Independent Redistricting Commission Update 3/21/2021

The next meeting of the Independent Redistricting Commission is March 23rd at 9:00 am.  One of the agenda items is to discuss options for securing legal counsel.  They can continue with representation from the Attorney General’s Office or “hire legal counsel, that is already procured, from the Attorney General’s Outside Counsel List” or continue with the RFP/procurement process.  The second and third options have not been clearly explained to the public.  Also yet to be decided is whether the Commission hires one law firm, or one law firm to protect Democratic interests and another law firm to protect Republican interests.  

If you would like to submit public comments, this link,  https://forms.gle/Ganu5pFv2v9rekUT8  will be activated shortly after 9:00 am, and remain open until just before the meeting adjourns.  The link to the meeting is https://youtu.be/ZyUt8nuRFi4.     

At the March 16th meeting, Brian Schmitt was chosen by a 3-2 vote to be the IRC’s Executive Director.  Mr. Schmitt worked on John McCain’s Presidential campaign, and has been Republican Phoenix City Councilman Jim Waring’s chief of staff for about ten years.  What is particularly troubling to many of us is that his resume did not mention campaign work for Martha McSally, and in answering the first question about his involvement in the recent election cycle, he didn’t even mention McSally’s name.  The McSally campaign paid him $63,652.44 for what he described as help organizing a campaign event on the Yavapai County courthouse steps, the site where Barry Goldwater announced his bid for the U.S. presidency and where John McCain held his last presidential campaign event.

Also at the 9:00 March 16th meeting, was an unfortunate technical oversight.  YouTube has a four-hour streaming limit, and four hours into the morning meeting, the public was dropped off the meeting without explanation. At the 3:00 meeting, we were told that no public business was conducted once the streaming connection was dropped.   

Suggested Public Comments:

  • Express concern about Mr. Schmitt’s strong Republican ties and hope that he will, as he stated, put aside his political views to make for a successful Commission.  OR, express concerns about Mr. Schmitt’s strong Republican ties and state that it has shaken your confidence in the integrity and fairness of the Commission. 
  • In the March 3rd meeting, the Commission asked for a public presentation from the State Procurement Office (SPO) concerning how the Commission should vet law firms not currently on the SPO’s list. That presentation has not happened. Encourage the Commission to schedule that presentation in a public meeting.
  • Encourage the Commission to use a streaming service that does not have a four-hour limit.

Public comments are now posted after each meeting, and can be viewed at https://irc.az.gov/public-meetings.

Posted in Action Alerts, Latest News.