AZ Independent Redistricting Commission Investigation

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Former Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard comments on an investigation of the IRC launched by current AG Tom Horne.

Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. The Arizona Supreme Court ruled today that the recall election against senate president Russell Pearce can proceed November 8th. Pearce supporters had challenged signatures on recall petitions, but the Supreme Court upheld a lower court's rejection of that challenge.

Ted Simons: Arizona attorney general Tom Horne is conducting an investigation into the way a mapping firm was hired by the Arizona independent redistricting commission The commission is charged with redrawing congressional and legislative maps. Former Arizona attorney general Terry Goddard has criticized the investigation and joins us now to talk about those concerns. Good to see you again.

Terry Goddard: Good to be here. Sounds a little like who's on first.

Ted Simons: Let's try to figure this out. First, your thoughts on the investigation on the special action filed by general Horne.

Ted Simons: First, if there's a civil or criminal wrongdoing, the A.G. is one of several authorities in Arizona along with the county attorneys, that is charged with getting to the bottom of the situation. My letter, which was published along with -- signed by myself and Paul Johnson, who is an independent now, he's leading the effort to change the way primaries are conducted in Arizona to make them nonpartisan, so I think his credentials are pretty good as somebody not coming from a partisan point of view. We basically said if you're going to make an investigation, if you've got valid complaints, the proper way to do it, the way I tried to do it as attorney general and people all across the country follow this rule, is basically you get your facts together, you do it as quietly as possible so if in fact there's no problem, you don't ruin somebody's reputation along the way. And then if you find there's sufficient evidence, you bring a civil complaint or you go to a grand jury and get an indictment if it's a criminal matter. You don't start saying, a bunch of people have come to me and I think I'm going to investigate. Because what does that do? It makes it harder to find out the truth. It drives people -- they lawyer up, in the popular phraseology. And Frankly it means the investigation has a much harder time trying to find out what's going on.

Ted Simons: He's saying he filed a special action because he couldn't get the commission to cooperate.

Terry Goddard: I know that's what he says. I've read the articles. I know all the lawyers involved, so does Tom Horne. And these are reasonable people, they've been doing the best job they can, they're the top of their profession. They both have a lot of experience in this area. First thing you do, you don't go to court, you sit down and try to figure out, if there's truly an open meetings law problem, what was the genesis of it, and unfortunately he's made a point of going to court, but he never went and met with the lawyers for the commission and said, here's what I'm after, can you help me figure out what's going on? That would have been the first step, in my opinion, if you were going after an open meetings law problem. I did a lot of them as attorney general.

Ted Simons: We spoke with Mr. Horne last week, he said it's the A.G.'s job to find out if someone broke the law. Listen to what he had to say.

Terry Goddard: OK.

Tom Horne: We're trying to get at the facts. What I think is sad is that here's a former attorney general participating in a cover-up where he's tried to justify people not testifying, when I have the facts to show we have probable cause a crime has been committed.

Terry Goddard: He's going to a court to find out whether he does have the facts. Who's covering up anything? All I said was if you're going to do a serious investigation, and I stand by this, you don't start with the press, you start with the investigation. And then you find out what your facts are. He said in public when he made this announcement, I don't know what's going on, maybe there's a problem, maybe not, but I'm going to investigate. Let's think about the situation here. You've got representatives of the majority party, the Republicans, in the house of representatives and the senate calling for the head of the various majority members of the independent redistricting commission. They obviously don't want any maps to be drawn. They've suddenly decided this actually might be -- this commission might do what they're charged by the voters of Arizona to do. They might come up with a truly impartial map and it might not be such a sweet deal for them as they got ten years ago. That's what they're fighting to protect. I don't know whether Tom Horne is siding with them or not. But his timing was suspicious, because right at the time that the legislative leadership was getting the most adamant, he jumped in and said, and I'm going to investigate.

Tom Horne: He's also saying he's trying to get folks on the commission to just simply answer some questions and cooperate with his investigation. And for you to say that they don't necessarily need to or what he's doing --

Terry Goddard: I didn't say that.

Ted Simons: From his perspective is what you're doing, and what democrats in general are doing, he sees that again as a cover-up. I want to you hear what he had to say. Second cut here.

Tom Horne: Just because you call it a skunk doesn't mean it is. I think they need to think a second time. If Terry Goddard thinks he can intimidate me into not examining the facts by attacking me, someone needs to tell him to think twice. I haven't reached a conclusion as to the results of the investigation, whether or not there was anything illegal, but I'm not going to let people stone wall me or cover up -- the people expect me to get to the fact and I'm going to do it.

Terry Goddard: There's a rule involved. If the law is on your side, you talk about the law. If the facts are on your side you talk about the facts. If neither one are on your side you use words like cover-up, stone wall, the kinds of terms he just used. I'm a private citizen. I'm not intimidating anybody. He has the grand jury power. But the bottom line here in context is, we've got a citizens commission, these are volunteers, they're not paid to do this, there's a judicial decision from 10 years ago that says they are in a sense the legislature. When proposition 206 was passed, it basically said that we want to have something, voters of Arizona said we want something beyond politics. We're sick of the way it's been done in the past. It's been a mess. We're going to put a group of people, two Republicans, two Democrats, one independent, put them in a room, give them the maps and have them come out with the most equal plan they can. It didn't work very well 10 years ago. And that plan ended up in court for the next eight years. And a lot of people were dissatisfied with it, but Mr. Horne and his party were not. It gave them the majority in both houses of the legislature and an overwhelming majority in our representatives in Congress, until very recently. I don't think anybody feels the last mapping job was fair. All we're doing is hoping this group comes up with a more bipartisan and fair alternative, and they don't even want them to try.

Ted Simons: So what should the attorney general do when he hears people, including commissioners tell him two Republican commissioner, one in particular, tell him that there was some sort of phone calls, bid rigging, if you will, as far as the map consideration was concerned. We've even got claims of shredded documents. But what do you do when you hear those things, and you say, I think I'm going to investigate. I want to get a response from the person who may have made those calls. I'm not going to respond. What should he have done?

Terry Goddard: He should have done from the beginning, what any knowledgeable prosecutor would do, is you take your investigators, you don't rattle Sabres out in public, you don't threaten people, as he did, but do you try to get the facts. If somebody stone walls you, you do have a court proceeding. I'm not saying he's wrong not to go to court, but I know initially he refused to tell people about the complaints. I read through 50 of them and there may be one or two that were citizens off the street who simply said to Mr. Horne, I think you ought to look that the because it doesn't look right. But I can tell you every one of the 50 I read identified them as -- identified themselves as Republican precinct committee men and they wanted -- they had a wild set of allegations against the commission. Mostly that they didn't want them to use the mapping firm they chose that has nothing to do with the open meetings law, but procurement and Frankly their wild and partisan accusations. Now, the open meetings law issues are frequent, against school boards, against councils, against other agencies of government. The maximum penalty I believe is $500. We're not talking about capital crimes. We're talking about an effort to do the public's business in public. I know this chairman has said that all the minutes of everything they've done could be made public. She's not making anything a secret.

Ted Simons: Last question, the democrats have filed a complaint against that one particular commissioner, I think he was Russell Pearce appointee, because they say he didn't include things on his application and so you're going back -- I mean -- .

Terry Goddard: It's all school children in the playground, for heaven's sakes. Let's let this group people -- bottom line, I don't think an 11th hour challenge with democrats should matter. I don't think Mr. Horne's statements should matter. Let's wait until they get a map and we can decide whether they're doing it fairly or not. But there are a lot of people in Arizona, most of them partisan Republicans who don't want to see that map because they're afraid that it will be fair. And they won't get as good a deal as they got for the last 10 years. I think it just boils down to that. Unfortunately weather that's Mr.-- whether that's Mr. Horne's motivation or not, he's certainly playing on that side of the fence. He's given a lot of aid and comfort to the folks who say "impeach the chairman of the commission".

Ted Simons: Last question, he said you're trying to intimidate him. He's pretty sure you're trying to intimidate him to keep him from doing this business.

Terry Goddard: I just think he should do his job, stay out of a lot of chest thumping as you just saw in that film clip, and if he's got reasonable belief that anybody on the commission has committed a crime, he has an obligation to go after them. But not to try it in the press.

Ted Simons: OK.

Terry Goddard: He's already got a court date in October. That's the appropriate time to make these claims.

Ted Simons: We need to stop it there. Good to see you.

Terry Goddard: Thank you, Ted. It's a pleasure to be here.

Terry Goddard:Former Arizona Attorney General;

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