Brnovich Lawsuit Against Hobbs’s Election Manual Fails Due to Tardiness

Brnovich Lawsuit Against Hobbs’s Election Manual Fails Due to Tardiness

By Corinne Murdock |

A superior court judge rejected Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s complaint against Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ election manual last Friday because he filed it too close to ongoing elections.

Yavapai Superior Court Judge John Napper expressed concern that siding with Brnovich would disrupt this year’s elections.

Napper acknowledged that Hobbs’ 2021 Elections Manual and Procedures (EPM) required editing and revision. However, he declared that Brnovich’s refusal to work with Hobbs on the proposed EPM didn’t mean that Hobbs didn’t fulfill her lawful duties, noting that Brnovich had from October 1 to December 31 to work on the EPM with Hobbs, as prescribed by statute.  

“The parties’ failure to properly work with one another to improve the Secretary’s initial draft of the EMP [sic] does not mean she failed to perform a ministerial or discretionary act requiring a mandate from the Court,” wrote Napper. “At this point in the game, there is no mechanism for the Court to assist the parties in constructing an EMP [sic] which complies with A.R.S. § 16-452 within the timeline of the statute. The Complaint was filed far too late for this to occur without disrupting elections that have already begun.”

That doesn’t mean that Hobbs’ latest EPM will be used in current elections. Napper noted that election officials are following the EPM from 2019 since it was submitted and approved properly by both the governor and attorney general. 

Hobbs celebrated the ruling. She characterized Brnovich’s complaint as “an attempt to rewrite the election rules” for political gain. Brnovich didn’t issue a public statement on the ruling. 

Hobbs’ criticism paralleled those of opponents to her 2021 EPM, who argued that she was incorporating certain changes — such as allowing certain votes to be cast at the wrong precinct — to benefit her gubernatorial campaign. 

Brnovich filed his complaint against Hobbs for the 2021 EPM at the end of April.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

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Attorney General Asks Cochise Attorney to Investigate Secretary of State

Attorney General Asks Cochise Attorney to Investigate Secretary of State

By Corinne Murdock |

Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich requested Cochise County Attorney Brian McIntyre to investigate the two-week suspension of the secretary of state’s signature-gathering system for candidates, E-Qual. The March 17 suspension lasted until Wednesday, five days before the April 4 deadline, disabling sections of the system for legislative and congressional candidates to submit their ballot-qualifying signatures.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs warned candidates in January that she would suspend the system up until the signature-gathering deadline once the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) certified the new district maps. The forewarned shutdown not only caused backlash due to its impact on candidates’ signature-gathering efforts to qualify for the ballot — Attorney General Mark Brnovich warned Hobbs that such a shutdown would be illegal. In a letter, Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Wright warned Hobbs that she could face a class 3 misdemeanor — up to 30 days in jail and a $500 fine — for not fulfilling her lawful duties, or even a felony with up to a year in prison for taking down E-Qual.

Upon receipt of the letter, Hobbs sued to prevent any prosecution. The courts didn’t take her side. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Joan Sinclair ruled that Wright’s letter wasn’t legal action, but rather a notification of Hobbs’ legal duties. 

“The letter itself notifies the Secretary that in the [attorney general’s] opinion, taking E-Qual offline during the candidate filing period would be ‘contrary to law.’ It further informs the Secretary that when a duty is imposed by Title 16 on a public officer, knowingly failing or refusing to perform that duty can be either a class 6 felony or a class 3 misdemeanor,” wrote Sinclair. “While the Secretary clearly viewed this as a threat, the letter did not promise or guarantee prosecution and thus does not create a controversy properly before the court.”

Despite warnings from the attorney general’s office, the sections of E-Qual for legislative and congressional candidates were suspended on March 17. Two weeks passed. Then on Wednesday, just five days before the signature-gathering deadline, Hobbs announced that the legislative and congressional candidates’ sections of the system were back online. She conceded that the shutdown had to do with necessary redistricting updates. 

Just the day before, the entire E-Qual system experienced an outage anticipated to last past the April 4 deadline. Hobbs communicated that the outage was caused by a hardware malfunction. However, that unplanned outage was fixed within several hours.

The anticipated outage would’ve most heavily impacted Maricopa County attorney candidates; the former attorney, Allister Adel, resigned last Friday, giving candidates just two weeks’ notice to gather enough signatures to qualify for the election. 

Hobbs didn’t respond on social media to Brnovich’s requested investigation. Instead, the secretary of state opted to post about the International Transgender Day of Visibility.

In a statement to the Arizona Daily Star, Hobbs called Brnovich’s request to investigate her for not doing her job “ridiculous.”

“The attorney general’s continued attacks on election officials across the state for doing our jobs is ridiculous,” said Hobbs.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Scottsdale Police Find No Fault With Former School Board President Linked to Parent Dossier

Scottsdale Police Find No Fault With Former School Board President Linked to Parent Dossier

By Corinne Murdock |

Scottsdale Police Department (SPD) closed its investigation into former Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD) Governing Board President Jann-Michael Greenburg, demoted to board member, this week after determining it fell outside their jurisdiction. 

SPD reported that it passed the case on to higher levels of law enforcement for review: the FBI, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and Maricopa County Attorney’s Office. They also clarified that SUSD’s investigation into the matter was still underway. 

SPD spokesman Kevin Quon explained in a press release that the Greenburg dossier contained open source and public documents only. Quon added that higher levels of law enforcement may investigate under their jurisdiction. 

“It was determined that the drive contained open source and/or public documents. Therefore, it has been determined that no criminal conduct has been committed at this time that would be under the jurisdiction of the Scottsdale Police Department,” said Quon. “The Scottsdale portion of this investigation is now closed. Scottsdale investigators have met with the FBI, Arizona Attorney General’s Office, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, briefed them, and provided them with a copy of our investigation for review in determining if any criminal acts might fall under their respective jurisdictions.”

Greenburg had editing access to the Google Drive dossier that his father, Mark Greenburg, created. As AZ Free News reported, SUSD assured parents that their information was safe in an email following the dossier’s discovery. Due to the personal and sensitive nature of this case, AZ Free News won’t provide links to the dossier.

As part of his efforts to collect information for his dossier, Mark Greenburg would film parents outside of school board meetings using a body camera. He also claimed to have hired a private investigator to bolster his dossier on parents opposed to Jann-Michael. 

Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Department of Justice (DOJ) to investigate the Greenburg dossier. In a letter first obtained by Fox News, Brnovich requested that the DOJ specifically look into whether the dossier violated the First Amendment as well as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

“Evidence has been discovered that Scottsdale Unified School District (“SUSD”) board member, Jann-Michael Greenburg, may have conspired to abuse his position of power against Arizona students and their parents,” wrote Brnovich. “A dossier containing information on those who wish to participate in their children’s education and peacefully petition their government should concern all Americans of good conscience.”

The SUSD board voted to remove Greenburg as president last month, though he remains on the board. Scottsdale parents are behind an effort to recall Greenburg from the board entirely.

Corinne Murdock is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to corinne@azfreenews.com.

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ Election Manual Is Filled with Unlawful Changes – Ducey and Brnovich Must Reject Them

Secretary of State Katie Hobbs’ Election Manual Is Filled with Unlawful Changes – Ducey and Brnovich Must Reject Them

By the AZ Free Enterprise Club |

Laws are meaningless if they aren’t enforced, are misapplied or misconstrued. The duly elected Arizona legislature crafts and passes election bills, and the Governor signs them into law. The Secretary of State, however, is tasked with prescribing “rules to achieve and maintain the maximum degree of correctness, impartiality, uniformity and efficiency” in implementing those laws.

This is done through the Elections Procedures Manual (EPM). But instead of crafting this with “impartiality” to attain the “maximum degree of correctness” Secretary of State Katie Hobbs seems intent on subverting state law in some instances, obfuscating in others, and as highlighted in a previous article, doing an end-run around a United States Supreme Court decision that upheld an Arizona election integrity practice.

The good news is that Hobbs doesn’t have unilateral authority to do this. She was required to submit this draft manual to Attorney General Brnovich and Governor Ducey by October 1st. Both have to sign off on the draft manual for it to go into effect. If they decline, we stick with the 2019 manual and Hobbs’s changes die…

>>> READ MORE >>>

Political Endorsements Begin To Roll In Nearly A Year Before Primaries

Political Endorsements Begin To Roll In Nearly A Year Before Primaries

By Terri Jo Neff |

Corporate executive Jim Lamon’s campaign for U.S. Senate received endorsements last week from the National Border Patrol Council and the Arizona Police Association, shocking many in the Republican Party who assumed Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich was a shoo-in for the groups’ backing.

Lamon, the founder of Fortune 550 utility company DEPCOM Power, is among four prime candidates seeking the Republican nomination on Aug. 2, 2022 –and with it the chance to unseat Sen. Mark Kelly. The others are Brnovich, recently retired Arizona Adjutant General Michael “Mick” McGuire, and political newcomer Blake Masters, who serves as president of the Thiel Foundation.

There were also endorsements announced last week in the Arizona gubernatorial race, where businessman Steven Gaynor, former state lawmaker Matt Salmon, Board of Regents member Karrin Taylor Robson, and current State Treasurer Kimberly Yee are hoping Republican voters will start to look past the local celebrity status of television news personality Kari Lake, the current front runner.

The endorsements came in the form of former governors Jan Brewer and Fife Symington joining Taylor Robson as co-chairs of her campaign. Their support comes after Taylor Robson and Yee spent the summer taking turns announcing various municipal and county endorsements.

Meanwhile, Rep. Aaron Lieberman (LD28) and former Nogales Mayor Marco Lopez Jr. are hoping to show the name recognition enjoyed by current Secretary of State Katie Hobbs does not mean she is the best candidate to represent the Democratic Party in the race for governor.

The multi-candidate race to the Republican nomination for Arizona Secretary of State saw its biggest news to date when former President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Mark Finchem (LD11) last week. Finchem’s most noted primary opponents are Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita (LD23) and Rep. Shawnna Bolick (LD20).

Trump’s endorsement of Finchem overshadowed the fact Rep. Reginald Bolding (LD27) snagged the endorsements last week of two prominent Democratic state lawmakers in his race against former Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes for that party’s nomination for Secretary of State.

Those endorsements, from Senate Minority Leader Rebecca Rios and Senate Minority Whip Martin Quezada, came as Senate President Karen Fann announced the audit report is expected to be released shortly into how well Maricopa County -especially Fontes’ office- complied with election laws and state election rules during the 2020 General Election.

The Republican primary for State Treasurer got less bloated this month when Rep. Regina Cobb (LD5) bowed out just weeks after announcing her candidacy.  Cobb will be taking an executive position with the Arizona Dental Association, leaving Sen. David Livingston (LD22) and Rep. Jeff Weninger (LD17) to duke it out.

On the Democrat side, Sen. Martin Quezada (LD29) is expected to easily win his party’s nomination in the primary.

There have not been any major changes in the race for Arizona Attorney General, where former Supreme Court Justice Andrew Gould is in a close race for the Republican nomination against former federal prosecutor Lacy Cooper and UA College of Law alumna Tiffany Shedd in the primary.

And the fight for the Democratic Party nomination remains between Rep. Diego Rodriguez (LD27), former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Kris Mayes, and 2020 Legal Aid Attorney of the Year January Contreras. One Libertarian, Phoenix-based attorney Michael Kielsky, is also running for attorney general.