BY LINDA BENTLEY | FEBRUARY 27, 2013
Group threatens suit if Arpaio recall not withdrawn
‘The dangerous, subversive-like activities … have the potential to launch this county … in what can only be called an electoral civil war’
SCOTTSDALE – Last week, a press conference was held by Citizens to Protect Fair Election Results (CPFER), a newly formed group of concerned Arizona citizens, to announce its legal demand that the entity called “Respect Arizona” immediately cease and desist from initiating a recall of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, or legal action will be pursued.
Jim Wise, who recently stepped down from his leadership position with the Surprise Tea Party, along with Jeff Lichter and Linda Brickman (left, on right) formed the CPFER LLC earlier this month.
Founder of Judicial Watch and Freedom Watch and known for his strong public interest advocacy, Attorney Larry Klayman (above, on left) sent a demand letter on behalf of CPFER on Feb. 20 to Respect Arizona and its officers William James Fischer, Robert Unferth and Mary Lou Boettcher with a cease and desist demand by March 2 or legal action will be filed.
He wrote, “Should there prove to be a need to file legal actions with our local counsel, the conspiratorial criminal intent and nature of your untimely and factually baseless illegal recall enterprise will be more fully exposed during the discovery and deposition phase of any court cases that we may initiate, and also turned over if necessary to non-conflicted law enforcement authorities for appropriate action in addition to our seeking civil remedies.”
During the press conference, Linda Brickman read a prepared statement about CPFER, which she said was “birthed for the sole purpose of protecting the integrity of the Arizona and Maricopa County electoral process.”
Brickman stated, “The dangerous, subversive-like activities of Respect Arizona have the potential to launch this county and possibly the entire state in what can only be called an electoral civil war.”
She said, “Respect Arizona is trampling on the will of all Arizona voters by disenfranchising all our votes by launching a deceptive and frivolous recall campaign to remove duly elected officials from office for private, political gains; and making Arizona look like the recall capital of the United States.”
Explaining Respect Arizona’s well-defined plot against all registered voters, whether they are Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Green Party, Independent or any other recognized political party to disenfranchise all registered voters, Brickman questioned the timing.
“A mere 24 days?” she asked, pointing out nothing has occurred or changed since the Nov. 6, 2012 general election, nor his swearing in on Jan. 7, 2013, that would justify the recall of Arpaio.
Brickman said the recall is untimely and called the recall effort an abuse of process that simply seeks to nullify the votes of and disenfranchise the majority of Maricopa County citizens who elected Arpaio with full knowledge of his past accomplishments and years of dedicated service to the community.
Noting this is not just about Arpaio, Brickman said, “By their own admission, Respect Arizona has made their intent crystal clear to target the sitting governor and any other elected official with whom they politically disagree. By their brazen declaration, they have exposed their true motives behind these actions – to radically change our entire electoral process to benefit their own political agenda.”
Article 8, Part 1, Section 5 of the Arizona Constitution states, “No recall petition shall be circulated against any officer until he shall have held his office for a period of six months, except that it may be filed against a member of the legislature at any time after five days from the beginning of the first session after his election. After one recall petition and election, no further recall petition shall be filed against the same officer during the term for which he was elected, unless petitioners signing such petition shall first pay into the public treasury which has paid such election expenses, all expenses of the preceding election.”
A.R.S. § 19-202(A) pretty much mirrors the Arizona Constitution as to when recalls may be filed against an officer. However it adds the following clause: “The commencement of a subsequent term in the same office does not renew the six month period delaying the circulation of a recall petition.”
The question, should it go to court, will likely be whether state statute can trump the plain language of the Arizona Constitution, which does not provide for such an exception to the six-month waiting period.
The cost to Maricopa County taxpayers, if Respect Arizona were to be successful in launching this recall, is estimated to be upwards of $5 million, during what Brickman describes as “crushing economic times.”
Brickman asked if Maricopa County taxpayers should be forced to fund this “outrageous bill to unwillingly support the self-serving campaign and utopian beliefs of the three named individuals behind Respect Arizona and their co-conspirators?”
Brickman said CPFER is pleading with all Arizonans to “stop this insanity” and said it should be something with which everyone can agree as the right and fair thing to do.
She said, “It’s our duty, our obligation and our constitutional right to protect fair election results.”
Brickman concluded with a tip for Respect Arizona and said, “It’s time to respect the vote.”
In his letter, Klayman warned if Respect Arizona and it’s officers do not agree to cease and desist and withdraw their “frivolous, politically and criminally motivated recall petition,” his office has been instructed to pursue all available legal recourse against Respect Arizona and its officers personally to protect the voters of Maricopa County from their “fraudulent and illegal attempt to nullify their legitimate votes, and misuse the resources of the county and state through this attempted unconstitutional ‘abuse of process.’”
Klayman went on to say, “On its face your recall enterprise appears designed to raise funds for Respect Arizona and yourselves personally, as well as harass the sheriff of Maricopa County to prevent him from doing his job. This criminal enterprise thus has no legitimate lawful purpose.”
Although Klayman stated they would not be taking questions, Brahm Resnik (r) from the local NBC affiliate, who showed up with an Obama bumper sticker on his clipboard, repeatedly asked who was paying for Klayman’s representation.
Brickman invited people to visit their website: CPFER.com for more information, updates and to donate.