March 17, 2021 Press Releases

Release: ADP Calls for Inquiry into IRC Executive Director’s Undisclosed $63,000 McSally Payday

Release: ADP Calls for Inquiry into IRC Executive Director’s Undisclosed $63,000 McSally Payday 

PHOENIX –– For the first time in the history of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, the IRC Executive Director was hired without receiving a unanimous vote from Commissioners.

Chairwoman Erika Schupak Neuberg joined with the two Republican Commissioners on a 3-2 vote in favor of applicant Brian Schmitt. Schmitt’s application stood in stark contrast to the four other interviewed finalists in his complete lack of work experience in state government. Additionally, Schmitt failed to disclose in his application his very recent work experience for the Republican National Committee and McSally for Senate. FEC reports show he was paid more than $63,000 in 2020 by the McSally for Senate campaign.

When asked yesterday in his follow-up interview to elaborate on his recent, previously undisclosed campaign work, Schmitt responded:

“I was asked to help with the last event of the cycle. It takes place on the Yavapai County Courthouse steps… A friend called and asked me to help coordinate the logistics and that was my only involvement…

That event was kind of a one-off…My full time job is really what I do. This is just, I used my campaign experience to help out.”

Arizona Democratic Party Interim Executive Director Charlie Fisher released the following statement:

“Yesterday’s decision by the Independent Redistricting Commission was shocking and disappointing. The Republicans and the Chair of this Commission chose to break with history and select an Executive Director who was unable to earn the full support of the commission, in direct contrast to Chair Neuberg’s previous pledges to build consensus and avoid split votes. All of this was done in order to hire the most partisan, least experienced candidate among the five interviewed.

I am not familiar with the financial decision-making of the McSally campaign, but I’ve been around politics long enough to confidently say an outside consultant being paid more than $63,000 to “help out” at a single event is preposterous. The fact that Mr. Schmitt omitted this information from his application and has yet to satisfactorily explain his campaign cash windfall is unethical and should have disqualified him entirely.

The Arizona Constitution requires that members of the Independent Redistricting Commission uphold the integrity of the redistricting process and the public’s trust in it. Mr. Schmitt’s lack of transparency about his political activities, loyalties, and benefactors are at odds with those sacred principles.

The Arizona Democratic Party calls on the Independent Redistricting Commission and the Arizona Department of Administration to pause the employment process, and refrain from installing Mr. Schmitt as Executive Director until these questions are answered by an independent inquiry. The people of Arizona must have a complete picture as to who will be leading the operations of this independent, nonpartisan commission.”

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BACKGROUND

IRC Transcript March 2001

IRC Transcript July 2001

IRC Transcript April 2011

IRC Meeting Video March 2021