U.S. Supreme Court Will Decide Fate of ‘Matching Funds’ to Political Campaigns

PHOENIX – The U.S. Supreme Court announced today the justices will formally consider the Goldwater Institute’s challenge to the use of matching funds when tax dollars are given to state election candidates to finance their campaigns.

The Supreme Court will review McComish v. Bennett, a lawsuit filed by the Goldwater Institute in 2008 to protect the First Amendment rights of privately funded candidates running for the Arizona Legislature. Oral arguments will be heard by the Supreme Court after January 2011, and Goldwater Institute attorney Nick Dranias will represent those parties who have challenged matching funds as unconstitutional.

“We’re ecstatic that we have a chance to put an end to the worst feature of taxpayer subsidies for politicians,” said Clint Bolick, the Goldwater Institute’s litigation director. “The matching-funds system brazenly violates the First Amendment right of candidates to speak without having government put its thumb on the scale for their opponents.”

Since 1998, Arizona has offered tax dollars to fund campaigns in state elections under the Citizens Clean Elections Act. Candidates who join the system are given a base amount of tax money when the campaign begins, and also receive an almost dollar-for-dollar match for fundraising or spending by privately funded candidates beyond a specific amount. This system deters some privately funded candidates from raising or spending money to reach voters because that would automatically aid their publicly funded opponents as well. The system also deters independent expenditure groups by providing funding matches when such groups buy advertising to oppose taxpayer-funded candidates.

In January 2010, U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver issued a permanent injunction against Arizona’s use of matching funds, ruling that Supreme Court precedent stood against any government program that causes private fundraising or spending to subsidize opponents. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the ruling five months later, while two other federal courts of appeal in other lawsuits have issued opinions similar to Judge Silver’s.

The Supreme Court took the extraordinary step in June 2010 of blocking the Ninth Circuit’s decision, even before a formal appeal had been filed, allowing Judge Silver’s injunction to be enforced until the high court takes final action on this case. As a result, matching funds were not available to Arizona’s publicly financed candidates during the 2010 elections.

The Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation represents Arizona Senator-elect John McComish, Representative Nancy McLain and Tony Bouie, who was a candidate for the Legislature. The Institute for Justice joined forces with the Goldwater Institute’s fight for free speech by consolidating a previously filed lawsuit with McComish v. Bennett.

Read more about this and other lawsuits filed by the Goldwater Institute to protect individual rights and keep government within its constitutional limits at www.goldwaterinstitute.org/litigation. The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Ward Connerly on where we go now that Prop. 107 has passed

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A majority of voters supported Prop. 107; it’s not racist
The City of Tucson’s blatant 7% bid preferences are now over

by Ward Connerly

The concept commonly known as “affirmative action” in America has a noble beginning. Originated during one of the most tumultuous periods in American history – the “civil rights” era – affirmative action was launched in 1961 to usher in a policy of nondiscrimination.

By the mid-1960′s, affirmative action had been transformed into a series of policies and programs whose purpose was to increase the number of “minorities” in the public workplace, in pubic contracting, and in public college enrollment.

Throughout its history, it has been widely acknowledged that affirmative action, as it was evolving, could not endure. In fact, at frequent times following its creation, even members of the United States Supreme Court, while affirming the continued use of race as a constitutional approach in certain areas of American life, strongly suggested that the day would come when affirmative action would have to yield to the fundamental principle of equal treatment for all Americans without regard to race or color.

A prominent Arizonan, former Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, opined in 2003 that “a core purpose of the Fourteenth Amendment was to do away with all governmentally imposed discrimination based on race. Accordingly, race-conscious … policies must be limited in time. Enshrining a permanent justification for racial preferences would offend this fundamental equal protection principle.”

For the appropriate time to end race preferences in Arizona, “that time is now,” the Arizona Republic so eloquently put it in one of its editorials. By a 60-40 percent margin, the people of Arizona concurred on November 2, 2010.

Now, with the election behind us, the process of applying principles of true equality to the public sector of Arizona life must begin in earnest. As one who has been involved in all five of the statewide ballot initiatives in America that have ended race preferences. I believe it might be useful to address some of the criticisms and concerns expressed before and in the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 107.

First, there are those who suggest some sort of “right wing” effort underway to “turn back the clock” on equal opportunity in Arizona. Construing Proposition 107 as part of some “anti-ethnic” conspiracy is blatantly false, especially when one considers that an identical initiative passed in such blue states of California, Michigan and Washington by margins of 55-45, 58-42 an 59-41, respectively.

The fundamental pillars of American society are freedom and the principle of equal treatment for all without regard to the color of our skin, our gender or our ethnic background. People flock to our nation from all around the globe in pursuit of a better life for themselves and their families based on these principles. Implicit in these principles is the belief in the concept of individual merit.

Some fear that applying colorblind government will have the “unintended consequence” of erasing “diversity” at the university and in the workplace. That fear is misplaced, first because “diversity” involves more than skin color and ethnic background; and second, if we accept the premise that “civil rights” belong to all of us, regardless of skin color, then diversity must necessarily be secondary to equality.

This does not mean that the university and other institutions are forbidden from casting a wide net when they recruit. To the contrary, such strategies are encouraged by the spirit of 107 to ensure that nondiscrimination is occurring.

University of Arizona President Robert Shelton is correct when he states that there are race neutral methods of pursuing “diversity” within the legal framework of 107 and we offer our assistance to him in the pursuit of that objective. A simple solution to enable many so-called diversity programs and scholarships to continue is to expand their access to all, without regard to race or gender. As a matter of equity and fairness public funds should not be used to discriminate. This prohibition also applies to private funds routed through the University.

On the other hand, explicit preferences in contracting, such as one being implemented by a major Arizona municipality, cannot survive the demand of 107 for equal treatment. Such contracting bid preferences must be terminated. In their place, however, nothing forbids a municipality from “casting a wide net” among small businesses by assisting with the removal of procurement obstacles that confront small business owners of all ethnic and gender backgrounds.

As one who traveled from one end of Arizona to the other – and all parts in between – I can attest to the goodwill of those who voted in favor of 107. Their motives are pure and their faith in the principle that all of us are “created equal” is now a constitutional dictate of Arizona.

In 2011, we will observe the fiftieth anniversary of “affirmative action.” It has served a useful purpose during its existence. But, like many government creations, the dynamics of a vibrant and creative society such as America, have made government-sanctioned discrimination an unacceptable cure for the disease of racial discrimination. We must now live out the American creed of equal treatment from our government for all of our people.

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LeAnn Hull for Phoenix Mayor Fundraiser

This just breaking on Facebook!

LeAnn Hull will be conducting a fundraiser in her bid for Mayor of Phoenix. In August, LeAnn lost her bid to win the GOP nomination for congress in CD-3. Now she’s thrown her hat in the ring for Mayor and conducting a fundraiser on Wednesday, December 1st at the Club E in Phoenix. The official Facebook fan page states:

LeAnn Hull will be speaking on the future of Phoenix. She will have the Phoenix Suns Managing Partner, Robert G. Sarver there too! So, come on out and cheer on LeAnn Hull!!!

Hull’s entry in the race now brings the list of GOP candidates to two following the recent announcement of Wes Gullet.

A PRECEDENT IS NOT A PRINCIPLE

A precedent is not a principle

By Emil Franzi, Special to The Explorer
Published:
November-24-2010 12:10am
The massive gains made nationally by Republicans in 2010 differed from those in 1994 in several ways.

In 2010, the Democrats saw it coming and contained losses as well as they could. That the losses were greater at almost all levels does not mean that Democrats didn’t do an excellent job of keeping those losses from being much bigger.

The biggest area for GOP gains was in the heartland, starting in Pennsylvania and ending around the Mississippi, with sporadic victories scattered from there. The GOP had smaller gains in both the Northeast and Far West. The South and other parts of the West were already heavily GOP, and gains were smaller by comparison.

A major difference over the last 16 years was the large increase in at-home voting. It is no longer necessary to haul marginal voters to the polls. Get an early ballot request, or, better, put them on a permanent list and then drop by to make sure the ballot gets filled out and delivered. That clearly requires a large work force of volunteers or paid workers. Democrats were effective in matching increased Republican enthusiasm with a bigger street force, and tighter voter identification, particularly in the West, where at-home voting is in vogue.

Besides accruing to those with the most money and auxiliaries (public employee unions come to mind), the large increase in at-home voting is responsible for the agonizingly slow counts while all the ballots that came in on Election Day are run through the complex process currently mandated.

In most wave elections, the close ones go to the side of the wave. That did not happen in 2010, proving once more that a precedent is not a principle.

2010 was not, as some Democrat pundits still believe, an “anti-incumbent” election. It was clearly anti-Democrat, proving that too many Democrat-leaning pundits are in denial.

It also wasn’t a pro-Republican election. Americans have rejected much of the leftist agenda. They are now giving the GOP a chance to present an alternative. The next election will be won not only over the conflicting substance of those agendas, but in their presentation. As President Obama has yet to learn, both are required.

Republicans and conservatives gained much for future recruitment and should be able to field a higher quality of candidate in 2012. Many voters choose beyond party and ideology. Quality Tea Party candidates like Marco Rubio in Florida and Rand Paul in Kentucky won big, flakes like Christine O’Donnell in Delaware didn’t.

The GOP may get up off the couch now in places it hasn’t, like Delaware, where the party was so moribund that O’Donnell was actually their nominee in the last two Senate elections. Delaware is also the only state to lose an incumbent Republican state senator in 2010.

District 26 has finally demonstrably proven that you don’t need to be a moderate Republican to win. For years, northern Pima County with few exceptions sent a variety of centrists and liberals north based on the eroding myth that it was all that could be elected. The myth even spread to neighboring District 25.

District 26 just returned conservative Sen. Al Melvin by over 6,000 votes, up from 2,000 last time. On the House side, Conservative Terri Proud lead the ticket and not only knocked off Democrat Nancy Young Wright, but ran 2,000 votes ahead of sometimes conservative incumbent Republican Vic Williams. In District 25, all three seats were taken by conservatives by even greater margins.

This happened for three reasons. More conservatives moved in, many existing Republicans and most independents moved to the right, and Democrats moved to the left.

More later.

Fate of many in the hands of a few – Pullen impaled on the stake of a flawed election

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fate of many in the hands of a few

Pullen impaled on the stake of a flawed election

We value fair play and honesty, and it makes our blood boil when we discover that there are those among us who have been throwing monkey wrenches into the electoral process. Our investigative team has looked at the evidence, and it is now clear that some dark souls have tampered with the normal process of electing State Committeemen for the Republican Party in Arizona. This is an outrage.

We first heard about it on the radio a few days ago – Randy Pullen, the hard-working, selfless, highly-effective Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party was blocked from reelection as a State Committeeman in his own district, LD11. Being elected as a state committeeman is a prerequisite to run for chairman. Therefore, a relatively small number of Precinct Committeemen (PCs) were able to deprive the rest of the state, the chance to reelect this stalwart.  The news is astonishing. Nobody in the entire state has done more and taken less to advance the party than Randy Pullen.

What were the PCs thinking? Since Pullen took over the leadership of the party, in election after election, even when the odds were stacked a mile high against GOP candidates, he led the way to an ever increasing crescendo of victories, culminating in the blockbuster win of 2010 that now gives Republicans a veto proof legislature. Nobody can suggest that Pullen has been anything but very successful, but maybe that is the problem. You have to wonder who in Arizona would thwart the will of the majority by dumping, through manipulation, anyone who advances the causes so near and dear to us – sealed borders, immigration control, tight fiscal policies and more. The perpetrators are so-called Republicans, because only they have their hands of the levers of power within the party, but who is behind them? We the people are already frothing at the mouth from the indignities heaped on us by the Democrats. This skullduggery within the GOP is clearly over the top, and it has to cease.

A track record like Pullen’s is not created by wishful thinking. This man tirelessly works full time for the good of the GOP and the people of Arizona, and continues to do so even after this shameful display of no confidence. Not only does he not draw a dime of salary, he spends his own money to handle expenses. Randy Pullen is a man at the top of his game, and is worth a king’s ransom in private industry, yet he has chosen to serve us for no tangible reward at all. What infuriates us is that a small handful of sinister people can endanger the entire state to serve their nefarious agenda.

This was no accident.  We have to wonder who is behind this. Elections do not occur in a vacuum. Much of what is manifested at the ballot box is dictated by hard work and preparation behind the curtain. To unseat someone of Pullen’s caliber and accomplishment, and to do it under the radar, requires a well oiled machine of dedicated, undercover operatives. They clearly have done the bidding of those whose interests are served by bringing down anyone of a differing political alignment. Why did this happen?

Fellow citizens, we face grave challenges. The extreme hard left wing of the Democratic Party did not evaporate and blow away in the 2010 midterm election. Moreover, neither are the squishy, go along to get along moderates” of the Republican Party rolling over and playing dead. Both of these groups are hell bent on molding this nation in their image, and it is not one that serves us well. As never before, we have had a glimpse of their rotten plans. We want nothing to do with their vision for America, because it does not include us. It’s all about them. Is this what the Founding Fathers envisioned for us? Is this why American soldiers have repeatedly gone to war, giving of their very lives? We think not, and do not intend to sit meekly by the side while scoundrels prevail. If fight we must, fight we will.

Over the next two years, there is an enormous amount of work to be done. Arizona, despite its size, plays a huge role in the national scene. With the 2012 election looming just over the horizon, we need all the help we can get to pull our nation off the rocks, sailing full steam ahead in the right direction. We need people like Randy Pullen at the helm. With campaign hardened experience, proven in battle, Pullen is now forced to the sidelines just when we need our most experienced leaders for the presidential cycle. This is an outrage!

We deserve to know who pulled the rug out from under us and the reasons why.

C O M M O N  S E N S E is determined keep digging until we get to the truth.

Kyl against First Amendment – Votes for Internet censorship

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Kyl against First Amendment
Votes for Internet censorship
As reported in Aletho NewsThis is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill – despite a bunch of law professors explaining to them how this law is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What’s really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it here because it’s seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy. There’s very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we figured it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet this morning:
  • Patrick J. Leahy – Vermont
  • Herb Kohl – Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions – Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein – California
  • Orrin G. Hatch – Utah
  • Russ Feingold – Wisconsin
  • Chuck Grassley – Iowa
  • Arlen Specter – Pennsylvania
  • Jon Kyl – Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer – New York
  • Lindsey Graham – South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin – Illinois
  • John Cornyn – Texas
  • Benjamin L. Cardin – Maryland
  • Tom Coburn – Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse – Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar – Minnesota
  • Al Franken – Minnesota
  • Chris Coons – Delaware

This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like (in this case, content some of its largest campaign contributors do not like). We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don’t buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement. This law takes down entire websites based on the government’s say-so. First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It’s really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.

Arizona Lawmakers Have 100 Things to be Thankful For

PHOENIX – As members of Arizona’s 50th Legislature prepare for their first session in January 2011, the Goldwater Institute offers an abundance of recommendations to save money, improve education and advance freedom in our state with 100 Ideas for 100 Days.

“The answer to the riddle of Arizona’s budget deficit is getting government to focus on core functions,” said Darcy Olsen, president and CEO of the Goldwater Institute.

All year long, Goldwater Institute policy analysts identify and research practical solutions to problems facing Arizona. 100 Ideas for 100 Days brings these solutions together in one publication that lawmakers can keep at their desks and refer to often. The public can gauge the Legislature’s success next year by watching to see how many of these 100 Ideas become law.

Topics in 100 Ideas for 100 Days are organized by the traditional names of legislative committees. Ideas that would help to reduce excessive spending are noted with a Money $aver sign. Every suggestion in 100 Ideas can be enacted independently of the others.

The ideas mentioned include:

• No. 13. Create a system of state contributions to Education Savings Accounts for special needs and foster care students.
• No. 35. Pass a resolution calling on Congress to convene a convention for proposing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would require approval from a majority of the states to increase the federal debt.
• No. 44. Ask voters to approve a state constitutional amendment giving the Treasurer authority to certify budgets as balanced.

Each of the 100 ideas provides a link to more information about the idea or contact information for a Goldwater Institute analyst who can provide additional details.

The Goldwater Institute has been publishing 100 Ideas for 100 Days each year since 2006. Dozens of past ideas have been introduced as bills and signed into law, including suggestions to make government more transparent, to expand school choice options, and to protect private property.

Click here to read 100 Ideas for 100 Days. The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog that develops innovative, principled solutions to issues facing the states and whose work is made possible by the generosity of its supporters.

Amendment to limit national debt will appeal to states

by Nick Dranias
Goldwater Institute

Any effort to call for an amendments convention under Article V of the U.S. Constitution must “make the sale” to 34 state legislatures and “close the deal” with 38 states to ratify any amendment. Resolutions to apply for a convention must consider the political appeal of potential suggestions. The National Debt Relief Amendment sets the standard for a highly marketable idea.

The National Debt Relief Amendment says, “An increase in the federal debt requires approval from a majority of the legislatures of the separate States.” Anyone can understand what this means: 26 state legislatures would have to “co-sign” for any increase of the federal debt.

Rather than introducing an entirely new idea into the Constitution, this amendment would balance federal power with the power of the states, just like other checks and balances in the Constitution. In fact, the amendment would move the constitutional system closer to its original design—restoring a portion of the power and representation the states had before the 17th Amendment replaced state legislative election of senators with popular elections. What state legislator of any political persuasion will refuse a bigger voice and more power relative to the federal government? At the same time, the people’s right to vote for their U.S. senator remains fully protected.

In short, everyone wins with the National Debt Relief Amendment, except those who think we need unlimited federal debt. It is the first genuinely marketable amendment that’s missing from the Constitution. A similarly powerful pitch is needed by anyone undertaking the monumental task of amending the Constitution through the Article V process.

Nick Dranias holds the Clarence J. and Katherine P. Duncan Chair for Constitutional Government and is director of the Joseph and Dorothy Donnelly Moller Center for Constitutional Government at the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Amending the Constitution by Convention: A Complete View of the Founders’ Plan

Goldwater Institute: Learning from Experience: How the States Used Article V Applications in America’s First Century

RestoringFreedom.org: “A powerful idea whose time has come

RestoringFreedom.org: Model legislation

Tips for Helping you Survive Your Government Grope

Feel Safer, America?

Thank you to John McCain and other Republicans for voting to create the TSA that has resulted in this situation.  While Napolitano has widened this outrage, this is what you get when our party strays from the constitution and from its roots.  Republicans have always opposed an internal national police force to “monitor” the law abiding ala the Ministry of Internal Affairs in the old Soviet Union.

You asked for it, you got it!  Those who trade liberty for security, will have neither.

Tips for helping you Survive Your Government Grope

NOTE:  Even if you choose to go through a scanner (which will produce a picture of you naked and subject you to radiation)* you still may get pulled out for an “Enhanced Pat Down Search.”

Before a TSA employee puts their hand on you – insist that they put on a clean gloves.  Here is a short list of parasites and infections that could be transferred from an earlier passenger to you:

E. Coli

The symptoms of usually appear after about a week of being infected with the bacteria. Abdominal cramps followed by watery diarrhea are the first symptoms this infection. The dehydration caused by the loss of fluids makes an individual feel sick and tired. Soon, it makes sores in the intestines and the stools become bloody. An individual also might suffer from mild fever and nausea or vomiting.

Staph Infection

Staph skin infections, including MRSA, generally start as small red bumps that resemble pimples, boils or spider bites. These can quickly turn into deep, painful abscesses that require surgical draining. Sometimes the bacteria remain confined to the skin. But they can also burrow deep into the body, causing potentially life-threatening infections in bones, joints, surgical wounds, the bloodstream, heart valves and lungs.

Pneumonia, Colds and Flu

Small droplets of fluid containing the virus can be wiped off the person before you and transferred to you.

Body Lice

Body lice are unable to burrow into the skin. Although a few body lice may be seen clinging to body hairs, most are on the clothing of an infected person. Body lice and their eggs are most abundant along the seams of clothes worn close to the body. Someone infested with body lice typically will have 10 or fewer active lice on their skin at any one time, but the clothing may contain many dozens or hundreds. Infestations of body lice are more common in the winter months, when destitute people tend to wear many layers of clothing for long periods and have more contact with the clothing of others who may be infested.

Bed Bugs

The reason why this invasion is spreading is bed bugs get in the clothing of people at hotels who help bring them to their new homes.

REMEMBER:  The Enhanced Pat Down searchers hands runs up and down the moist private crevices of other travelers body’s before he/she comes to you.  Unless you want their bodily secretions on you, then insist on a new pair of gloves.

 

Look at what TSA is touching

Ties: In 2004 University of Birmingham researchers studied the ties of 40 doctors and found that all had potentially dangerous levels of bacteria. 

Hair: That’s where lice and their eggs are.

Crotches:  At least one gram of E. Coli in this region

Inside Underwear

An ABC news employee reported a TSA Screener actually put her hands into her underwear.  The groping “felt like a gynecological exam.”

INSIST ON CLEAN GLOVES TODAY, Write your Congressman tomorrow.  Ask your elected officials to support Ron Paul’s American Travelers Dignity Act.  But your Congressman may not know about this, because they are given special treatment by TSA.

*Why Should You Object to the Scanner?

  1. Pilots and Flight Attendants Union both urged their members to opt for their own safety
  2. Manufacturers can’t be sued for faulty design under the 2002 Homeland Security Act
  3. It’s radiation.  Unlike a medical x-ray that passes through the body, this stays in your skin.
  4. Google Dr. John Sedat’s letter to TSA warning of dangers of “Back Scatter Technology.”
  5. You don’t want strangers to see you naked.
  6. Ask the TSA employees if they can wear radiation detection badges.  They should, but they are prohibited.

Why should you be forced to put your health and dignity at risk just to travel in the “land of the free and home of the brave”?

The 4th Amendment to US Constitution: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated

Teaparty, anyone?

E.J. Montini interview with Andrew Thomas about what the County Supervisors did to him

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Monday, November 22, 2010

Thomas will eventually be vindicated

Explains that he pursued principles with vigor rather than walk away wishing he would have done more

Andrew Thomas says he will be ‘vindicated’

by E. J. Montini, columnist – Nov. 21, 2010
The Arizona Republic

It was last Thursday morning and for some reason Andrew Thomas was not feeling down in the dumps. If anything he seemed much more upbeat and easygoing than when he was the Maricopa County attorney.

Still, on that day newspapers reported that an independent prosecutor had scoffed at charges that Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio had filed in nine high-profile public-corruption cases.

The Navajo County attorney announced that he agreed with the U.S. attorney in saying that the cases had “no merit.”

Add that to the ethics charges Thomas faces with the State Bar of Arizona, lawsuits filed against him and Arpaio by some of the officials they investigated, and the fact that he recently lost a close election for state attorney general and Thomas has reason to feel dejected.

But he’s not.

“I have utter confidence that when the facts come out in front of neutral people that not only will I be vindicated but it will be shown that I took on very tough causes for no political benefit,” he told me, adding, “But that may take time.”

Thomas is in the news a lot these days, almost always connected to the trouble surrounding the corruption cases. But while he admits that “political insiders” and the “elite” may focus on such things, he believes the public still views him more as a crime fighter and crusader against illegal immigration.

“I remain the only county attorney who has done anything substantively on illegal immigration, and I think that, by itself, is telling,” he said.

“Taking a tough position in politics is not often in a person’s political interest . . . I would far rather serve the public and pursue the principles I believe in with appropriate vigor than walk away from public office wishing I had done more. And I can honestly say that I left everything I had out on the arena on the issues that mattered to me.”

Some political experts believe if Thomas had concentrated on illegal immigration (he helped to write Senate Bill 1070) and not gone after county supervisors and judges, he might have won the AG’s job.

“I could have ducked those issues, but I took my job seriously, and when cases came to me that I thought were bona fide that those matters needed to be looked into,” he said. “And I think in the end people will see that I was acting in good faith tackling a very tough situation.”

Besides, he believes his election loss had more to do with being outspent by his opponent, the former state schools superintendent, Tom Horne.

Still, there might not have been an SB 1070 and not much of an illegal-immigration debate if Thomas hadn’t made “stop illegal immigration” the first of his two winning county-attorney campaigns. Yet now, when the issue is at its peak, he is out of public office.

He recently started a private practice (viewable online at andrewthomaslaw.com) and said of the transition to private life, “I’ve been getting clients who have seen me battling tough special interests while I was in office and who see me as someone who can do that for them in private practice. I enjoy that and look forward to doing justice with individual cases.”

What about the future? Does Thomas see himself getting back into politics?

He laughed and said, “Well, my tour of duty is completed. I’m not particularly spoiling for that. I will say that I’ve had the unique opportunity to serve in public office and to try to promote the principles I’ve written about and believe in, and I’m very grateful that the people of Maricopa County twice gave me that opportunity. But in the meantime I’m enjoying private life.”

Pausing again to add, “As much as I can.”

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