The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission issued this press release yesterday announcing it filed a lawsuit to determine if state Attorney General Tom Horne's investigation of the commission is constitutional. Horne is "investigating" if the commission allegedly violated open meetings laws when it hired a mapping firm:
PHOENIX (Sept. 27, 2011) — The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court today asking the court to determine whether state Attorney General Tom Horne’s investigation of the commission is constitutional. The commission asserts that the attorney general’s investigation “is in excess of his authority and in violation of the constitutional independence of the IRC.”
Arizona’s Constitution requires that the commission conduct its business in public, and the panel goes to great lengths to fulfill that mandate. But the constitution does not give the attorney general any investigative or enforcement authority to wield over the commission.
Instead, to maintain the commission’s independence, the constitutional openness requirement that governs commission activities is enforced through the courts rather than through attorney general investigations.
The commission asked the court to consolidate its lawsuit with one that the attorney general previously filed against three commissioners concerning the investigation. A copy of the commission’s complaint is available on the commission’s website, azredistricting.org.