One of the most prominent lawyers for the Democratic Party (DNC), Marc Elias, announced last Friday that he submitted a motion to intervene in a case challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s no-excuse mail-in voting system. Elias filed on behalf of the Senate Democrats (DSCC), Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), and the Arizona Democratic Party in the case Arizona Republican Party v. Hobbs.
Not only does Elias specialize in election litigation, he’s been involved in the elections themselves. His December 2017 testimony detailed his role in Hillary Clinton’s Russigate hoax: how he came to hire the intelligence firm Fusion-GPS for the DNC and Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, who then ordered the debunked dossier compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele and sourced by analyst Igor Danchenko, a Russian citizen who resided in Virginia. The FBI arrested Danchenko for the “Steele dossier” early last November.
Elias could be considered a fixture within the Democratic Party establishment. The Jewish New York native worked with the DNC since 1993, notably serving as general counsel for two of the last three Democratic presidential candidates’ campaigns: John Kerry in 2004, then Hillary Clinton in 2016. Elias also followed former President Barack Obama from his days in the Senate all the way to the White House, earning a distinction by 2011 relayed in a Politico profile of being Obama’s “top lawyer.” Although lawyer Bob Bauer was technically Obama’s general counsel, Elias was a critical player.
Those are just the biggest names in American politics — the entire Democratic Party reportedly relies on Elias as their “go-to lawyer.” This was confirmed by fellow establishment members of the Democratic Party, such as former Federal Election Commission (FEC) chairman, Obama advisor, and Biden campaign counsel Robert Lenhard.
“For members of the House and Senate, there is no Democratic-side campaign finance lawyer who is more important than Marc Elias. That is without a doubt,” Lenhard told Politico. “While Bob Bauer served as White House counsel, Marc led that practice group and it thrived under his tutelage.”
Elias has been on all sides of the 2020 presidential election controversy, a predictable involvement considering his decades of redistricting fights, post-election litigation, and work with Big Tech giants Facebook and Google. Elias earned Google a win to effectively manipulate its search results with preferred candidates through its pay-per-click advertisement system, AdWords. The woman behind AdWords, Sheryl Sandberg, was picked up by Facebook in 2008.
Elias founded Democracy Docket on March 5, 2020, a Democratic Party voting advocacy group formed about a week after former President Donald Trump declared the ongoing national state of emergency over COVID-19. Democracy Docket operates out of Fairfax County, Virginia. To date, the group has been involved in nearly 330 cases, 150 of which they’ve won.
Last August, Elias left his legal firm of 28 years, Perkins Coie, to form his own: Elias Law Group.
Elias pledged to sue Arizona if the state legislature approves certain election integrity laws, such as: HB2596, which never made it to committee; HB2238, which passed the House and has yet to be considered in a Senate committee; HB2237, which passed the House and will soon be considered on the Senate floor; SB1058, approved by a Senate committee last month but not yet considered on the Senate floor; HB2170, which passed the House but has yet to be considered by a Senate committee; and HB2243, which passed the House and will soon be considered on the Senate floor.
On Thursday, three State Senate Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against HB2696, a bill increasing sentencing for those who sexually abuse, smuggle, or traffic children. They argued that illegal immigrants or those transporting illegal immigrants around the state — not bringing them across the border — might be unfairly swept up under this bill.
The bill sponsor, State Representative Leo Biasucci (R-Lake Havasu City), explained during committee that the legislation would afford children with greater protections while creating disincentives for would-be perpetrators. Last month during the House Judiciary Committee consideration of the bill, Biasucci noted that current law allows criminals impacted by this bill to be released on probation after a few months. He described his bill as “put[ting] the hammer down.”
“It’s insane to think we continue to allow these people to walk our streets. And until we send a message that you’re going to go to prison for a very long time, it’ll never stop. It’s very simple and, in my opinion, not even debatable,” said Biasucci.
In opposition to the bill, State Senator Stephanie Stahl Hamilton (D-Tucson) said that human smuggling charges should be addressed in a separate bill.
Minority Whip Martin Quezada (D-Glendale) concurred with Stahl Hamilton, calling the broadness of the bill “troubling and scary.” Quezada added that those transporting illegal immigrant children to various day-to-day activities like doctor’s appointments shouldn’t fear a human smuggling charge.
“These are family members that people are going to be transporting, you know taking to school, taking to the doctor, visiting other family, taking to the park — and now they’re going to be charged as human smugglers?” said Quezada. “Is this making the anti-immigrant culture in our community, is it making it better or is it going to make it worse? Is it going to further divide our community, or is it going to bring us together more?”
On the side of the committee Democrats was the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Arizona. They didn’t speak on the bill during any committee consideration of the bill.
In the House, only State Representatives Morgan Abraham (D-Tucson), Melody Hernandez (D-Tempe), Pamela Powers Hannley (D-Tucson), and Minority Whip Domingo DeGrazia (D-Tucson) voted against the bill. They didn’t explain their votes.
Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs is coming under attack from within her own party over her involvement in events which led a federal jury to award $2.75 million in damages this week to a former policy advisor Hobbs helped fire in 2015.
That staff member, Talonya Adams, had brought it to the attention of Democratic Senate leaders that as a Black female she was being paid significantly less than policy advisors who were White males. Adams had also documented those other staffers received pay raises while she had not, despite no negative performance reviews.
That put Adams’ claims of pay disparity on the shoulders of Hobbs, who was Senate Minority Leader in 2015, making her the top ranking Democrat in the state Senate at the time. And when Adams was terminated a short while later, there was undisputed evidence that Hobbs was intimately involved in the process.
There have been two trials in U.S. District Court stemming from Adams’ federal racial discrimination and retaliatory termination firing lawsuit. In both, juries found in favor of Adams, and this week that second jury’s award of $2.75 million far exceeded the first jury’s award of $1 million.
There was little public attention to Hobbs’ role in the Adams case during the first trial in 2019 despite Hobbs serving as Secretary of State, which puts her in line to be Governor if anything happens to Doug Ducey.
But with Hobbs seeking the Democratic nomination for Arizona Governor, her actions just a few years ago as Senate Minority Leader are coming under intense scrutiny. Even within her own party.
Especially after Hobbs allowed her gubernatorial campaign spokeswoman to issue a press release after the jury’s unanimous verdict. Not only is the statement in the words of the spokeswoman Jennah Rivera instead of Hobbs, but the statement fail to express any concern for Adams.
That statement turned Adams’ struggles into a campaign ad for Hobbs, with criticism of how diversity and wage inequity is currently handled by the Republican-controlled Legislature. Nowhere does Rivera own up to the fact Hobbs was in meetings with other Democrats in 2015 figuring out how to fire Adams just weeks after the employee complained about her pay.
And then there is the claim in Rivera’s statement about how Hobbs “voluntarily” testified. Hours later, Adams tweeted a copy of the federal subpoena which had been served on Hobbs requiring her presence in court for the trial.
In June, Hobbs explained her decision to run for governor by stating she wanted to “deliver transparency, accountability, and results for Arizonans — just like I’ve done my whole career.”
That has left one prominent Democrat calling for a sincere review of Hobbs’ actions both in 2015 and today in dealing with the Adams’ case.
“We need to have an open and honest discussion about what happened, who is accountable, and if we, as Democrats, are prepared to support a nominee for governor who behaved in this manner just a few short years ago,” said former Rep. Aaron Lieberman,
Lieberman, who is considered Hobbs’ top challenger for the Democratic nomination for governor, also says that the Democratic platform on equality and fair treatment for all needs to be more than a campaign motto.
“Being an effective Democratic leader is about more than just participating in partisan fights; it is about holding a key set of values and living those values all the time—especially when no one is watching,” said Lieberman.