Independent Redistricting Commission running low on cash

January 24, 2012

Arizona’s Independent Redistricting Commission says it needs more money. The IRC has racked up hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees over the past several months, and more lawsuits may be coming.

The last Independent Redistricting Commission received a total of $6,000,000 from the state legislature. To date, the current commission has only gotten $3.5 million.

In a letter to the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, IRC Executive Director Ray Bladine says the commission needs an additional $1.1 million to pay its lawyers. The IRC says it spent over $500,000 on attorney’s fees: both trying to retain Chairwoman Colleen Mathis, whom Governor Brewer attempted to fire, and because of an investigation into political bias in the IRC’s choice of a mapping firm.

The commission is also asking for more money to fight potential legal battles over the maps they approved this month. If the legislature appropriates the additional money and approves the IRC’s budget for the next fiscal year, they’ll have received about $6.3 million dollars. But Bladine’s letter points out that adjusting for inflation, that’s still less than the last commission received.

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