Maricopa County Attorney Richard Romley is moving quietly to try to give some county funds to the state’s Independent Redistricting Commission.
Commission attorney Lisa Hauser said she got a call from Romley suggesting that there may be a legal way to funnel cash to the commission to defend against a lawsuit if state lawmakers balk at providing money.
Hauser said the basis for that infusion is that the county has already spent money putting together its plans for the 2004 election based on the commission’s legislative and congressional district maps, which many Democrats have criticized.
The boundaries being defended are largely favorable to Republicans such as Romley and a majority of the fivemember Maricopa County Board of Supervisors. Challengers who want a judge to throw out those maps include a coalition of Hispanics and Democrats.
Romley refused to comment on the plan. But Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox of District 5 in Phoenix, the lone Democrat on the board, said Romley has never even bothered to tell her of his plan, which Hauser said likely would require board approval.
The move comes as the Republican-controlled House of Representatives voted Thursday to give an additional $1.7 million to the Independent Redistricting Commission.
The 39-18 party-line vote came over the objections of Democrats who decried the rush to provide more money to defend the legislative and congressional districts against a legal challenge. They said there should be better accounting of the $6 million already spent by the commission.
The Senate next must consider the funding proposal.