October 31, 2011

Lack of transparency over redistricting legal costs

The Las Vegas Sun's Anjeanette Damon reports how voters will likely never know how much the state's extended redistricting saga cost the two major political parties.

According to Damon's story, both the Democratic and Republican parties established large trusts and special entities to raise money to pay the legal costs for redistricting across the country. State Democrats drew money from the National Democratic Redistricting Trust Fund to pay lead attorney Marc Elias, a D.C.-based lawyer who argued their case in Carson City, while state Republicans created the Fund for Nevada's Future to pay for their legal team.

Neither party was willing to estimate the total cost for their respective legal teams, according to Damon.

According to FEC rules, since redistricting does not influence a specific federal election, donors for the Democrats' trust remain secret. As Damon points out, while redistricting doesn't influence a specific federal election, it influences state elections for the next decade, which have an impact on the federal government, making the FEC rule seem counterintuative.

While voters may never know the legal costs for both political parties, at least the state's special masters' pay is public information, since the masters' are paid with taxpayer dollars.