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Judge blocks Attorney General Tom Horn from investigating Independent Redistricing Commission violated state's Open Meeting law

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Horne wants to question commissioners about whether they had private phone conversations ahead of their decision to select Strategic Telemetry to help draw the lines for the 30 legislative and nine congressional districts. While the two Republicans on the panel agreed to talk, independent Chairwoman Colleen Mathis and the two Democrats refused. So Horne went to court to force the issue. But Judge Dean Fink noted that Horne's office represented the commission early on and even gave panel members advice on the Open Meeting Law. Fink said it would be unethical for Horne to now investigate them. Horne will not appeal but instead is turning the case over to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery. None of this affects a separate inquiry by Gov. Jan Brewer. Horne won't disclose whether he's consulted with Brewer. But he said the fact she's demanding answers to exactly the same questions does not mean anything.

(Everything that I do has been made public because I've done it in court. Aof the arguments I've made in court, the transcript of the questioning of the two officials have been made public. All of that information is on the public record. And everybody can see it. And the governor has access to everything the public has access to.)

Horne said the fact that he, Montgomery and Brewer are all Republicans -- and that virtually the complaints about the maps are coming from Republicans -- is irrelevant. He said the inquiry does not concern the lines the panel is drawing but the activities of the commissioners themselves. For Arizona Public Radio this is Howard Fischer.