What I love about so-called "conservatives" who regularly rail about entitlement programs is that these same limited-government types are often the first ones to turn around and take a handout at taxpayer expense when the need arises.
Case in point: disgraced ex-Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and his former henchwomen, ex-deputy county attorneys Lisa Aubuchon and Rachel Alexander, who are currently undergoing State Bar of Arizona disciplinary hearings.
Aubuchon and Thomas face possible disbarment, while Alexander is looking at a possible suspension. Serious stuff. Particularly when you no longer have a government job and must fend for yourself in the private sector. Without the ability to practice law, suddenly pouring mocha frappachinos for a living at Starbucks looks pretty durn good.
But when it comes to legal fees for these three, their hunk of government cheese takes the form of taxpayer-paid-for legal representation. According to the county, as of the end of July, lawyers defending the trio in this morass-of-their-own-making have billed a total of $657,692 and counting. Nothing "conservative" about that.
The breakdown is thus: $128,203 for Alexander; $244,328 for Thomas; and $285,161 for Aubuchon.
The billings for Aubuchon are old, and occurred under former interim Maricopa County Attorney Rick Romley. Maricopa County spokeswoman Cari Gerchick tells me the county's not picking up the tab for Aubuchon's current counsel Ed Moriarty, as he's not on the county's procurement list. (Apparently, Moriarty's doing the work pro bono, which would explain his stellar performance.)
As for Thomas and Alexander's lawyers, their billings for August forward should be through the roof. The money's coming out of the county's risk management fund, and there is no cap, according to Gerchick. Though she said there is some oversight by risk management, in hopes of preventing a free-for-all.
To be fair, the county in the past has picked up the tab for bar representation on complaints regarding county lawyers. Still, considering the egregiousness of the alleged ethical violations and the grotesque abuses of power involved, the amount of cash going to these three sticks in the craw.
I don't know Aubuchon's politics, but Thomas and Alexander are right-wing warriors, for whom government is supposedly the enemy, though I doubt that ever stopped them from picking up their paychecks while employed at the MCAO.
Thomas, in particular, has added insult to injury by not showing up to his own bar trial. (The expense for the trial itself is being covered by the state bar.)
As for Alexander, a conservative blogger and occasional boob-tube talking head, she's constantly kvetching about government spending, while touting the joys of free market capitalism. In light of the $128K she's cost us so far, she should consider renaming her Intellectual Conservative blog to "Intellectually Dishonest."
Apparently blogging doesn't pay so well. Back in May, she filed paperwork with the Arizona Corporation Commission to set up her brand spankin' new Alexander Bankruptcy Law Firm, which she now advertises on her icarizona.com Website.
For the "low low flat fee" of just $995, you can have Alexander represent you in your Chapter 7 proceedings. For Chapter 13, it's pricier, $2,500.
And why wouldn't you want an attorney that the state bar's investigator John Gleason has blasted for defending a "meritless and frivolous" RICO lawsuit against her boss Andrew Thomas' political and judicial enemies?
In his initial investigative report, Gleason called Alexander, Aubuchon and Thomas "fundamentally incompetent" in bringing and defending the RICO case.
"Alexander's attempts to prolong and continue the case were based upon incompetent reasoning," Gleason wrote. "She accepted the conclusions based upon `facts' alleged in the complaint filed by Thomas and Aubuchon without question."
Indeed, based on my colleague Ray Stern's coverage of the opening day of the anticipated 25-to-45 day-long disciplinary proceeding, it sounds like Alexander's lawyer will be employing the "good German" defense in order to save his client's hide.
Personally, I'm not buying it. If Alexander is truly an "intellectual conservative," why didn't she know she was playing hatchetwoman for an unscrupulous county attorney, and defending a meritless RICO claim, one fashioned to punish and harass Thomas' foes?
I wouldn't hire this woman to contest a parking ticket, much less handle a bankruptcy or any other legal matter. And why anyone would pay any attention to the conservanut ramblings of someone so intellectually bankrupt is well nigh incomprehensible. To me, at least.