By Rachel Alexander
Until very recently, few Americans were familiar with Maricopa County, Arizona. It made the news only rarely and mostly for reporting its status as one of the fastest-growing counties in America. Since 2020, however, Maricopa County has gained notoriety for a very different reason. It’s emerged as an infamous cauldron of bitter political disputes and shady shenanigans crucial for denying the election to Donald Trump and his supporters.
In 2020, the votes of Maricopa County, where 6 out of 10 Arizonans live, were decisive for the narrow, declared victory of Joe Biden over Trump in the Grand Canyon State. Trump heatedly questioned the tally. Sensing misconduct, his supporters in the Arizona Legislature attempted to investigate the election. But Maricopa County politicians blocked these efforts.
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the county’s governing commission, consists of five members, four RINOs and a Democrat. They stonewalled and fought efforts to scrutinize the election. Legislative and Arizona Attorney General’s attempts to audit the election results ultimately went nowhere. Key legislators backed down in response to threats from county supervisors and their powerful allies, including the leftist media and the Biden FBI. The firm that attempted the election probe, Cyber Ninjas, went out of business after a judge hammered it with fines.
In 2022, the same pattern returned. Kari Lake, a former Phoenix TV anchorwoman, ran for governor of Arizona. She adopted a MAGA platform and earned Trump’s endorsement. She was declared the loser, however, after Arizona narrowly rejected Trump’s slate of candidates for the state’s top four offices.
This time, it was thought MAGA world was ready. Maricopa County officials were credibly accused by Lake’s attorneys and expert witnesses of tampering with ballots and voting machines to prevent election-day voters—who were disproportionately Republican and pro-Lake—from successfully casting their votes. Serious questions were raised and evidence supplied about county officials violating state laws governing proper chain of custody for county ballots.
Again, Maricopa County Supervisors and allied county officials were defiant. They didn’t give an inch when fighting in the friendly terrain of the media and the anti-Trump courts. Despite mountains of evidence, Lake and the other two candidates lost all their lawsuits challenging the election. To add insult to injury, and presumably to deter any future MAGA litigation questioning election results, a federal judge imposed sanctions against Lake’s lawyers (including no less than Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz). For his part, a state judge granted a $33,000 costs judgment against Lake’s team.
Notably, Lake had trouble finding any lawyers willing to represent her. She complained at one point she might have to settle for “Better Call Saul” because lawyers feared threats to their livelihood. The attorneys who signed on as her counsel were not even experts in election law. Two conservative Republican county supervisors in a border county, Cochise County, had concerns about election irregularities but were left high and dry. They could not find any attorneys to help them.
How could such corruption occur “in broad daylight,” as Lake complained? And why were lawyers so hesitant to help them? The answers to the two questions, it turns out, are essentially one and the same.
The corruption in Maricopa County was no secret to informed citizens in the county and state. In fact, for years, Maricopa County has been putting to shame the old-school corruption of Cook County, Illinois. I now frequently say that Maricopa County has replaced Cook County as the most corrupt county in the country.
Years before, Maricopa County officials showed they could take out prosecutors who dared to stand up to them. More than any other reason, this precedent is why Trump’s public appeals for “brave prosecutors and judges” to come forward have been in vain, particularly in Arizona.
I know because I was there fighting this corruption more than a decade ago.
First, some background on the greasy politics of the Maricopa County Supervisors. It started with a now-distant election over illegal immigration. After serving as an assistant attorney general for Arizona, I signed on as a deputy county attorney following the election of my new boss, Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas, a Harvard Law graduate. In 2004, the same year in which then-citizen Trump began his hit TV show “The Apprentice,” Thomas ran for Maricopa County Attorney—district attorney for greater Phoenix—with a simple slogan and promise: “Stop Illegal Immigration.” This was the first time a local prosecutor had run on such a platform.
Overcoming the heated opposition of the political establishment, including both Republican U.S. senators (John McCain and Jon Kyl, who wouldn’t cross McCain), Thomas was elected.
The following year, Thomas went about keeping his campaign promise. After Maricopa County Sheriff’s deputies arrested U.S. Army Reservist Patrick Haab for detaining illegal immigrants at gunpoint at an Interstate rest stop, Thomas declined to prosecute him. Thomas was then picketed by left-wing activists and publicly denounced by the U.S. Attorney for Arizona and Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio (yes, that Sheriff Arpaio). Shortly thereafter, as Arizonans increasingly demanded a secure border, Arpaio changed course and became a staunch ally of Thomas in the fight against illegal immigration. Working together, Thomas and Arpaio single-handedly drove illegal immigrants out of the state in a massive exodus. This made international news and horrified the ruling class.
Thomas helped draft a ballot measure to end the right to bail for illegal immigrants accused of serious felonies. Seventy-seven percent of Arizonans voted for it in 2006. When Arizona courts sought to shield illegal immigrants from the law (emails surfaced showing that senior Maricopa County court personnel had instructed their staff not to enforce the measure), Thomas publicly denounced these actions.
In response, retired judges went to the Arizona State Bar—part of the state judiciary which controlled Thomas’ law license—and urged them to “do something” about Thomas. A wave of State Bar investigations ensued, 13 in total. Thus began a five-year campaign of ceaseless State Bar investigations and attacks on Thomas’ law license. It’s now standard practice for leftist bar associations to try to disbar conservative attorneys who threaten the Left. But most people don’t realize this tactic began in Arizona with the corrupt efforts to stop Thomas.
The State Bar openly retaliated against one of Thomas’ expert ethics witnesses, denying him appointment to a national legal board because of the expert’s affidavit in support of Thomas. Even leftist editors at The Arizona Republic newspaper were shocked and criticized this retaliation. (Note: The Arizona Republic conveniently has removed links to these older articles unhelpful to the left, but Thomas has provided extensive citations, and they can be found on library microfiche if searched for.)
Brave and undeterred, Thomas pressed an array of reforms. He ended plea bargaining as we know it for serious violent criminals. He pursued the death penalty in a greater number of murder cases. He refused to give special plea bargains sought by well-connected defense attorneys or judges; instead, he set up a system so that every defendant was treated the same.
Thomas advocated giving voters more information about judges’ performance when they were up for retention elections. This would have meant fewer judges would be retained by an electorate otherwise largely kept in the dark about judges’ rulings on key cases and issues. Finally, Thomas and Arpaio formed an anti-corruption task force. These probes very quickly led them to uncover serious misconduct involving two of the five members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, which controlled an enormous county budget and wielded other great powers in the sprawling county. Those two supervisors, Donald Stapley and Mary Rose Wilcox, were indicted by county grand juries for corruption.
Stapley raised about $70,000 for a race where he had no opponent, then spent it on luxury items for himself and his family. In contrast, when Jesse Jackson Jr. did the exact same thing in Cook County, he was sentenced to prison for two and a half years. Wilcox failed to disclose material monetary associations on her financial disclosure forms, including ones that would influence her votes.
Thomas and Arpaio also attempted to investigate potential financial and other improprieties in the construction of the new Maricopa County courthouse. This was the most expensive public-works project in the history of Maricopa County government. Powerful politicians, judges, and lawyers were scrutinized, and initial evidence was uncovered.
For the establishment, this was the final straw. In short, the courts blocked the investigation of the Maricopa County project, scuttled the other corruption cases brought by Thomas and Arpaio, and turned the tables to investigate Thomas with “ethics” charges. One “courthouse insider” summed up the behind-the-scenes dirty war against Thomas when boasting anonymously and brazenly to The Arizona Republic, “The establishment will take care of Andrew Thomas.”
The courts as an institution had their own scores to settle with Thomas—and they worked closely with Maricopa County Supervisors to get rid of him. After the Arizona Supreme Court chief justice recused herself from the State Bar ethics investigations into Thomas, this left the vice chief justice, Andrew Hurwitz, as the senior justice overseeing the case. Hurwitz was the former chief of staff to liberal Democratic Governor Bruce Babbitt and a well-connected advocate of liberal causes (as noted by Heritage Action, which criticized Hurwitz’s leftist politics when he was later nominated for a federal judgeship).
Left-wing State Bar lawyers were carefully selected, in violation of the State Bar’s own rules, to drive Thomas out of the legal profession. They ultimately sought his disbarment, instituting proceedings denounced by the Maricopa County Republican Committee as “baseless and politically motivated.”
They alleged Thomas had targeted his opponents with politically motivated prosecutions. This is a joke to Republicans and Trump supporters, who know that politicians such as New York’s Democrat Attorney General have run for office
promising to target Trump and escape any State Bar investigations or judicial correction. Moreover, the claim against Thomas was provably false. In fact, Thomas had tried repeatedly but unsuccessfully to hand off the investigations to other prosecutors. Incredibly, the Maricopa County Supervisors and their county manager blocked him from appointing independent special prosecutors to handle the matters. The county officials then claimed he had unfairly targeted them when he went forward with the cases himself!
Democrats fight and block investigations and then claim there was no valid evidence. If there was no election fraud, why block the investigations which would, if they weren’t lying, prove them right. But, for some reason, they ALWAYS fight against having their point conclusively proven.
Gee, just like the phony January 6th “committee”. Not even the pretense of abiding by their own rules, just railroading the political victim.
This is Democrat totalitarianism and fascism at work.
Corruption R Us – Ken Paxton to pay $3.3m to ex-staffers who accused Texas AG of corruption –
No problemo. He gets to make the payoff using taxpayer money.
Under terms of a preliminary lawsuit settlement filed on Friday, Paxton made no admission of wrongdoing to accusations of bribery and abuse of office, which he has denied for years and called politically motivated.
Paxton and Paul have broadly denied wrongdoing and neither has been charged with a federal crime.
Swing and a miss scooter
Exactly. He settled with his accusers, buying silence with $3.3 Million in public funds. That, scooter, is the entire point.
BULLSHIT. You have bought your way out of standing for a civil deposition with 3.3 Million taxpayer dollars.
Translation: He could be asked questions under oath during civil deposition, with federal corruption investigators paying close attention to his answers.
$3.3 Million in taxpayer funds would prevent that from happening.
When he’s done nothing wrong, why should HE have to pay out of his pocket for politically motivated accusations? It’s an old Democrat trick, bring charges against a political opponent running for office so the mere accusation will cost them the election. It didn’t work with Paxton. Blame those who made the false accusations
But, what do you possibly care about a corrupt politician? We currently have idiot Biden, known to have been influence peddling and stole top secret documents for Hunter could use to collect more money, yet you fully support that.
Paxton wants to pay 3.3 Million taxpayer dollars to avoid deposition in civil court while he’s under federal investigation for bribery, Sherlock. Like Trump, this guy has a history of successful evasion of the laws that everyone else is subject to.
The GOP can’t seem to keep its barrel free of rotten apples. In fact, the rotten apples own the barrel.
Trump hasn’t committed any crimes. He’s as clean as they come.
You might not like that, but that’s okay. The only thing the Left’s endless Putin-style invention of crimes on Trump has done is to vet him, more than any candidate in history.
Why Biden isn’t rotting in prison for high crimes and misdemeanors pretty much negates ANY false charge you creeps make against Trump.
Are you really willing to…stop Trump?
He’s popular, competent, and the clear choice for President in 2024.
Trump is traitorous criminal scum in a three-piece suit, worshipped by those blinded by wealth, bravado, and populace bullshit.
It’s official, Disney gives up fight against DeSantis…
The balloons are shiny objects filling the time slots where actual important news should be. They’re hiding the stories that we should be thinking about.
Culture wars stories serve the same function. They’re a concealing curtain of noisy nothing. They’re evidence of a nation being deliberately dumbed down by an emerging focus of wealth and power that is neither right nor left, but plays both off against each other as a distraction.
Spoken by a true imbecile, a stooge of the CCP
Are you sure you know what’s real?
These newscasters you may have seen online are not real people
In 5 years AI will be so advanced, no one will.
Why have “balloons” become “objects”? I’m curious about that.
They could be covering idiot Biden’s treason, stealing documents and providing them to the CCP. Instead, we see coverage of idiot Biden getting butt-f**ked by Xi.
Only idiot Biden has been shown to have broken laws and committed treason. Up above I asked what crime Trump committed. Don’t forget to answer.
But there was no crime, scooter, so why should he pay? Why should anyone pay? The DNC should pay; it’s their scam.
What law did Trump ever violate? Please inform.
And, as Greg says, paid for by the taxpayers.
How do record levels of border arrests indicate negligence regarding enforcement efforts? Have the Republican idiots in the House explained that yet? Or do they no longer have to explain, when their illogical assertions make no sense?
Biden’s job approval rating has risen 7 percentage points since his July low.
Illegal aliens crossing the border is at a record level never before seen. mayorkas has circumvented immigration law unilaterally to process aliens using his methods, not those uuder immigration law that is vested in the Congress. I get it, when you are lied to, the truth is an anathema. Carry on scootter.
“A record level never before seen?” Is that you, Donald?
Greg I have hope and encouragement just for you.
Well, let’s try to explain it so even the most prolific point-misser can understand it. Now, pay attention, scooter.
What do you have to have before you have record levels of border arrests? Any idea? Well, I’ll just spell it out; you have to FIRST have record levels of illegal crossings! Yeah, new records set every month, in every category. That includes record levels of illegal immigrants entering and record level of illegal immigrant got-aways. We also see record levels of people on the terrorist watch list crossing. Record levels of fentanyl seized AND record levels of fentanyl circulating in the country, along with record levels of people dying from fentanyl poisoning.
Why is all this record setting happening now? Because of the record level of STUPIDITY and INCOMPETENCE in the White House and Democrat party. The border was secured under Trump; idiot Biden UN-secured it.
When do you think idiot Biden will finally get around to apologizing to the mounted Border Agents he lied about and called racists? You think he’ll ever show them the respect they deserve and show any guts and apologize? Nah, neither do I. He is shit on the bottom of their shoes.
Only those who hate this country and wish to see it destroyed “approve” of idiot Biden’s destruction.
Biden, for those few Americans who even consider him a “president,” is the most hated, most disrespected, most ridicule man in the history of American politics.
No other country takes him seriously, and they are very concerned that America has a puppet ruler.
They’re waiting to see what happens, like we all are.
You don’t know what’s going on outside of the right-wing social media disinformation bubble, because you’ve been conditioned not to look. That’s what the anti-mainstream media campaign was all about. Every crack-brained corner of the right’s echo chamber picked up that message at the start. It was sad to watch.
One should consider it damning that you, like all left wing radicals, accuse those on the other side of the aisle what you are personally guilty of.
Can you even define “mainstream” media or who it includes. Odd that you are such a cheer leader for what is not even considered “mainstream” as in all the years you have been spewing your left wing filth on this site, you rarely, if ever, have linked to any site that could be considered middle of the aisle, much less right.
More b/s pablum from you. What’s sad is what an idiot you are.
That’s the left’s idea of news reporting; just deny the obvious and their ignorant viewers will remain ignorant with no curiosity to research it.
He’s guilty of no wrongdoing. He’s agreeing to pay for firing the whistleblowers, which is what the FBI is doing to those who follow the proper whistleblower procedures.
How much did Schiff pay off the boy for sexual harassment out of taxpayer funds?
Who forked over the $25 million paid to pander to the family of the criminal Floyd, who suicided himself with his own fentanyl? Don’t remember Greg having a problem with that.
Dig into the train derailment, its not a fun rabbit hole, why did they blow it up spreading the toxic shit all over Ohios farmland? Each one of those rail cars has a way to pump out the chemicals.How was it derailed, did they blast the evidence?
At least it’s not one of those dangerous pipelines!
Was there an environmental study on the “disposal” method? Who gave the go ahead?
vinyl chloride. Regulations strictly limit levels of vinyl chloride in the workplace and in emissions from manufacturing plants.
No employee may be exposed to vinyl chloride at concentrations greater than 1 ppm averaged over any 8-hour period, and 1910.1017 (c) (2) No employee may be exposed to vinyl chloride at concentrations greater than 5 ppm averaged over any period not exceeding 15 minutes.
The chemicals were diverted into a trench and burnt off. Officials warned, however, that it would send toxic gases phosgene—used during World War I—and hydrogen chloride into the atmosphere.
according to the Associated Press, and pets have died in suspected cases of chemical exposure.
Nothing to see here there is an alien invasion or sumthin’ but our jets are shooting them all down.