PHOENIX – In an effort to downplay claims of conflict of interest, IRC Chair finalist Thomas Loquvam revealed his ties to an attorney who reportedly led a committee to find a GOP-friendly registered Independent who could get appointed to the next commission.
Mr. Loquvam cited Mr. Liburdi while explaining to the panel how he came to be hired to do legal work for Governor Ducey’s PACs.
According to Loquvam, who attempted to make his pursuit of clients for his newly-established law firm appear non-partisan, former Ducey aide Liburdi was in the process of shedding clients in anticipation of a judicial appointment and gave Loquvam a referral.
Mr. Liburdi, in addition to his status as a former aide to the Governor, also represented the Plaintiffs in the 2014 lawsuit Harris v Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission, which unsuccessfully sought to throw out the legislative district map drawn by the 2011 IRC. He has also reportedly been active in GOP efforts to recruit a favorable IRC in 2021.
From an August 2013 Roll Call article, “2020 Redistricting? The Arizona GOP is ON IT”:
“This cycle, Republicans are quietly searching for a registered Independent who can get appointed to the committee to help the GOP in the next round of mapmaking after 2020…The local GOP’s new committee includes Republicans from every House district in the state, and attorney Mike Liburdi will serve as chairman.”
The Arizona Democratic Party has previously opposed Mr. Loquvam’s application, citing his status as a registered lobbyist, a line of work prohibited in the Arizona Constitution under voter-approved Proposition 106 that created the IRC in 2000. In addition to his law firm being paid over $5,000 by Governor Ducey’s PACs in 2019, his many years working for APS as legal counsel overlapped with the tenure of his sister, lobbyist Jessica Pacheco, who wrote the utility giant’s “playbook” for their multi-million “dark money” efforts to influence Arizona elections and policy.
This latest revelation compounds the Party’s concerns about Mr. Loquvam’s eligibility for this important position.