Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Obama Law Firm Targets John Huppenthal

Democrats Appeal To Arizona Supreme Court To Take Conservative Candidate Name Off Arizona Ballot

PHOENIX, ARIZONA. JUNE 23, 2010.  Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, an international law firm that represented the Presidential campaigns of Barack Obama and John Kerry, has set its litigation gun sights on stopping the people of Arizona from having the opportunity to vote for John Huppenthal in the Republican Primary Election for Superintendent of Public Instruction.

Last week,  Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Robert Oberbillig dismissed a Democratic Party lawsuit that sought to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot based on claims the signatures were collected too early.  Judge Oberbillig stated it would be an “extreme remedy” to throw out signatures that everyone agreed were not collected in a fraudulent or irregular way.

Yesterday, the law firm of Perkins Coie Brown & Bain filed an appeal with the Arizona Supreme Court, again seeking to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the Republican Primary Election Ballot.

According to the Wikipedia article on Perkins Coie:

“Perkins Coie is an international law firm based in Seattle, Washington.   …The firm is counsel of record for the Democratic National Committee, and other political clients include nearly all Democratic members of the United States Congress, as well as several Presidential campaigns, including those of John Kerry and Barack Obama. …With its main office located in Seattle, Perkins Coie is the oldest and largest law firm headquartered in the Pacific Northwest.

…In 2009, President Obama appointed Robert Bauer, the Chair of the firm’s Political Law Group, to become his White House Counsel.  … The firm also represents the Democratic Leadership Council, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.”

Democratic party has a long history of unsuccessful attacks on Huppenthal

The attempt by the Democratic Party to have Huppenthal’s name removed from the ballot by litigation is just the latest in a long history of attacks.

Recently, the Democratic Party attempted to smear Huppenthal by promoting a doctored video that purported to show Huppenthal walking out of an interview with a high school student.  The political dirty trick was exposed when the student journalist spoke out to set the record straight.  An editorial in the Arizona Republic condemned the Democrat’s doctored video in strong language, stating “Sometimes, a lie really is just a lie.

In 2008, the Arizona Democratic Party spent tens of thousands of dollars on independent expenditures that made wild claims about Huppenthal and implied he was responsible for child abductions, cancer-causing toxins, internet sex crimes and the release of violent criminals.  The Democrat’s spending on attack ads failed to produce results,  and Huppenthal went on to defeat the Democratic candidate by more than 15%.

About John Huppenthal

John Huppenthal is one of Arizona’s leading authorities on education issues. In addition to being the current Senate Education Chairman, Huppenthal has served for 17 consecutive years on the State House and State Senate education committees.

Huppenthal’s reputation for making policy based on the best research available is well established. A September 2008 editorial in The Arizona Republic stated:

“…Huppenthal is a veteran of the Legislature, having chaired five committees and being as knowledgeable about the bill-making process as any of his colleagues. He’s a pragmatic conservative who bases his positions on exhaustive research and works across party lines to get worthwhile bills passed. Huppenthal insists that legislation be based on best practices from around the country, and he’s prone to arcane dissertations based on stacks of studies he has compiled as he delves into state and district problems. It’s not sexy stuff but it’s necessary to guide a legislative process too often led astray by raw politics and emotion.”

Senator Huppenthal played a key role in helping create school choice for parents. In 1995, as Senate Education Chairman, his legislation took the caps off charter schools. This legislation moved Arizona to first in the nation in school choice (ALEC rankings). In addition, Congressman Trent Franks named Senator Huppenthal one of three legislators most responsible for creating and expanding tuition tax credits in Arizona.

During Huppenthal’s legislative career he successfully developed and passed over 200 bills – the most of any legislator in Arizona history. A substantial number of those bills were education related. Huppenthal’s efforts resulted in the creation of the Career Ladder program for teachers, improved measures of academic progress, and higher graduation standards. Huppenthal also worked closely with the disabled community to improve opportunities for children with special challenges, including creating a model summer school for children with autism, increasing resources for the blind and deaf, expanding textbook formats to accommodate children with disabilities and reducing mandates on teachers.

Huppenthal has been a leader in adopting performance pay in education. After reviewing over 700 studies and creating new concepts in performance pay, Arizona’s career ladder program has become the only performance pay system in the country resulting in statistically-verifiable academic gains. His legislation resulted in enabling Arizona to be the only state nationally where every teacher has a significant portion of pay dependent upon performance measures (Prop 301 Classroom Site Fund).

In 2010, Senator Huppenthal sponsored and helped pass major education reform legislation. Known as the “Truth in Advertising” bill, SB 1286 improves accountability by requiring the Arizona Department of Education to rate the performance of schools with easily understood letter grades (A, B, C, D or F). The grades will be based upon overall performance and academic gains over time. The “Truth in Advertising” law is modeled after similar reforms in Florida which significantly improved academic achievement.

For more information, please visit www.JohnHuppenthal.com or contact Emily Graham.


  1. The main problem with this article is it is factually incorrect. As someone who has read the opinion. The judge agreed with Perkins Coie position but felt throwing out all the signatures was not feasible.

    To prove the point… your logic for why the judge threw it out makes no sense.

    You say he threw it out because it would be an “extreme remedy.” That implies he AGREES with the dems position he just thinks the remedy of taking him off the ballot is not feasible.

    Which is exactly what happened. We will see what the AZ supreme court says. These types of cases go directly to them because with election law is so time sensitive, Perkins had no choice but to appeal to the Supreme Court, its not some crazy remedy as this post implies.

    Let me also say I think this has no chance and is pointless but these guys are basically the national DNC firm, of course Obama uses them. This post has no real news in it. Like most of SAs posts lately.

  2. TrueAZConservative says

    johnny, the article is completely correct. First of all, if you were actually at the hearing, you would know that initially, the judge ruled that there was no violation. Only later did he revise his order to say that while there was a violation of campaign finance law, the remedy for such violation is a monetary remedy, not removing validly collected signatures from Huppenthal’s petitions. Thus, the judge’s position that it would be an “extreme remedy” to do so. And if you would read the statutes governing the laws, like you purport to have read the order, then you would know that statue provides for an exclusive remedy, which is a fine. The article was right on. While there is no doubt some confusion in the language of the statutes relating to campaign committees and exploratory committees, there is absolutely no question that these signatures will remain valid; thus the article’s point that the Dems are attempting yet another ill-conceived action against Huppenthal, because they know that they cannot win on the issues.

  3. Travis,

    There are issues with what the judge did. Yes he said there was a violation of the law and a remedy is a civil, I agree there, but if that is the case why was no fine imposed?

  4. By the way I love that you agreed that the judge in the end did agree there were campaign violations but just the remedy sought was too extreme so its exactly what I said in my initial post.

  5. This is how Obama got started. He got his opponents thrown off the ballot thru registration technicalities.

  6. There can be no fine, not possible. The remedy is a two step process, first the candidate is warned to open up a candidate committee. Then, if they fail to comply, they can be fined. However, Huppenthal opened up a candidate committee 5 months ago. Democrats are a year late, they could have taken this up to test it a year ago but they declined, which the judge noted. Now they want a “gotcha”. Also, if they had done that, they would have had a problem: Terry Goddard is said to have collected signatures while in an exploratory committee.

  7. The judge has the option if imposing the fine if a candidate committee is open and they are using the exploratory committee exclusively to collect signatures. Which is the exact case here. Hupp had one open and then did not use it correctly.

    The dems have zero chance getting him kicked off the ballot though.

  8. TrueAZConservative says

    The judge cannot just impose a fine on Huppenthal. Falcon is right, in that statutory language seems to indicate that the time-frame for a fine has passed. In any event, it would be up to the attorney general’s office to assess a fine, not the judge. Further, the plaintiffs in the case are not looking for a fine, but rather an injunction, so it is highly unlikely that anything will follow, including a fine, after Huppenthal wins the case on Monday.

  9. Right to me the reason a fine was not imposed is because the plaintiff did not seek it…

    The reg may indidcate what you are saying but that has never stopped a judge before. This is actually an unusual case that when I search cannot find another analogous case on this statute.

    But as you said it will be mute when hupp whens on monday. There is no way he gets kicked off the ballot.

  10. 8cEhnG good one

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