November 25, 2014

FSU shooting revives debate over guns on college campuses

Last Thursday’s shooting at Florida State University has spurred a renewed call for allowing guns on college campuses.

Among those leading the charge: Nathan Scott, one of three people shot and wounded last week when Myron May opened fire at the FSU library. Scott is part of a group called Students for Concealed Carry at Florida State, which on Tuesday asked state lawmakers to allow concealed-weapon permit holders to carry firearms on college grounds.

Their request may resonate in Tallahassee, especially with the powerful National Rifle Association echoing the call.

The NRA's Tallahassee lobbyist Marion Hammer said Tuesday that she hopes to have a "thoughtful, deliberative" conversation on the subject when the Legislature reconvenes.

"We're not going to rush into it emotionally, like a lot of people do after a tragedy," Hammer said. “But the reality is, there is a ban of guns on campus, and that did not stop an attacker. The law never stops the bad guy. It only stops the good guys from being able to protect themselves and others."

Read more here.

Miami commission candidate may have to resign to run

@NewsbySmiley

The only candidate so far to launch a bid for Miami’s District 2 commission seat in 2015 has been told she must resign her post on an important city board due to her candidacy.

According to a legal opinion issued Friday, Grace Solares’ decision to run for office means she must step down from the city’s newly formed charter review committee, which is tasked with recommending changes to the city’s constitutional document. The opinion from Assistant City Attorney Kerri McNulty doesn’t specifically mention Solares, but states that members of city boards must resign their positions once they’ve filed to run and appointed a campaign treasurer or begun to raise campaign funds.

Solares said she finds it hard to believe the opinion, issued four days after she filed to run, is a coincidence.

“I file on Monday and by Friday I had a legal opinion attempting to remove me?” said Solares, who noted that candidates sitting on previous city boards were allowed to run for office without resigning.

But that’s exactly why the opinion was sought, said City Clerk Todd Hannon, to whom the legal opinion was addressed. Hannon said the issue has been a confusing one ever since the commission voted in 2007 to insert language in a candidates’ affidavit creating new stipulations on when they must resign from city boards. He said he felt it was time for clarification.

“No one requested me to do this. It was of my own volition,” said Hannon. “It’s just good to get this all clarified now.”

Solares’ attorney and employer, Linda Carroll, rebutted the opinion Tuesday, stating that an attorney general’s opinion from 1982 refutes the city's legal opinion. If Solares doesn’t step down, it would be up to Miami commissioners to remove her, should they desire to do so, according to McNulty.

Commissioner Francis Suarez, who sits as chairman of the charter review committee, said he wants to wait and see if the attorneys can agree on what should happen before bringing the issue to the commission.

Solares was appointed to the committe by Mayor Tomas Regalado. The charter changes she is seeking include stricter term limits and provisions for a more powerful mayoral veto. 

Scott reshuffles press shop, hires new Cabinet aide

Gov. Rick Scott on Tuesday announced Monica Russell as his new director of Cabinet affairs and made more changes to his communications shop in advance of his second term in January.

Russell, 31, is a University of Florida graduate who was communications director at the Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) before leaving to work as surrogates director for the Scott re-election campaign. John Tupps, 30, will be deputy communications director. A University of Tennessee communications grad, Tupps joined the Scott administration in 2011 and had been serving as press secretary.

That post will be held by Jeri Bustamante, 29, who was campaign press secretary for Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera. She's a former associate producer for WSVN, the Fox TV station in Miami. The press secretary is the person who most frequently travels with Scott to events around Florida and the U.S. 

Scott earlier announced that Jackie Schutz, 28, his campaign press secretary, will be director of communications.

Other staff changes in the governor's office include the promotion of Frank Collins, 29, from communications director to deputy chief of staff; Dr. Kim McDougal from policy director to deputy chief of staff and legislative affairs director; Brad Piepenbrink, 28, from campaign political director to deputy chief of staff and external affairs director; Karl Rasmussen, 33, from chief Cabinet aide to deputy chief of staff; and Jeff Woodburn, 33, from deputy secretary at DBPR to policy director. 

All staff changes take effect Dec. 1.

The 2014 governor's race votes and ad spending by Florida media market

@MarcACaputo

The race for Florida governor was officially certified last week, so now we have final numbers. By our estimate, more than $103 million was spent on TV ads since March. 

All told, 6,026,802 Floridians cast ballots. Of them, about 53 percent voted early in person or by absentee ballot (1,878,537 absentees + 1,309,198 early votes = 3,187,735).

More people voted in the governor's race than any other contest: 5,951,561. Scott received 2,865,343 votes to Crist's 2,801,198. That's 48.14 percent to 47.07, a margin of 1.08 percent, or 64,145.

Scott's raw-vote margin was 4.2 percent bigger than in 2010, when his margin was 61,550 over Democrat Alex Sink. On a percentage basis, though, Scott did worse than in 2010, when his win-margin was 1.2 percentage points (the overall number of people voting in the governor's race grew 11 percent since 2010).

Here's how the 2014 votes broke down by media market, along with the ad spending:

Florida votes & ad spending

 

 

 

Lawyer Benjamin Crump's Half True claim about Ferguson, police shootings and race

Even before the grand jury in Ferguson, Mo., announced its decision in the police shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, the lead lawyer for the Brown family challenged the grand jury process.

Attorney Benjamin Crump said the ground rules were skewed in favor of police officer Darren Wilson. All one needed for proof, Crump said, was to look at the statistics.

"The process is completely unfair," Crump said on ABC’s This Week on Nov. 23, 2014. "Ninety-nine percent of the time police officers aren't charged when they kill young people of color."

We called Crump’s office to learn what statistics he relied on to back up his claim about 99 percent of police killings of minority youth. We did not hear back.

We contacted a number of criminologists and other experts in fatalities at the hands of law enforcement officials. All of them told PunditFact that the data don’t exist to prove Crump right or wrong. At the same time, they said his number probably has a measure of accuracy, even if it doesn’t show what he thinks it does in terms of racial bias.

Criminologist Candace McCoy at City University of New York said a simple fact dominates any assessment of Crump’s statement.

"It is very rare for an officer to get indicted at all, no matter what the race of a victim," McCoy said.

Turn to Jon Greenberg's fact-check from PunditFact to read more.

Flores to lead Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation

FloresThe Miami-Dade Legislative Delegation has a new leader.

Sen. Anitere Flores, a Miami Republican, was voted chairwoman Tuesday.

"My goal is for us to speak with as unified a voice as possible," she said.

Flores said she plans to concentrate on issues that affect all of Miami-Dade County, including transportation, education and infrastructure. She will also work to ensure Miami-Dade projects receive funding.

"We've had a great track record the past couple of years," she said. "I'm hopeful we'll continue in that direction."

Flores, who has served in the Legislature since 2004 and works as the president of Doral College, won the unanimous support of her colleagues.

Sen. Oscar Braynon, D-Miami, said he expects her to reach across party lines.

"She always been inclusive of me, Dwight [Bullard] and Gwen [Margolis]," he said, naming the other Senate Democrats from Miami-Dade. "I'm happy to have someone from our Senate group to spread the unity to our entire delegation."

Flores replaces former Rep. Eddy Gonzalez, R-Hialeah, who could not seek re-election due to term limits.

Rep. José Félix Díaz, R-Miami, will serve as vice chairman.

The 24-member delegation from Miami-Dade is the largest in the state. 

Miami Commissioner Hardemon says Ferguson grand jury "sabotaged"

@NewsbySmiley

Miami Commissioner and former public defender Keon Hardemon took to Twitter Tuesday morning to blast the tactics of a St. Louis County prosecutor before a grand jury that declined to indict the white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager Aug. 9 in Ferguson, Mo.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson, announced by prosecuting attorney Robert P. McCulloch during an 8 p.m. press conference, led to clashes between police and protestors on the streets of Ferguson, where Wilson shot Michael Brown, 18, following a scuffle.

Locally, Miami officials braced for potential protests Monday night. But all was quiet.

On Tuesday, however, Miami’s only African American commissioner -- and the son of a Miami police officer -- spoke out. He reacted to the release of details and transcripts from the grand jury proceedings by saying that the indictment was “sabotaged” and that “the grand jury was used.” He said McCulloch's presentation of conflicting testimony and the decision to allow Wilson to testify was telling.

Here are Hardemon's tweets, presented in order:

"#Food for thought:a prosecutor under normal circumstance would not present conflicting evidence to grand jury if he is seeking an indictment"

"A #prosecutor only puts on enough evidence to get an indictment. No more. No less. It's not about fairness. It's about the charge."

"Presenting the potential #defendant's testimony is a tactic used by prosecutors to have the jury rule against the indictment."

"Probable cause is the only hurdle at the grand jury stage. I hate to say it but the truth is the truth. This was sabotaged."

"The defendant doesn't have the right to testify to grand jury. He was allowed to create doubt. The grand jury was used."

November 24, 2014

Gov. Scott signs death warrant for 21st execution

Gov. Rick Scott on Monday signed the death warrant for Johnny Shane Kormondy, who killed a Pensacola banker and repeatedly raped his wife as the couple returned home from her 20th high school reunion in 1993. Kormondy is set to die on Jan. 15, 2015.

In a summary of the case, the governor's office said that Kormondy shot Gary McAdams in the back of the head, killing him, and was the leader of the attack on the McAdamses, having recruited accomplices, provided transportation and cased the neighborhood prior to the crime. Kormondy also threatened to kill witnesses who testified at his trial -- including Cecilia McAdams -- if he were released from prison.

Kormondy was convicted of first-degree murder and three counts of sexual battery. The jury recommended a death sentence by a vote of 8 to 4 and he received life sentences on each of the sexual battery counts. Kormondy, 42, has spent half of his life on Death Row at Florida State Prison in Starke.

Kormondy would be the 21st person to be executed since Scott took office as governor in January 2011. That would tie the number of executions ordered by former Gov. Jeb Bush, who served two terms for a total of eight years from 1999-2007.

Miami-Dade County commission elects first Haitian-American chairman

@PatriciaMazzei

Jean Monestime, who left Haiti alone at 17 to move to the United States and went from washing floors at a doughnut shop to running his own real-estate business, was elected Monday as the first Haitian-American chairman of the Miami-Dade County commission.

His colleagues chose him by acclamation, voting unanimously in what they said was a show of unity for a board sometimes pulled apart by ethnicity and race. Monestime represents one of the poorest commission districts, a Northeast Dade corridor that includes portions of Little Haiti, Liberty City, North Miami, North Miami Beach and Biscayne Gardens.

“What an honor this is,” the 51-year-old Monestime said, his voice breaking. In his two-year term as chairman, which will begin Jan. 1, he promised to “allow our diversity to strengthen our community, instead of divide us.”

Esteban “Steve” Bovo, 52, was elected — also unanimously — as the board’s vice-chairman. He represents areas of Hialeah, Miami Lakes and Palm Springs North.

“Our actions today show that the American Dream...continues to live on,” said Bovo, who is Cuban-American. “Many have come from abroad to establish themselves in this community.”

More here.

Legislators launch plan to rewrite enviro laws to deal with Amendment 1

Florida environmentalists say they were forced to go to voters to get permanent funding for land and water protection because legislators neglected the need for too many years. But now — even though Amendment 1 passed with 75 percent of the vote — the Legislature will get the last word.

House and Senate Republican leaders are preparing legislation to rewrite many of the state’s existing environmental laws to respond to the amendment, which requires the Legislature and governor to set aside one-third of all taxes collected from the documentary tax on real estate transactions. Lawmakers warn that painful tradeoffs lie ahead.

How legislators make those tradeoffs will determine whether the implementation of Amendment 1 is a cordial affair — in which both proponents and lawmakers agree to compromise — or whether the debate becomes a test of wills and, potentially, lawsuits. 

“In this new reality, as we work to apply this new portion of our constitution and faithfully implement the will of the voters, there is going to be some pain,’’ said Senate President Andy Gardiner in a speech to the Senate on Tuesday during the swear-in ceremony for members.

Gardiner conceded that the proposal to generate between $10billion to $20 billion for environmental causes over the next 20 years could “make a significant impact on the future of water and natural resources,” but emphasized that “implementing this amendment will be a challenge.”

Amendment 1 is expected to raise between $300 million and $500 million a year for projects intended to preserve environmentally-sensitive land and protect and improve water quality. At its core, the amendment weakens the Legislature’s most coveted power — the power of the purse — by taking away the ability of legislators to control a small piece of the state’s $75 billion budget.

As a result, Gardiner’s message was directed at both environmental advocates, who drafted the amendment, and his fellow lawmakers, whose power has been clipped by the proposal. Story here. 

Gov. Scott's prisons chief, Mike Crews, resigns

Michael-CrewsGov. Rick Scott's corrections chief, Mike Crews, told his staff Monday that he's resigning. The News Service of Florida first reported Crews' decision to quit at a time when his agency has been in turmoil as a result of widespread reports of abuse by prison guards, charges of retaliation against whistleblowers and a chronic multi-million dollar deficit.

The News Service said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Jessica Cary confirmed that Crews told his senior staff Monday that he's out.

Crews, 53, won praise from state legislators for his handling of cases in which inmates walked away from a work release center in Pinellas County last year and in one case resulted in a murder being committed. He began a high-profile effort this past summer to clean up the prison system after The Miami Herald reported on a series of cases in which inmates died or were abused at the hands of prison guards.

Crews is the first state agency head to step down since Scott's re-election on Nov. 4. Department of Environmental Protection Secretary Herschel Vinyard is also expected to depart in the coming weeks.

FEC asks Carlos Curbelo's campaign to explain finance report errors

@PatriciaMazzei

Carlos Curbelo was elected to U.S. Congress earlier this month, but his campaign work is not over.

The Federal Election Commission has asked the Miami Republican to respond to a series of questions for omitting or mislabeling more than $93,000 in campaign contributions, which Curbelo has blamed on a computer software problem.

The federal agency issued Curbelo’s campaign two notices last week — one of them 11 pages long — that, if not answered adequately, could result in audits or fines.

Nicole Rapanos, Curbelo’s campaign manager, said Monday that the campaign plans to respond as early as this week with a complete accounting of contributions and donors omitted or mislabeled.

“Once we get everything answered, we should be OK,” she said. “We’re not trying to hide anything.”

More here.

Broward lobbyist Bill Rubin hires former Scott aide

Tallahassee lobbyist Bill Rubin, an early supporter of Gov. Rick Scott four years ago, has hired former top Scott policy advisor Chris Finkbeiner to help expand the firm's operations. Rubin also announced Monday that his long-time associate, consultant Heather Turnbull, has been promoted to executive vice president and partner in the firm. 

Finkbeiner, who turned 30 on Monday, most recently was policy director for Scott's re-election campaign. His name was in circulation as a possible chief of staff in a second term but Scott named campaign manager Melissa Sellers to that position. Adding Finkbeiner to his roster strengthens Rubin's connections to Scott's office, even though Finkbeiner is prohibited by law from lobbying the governor's office for two years.

ScottrubinRubin, 61, a Fort Lauderdale resident and founder of The Rubin Group, has been a fixture in Tallahassee lobbying circles for three decades. He was named last week as one of the chairs of Scott's second inaugural.

Rubin (at Scott's left in photo from the 2010 campaign with Scott, running mate Jennifer Carroll and the governor's late mother, Esther) is now a Republican. But he got his political start working for two prominent Democrats, first as an aide to Attorney General Bob Shevin in the 1970s and later as a top aide to former state Insurance Commissioner Bill Gunter. As a lobbyist, Rubin first came to prominence when two close friends, Bob Crawford and Tom Gustafson, simultaneously rose to power as Senate president and House speaker in the 1988-1990 cycle.

Rubin's clients include Aetna, Automated Healthcare Solutions, Dosal Tobacco Corp., Embraer Aircraft Corp., The GEO Group, Nova Southeastern University and Wal-Mart. He still represents HCA Healthcare Corp., the hospital empire that Scott built and that hired Rubin as a Tallahassee lobbyist more than two decades ago.

Daniella Levine Cava taps commission veterans for two top posts

@doug_hanks

Miami-Dade's newest commissioner has staffed up her District 8 office.

Sean McCrackine, who worked in the District 8 office when Katy Sorenson held the seat, left Commissioner Jean Monestime's staff to join Levine Cava as chief of policy and planning. Maria Elena Levrant jumped from Miami International Airport's media office to be Levine Cava's chief of constituent affairs. Before heading for the airport, she worked 12 years in the offices of Sorenson and then-commissioner Jimmy Morales (now Miami Beach's city manager). 

The long-time president of Catalyst Miami, an non-profit she founded in 1995, Levine Cava did not name a chief of staff. The third "chief" position went to Adele Bagley, a lawyer and former Catalyst intern, who will serve as chief of community engagement.

Jason Smith, director of intergovernmental affairs for the county's Public Works department, was hired as Levine Cava's legislative director.

Johanna Cervone will handle communications and outreach, Rick Morgan is community liason and special-projects coordinator, Rahel Weldeyesus will coordinate community service and Martha Ochoa is Levine Cava's new executive assistant.  

 

Big Miami-Dade donor Wayne Rosen wants another shot at county money

@doug_hanks

[Updated at 8:57 a.m. with news of a delay in the re-vote plan.]

Wayne Rosen gave more money to Miami-Dade commissioners than almost anybody did, but the generosity failed to win him the vote he wanted three weeks ago. Now he's trying to reverse that unfavorable decision regarding a $5 million grant request for his Palmetto Bay charter-school complex. 

"I need two votes" to flip, Rosen said last week during a visit to the vacant lot that would house a school, shops, evening vocational center and condos. He's hoping to get a re-vote when commissioners convene Monday for a meeting that's supposed to be devoted to swearing-in the six commissioners who started their new four-year terms last week and electing a new chair for the 13-member panel. 

[Update: Rosen wrote Naked Politics Monday morning to say he won't try for a re-vote on Monday. Instead, he's going to wait to see if his candidates  win in Tuesday's Palmetto Bay election. He's backing former mayor Eugene Flinn over the incumbent, Shelley Stanczyk, a chief Rosen critic. "I will wait until the Palmetto Bay run-off [and] then  regroup," Rosen wrote.] 

Waynerosen

Facing Palmetto Bay's city hall, Rosen sees the Parkside at Palmetto Bay project reviving an area bereft of restaurants and foot traffic. The development effort has languished for more than a decade, and he sees the county help a good use of resources to boost hiring in a population center in need of a downtown.

"It's been 11 years," he said. "This is just a catalyst."

Rosen's critics in Palmetto Bay see him using his political standing to win a hand-out from taxpayers. Palmetto Bay's city council declined to back his grant application before Nov. 5 commission vote, which was part of the heated debate on a county economic-development fund. The most high-profile seeker of the money, the proposed SkyRise tower, also failed to win approval for a $9 million grant thanks to a 6-6 tie. A revote on the SkyRise project is expected next month. 

Rosen donated $60,000 to incumbent commissioners up for reelection this year, and his charter-school partner in Parkside, Academica, gave another $43,500. Combined, that would  make them the second-biggest contributor in the cycle, just behind Turnberry's $109,600. By himself, Rosen tied lobbyist Jorge Luis Lopez for the No. 3 slot, according to our latest analysis of campaign-finance data. 

Continue reading "Big Miami-Dade donor Wayne Rosen wants another shot at county money" »

November 23, 2014

Obama sets immigration 'trap,' GOP get snared, irked

@MarcACaput

Scott Walker berated the reporters for “obsessing” about immigration.

“You have fallen into the trap the president of the United States has done,” the Wisconsin governor snapped at the Republican Governors Association’s conclave in Boca Raton last week.

The ire of Walker and his fellow Republicans over the issue was a sign they were already ensnared by President Barack Obama’s “trap”: an executive action sparing as many as 4.1 million illegal immigrants from deportation.

Obama’s Thursday decision effectively injected the immigration issue into the 2016 presidential campaign. Now, whoever wins the White House in two years will have to decide whether to scuttle the president’s plan, potentially estranging Hispanic voters, the fastest-growing demographic group.

From going it alone to quoting scripture to focusing on a policy that has tripped up Republicans for years, Obama’s announcement seemed designed to troll the GOP.

The announcement overshadowed the conference, at which the RGA wanted to showcase Republicans’ gains. Instead, the Republicans — six of whom are weighing presidential bids — wound up responding to question after question about Obama’s plans. They criticized Obama for overreach, and for not dealing with the issue when he had a Democratic House and Senate under him.

But they offered no alternatives. Walker suggested it wasn’t a big deal.

Column here

GOP consultants' 'almost paranoid' mission to circumvent Fair Districts

@MarcACaputo @kmcgrory

The Republican consultants had to be hush-hush — “almost paranoid” in the words of one — because of their high-stakes mission: Get go-betweens to help circumvent a Florida Constitutional ban on gerrymandering.

The plot was spelled out in a newly released batch of once-secret emails that show how the consultants surreptitiously drew congressional and state legislative maps. They then recruited seemingly independent citizens to submit them in an effort to strengthen the hand of Florida Republicans when the GOP-led Legislature redrew lawmaker districts in 2011.

The year before, Florida voters overwhelmingly amended the state’s constitution to prohibit legislators from drawing legislative and congressional districts that favor or disfavor incumbents or political parties. Citing the new amendments, a coalition of voting-rights and liberal groups called the Fair Districts Coalition sued the Legislature over its maps.

The emails, under court seal until this weekend, played a key role in a recent court victory to force the Legislature to redraw some of Florida’s congressional districts. The correspondence will take center stage in a related case challenging the state Senate maps.

The emails also provide a fly-on-the-wall glimpse of how political players used secrecy and deception as they recruited third parties to submit maps, some of which were drawn by Gainesville-based Data Targeting firm, led by political player Pat Bainter.

“Want to echo Pat’s reminder about being incredibly careful and deliberative here, especially when working with people who are organizing other folks,” Data Targeting’s Matt Mitchell wrote in a Nov. 29, 2011 email. “Must be very smart in how we prep every single person we talk to about all of these. If you can think of a more secure and failsafe way to engage our people, please do it. Cannot be too redundant on that front.”

“Pat and I will probably sound almost paranoid on this over the next week, but it will be so much more worthwhile to be cautious,” Mitchell concluded.

Story here

Download Data Targeting emails

Groups ask Florida Supreme Court to impose a "meaningful remedy" to redistricting issues

The coalition challenging the Florida Legislature's 2012 redistricting plan has filed its initial appeal to the state Supreme Court.

The coalition, made up of individuals and voters rights groups, has been battling to have the maps thrown out, saying they violate Florida's constitutional ban on partisan gerrymandering.

In August, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis ruled that the Congressional map was indeed unconstitutional and ordered two districts to be redrawn. But the coalition says Lewis did not go far enough.

The trial court, the coalition said in a brief filed Friday, "erred by only requiring two districts to be redrawn, by allowing the Legislature to provide the remedy by quickly passing a new plan that is largely the same as the old plan, and then by deferring to the Legislature's decision to maintain an apportionment scheme that ensured continued Republican domination over an electorate evenly divided between the two political parties."

The groups argue that the plan as a whole "was motivated by unlawful partisan intent," and that seven districts remain unconstitutional.

The coalition is asking the court to invalidate the entire apportionment plan and impose a "meaningful remedy." 

More specifically, its members would like to see the high court formulate its own redistricting plan, approve one of the plans created by the coalition, or rely on a redistricting expert to prepare an entirely new plan.

Read the brief below. Note that parts involving sealed documents were redacted.

Download Redacted_brief

New documents, emails show GOP consultants steered Republican lawmakers in redistricting process

Republican consultants worked side-by-side with Republican lawmakers in guiding them on drawing new Florida congressional districts that intentionally favored incumbents in violation of the Fair District amendments to the state constitution, according to documents and emails contained in a long-running redistricting lawsuit.

The Scripps-Tribune Capital Bureau first obtained the lengthy documents, posting all 538 pages on its blog, Political Fix Florida, on Sunday. The Herald/Times also obtained the same documents.

Read and peruse them here.

Read the story here or after the jump.

Continue reading "New documents, emails show GOP consultants steered Republican lawmakers in redistricting process" »

November 21, 2014

U.S. Supreme Court denies stay in Bainter case

The U.S. Supreme Court won't keep secret documents used in Florida's redistricting case out of the public eye.

Gainesville political consultant Pat Bainter had asked the high court to keep the documents sealed while he appeals a Florida Supreme Court ruling mandating their release. But Justice Clarence Thomas denied the request Friday.

The documents will be made public on Dec. 1.

The emails and trial transcripts were part of a legal challenge to the Florida Legislature’s 2012 redistricting plan. In that case, Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis rejected the Congressional map and said Republican consultants like Bainter had engaged in a "secret, organized campaign" to create gerrymandered districts.

Several voters rights groups asked for the documents to be unsealed. But Bainter has been fighting to keep them private, arguing that their release would both reveal trade secrets and violate his first First Amendment rights.