To the Honorable Justices of the Arizona Supreme Court:
For a system like the one proposed above to work, as with Justice Berch's previously proposed but unconstitutional opt-out system, some kind of accurate accounting system must be put into place. A lawyer friend of mine asked the Bar for an accounting of the money spent last year on lobbying by the Bar. Responses to these types of queries from the Bar often start with, we don't have to tell you anything, but we are transparent, so . . . they are transparent or they are not, so why put that in there?
The response that followed was a rambling low-ball guesstimate based upon random docs that made it clear that the Bar does not keep those kinds of records and does not have to keep those kinds of records. Lawyers cannot opt out of paying for a made-up number. Keeping such records would not be difficult to do. A simple spread sheet would do the job, containing dates, hours, and political activities undertaken on behalf of the Bar. This is not unlike keeping time sheets at a law firm, only in this case the member lawyers are the clients.
Expenses will have to be accounted for as well. Weeks after I testified before a House Subcommittee in favor of Representative Kern's bill to make the bar non-mandatory, I received a 400 page bar charge. I made a passing reference in my Senate testimony to receiving the bar charge after testifying before the House Subcommittee, without attributing any particular motive to the Bar. An audible gasp went through the room. Weeks after that, I received a hand-couriered letter from Bar Counsel asking me to waive confidentiality on the disciplinary case, which Chief Justice Bales had already reassigned to Independent Bar Counsel, so that the Bar could explain the Bar's side of the situation to the Arizona Senate. None of the costs regarding this purely political effort by Bar Counsel appeared in the "accounting" received by my lawyer friend: Not the cost of the stationary, not the time spent composing the misleading letter, not the time spent by the courier traveling from the Bar offices to my private home on Scottsdale Mountain and back, and not the courier's gas and mileage.
Whatever this Honorable Court decides to do, accurate accounting is critical to being fair to the lawyers who do not want to pay for the political machinations of the Bar, whether under Justice Berch's plan, the above proposal, or any future legislation. There are some programs that I would be willing to pay for, like the charming and, I think, beneficial community justice program for children. But no Arizona lawyer should have to pay for a politically motivated letter hand-delivered to my home an hour away from the state bar offices.
Karyl Krug AZ Bar #028911
12149 N. 134th Way
Scottsdale, AZ 85259
480-275-7054 [email protected]