials and attorneys in Arizona have acted improperly in their conduct of these inquiries.

Also released was an affidavit from Chief Assistant County Attorney Sally Wells. She affirmed she had spoken to a senior official at the State Bar who had said “retired judges” visited the State Bar last year and urged the Bar to “do something” about Thomas. They made this complaint because of Thomas’ public criticism of county judges and judicial rulings, statements which Thomas had a clear constitutional right to offer. They urged retaliatory action by the Bar in the absence of any evidence that Thomas or any other prosecutor in his office had violated any of the rules of professional responsibility.

Immediately after this visit by retired judges in the fall of 2007, the Bar launched multiple investigations of Thomas and other prosecutors and attorneys working for Maricopa County. The Bar commenced six separate investigations of Thomas. It launched an investigation of Barnett Lotstein, a long-time senior prosecutor in the office, simply for writing newspaper columns defending Thomas from inaccurate criticism related to Proposition 100 made by Presiding Judge Barbara Rodriguez Mundell. The Bar also began an investigation of an attorney with the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office after he publicly criticized rulings of Judge Anna Baca. Her rulings eventually were overturned by the Arizona Court of Appeals.

In recent days, as Bar officials learned of the County Attorney’s plans to file a special action with the Supreme Court, they abruptly announced, without explanation, they would terminate three of the six investigations of Thomas. However, those matters that remain are the subject of serious and continuing misconduct by Bar officials.

Maricopa County taxpayers have had to pay more than $300,000 in legal bills to defend against these inquiries. These bills continue to mount for Bar matters that, diverse legal experts unanimously agree, all lack merit.

The following misconduct by Bar officials and attorneys was identified in affidavits and exhibits submitted to the Supreme Court today:

After Superior Court judges urged the Bar to “do something” against Thomas, State Bar President Daniel McAuliffe launched a public relations campaign against the County Attorney intended to prejudice all attorneys and judges against him and his office. This included sending an article to every attorney and judge in Arizona in which McAuliffe claimed falsely that Thomas had accused every Maricopa County Superior Court judge of bias. There is strong evidence McAuliffe and other outside parties are involved in the investigations, as he and a public defender leaked news of these matters to the media weeks before Thomas received notice of them from the State Bar.

Chief Bar Counsel Robert Van Wyck, a Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Pro Tem, has admitted prejudice against the County Attorney’s Office because of the County Attorney’s handling of “illegal alien” criminal cases. He said he recused himself from all criminal cases filed by the County Attorney’s Office because he saw a “conflict” due to his disagreement with the office’s handling of cases against “illegal aliens” and the office’s “plea policies.” Yet he has refused to recuse himself from the Bar investigations.

In letters to former special prosecutor Dennis Wilenchik and a second, currently employed county prosecutor, Van Wyck misrepresented the ethical rules in an attempt to compel them to reveal privileged information. Van Wyck has taken the position that attorneys may not assert the attorney-client privilege or any other privilege in Bar investigations. This position is plainly contrary to law and the Supreme Court’s own rules. As a result of his efforts, Van Wyck succeeded in violating the attorney-client privilege in the Wilenchik matter.

When attorneys for Thomas complained to Van Wyck about these and other actions by the Bar, Van Wyck retaliated. He sent them another frivolous inquiry against Thomas that was three months old. This matter was dismissed recently, but only after taxpayers were forced to spend thousands of additional dollars to respond to it.

Van Wyck has pledged to give the privileged information he is seeking to adverse parties in current or prior litigation against the County Attorney’s Office or Maricopa County. Van Wyck is openly coordinating his investigations with attorneys for the New Times in its recent lawsuit against Maricopa County officials. As a result, the State Bar is seeking to compel the production of privileged information from Maricopa County attorneys to hand over to a plaintiff in active litigation against the county. He is doing this even though legal experts have unanimously agreed Thomas did not violate the rules of professional responsibility in his handling of the New Times matter.

Thomas added that unless the Supreme Court intervenes, the attorney-client privilege effectively will have been repealed in Arizona. The Bar has taken the position that any third party can lodge a complaint with the State Bar and misuse the Bar’s disciplinary process to extract privileged information and material from investigated attorneys. This includes complaints filed by plaintiffs or defendants in active litigation. This arrangement will disadvantage all individuals and businesses in Arizona that seek to rely on confidential legal advice, as that advice no longer is confidential. Serving as counsel for Thomas and the County Attorney’s Office in this matter are Leo Beus and Dan Cracchiolo. They are two prominent Arizona attorneys who co-founded two of Arizona’s leading law firms, Beus Gilbert and Burch & Cracchiolo.

Appearing at the press conference and speaking in support of the office’s actions today were Sheriff Joe Arpaio; Jack La Sota, former Attorney General of Arizona; Beus; Michael Alan Schwartz, a former prosecutor from Brooklyn, New York, who served as chief bar counsel for the State Bar of Michigan; Wells and Lotstein.

Cracchiolo, who was out of the country and unable to attend the press conference, provided a statement to the media: “I am a registered Democrat, and I happen to disagree with a number of Mr. Thomas’ policies on illegal immigration. However, I am very troubled by the actions of the State Bar towards him and his office. As a former prosecutor myself, I believe these actions should be of great concern to anyone who wants the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office to be able to do its job effectively. I hope the Supreme Court will intervene and correct these injustices.”

The State Bar reports to and is overseen by the Supreme Court, which is why this special action was filed directly with the court.

To those who gave all

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Also, don’t forget to tune into the PBS Memorial Day Concert on the National Mall. (link)

Iran Matters- Just ask Israel

I wrote about Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and you responded-over 30 comments.  Needless to say, we all see that Iran matters. Some agreed and saw reasons for my deep concern at having a novice like Barack Obama take on the US Presidency.   Yet, some of the worthy, and well spoken liberal friends seem to down play the problem of direct diplomacy with Iran.  I ask that you all take a moment and click the yuotube link to a video of Benjamin Netanyahu, former Israeli Prime Minister and current Likud party Chairman, speaking about Iran.

Netanyahu Speaks on Iran

-Gayle Plato-Besley

 

Direct from the candidate

Here is a guest editorial from Doug Sposito, legislative candidate for House of Representatives from LD 30*.

Gabby Giffords, a New Farm Bill and the Slow Bleed of Capitalism

Doug Sposito

Republican Candidate LD 30 State House

Newly elected Congress woman Gabriel Giffords (D) has been recently, touring District 8 touting congress’ new Farm bill. The Congresswoman’s support for the bill is largely, she claims, a support for the small organic rural farmer.

Until recently a farmer with an adjusted income of $2.5 million per year was eligible for farm subsidies. A House amendment to the bill has lowered the cap to $1 million. The Bush administration and Farm subsidy reformers want to end farm subsidy payments to any farmer earning an adjusted income above $200,000 per year.

Specifically, some 358,057 individuals received $9.8 billion in crop subsidy benefits alone between 2003 and 2005 and $34.8 billion in commodity program payments were made for those same program years. Arizona received less than 0.80% of the available commodity program payments. 

Montana Sen. Max Baucus (D) stated his committee will find an extra $8 billion to $10 billion for new social programs funded through the Farm Bill, by creating new agriculture-related tax proposals. This would be added to the bill’s baseline spending, estimated to be more than $280 billion over the next five years.

And how necessary are these subsidies to small organic farmers. Surveys have shown the organic food market is the fastest growing segment of agriculture in America with 63% of Americans stating they like to buy the organic label. The Organic Trade Association estimates that total organic sales in 2006 to be near $13.8 billion. Furthermore they expect to see an increase in sales of 70% by 2011. 

All commodity crop exports have increased — to a record $68.7 billion in 2006 — and are expected to reach $77 billion in 2007. In fact it is said that the current subsidy programs only encourage overproduction, with the surplus dumped on the international market making our southern neighbors economies even more vulnerable.

Ms. Giffords support for the bill and its millionaire cap seems a little curious. According to a USGS study of water consumption, 80% of all ground water pumped in our state is for agricultural irrigation. By the same study domestic residential use is only 0.8% of the total ground water.

This is apparently a contradictory position for a politician who champions its citizens to do more water conservation while handing out billions in federal welfare dollars that will only increase overall water use in the state.

A better explanation of Gabby’s support may be the litany of government expansion written in to the budget of the bill. 

There is expansion of the food stamp program, the free school lunch and now, breakfast programs. There are grants for free internet service and hundreds of millions of tax dollars earmarked for new start up and “Socially Disadvantaged Farmers”.

The top abusers of the farm welfare program can be found here. But what is most disturbing is how Congresswoman Giffords hides behind the hardworking small farmer disregarding our very real, ground water issues while her real support is for bill intended to expand the role of government and continue the slow bleed of capitalism

*Publication of this editorial is not meant as an endorsement of the author but rather an opportunity for candidates to directly reach our audience.

Disenfrancised Voters and Le Morte d’Arthur

 

 
What if a political advisory panel feels their candidate might be in for a close race in the upcoming election?  Crystal balls are notoriously cloudy and tea leaves tend to stain. So to secure  the future with the ‘inevitable’ party nominee, make sure your advising voodoo spin doctors brew the alchemy Merlin would envy when they start to “Rock the Vote”.
 
I can feel Terry McAullife’s far reaching boney Wraith-like hand resting on the shoulder of the popular voters; he created this disenfranchised voter debacle well before Hillary offered up her  Blue State Kool-Aid. Jonesing for a sip, the liberal media took the bait.  It’s all about naughty state party members trying to get their way, they broke the rules, and now they pay.    Poor voters.  Poor Democracy. I smell a rat, and a touch of poison too. 
 
Was it not Terry McAuliffe, former Democratic National Committee Chair, who said prior to the 2004 election:
 
“Move your primary too early, Terry McAuliffe warned, and Michigan will lose half its delegates to the 2004 Democratic convention…The closest they’ll get to Boston will be watching it on television…I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules.”(http://blogs.tampabay.com/buzz/2007/10/plenty-of-blame.html)
 
Clinton’s team saw an out:  Create a delegate disenfranchisement exit plan to help gobble up valuable delegates if Hillary starts to get heat from competition.  Make sure all of the votes are invalid, get the candidates to agree to not run or campaign in these huge states with mondo delegate counts, and if lucky, make sure only your candidate is on the ballot.  If all goes south, one can either claim the rules are the rules, or let the vote count, or just shout- “Do Over!”  This whole mess began the day the democrats nashed teeth about Al Gore not getting his win in 2000.  The democrats vowed retribution then.  But none really suspected the crazy fervor of lovestruck idolatry for Mr. Barack Obama. The Clinton Alchemists forgot about how important faith, worship, and a need for a hero really play with voters.  
 
So now, with at least three mastermindful exit strategies, what to do?  Lawyers never ask a question nor make an exit without a planned move.  Really, the voter disenfrancised makes perfect sense on paper.  But as I suspected months ago, the DNC and the Clinton machine cannot see beyond the strategy and science of brewing up witchy woman win.  They missed the boy-king scenario, Obama freeing  the sword from the stone.  Ah, the makings of a new Camelot.  
 
Yet while Hillary cannot win, she can still destroy.  Do any of these political hacks remember Le Morte d’Arthur?  Sir Thomas Malory did not pull punches.  Arthur’s reign goes down in defeat, death–to Avalon, legend taking back the boy-king to live another day. Everyone betrays Arthur.  I wince when I see the John F. Kennedy comparisons for Barack Obama.  Running for President can be inherently dangerous; just ask Bobby Kennedy’s kids.  Pile on a political adversary with virtual sociopathic-like advisors and I am truly afraid what the Clintonian Drones will do to win. They are about played out, desperate, financially strapped, and really angry.  Alas, Merlin is nowhere to be found.