Bloggers under fire: Arizona conservative lawyer/activist targeted by left-wing Arizona State Bar
Rachel Alexander is a Townhall.com columnist, RightWingNews.com contributor, attorney, and veteran blogger at IntellectualConservative.com. In 2009, she was named RightOnline’s activist of the year for being a “force multiplier” through her training sessions to get citizens online. She founded her own personal bankruptcy law firm, served in the Arizona Attorney General’s office, and worked in the Maricopa County (Ariz.) Attorney’s Office as a Deputy County Attorney.
In April, the Arizona State Bar suspended Alexander’s law license for six months and one day (the order is here). The order became effective May 10. Less than a week later, she was granted a stay on the suspension as she pursues an appeal. But she’s been hit by another bar complaint as progressive opponents work to destroy her reputation and career.
Why did this happen to the dedicated, outspoken, and unapologetically conservative young lawyer? Her nightmare has all the makings of a partisan political vendetta and witch hunt.
Rachel’s boss at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office was Andrew Thomas, a staunch law-and-order advocate who tried to clean up corruption in his ranks. Thomas also represented tough-on-illegal immigration Sheriff Joe Arpaio. In gunning for Thomas, the liberal State Bar is trying to claim underling Alexander as collateral damage. Her actual role in Thomas’s attempt to prosecute corruption was minor. Her direct supervisor Peter Spaw, who played a much larger role, has not been targeted by the Bar.
RightWingNews.com founder/veteran blogger John Hawkins, who stepped up to defend his colleague, first recounted the saga last fall:
Thomas ran for re-election in 2008 on a platform of stamping out public corruption with Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Together they decided to take on powerful politicians who had gotten away with corrupt acts for years. Don Stapley, the Chairman of the County Supervisors, raised thousands of dollars to run for president of the National Association of Counties, even though he did not have an opponent. He then spent that money on personal luxury items. Stapley allegedly spent $6000 of these funds at Bang and Olufsen electronics, along with $1300 for hair implants, $400 for candleholders and $10,000 for furniture for his home. He also spent these funds, solicited as campaign money, to buy tickets to Broadway plays and movie theatres. He bought flowers, paid the grocery store and department stores, paid for massages – and paid for family trips to Sundance, to Utah to ski, a trip for his son and friends to Florida and a three-week vacation in Hawaii for his entire family at a beach house costing approximately $11,000.
Thomas brought charges against Stapley and a jury indicted him. Stapley was also indicted for failing to disclose his real estate dealings on financial statements. His business partner, Conley Wolfswinkel, is a convicted felon. Thomas also brought charges against Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. She was indicted for voting on giving money to Chicanos por la Causa while failing to disclose she had a sweetheart loan deal from them. Wilcox, who drives a 2006 Corvette, gave herself prime real estate territory at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport through the “minority-owned business” affirmative action program.
What happened to those indictments? They were all dismissed. Most of the prosecutions were conveniently transferred to now retired judges — Judge Kenneth Fields and Judge Gary Donahoe, who threw them all out. Donahoe was subsequently forced to resign in disgrace in June of this year. Realizing he could not get anywhere against the corruption in Superior Court, Thomas and Sheriff Arpaio filed a racketeering lawsuit against the supervisors, judges and their legal counsel. The supervisors refused to authorize any outside counsel to assist Thomas with it. Vastly understaffed, Thomas decided to turn the investigation over to the Department of Justice and withdrew the suit.
… Blogging while conservative is not a crime. Fighting against illegal immigration and corruption is not a crime. However, misusing the justice system for purely political purposes is absolutely despicable and the more sunlight that shines in on this issue in Arizona, the more the cockroaches who are persecuting conservatives will start to scatter.
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